It’s safe to say that the adventures of PC Peter Grant and the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment Unit (aka The Folly) are pretty popular. In case you’ve missed them, the Rivers of London books are set in a London very much like our own, except magic, though rare, is real and rather deadly. When your average Metropolitan copper comes across something too weird, they reluctantly call The Folly for help.
The Furthest Station is the latest story in this well regarded series, though it’s only a short-term fix. It’s a novella, that unusual format which isn’t long or complicated enough to be a book but simply too involved to be a short story. It’s also fairly neutral in terms of the on-going series; it lacks any major spoilers, with the possible exception of some of the twists from the first book, Rivers of London. As such it’s a pretty strong introduction and is a carefully balanced mix of supernatural adventure and police procedural drama.
As the name suggests, The Furthest Station centres around one of London’s most iconic features; The London Underground. Turns out there has been some weirdness on the Tube with members of the public reporting strange goings on. The Metropolitan Line is very, very haunted. It’s up to Peter and a small band of allies to find out what’s going on, and this being a Ben Aaronovitch novel, things take a much darker turn. The tale dips from the supernatural to the all too mundane, and snakes around like a serpentine thing.
Aaronvitch guarantees a thrilling read; his style and approach to world building are simply to tight and too accomplished not to. The Furthest Station is a strong example of compact and intense storytelling; this is a good adventure that would have suffered from being novel size. We get some nice character development, especially via Peter’s cousin. She’s beginning to dabble in magic herself, which is a little like learning to juggle hand live hand grenades, and this provides a decent B-plot. The Furthest Station is short, but perfectly formed.
THE FURTHEST STATION / AUTHOR: BEN AARONOVITCH / PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ / RELEASE DATE: 28TH SEPTEMBER