Amongst Our Weapons: Delightful and fulfilling

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsAmongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsShe looked at me, her eyes wide.
“‘Am I free?’ she said.
“‘Yes,” I said. ‘And no.’” 

Amongst Our Weapons (2022) is my new favorite in Ben Aaronovitch’s RIVERS OF LONDON series, mostly because, at long last, Peter and Beverly’s progeny, the twins, make an appearance. That isn’t the only reason; the plot is good and moves quickly, and the talking foxes recruited by Peter’s young cousin Abigail are in the book just enough to keep it extra entertaining.

The talking foxes aren’t alone in this story about a religious cult and an angel of death, possibly an actual angel. Lesley May, Peter’s former partner turned nemesis, is taking an active interest in the case, and seems, as she often is, to be one step ahead of Peter. In his few quiet moments, when he isn’t with his river goddess wife, Peter tries to persuade his boss Nightingale to bring Britain’s magical police force, housed at the Folly, into the late 20th century at least, if not the genuine present.

When the book opens, Peter and his new partner Danni Wickford are called to a scene in the London Silver Vaults, where a man’s heart has been burned out of his chest. Before he was murdered, he threatened the shop owner about the platinum ring he insisted his ex-wife had sold there. The ring is one of seven puzzle rings that unfold into astrolabes. The mystery comprises two countries, four hundred years of history, and the possibility that angels are real.

PC Peter Grant Book Series Ben Aaronovitch fantasy book reviewsAmongst Our Weapons never loses sight of the dire mystery of the death angel and the platinum astrolabe rings each former cult member owns, but Aaronovitch takes time to share interesting and real historical points of interest, from the Silver Vaults themselves to a discussion of a pair of “stray” German bombs from World War II. On the fictional front, this story delves into the Sons of Wayland, the magical armorers who had a falling out with Nightingale’s team after the War, and supposedly disappeared.

Lesley remains a complicated character, better at magic than Peter, and more violent, definitely a villain, obviously conflicted. It’s interesting that she comments in this book that she knows she can’t be redeemed, as if she’s seeking redemption. She is more than a one-note Moriarty, and Peter’s complex relationship with her plays out exceptionally well in this book. The angel of death is interesting as well, and as Peter uncovered the genesis of that character my feelings about them shifted to sympathy.

Amongst Our Weapons requires some knowledge of the series and the magical systems in play. You can’t start here. For ardent followers of Peter and his colleagues, this is a delightful, fulfilling entry.

Published in 2022. The ninth novel of the bestselling Rivers of London urban fantasy series returns to the adventures of Peter Grant, detective and apprentice wizard, as he solves magical crimes in the city of London. There is a world hidden underneath this great city. The London Silver Vaults — for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a paparazzi convention. Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace — only that’s what happened. The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light, and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit. Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North! And Peter must solve this case soon, because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s about to encounter something — and somebody — that nobody ever expects… Effortlessly original, endlessly inventive and hugely entertaining — step into the world of the much-loved, bestselling Rivers of London series.

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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