My friends here at FanLit love Ben Aaronovitch’s RIVERS OF LONDON / PETER GRANT series. I haven’t read any of the novels yet, so when The October Man (2019), a related stand-alone novella, was recently released, I thought it might be the perfect place to jump in.
I was right. Though familiarity with the novels might have made things a little easier, I found The October Man to be both perfectly understandable and enjoyable.
The story stars Tobias Winter, a secondary character from the RIVERS OF LONDON / PETER GRANT series (as I understand it). Tobias, an investigator, is called to the quaint town of Trier in one of Germany’s famous wine regions. He is there to investigate a murder that looks rather unnatural — the victim was covered in fungus.
This turns out to be the noble rot, the fungus responsible for the sweetness of German riesling wines. The goddess of the Mosel river is also involved in the murder mystery.
There are a lot of things I liked about The October Man, which I sampled in both print (Subterranean Press) and audio (Tantor Audio) formats. First, I love the setting and can’t think of any other fantasy novels I’ve read that are set along the Mosel river. I spent a wonderful week in that region last year, so was familiar with some of the cities and landmarks in the story. Aaronovitch gives us some history and instructions about wine making, so I learned something, too.
As far as the story goes, it’s entertaining with colorful characters and a witty sense of humor that amused me. It definitely made me want to pick up Midnight Riot, the first PETER GRANT novel, sometime soon.
The audiobook is narrated by Sam Peter Jackson. He was so well-cast for this story. I loved his performance.