The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

24 November 2017

BEN AARONOVITCH’s PC Grant series first caught my attention when I was working in a pub in Covent Garden, and finding the tourist-heavy shopping district very boring. His first book in the series, Rivers of London, opens in Covent Garden market, and then spreads through the streets as the plot thickens. Suddenly, the area around me came alive with mystery and adventure.

These topographically accurate tales allow the reader to engage and invest in the story from the start, while other fantasy novels are laboriously world-building.

If you are not a denizen of London, there is still much to enjoy in this series. Part police-detective drama, part supernatural fantasy, the narrator is PC Peter Grant, a junior in the London Metropolitan Police, who is living a reasonably normal life until he encounters strange apparitions in St Paul’s Church, and discovers that there is a magical branch of the Met, founded by none other than Isaac Newton. He becomes a magician’s apprentice to the enigmatic DCI Nightingale, and fantastical high jinks ensue.

The Furthest Station, the latest instalment in the series, sidesteps away from the main story thread, and takes an indulgent but enjoyable dive into part of the Rivers of London mythology: ghosts. There have been sightings on the Metropolitan Line of disintegrating spectres desperate to pass on a message to whoever will listen.

Needless to say, no one listens to the muttering madman on the Tube; so it falls to PC Grant, the London Transport Police, and Toby the ghost-hunting dog to subdue these phantasmagorical commuters.

Aaronovitch’s PC Grant is a new breed of London copper. His narrative is heavy with sarcasm and knowing winks, and has a worldliness that makes wizard duels in Harrods and saxophone-playing ghosts in Soho seem as if it is just another day in the life of the London Met.

 

Anna Lawrence is Managing Editor for Hymns Ancient & Modern Periodicals.

 

The Furthest Station
Ben Aaronovitch
Gollancz £12.99
(978-1-473-22242-7)
Church Times Bookshop £11.70

100 Best Christian Books

How many have you read?

Visit the 100 Best Christian Books website to see which books made our list, read the judges' notes and add your own comments.

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

The Church Times Podcast

Interviews and news analysis from the Church Times team. Listen to this week’s episode online

Forthcoming Events

16-18 February 2018
Church Times Festival of Faith & Literature

Our literary festival with a theological slant in Bloxham, Oxfordshire. Speakers include Francis Spufford, Ruth Valerio, Eve Poole, Mark Oakley, James Runcie and many others. Find out more

5-6 May 2018
Church Times Festival of Poetry
With Sarum College, Salisbury. More details coming soon - register your interest here

Subscribe now to get full access

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

This January, non-subscribers can read up to thirty articles for free. (You will need to register.)