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Rather unfairly, I feel as if I had been reading this book for decades, and that’s a shame because (a) it was really very enjoyable in many ways and (b) I have the other two books in the trilogy still to read so am taking a break and trying very hard not to not read them.

If that makes sense.

Because both the Book God and Silvery Dude enjoyed the story (SD has I believe now read them all) and I am not one to give in when the recommendations of bookish cohorts are causing me trouble (not that it’s a competition, no of course it isn’t, don’t be silly).

But it took me AGES to get through this. It’s not that I wasn’t having a good time with the lush prose and the melodrama and the plot twists and the villains, alliances made and lost and made again, all with some naughtiness to boot.

It was just a reluctance to pick the thing up; it was HEAVY in hardback, though undoubtedly a pretty book – what you can’t tell from the picture is that this is a white hardback with transparent blue plastic overlay (which I was always anxious not to damage, so that didn’t help) and an embossed black mask – masks are very important to this story. And it was tiring to read – something about the prose style which was so over the top (though it suited the story) that it was at times exhausting. But I struggled on through all these hardships because I liked the three main characters and I wanted to know what was going to happen.

So you have Celeste Temple, a young woman in a strange city who has just been dumped by her fiancé; Cardinal Chang who is a hired killer whose intended victim has already met foul play; and Dr Svenson, a medical man looking after a rather unpleasant prince engaged to be married to some poor girl. The stories of all three become intertwined with a far-ranging and diabolical conspiracy involving a mysterious painting and, of course, the glass books themselves. Which are blue.

The men are either dashing or villainous and on occasion villainously dashing; the women are chaste but brave, or vampish in a dastardly way, but all have heaving bosoms and a tendency to use their womanly wiles to manipulate the other characters for good or ill. The plot itself cracks along but I’m not entirely sure I understood what the point of it actually was. But there are steam trains and mines and converted castles and airships and a body count of significant proportions and it would probably make a brilliant TV series, and I will read the others at some point.


WhispersUndergroundBenAar67930_fSo there’s a bit of a story to this one. I am a huge fan of Mr Aaronovitch after being introduced to his books by Silvery Dude; in fact the very first one, Rivers of London, helped get me through a particularly nasty cold back in the day. So when I realised that the man himself would be talking and signing books at the Waterstones in Piccadilly, well, I just had to go along, didn’t I? And because I’m a good friend * cough * I got a ticket for the Silvery One as well.

The evening dawned and after numerous “it’ll be fine” exchanges poor old SD couldn’t attend because of domestic (poorly small boy) circumstances so I had to go along by myself, a bit reluctantly I must admit because these things are often more enjoyable when you have someone to chatter with, but it turned out to be huge fun. Mr A is extremely entertaining and a pleasant hour passed as he talked about what bits of the London that appear in his books aren’t real (although it hasn’t stopped me looking for a particular building every time I go through Russell Square), the usual ‘where he gets his ideas from’ stuff and most importantly a hint about how many more volumes there will be in the series (very much a ‘keep going until I run out of stories’ vibe). And as you can see I got my book signed (and got one for SD as well to make up for his missing a night out – and his little boy is OK so smiles all round)


Whispers Underground itself is well up to standard; starts off with a bit of ghost-hunting on the London underground, followed swiftly by the murder of the son of a US Senator which has something whiffy about it and attracts the attention of the FBI and off we go on a really enjoyable story which as always takes in lots of interesting stuff about London and has a nice arc building up in the background.

It’s always tempting to compare this series with the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler (which I also adore) but despite the superficial similarities (police investigating odd things, London as a character in the books, lots of interesting facts) they are very different, the supernatural element being the most obvious, but most people I know who enjoy one author also enjoy the other.

So a series that is going from strength to strength and I can’t wait for the next one.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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December 2012