My trip along the Thames with the Rivers of London series took two little detours last month, with took halfway books: 5.5: The Furthest Station, and the newest addition to the series, 5.5: What Abigail Did That Summer. Before that, back on the main track was Foxglove Summer, book five, and it’s from after this that we pick up with book six, The Hanging Tree. It’s implied that a bit of time has gone by between them, though not a huge amount, and we’re not given specifics.
As always, I’ll try and keep my review as spoiler free as possible but this is book six in the series, so there are certain things that might be spoilers if you haven’t yet read the other books. Here are the links to my other reviews in order if you want a refresher:
Rivers of London
Moon Over Soho
Whispers Under Ground
And then of course the books above.
The Hanging Tree was the Tyburn gallows which stood where Marble Arch stands today. Oxford Street was the last trip of the condemned. Some things don’t change. The place has a bloody and haunted legacy and now blood has returned to the empty Mayfair mansions of the world’s super-rich. And blood mixed with magic is a job for Peter Grant.
Peter Grant is back as are Nightingale et al. at the Folly and the various river gods, ghosts and spirits who attach themselves to England’s last wizard and the Met’s reluctant investigator of all things supernatural.
A few books ago, Peter ended up stuck under the platform at Oxford Circus. He wasn’t having the best of times. He was rescued by a rather annoyed Tyburn, who made it clear to him that at some point she would be calling in a favour in return, and what was his reply to be? “Yes ma’am, no ma’am, three bags full ma’am”.
So when Peter gets a phone call informing him that Tyburn’s daughter is messed up in a situation she wants her very much to not be messed up in, he knows he hasn’t got a choice but to get up and face the music. Tyburn might want it to be as simple as simply getting her daughter off the charge, but with her quite happily confessing to the charges, he’s already got a headache.
On top of that, he’s still making his way through the list of people related to the Little Crocodiles situation, and there is the ongoing hunt for the person who shot him with a taser. But at least things are going well with Beverley, finally… Right?
Once again this book was well plotted and well thought through. There were twists and turns, and while we got some answers to some of the big questions that have been hanging over us for several books now, we also get more questions, and just the faintest hint that we might had had a few things backwards all along. It’s always impressive if an author can continue to surprise you and keep you on your toes this many books into a series, but that’s exactly what Aaronovich does, which is a testament both to his creative ability, and to the characters that are an utter joy to be reunited with every time I read one of these books.
I’m currently trying to limit myself to one book per month because I’m running out of them, but they are the perfect pick-me-up when I’m feeling low, so who knows how long that will last!
I think this would probably be my favourite of the books so far. A real joy to read, and once again, wonderfully narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who was just born to read these. I can’t wait for the next adventure.