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The Furthest Station

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Furthest Station (2017) Ben Aaronovitch

My current theory is that the reason the previous novel took so long to come out was because it was too long, and a lot had to come out, and that material has made up the comics and this novella.

Sounds good anyway.

This is a Rivers of London novella that follows The Hanging Tree and I think is concurrent with the Detective Stories comics. But I’m not certain about that last bit.

Ghosts have suddenly become a problem on the train, but those making the complaints seem to forget about the event within an hour of being bothered by the ghost. This of course falls squarely into the lap of Peter Grant, and–much to Peter’s chagrin–his cousin Abigail who is spending the summer learning at the Folly. Peter doesn’t want Abigail to learn magic, but knows that she’ll do it anyway, and likely fry her brain doing it on her own. So she’s learning Latin and the other basics.

I actually really liked the bits about Abigail’s education.

According to family legend he taught himself to read from discarded newspapers while a refugee in Freetown before being brought to London by sympathetic relatives. Once here he caught up six years of missing schooling, got an apprenticeship and became a railway maintenance engineer.

This probably explained why he enthusiastically embraced Abigail’s extracurricular studies at the Folly— especially when he learnt that she’d be taking extra GCSE’s out of school… even if they were Latin and Greek.

“And it gets me out of the flat, don’t it,” Abigail had said.

And when I asked her whether her dad might not be worried she’d take a degree in Classics rather than one of the African holy trinity of medicine, law or engineering, she told me, “Dad doesn’t know what Classics is, you know— he still has trouble with some of the big words. I have to help him fill in forms.”

He needn’t have worried anyway. Abigail was on course to get straight A-stars in maths, physics and chemistry.

Including her being a geeky teenage girl.

Abigail said she was dubious about the collection of faded sepia prints we’d unearthed in the mundane library. She’d done her own experiments both with her phone and a vintage Leica camera she’d found inside one of the storage cupboards in the lecture theatre.

“What were you even doing in there?” I asked.

“Having a look around,” she said.

“How did you get them developed?”

“There’s a darkroom in the metal working lab.”

And she’d taught herself photographic developing off the internet because of course she had.

Which brings me to something else I really like about this–the strongly empowered self-rescuing women.

(She) said that she had no doubt what had happened to her, and so disassembled the camp bed to yield a suitable club to beat the shit out of whoever her kidnapper was as soon as he came through the door.

Not that we don’t get Peter–we totally do. But we also get Abigail and to spend more time with Sergeant Jaget Kumar, who we met in Whispers Underground.

Please remember that this is a novella, so it’s quite short. But I’m really glad that he’s choosing to expand the Rivers of London world in this way–small stories on their own rather than show-horned into a novel, or worse yet, not shared at all.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Subterranean Press

Categories: British, Fantasy, Police, Urban     Comments (0)    



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