The combination of Ben Aaronvitch’s witty, observant, compassionate prose with Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s nuanced narration is irresistible.
For most of the book, I listened with a smile on my face as Peter Grant shares his views on people, architecture, policing and music while navigating another well-constructed plot that weaves magic, history, location and the strengths and weaknesses of human nature into a compelling story.
It wasn’t all smiles. Peter Grant is not supercilious. He cares about his struggle to right wrongs or at least to minimise the damage they inflict on the innocent. The books are fundamentally compassionate. They are also laced with sadness and loss. In “The Furthest Station” I found myself feeling sympathy for the ghost of a child and concerned about her fate. Of course, I also found myself amused by the emergence of a young river god and cheering the progress made by Peter’s brilliant and cocky young niece.
At 144 pages this is a short book. I was concerned that I would find it to be a pumped-up short story served up to keep the interest of the reading public until the next novel is ready but I put my faith in Ben Aaronovitch and was rewarded with a compact but perfectly formed story that re-immersed me in Grant’s world, moved the ensemble cast of characters on and delivered a modern fairytale enlivened with wit and made relevant to today’s London. It was a little over three hours of high quality, emotionally engaging, entertainment.