‘Amongst Our Weapons’ – Rivers Of London #9 by Ben Aaronovitch – Highly Recommended

The London Silver Vaults – for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a celebrity punch-up. 

Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace – only that’s what happened.

The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit.Alongside their boss, DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North!

And Peter must solve this case soon because back home, his partner, Beverley, is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s about to encounter something – and somebody – that nobody ever expects….

‘Amongst Our Weapons’ is a wonderful return to form for this series after the slightly disappointing ‘False Value’. It has an original and engaging plot in which Peter comes of age, most of the regular characters move forward and the scope of the supernatural world is expanded. I was thoroughly entertained and left hungry for the next instalment.

I liked that the ‘bad guy’ that Peter is tracking is very different from anything we’ve seen before in this series. She’s something that no one expects. She’s dangerous without necessarily being bad which raises questions about how Peter should treat her. One of the things that I like most about Peter is his strong impulse to treat people as well as he can, even when bad things are happening.

The story took us north to Glossop, just outside Manchester and opened up a whole new set of possibilities for future stories. It was fun to see Peter outside his own territory and dealing with a river goddess who isn’t related to the Thames. I thought the description of his ‘side quest’ on the Derbyshire hills was beautiful.

It was good to see The Folly starting to become integrated into the Met, with Peter training other people to get involved in the weird ‘Falcon’ activities. It provided fresh faces and gave an indication of where the series might be going. We also finally got to see Nightingale do his stuff rather than being off-stage for all the action pieces.

The ‘Peter Coming Of Age’ theme was helped along by strong scenes covering Peter’s home life. Beverley is pregnant with twins and Peter is given strict instructions to place a higher priority on being present at the birth than on closing the case he’s working on. The birthing scene made me very aware that Peter is now embedded in a network of beings that goes far beyond his role at The Folly.

I was aware of how women shape both this story and Peter’s life. They are the people who keep him grounded and pull him out of the rabbit holes he falls down when left to his own devices. I lost count of the number of times various women said, ‘Peter, focus’ at critical points in the story. Beverly is setting clear boundaries. His female colleagues keep him on track and rescue him from time to time. The women he meets in Glossop offer him alliance opportunities. Even Leslie comes to Peter’s aid at times. Peter seems to remain charmingly unaware of the extent to which he is shepherded by the women around him but is starting to understand that he has new responsibilities that require more of him than personal courage, magical talent, an insatiable curiosity and reckless enthusiasm

I listened to the audiobook and let myself be carried along by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s soothing tones, and Ben Aaronovitch’s quiet but pointed humour.

I found this to be a very satisfying read and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

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