There are some people, Ben Aaronovitch claims in his new book Moon Over Soho, who are born Londoners, even if they only visit for the first time in their old age. There are others who are born in London who never quite get it, and dream of escape. I fall into the first category. Despite being born within the gravity of the great city that is London, I am absolutely and incontrovertibly a Londoner at heart.
There’s little about the city I don’t love, and as Aaronovitch says, “Every Londoner has their manor – a collection of bits of the city where they feel comfortable”. Everything between the Embankment and Regent’s Park is where I feel most at home.
Despite being found firmly in the sci-fi/fantasy section of your local bookshop, this book (as well as its predecessor in the series, Rivers of London, in what will eventually be a trilogy) will speak to anyone with a love for the city of London, as well as anyone who enjoys a good piece of fictional storytelling.
I am not the biggest fan of sci-fi/fantasy books; generally I find them cold and dull, but there are certain authors in the genre whose books I love, simply because of the way they write. Authors like Jasper Fforde and his Thursday Next series or Neil Gaiman and everything he’s ever written manage to treat the genre with a humour and tongue-in-cheek wit that makes you forget the nerdy overtones of the subject (in this case, jazz vampires and the last apprentice wizard in Britain), and just enjoy a well-told story. For me, that is what reading is all about.