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Rivers of London

By: Ben Aaronovitch
Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
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Editorial reviews

An enthralling and at times hilarious crime thriller audiobook, book 1 of the unabridged Rivers of London: PC Peter Grant written by Ben Aaronovitch is brilliantly narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Listeners are taken into the depths of London’s hidden world of vampires, spirits, gods and goddesses of the mighty Thames. Join the impossibly funny PC Peter Grant as he leaves his policing life behind to become an apprentice to the last wizard of England, and listen intently as they embark on a battle against London’s sinister vampire underworld. Available from Audible now.

Publisher's Summary

My name is Peter Grant, and until January, I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. 

Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in 50 years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden...and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious, vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.

Read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

©2011 Ben Aaronovitch (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited

What listeners say about Rivers of London

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

What a voice! (Book wasn't too bad either.)

I was looking for a new series to get stuck into and stumbled upon this.. And I will fully admit to choosing this purely based on the narrators voice of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

It's the kind of voice that felt like I should be listening to the story in a perpetual bubble bath with a glass of red wine and a chocolate.. TREAT yo self!!

The story was good to, very light easy listen .. Not high brow or Man Booker prize winner material though. Like adult youth fiction.

I think I read a review that described it as if "Harry potter joined the fuzz" but let's face it , love him as so many do Harry potter was never a cool dude. This is more like Harry Potter being a cool urban London dude that joined the coppers. Worth a go for the voice alone!

Just to let you know, I work for Audible, but the views expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! A fantastic book

This is the first of the Peter Grant books. British policemen with magic. A really well written book that plausibly brings magic into the modern world. Beautifully read by Kobna Holbrook-Smith who makes the English accents sound great (at least to Australian ears). Really worth reading, and I'd recommend the rest of the series once you have finished this one.

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18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A kind of English Harry Dresden

This was a great book!

The story is set in modern day London and centres around a young PC who begins training as a wizard. It's in a similar vein to the Harry Dresden novels. There are lots of descriptions of London locations, so especially if you know the city, it's loads of fun.

The narrator does a really good job and gives depth and personality to the characters.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Something new

I have only just discovered this author/series and l am hooked.
The story is set in current day London and presence of magic and the spiritual world is an accepted and yet hidden reality.
PC Grant discovers that he can communicate with ghosts and becomes the apprentice of a senior police officer and wizard, Inspector Nightingale. He is in charge of all magical/ supernatural crimes. Other members of the force know this, but are not sure whether to believe it or not.
Peter Grant finds himself in a confusing crime spree which requires both his police skills and burgeoning magical skills to solve the case.
The reader/listener is pulled into a new world with its own vocabulary and rules. Making sense of the connections between characters and how they behave towards each other is a little challenging, but satisfying.
This will not be the last book in this series I listen to or read.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story, great performance!

just a wonderful story, performed incredibly well! great characters, wonderful literary references, great comedy, heartily recommended.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jen
  • 18-08-2015

Really enjoyable

Unique approach to a London police novel. Casual and entertaining. Will be reading (listening) to the others in the series

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quirky and smart!

The narration was brilliant and beautiful, such an unusual story but quite captivating, different from the usual predictable crime novels. Loved it!

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Got me hooked

Initially not what I expected and at times I got a little lost, also guessed way ahead of it being revealed in the story - SPOILER ALERT- the punch connection.

But overall really quite enjoyed it and reviews pertaining to the next books as even better, spurred me on to get the next one, which I am enjoying even more.

The narrator is great and reads with the right tones, levels of sarcasm and exasperation!

Highly recommended.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who enjoy Fantasy, supernatural.
Somehow I'd not noticed this was fantasy

What was most disappointing about Ben Aaronovitch’s story?

Apart from the Fantasy aspect, my fault for choosing, I found it over descriptive, too many words

Did Kobna Holdbrook-Smith do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

Yes he did, however, to me he sounded like he was just recovering from bronchitis, I wanted to breathe for him. He does, otherwise, have a pleasant voice, but he sounds so very bored, a young PC in this position would be a little more enthusiastic one would think

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I did enjoy learning a bit about London

Any additional comments?

In future I shall visit other Audible sites, like UK, where there are many more reviews to read. This book has many very good reviews, had I actually read them, other than just counting stars I would have know this is the wrong genre for me

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not Enough Stars

Brilliant. Just brilliant.
I loved every second of this book. Listened to it in two days which has to be a record for me.
Great characters and storyline.
Superb narration by Kobra Holdbook-Smith

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3 people found this helpful

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