Amongst Our Weapons is the ninth novel in the ‘Rivers of London’ series by Ben Aaronovitch and was published in paperback this time last year (to the day as it happens). The others books in the series are: False ValueLies SleepingThe Hanging TreeFoxglove SummerBroken HomesWhispers Under GroundMoon Over Soho and Rivers of London.

All the books follow the magical policing adventures of Peter Grant, a member of the London Metropolitan Police. The series uniquely blends genres; crime, supernatural fantasy, and procedural detective fiction. Grant is an engaging character, although he’s perhaps not wholly believable – his encyclopaedic knowledge of the history and architecture of London needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and a nod to nerd inside Aaronovitch. He has created a thoroughly entertaining world where magic and science coexist, and in which the details of his magical system are explored just enough to lend enough credibility to the incredible.

Amongst Our Weapons opens with Grant called to the scene of a ‘Falcon incident’ at the London Silver Vaults – a mysterious death. Witnesses describe a flash of light before the murder victim dropped dead, with a circular hole burnt into his chest. It transpires that the victim was at the silversmith demanding the return of a silver ring his ex-wife had sold.

So begins an investigation into a set of rings (along with the expected The Lord of the Rings references) involving a number of encounters with a mystical spear-wielding woman who to all intents and purposes seems to be acting as an avenging angel of death.

Grant’s former colleague Lesley, who turned to the dark side many books ago and has been in and out of the story ever since, is also on the trial of the rings and he has a few run-ins with her and I won’t tell you if he catches her or not. No spoilers here!

The story takes Grant from the comfort of his London beat and his heavily pregnant girlfriend to that most dreaded of places – up North, as Aaronovitch’s magical world continues to expand with stories of the Spanish Inquisition’s interest in magic, a possessed lamp and a secretive gang of magical smiths. I won’t say any more than that, and simply recommend that you give it a read – but you will need to read the other books to thoroughly understand the story I think.

Amongst Our Weapons is a solid addition to the series, building on elements that fans enjoy – deeper exploration of the magical world, a carefully crafted journey through European religious history and some imaginative extrapolation of certain UK landmarks and places. However, I didn’t find it as enjoyable as the last book – I found the scenes of his homelife rather uninteresting, felt like I was reading a Doctor Who episode at points, and rather missed the claustrophobic London-centric nature of Aaronovitch’s earlier work.