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Book Review

Book Cover

London Falling


Author: Paul Cornell
RRP: £12.99, US $24.99
ISBN: 978 0 230 76321 0
Available 06 December 2012

Detective Inspector James Quill has been working on an operation to bring down London’s greatest gangster, whilst at the same time getting rid of the two undercover detectives who he suspects of going native. With crime lord Toshack finally under arrest Quill is shocked when the man explodes in front of him. Trying to uncover the reasons for the murder. and Toshack’s success, leads Quill, Costain, Sefton and intelligence analyst Ross to discover that reality has many layers. Having picked the scab off London they discover, through newly acquired abilities, that there are creature more terrifying and powerful than they could previously imagined...

London Falling is an original urban fantasy novel by Paul Cornell. Not content with writing for Doctor Who as both novelist and script writer, let alone his work in comics, Cornell has found time in his busy schedule to pen an original novel which does not rely on an existing format.

There has been a veritable explosion of fantasy book; many set in capital cities, therefore London has its own fare share of these. Normally to emphasis their other worldliness, the books are set in a bygone era, Victoriana is especially popular.

One of the things I really liked about this novel was its contemporary setting which leads to some nice juxtaposition between the world of the fantastic and the mundane, such as witch hunting using Google Maps, which is so ordinary to make its use, in this context, extraordinary.

It allows the fantasy elements a greater feeling of being rooted in reality. However, this does mean this is heavily weighted towards the more fantasy elements of the story; the police procedural elements are mostly there just to push the plot forward.

When the book opens, the team are distrustful of each other, Cornell steers them convincingly into a coherent group, who by the books ending are close enough to sacrifice for each other. Much time is spent, with good effect, on both the character building and character development, so much so, that it would be a shame if this were the only Shadow Police novel created.

Cornell states in the afterward that the story grew out of an idea for a television program, which would explain the very visual feel to the book, though sometimes the descriptions can be a little matter of fact.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read and the characters drawn well enough that you not only cared what happened to them, but would probably look forward to reading more of their adventures.

The book ends with more questions unanswered than answered, meaning a sequel can’t be far behind.


Charles Packer

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