31 July, 2009

Bona Fide: The Magic of London

L-O-N-D-O-N........Six characters in a specific order.........Every time I read it or hear it I get electrified. London, the capital of United Kingdom and England. A town with its very own biography - London: The Biography, by Peter Ackroyd [US] [UK]. "London Calling" [lyrics] - famous song by British punk rock band The Clash. London, a modern town jam packed with history. Unforgettable View of the House of Parliament during a ride on the London Eye. Visit all the great buildings, museums, parks, cemeteries and markets. And don't forget to use the Underground. Did you know that there are about 40 abandoned or relocated stations?

You see, London is magic for me ...... But who gets the opportunity to visit London? YOU ! No flight ticket necessary. You just need a vivid imagination and BOOKS. Do you realize how many books are set in London? I can't even count them. I would like to present you with a couple - especially fantasy books - where I can't fathom how they should work if they were set in other towns. My last three reads have all been settled in ...... London:

Today, I started reading Human Nature (2008) by Jonathan Green [US] [UK]. This is the fifth novel in the Pax Britannia series and the fourth book featuring agent of the crown and gentlemen adventurer Ulysses Quicksilver. The Whitby Mermaid has been stolen. A new mystery for our hero. Here is some background on the series:

"In the closing years of the 20th century the British Empire's rule is still going strong. Queen Victoria is about to celebrate her 160th birthday, kept alive by advanced steam technology. London is a fantastical sprawling metropolis where dirigibles roam the skies, robot bobbies enforce the law and dinosaurs are on display in London zoo. Welcome to Magna Britannia, a steam driven world full of fantastical creations and shady villains. Here dashing dandies and mustachioed villains battle for supremacy while below the city strange things stir in the flooded tunnels of the old London Underground."

I read all the books so far and liked them very much. Expect a review of Human Nature next month. For more information about the series and the books please visit Abaddon Books and Pax Britannia Blog.

Next book is for all people who like Elizabethan England, combined with a little fantasy. England, London, above-ground: Virgin Queen Elizabeth and underground: Faerie Queen Invidiana. Expect betrayal and intrigue. Midnight Never Come (2008) by Marie Brennan [US][UK] is the first book in her The Onyx Court series. The sequel In Ashes Lie (2009) [US] [UK] also just came out.
And yes, you can also expect a review next month. For more information - including some intriguing short fiction - look at The Onyx Court.

Urban fantasy is not my preferred genre, except for the Harry Dresden novels, by Jim Butcher. Are you looking for a fresh voice in urban fantasy like me? Then get a copy of A Madness Of Angels (2009) by Kate Griffin [US] [UK]. This is her first adult novel and also the first book in the Matthew Swift series. London and beneath, sorcerers, magicians, angels, the Bag Lady and the Beggar King, and urban magic. The review is in progress... I look forward to read The Midnight Mayor. UK release October 2009. US release March 2010!

A Madness Of Angels reminded me of two other books.
The first one is Un Lun Dun (2007) by China MiƩville [US] [UK]. A book with exuberant imagination. You will meet an extraordinary house pet: Curdle, an empty milk carton. Discover the secret life of broken umbrellas and, and, and, ......

The second one is a bit older but still worth reading.
Discover a bizarre realm beneath London and follow Richard Mayhew into a world full of monsters, saints, murderers and angels in Neverwhere (1996), by Neil Gaiman [US] [UK].

In the first week of 2009 I read an excellent steampunk novel: The Affinity Bridge (2008) by George Mann [US] [UK]. This is the first adventure of Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes. Sir Maurice is an experienced anthropologist who works for the British Museum. Beside this, he is also an agent of the Queen. Oh, and he also supports Scotland Yard. After an airship crash Sir Maurice gets the order from the Queen to investigate the mysterious circumstances. And, of course, there is more work for Sir Maurice and Miss Veronica. Chief Inspector Sir Charles Bainbridge is hunting the "glowing bobby"who kills people around Whitechapel.

Here is another great read: The Shattered Teacup, by George Mann. This is a new short story with Newbury and Hobbes. You can download it for free as ebook and/or audiobook at Snowbooks. The next Maurice and Hobbes novel - The Osiris Ritual by George Mann (paperback) [UK] - will be released in September 2009.

Obviously, there are a lot more books and series that are set in London which are not fantasy. I also read a lot of crime stories settled in different centuries, but I think this should be enough for today. In case you liked this quick look at London is fantasy and a couple of its sub-genres, I don't mind writing a second part. Anyhow if you know more fantasy books settled in London, especially you English readers, please leave a comment.