The Wolves Of London

A Locke worth pick­ing

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books - Will Sal­mon

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

352 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Au­thor: Mark Mor­ris Pub­lisher: Ti­tan Books

Mag­i­cal London is so hot right now. While Ben Aaronovitch and Paul Cor­nell are pen­ning su­per­nat­u­ral de­tec­tive sto­ries, Mark Mor­ris’s new tril­ogy looks at things from the other side of the law. His hero Alex Locke is an ex- con, dragged back into the un­der­world for the in­evitably fate­ful “one last job” – steal­ing the mys­te­ri­ous Ob­sid­ian Heart. It should be a sim­ple task, but he hasn’t counted on the Wolves of London – a su­per­nat­u­ral gang who leave a trail of car­nage in their wake.

We’re on fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory here. As well as the cur­rent swathe of ur­ban fan­tasy nov­els, there are echoes of Barker’s Weave­world and Gaiman’s Nev­er­where. Mor­ris’s ap­proach is more grounded in the every­day – his magic is halfglimpsed and bloody – but there’s a strong sense of déjà vu. The book also suf­fers from a slightly aim­less mid­dle sec­tion.

Still, Locke is a com­pelling character. He’s not the usual “rough di­a­mond” cliché, but an in­tel­li­gent man who made a bad mis­take as a kid and has spent the rest of his life pay­ing for it. He’s sym­pa­thetic – as is Clover, a femme fa­tale archetype who’s quickly re­vealed to be some­one far more lay­ered and be­liev­able. It’s the like­abil­ity of the leads and your hope that things will work out okay for them that keeps the pages turn­ing, rather than the magic.

Mor­ris is a mas­sive Doc­tor Who fan. His favourite story is “The Talons Of WengChi­ang”; his most hated is “Time­lash”.

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