The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London #6) by Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch

The Faceless man is active again – only this time Peter and Nightingale are on his tale and making ever more progress in finally tracking him down and exposing him


So long as Peter can avoid the wrath of Lady Tyburn, goddess of the river Tyburn, who is most annoyed at Peter over the arrest of her daughter


And there’s some Americans with guns which is never a good thing.





I love this series. I love it so much


I love how incredibly British it is. How very London it is. Every page is just so full of London, London places, London culture, London history. I don’t really know a lot about Ben Aaronovitch but he must be a Londoner and he both loves his city but also sees it very clearly – knows it for what it is.


The constant, fun wry comments about the city, the places, the rivers, how things have changed, how they’ve adapted are so much fun and add such an incredible richness to the series. Because we’re not just adding a rich supernatural world and culture to the city, but the city itself – the actual, real, London - is also explored in so much depth and history and commentary and it’s so much fun. And, honestly, it shouldn’t be because there’s such a lot there – but Peter’s irreverent tone, his completely sarcastic, very British and wry take down of it all is excellent. The way he loves his home but is fully aware of all of the problems of it as well, all of the nasty realities.


That acknowledgement of London as it is also includes all of its racial diversity. Mama Thames and all of her daughters are Black. Peter is Black, his mother from Sierra Leone. We have Guleed who is Middle Eastern, Muslim and wears a Hijab and plays a major role throughout the book become a de-facto Folly member (I really hope she joins up because she’s an excellent partner for Peter, her wry cynicism touching nicely with his occasional naivety). Please more of this!


On top of this there’s a real acknowledgment of how class, wealth and race affect people – how people are treated, what advantages they have and especially how hat relates to policing.


There’s an excellent moment where one of the characters continually assumes they know so much about Peter – and ye gods they’re all stereotypes everyone has heard so many times before and we know so many fools think this – based on his race and class and it’s just so ridiculously wrong and far from Peter’s reality and his family.

All of this insight also comes to Peter and policing – there’s a lot of knowledge of police procedure, some wry acknowledgement of the flaws and issues with the police (both past and present). It’s real, it’s topical, it’s funny, it’s informative and so very very snarky and very real. Lots of shoe leather. Lots of eliminating, pursuing leads, ticking boxes, and paperwork.

So excellently snarky. Honestly I love it.


I also really like the introduction of Lady Helena and the idea of magical practitioners outside of the Folly which came with some good commentary on how much the Folly was such a boy’s club and the sexism that came with it.



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