Lies Sleeping, the seventh book in the Rivers of London series, left a lot of open questions about the world of the setting while it wrapped a bunch of the threads around the Faceless Man. Probably the biggest one was around the Sons of Weyland – a group of practitioners who were also powerful magical craftspeople – having made various battle staves, along with the magical wards in and around The Folly. On top of that – The October Man also built up some more groundwork for various magical practitioners and organizations outside of England. Well, Amongst Our Weapons decides to pick up both those threads and runs with them. There will be some minor spoilers below the cut.
Well, if you have any knowledge at all of Monty Python’s most famous sketches, and familiarity with how Ben Aaronovitch slips pop cultural references into his work, if you looked at the title of this book and said “I bet this book relates to the Spanish Inquistion and how it relates to the history of Practitioners,” I’d have taken a sip of my pint and said “No bet.”
In this case, the plot of Amongst Our Weapons involves a group of old college chums who did a magical ritual while wearing various magic rings who are now finding themselves getting hunted down and killed by a mysterious magical woman who can manifest a magical aura that makes her look like an angel, while D.C. Peter Grant and D.C.I. Thomas Nightingale try to figure out why. Also, on top of that, Peter’s girlfriend Beverly Brook (the Goddess of the river of the same name) is going to be giving birth soon to their child – so Peter has to wrap this case up quick or hand it off not because from attention from management, but because he’s going to need to go on paternity leave soon.
This case will end up also taking Peter up north, along with also getting a little bit into the history of Practitioners in England from before the introduction of the Newtonian model of magic as well (again – Spanish Inquisition). This does also lead into some fun exploration of DCI Seawoll as well, as we get a jaunt into his old stomping grounds in Yorkshire, with Seawoll coming along. It’s probably one of the bigger explorations of the background of coppers who aren’t in some way attached to The Folly. I mean, we got some background on Sahra Guleed in the past, but she’s now Falcon rated enough that very early in the book they establish that she’s going to be covering Peter’s cases while he’s on leave – so I feel confident describing her as being The Folly’s de-facto third Detective.
Amongst Our Weapons is probably the most worldbuilding advancing book, and again sets up a possible future antagonist, though it doesn’t necessarily advance the overall narrative in the series much further outside of developments in Peter’s personal life (he’s going to be a father), and his professional life (the Folly is getting more members, and at the start of the book he’s been developing Falcon Certification training materials for The Met). It does feel like Aaronovitch is feeling out what directions he wants to move forward to in the future, with a possible side of the upcoming Rivers of London tabletop game from Chaosium (and his involvement with that) leading to him getting some ideas for further stories, without necessarily having a long term plan for were those will go in future novels quite yet.
Still, I really enjoyed the book, and also the audio-book, as with previous entries in the series, is fantastic. And, in particular, if you’ve found yourself wanting more DCI Seawoll, this is the book you’ve been looking for.
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