Book Review: The Wolves of London by Mark Morris

I’m a great fan of urban fantasy that takes advantage of London’s layered past and present. I’m a Londoner, born and bred, and one of my joys is hunting down folktales and legends associated with this amazing city. Stories that go play in that landscape tick an awful lot of intellectual and emotional boxes for me.

That’s what brought me to The Wolves of London, and it’s not led me far wrong. The concept seemed fairly simple – an ex-con lured back into a life of crime coming into possession of something magical that nightmarish figures fight to steal away – but the execution is anything but that.
This is better described as a crime-horror thriller than an urban fantasy. There’s a definite sense of two worlds side by side and the horrors seem to eclipse the world of gangsters in a rising tide as the story progresses; but it’s flawed.

The book is noted as being book one of the Obsidian Heart trilogy, and it definitely suffers from it. It becomes clear that this is the type of trilogy where the story is told across the three books, rather than the three books necessarily being Acts that stand on their own.

About two thirds into this book I began to wonder how the waving threads were going to end up being resolved, and then things started expanding and the titular macguffin began to be a bit of a Deus Ex Machina. It makes for some unsettling and spectacular set pieces, but I found myself less and less gripped by the story.

It’s frustrating. There’s a lot of very vivid imagery on display, and some nicely written characters with intriguing interactions on the normal side of the fence, but the Wolves are ciphers and the story increasingly feels like a video game rather than a narrative.

I don’t know. Maybe the trilogy as a whole will work, but if it does I feel it will be despite the structure of the story, not because of it.

Three out of Five Stabby Monstrosities

And Then, Sickness

It was all going so well, if only on the blogging and creativity front. I should have realised 2016 wasn’t done with me yet. Lady M has been suffering with a string of things the last few weeks, but this weekend she passed on her frankly horrific cold to me. Thanks love.

As a result I’ve joined a great very many people in coughing, spluttering and looking like the risen dead on minimal sleep from broken nights and an inability to breathe due to coughing fits.

It’s getting better, but I had hoped to manage to get to the end if the year without any colds of note so there’s a slight grumpiness to my demeanour while I work at the moment.

Lady M has it much worse, as it’s hit her asthma and knocked her sideways. I’ve left her today tucked up in bed trying to sleep it off. As she normally tries to power through these things, it’s a mark of just how ill she is. The GP has confirmed it hasn’t turned into an infection at least and they’ve x-rayed her chest to be sure her lungs are okay, but she’s really not at all well.

And to complete my trail of devastation, it appears that my roadtrip to see Mre B on Monday has left her similarly confined to quarters and doing a good impression of a grumpily dozy dormouse.

Oh well. It could be worse. I could be one of the mice we found at one of the libraries that had been nibbling on the wiring for the security and CCTV systems. Works are under way…