The Furthest Station
by Ben Aaronovitch
Review by Wes Breazeale
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596068339
Date: 30 June 2017 List Price $40.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Furthest Station is a standalone novella from Ben Aaronovitch featuring his hero, Peter Grant of London's Metropolitan Police Special Assessment Unit, a.k.a. The Folly. This is a focused story which doesn't explicitly advance the overarching narrative of the Rivers of London series but is more a stripped-down focus on one ghostly encounter. And it is a quite enjoyable excursion for the reader.
Aaronovich has branched out beyond his novels in the series and also writes for the comic adaptation Rivers of London (the comic series is initially set between books 4 & 5 but the latest comics story now takes place between books 5 & 6). This writing approach, and Aaronovich's past as a television writer, benefits the episodic nature of this story.
The Furthest Station appears to also take place between books 5 & 6 and would not be a starting point for anyone interested in jumping into the series. However, those who have read even the first couple of books would be able to enjoy this on its own (with minor character development spoilers perhaps).
The story itself is quite straight forward, with Peter; his boss Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale, head of the Folly and an accomplished wizard; Jaget Kumar, the British Transport Police's liaison to "weird shit on the London Underground"; and Peter's precocious, magically interested cousin Abigail, all working to determine the cause of a dramatic increase in ghosts being sighted on a specific line of the Underground.
Their investigation leads them from the Underground tunnels to several suburban locales, with various stops in-between. Throughout, the story stays focused with only a little of the greater Rivers of London narrative bleeding through. This makes for a quick, laser focused romp in the world of magic in London, and is thoroughly enjoyable.
The story is being released simultaneously as both an ebook for $5 and a limited print hardcover from Subterranean Press for $40. While the story is quite fun and pretty much a must-read for any fan of the series, most readers would be better served accessing it electronically, as the $40 price point for the print edition is really designed for collectors only. But however you choose to read it, read it you should!