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New Treasures: London Falling by Paul Cornell

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

London Falling-smallBoy, Tor publishes intriguing books. I keep trying to save a few bucks by waiting until they arrive in paperback, but there are some books that just demand to be read right now.

I admit I was attracted to London Falling first by the great cover. Covers are important to me — ultimately I have time to read less than a third of what I buy, so at least I want my purchases to look good on my shelves. But the book description, which promises an enticing mix of police procedural and supernatural mystery, really sealed the deal.

Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London — or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.

Paul Cornell’s first novels were a series of highly regarded Doctor Who tie-ins, and the SF novels Something More (2002) and British Summertime (2007). This is his first fantasy novel, but he’s no stranger to the genre. He wrote three Doctor Who episodes for the BBC, and his comics work includes Batman & Robin, Action Comics, Saucer Country, Demon Knights, and Young Avengers. He’s also an acclaimed short story writer and one of only two people to be nominated for the Hugo Award for fiction, comics and television (bonus points if you can name the other one).

London Falling was published by Tor Books on April 16, 2013. It is 403 pages, priced at $24.99 in hardcover, and $11.99 for the digital edition. The sequel, The Severed Streets, is scheduled to be published by Tor on May 20.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

16 Comments »

  1. Actually, this isn’t Cornell’s first novel. He wrote a number of extremely well regarded Doctor Who novels during the 90s before moving into original fiction this century with a book titled Something More.

    Picked this book up second hand over the weekend and hope to have a read of it soon.

    Comment by Robert Mammone - February 3, 2014 4:41 am

  2. Sounds a bit reminiscent of Akroyd’s Hawksmoor. There’s one that should be better known.

    Comment by emcgargle - February 3, 2014 9:49 am

  3. AS Robert said above, its not Paul’s first original novel, but it looks that way, given his publishing history.

    This novel is solid, though and worth a read by anyone, especially those looking for something new in Urban Fantasy.

    Comment by Princejvstin - February 3, 2014 10:04 am

  4. > Actually, this isn’t Cornell’s first novel. He wrote a number of extremely well regarded Doctor Who novels
    > during the 90s before moving into original fiction this century with a book titled Something More.

    Robert,

    You’re absolutely right. Serves me right for relying solely on his author bio and his Amazon US publication history. Just a little more digging would have turned up SOMETHING MORE, and a 2007 SF novel called BRITISH SUMMERTIME, from Monkeybrain Books.

    I’ve changed the post from

    > This is Paul Cornell’s first novel,

    to

    > Paul Cornell’s first novels were a series of highly regarded Doctor Who tie-ins, and the SF novels Something More (2002) and British Summertime (2007). This is his first fantasy novel,

    Comment by John ONeill - February 3, 2014 11:32 am

  5. > Sounds a bit reminiscent of Akroyd’s Hawksmoor. There’s one that should be better known.

    EMc,

    I’ll say. I’ve never heard of Peter Ackroyd’s HAWKSMOOR — or if I have, I’ve forgotten about it.

    But you’re right, it certainly looks worth investigating. There’s a 2013 Penguin paperback, and I’ve added it to my Amazon cart.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 3, 2014 11:40 am

  6. > AS Robert said above, its not Paul’s first original novel, but it looks that way, given his publishing history.

    Prince,

    Thanks for the correction. While I was correcting my error, I also found a listing for his upcoming sequel, THE SEVERED STREETS, and I added a mention of that as well.

    > This novel is solid, though and worth a read by anyone, especially those looking for something new in Urban Fantasy.

    Thanks. (And how does everybody manage to get to this stuff before I do?) :)

    Comment by John ONeill - February 3, 2014 11:43 am

  7. “(And how does everybody manage to get to this stuff before I do?)”

    Good question John. I’m supposed to be getting Jeff Vandermeer’s newest novel Annihilation tomorrow, which “officially” debuts then, but I note that there are already a number of reviews of it already on Amazon–wth?

    Really just joking–I’m happy for people who have access to ARCs.

    Comment by James McGlothlin - February 3, 2014 12:03 pm

  8. That other Hugo nominee — gotta be Harlan Ellison.

    Comment by jeffreycrogers - February 3, 2014 2:46 pm

  9. John – I came across Hawksmoor through David Pringle; he chose it as one of the 100 best fantasy novels. I’m glad to hear it’s still in print. Be alerted – it’s VERY dark.

    Comment by emcgargle - February 3, 2014 9:00 pm

  10. Every time you like a book’s jacket copy enough to post it, I get a much-needed exercise in figuring out what makes great jacket copy great. This is an especially strong specimen. Thanks!

    Comment by Sarah Avery - February 3, 2014 11:25 pm

  11. > Really just joking – I’m happy for people who have access to ARCs.

    James — I get a lot of ARCs, and it is fun to have early access to the hot new novels. But trust me, it does nothing at all to solve the far wider problem of having far too much to read!

    Comment by John ONeill - February 4, 2014 1:35 am

  12. > That other Hugo nominee — gotta be Harlan Ellison.

    Good guess, but I can’t think of what comic work Ellison would have been nominated for.

    My first guess was Alan Moore, but he falls down on the television side of things. I’m pretty sure the correct answer is Neil Gaiman.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 4, 2014 1:37 am

  13. > John – I came across Hawksmoor through David Pringle; he chose it as one of the 100 best fantasy novels.

    That’s a solid rec! Now I really need to keep an eye out for it.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 4, 2014 1:37 am

  14. > Every time you like a book’s jacket copy enough to post it, I get a much-needed exercise in figuring out what makes great jacket copy great.

    Sarah,

    Nicely said. And I agree absolutely — writing jacket copy is a real art. I had to write 1-sentence blurbs for over a hundred stories in Black Gate over the years, and it’s a real challenge, let me tell you. I’ve come to really delight in the good ones.

    And yes — this one is very fine. It certainly enticed me, and no mistake.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 4, 2014 1:39 am

  15. I wonder if there’s an interesting article looking at the pre-professional writing of authors? I say this because Cornell got his start writing fiction (as I understand it) with Doctor Who fanzines (I own several of these and the writing is sold) in the late 80s and early 90s, which helped him get his first professional Doctor Who writing credit with a novel titled Timewyrm: Revelation.

    I’m sure lots of well regarded writers from the early years of SF/fantasy in the 20th C started out the same way?

    Comment by Robert Mammone - February 4, 2014 8:04 am

  16. > I wonder if there’s an interesting article looking at the pre-professional writing of authors?

    I’m sure there is. My 14-year-old daughter spends hours every day reading nothing but fan fiction on her Kindle. That’s not far removed from Doctor Who fanzines. I think the modern accessibility of fan fiction has drawn a lot more amateur authors into it, and made it a more legitimate arena to hone your craft.

    Of course, I don’t read it myself, so I could be totally off base. But it’s a theory, anyway. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - February 4, 2014 11:27 am


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