1. Midnight Riot (2-2011)

1. Midnight Riot (2011) (Peter Grant, aka Rivers of London)

Rivers of London (Peter Grant

Rivers of London (2011 UK—Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch

The Peter Grant series, also called the Rivers of London series. is written by Ben Aaronovitch

Genres Edit

Urban Fantasy, Mystery

Series Description or Overview Edit

These are the adventures of Peter Grant, a young officer in the Metropolitan Police; who, following an unexpected encounter with a ghost, is recruited into the small branch of the Met that deals with magic and the supernatural. There he trains to be a wizard and to solve supernatural crimes.

Lead's Species Edit

  • Wizard Police Officer

Primary Supe Edit

  • Wizards / Magicians / Sorcerers

What Sets it ApartEdit

Narrative Type and Narrators Edit

  • First person narrative by protagonist Peter Grant.

Books in Series Edit

Peter Grant/Rivers of London series:

  1. Midnight Riot (2/2011)
  2. Moon Over Soho (3/2011)
  3. Whispers Under Ground (7/2012)
  4. Broken Homes (2013)
  5. Foxglove Summer (Jan 2015) ~ Excerpt
  6. The Hanging Tree (Nov 19, 2015)

Shorts, Anthologies and GuidesEdit

  • 5.5. The Home Crowd Advantage (2014)

Themes Edit

World Building Edit

Setting Edit

Alternate London


  • Hampstead
  • Royal Opera House
  • Bow Street
  • Richmond
  • Belgravia
  • Covent Garden
  • Hendon
  • Purley
  • Chertsey
  • Teddington Lock
  • Ic3
  • Soho
  • Central London
  • Café De Paris
  • Oxford
  • Berwick Street
  • Trocadero Centre
  • Norwich
  • Colchester
  • Dean Street
  • Australia
  • Britain

Supernatural Elements Edit

Wizards, Magicians, apprentice magician (sorcerer’s apprentice), Gods and Goddesses, ghost, , , ,

Glossary Edit

  • Formae: in Latin—One of various mental constructs which make up "spells" — shapes in your mind that have an effect on the physical universe. As you learn each one you associate it with a word.

Groups & Organizations:Edit

  • London Metropolitan Police: "Scotland Yard"
  • The Folly: Unofficial name for the ultra-secret unit of the Metropolitan Police dealing with magic, officially known by various uninformative numbered designations, and carry on the tradition of Isaac Newton
  • British Transport Police:
  • Transport For London:
The Chase Through Bloomsbury 02-Peter Grant

A Chase Through Bloomsbury Last year I met artist Wayne Reynolds at a convention in Belgium and he said he'd always wanted to do a cover for Rivers of London so I commissioned him to do a sort of alternative cover for an imaginary edition of the book.


✥ The public knows little about magic, even though the city teems with ghosts and spirits. Within the law enforcement system, an Agreement has been reached that puts Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, a powerful magician, in charge of keeping London's magical world under control. Nightingale is essentially, a one-man magical law enforcement unit that is officially called the Economic and Specialist Crime Unit 9 (ESC9), but is nicknamed the Folly, after the name of the huge old mansion that Nightingale uses as his home and his headquarters. Nightingale lives alone in the Folly, with only the company of his not-quite-human maid, Molly, for company. Into this world steps Peter Grant, a young probationary constable in his mid-twenties. Very early in book 1, Peter moves into the Folly and becomes an apprentice magician under Nightingale's tutelage. In this world, magic does not come through genetic heritage; it comes from hard practice. 

In this world, magic does not come through genetic heritage; it comes from hard practice. Here, Aaronovitch explains, "Magic, as it is practised by Nightingale and Grant, is not something you're born with. It is, as someone suggested, like playing a violin, anyone can be trained to do it and while some may have a natural aptitude it takes years of practise just to get a decent tune and...more than a lifetime to truly master." (Click HERE to read the entire on-line interview that is the source of this quotation.) (Note: Aaronovitch uses the British spelling for the word "practise.") The source of magical learning in this world is Sir Isaac Newton. Nightingale explains to Peter that although Newton did not invent magic, he did codify its basic principles in his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Artes Magicis.

As the series progresses, Peter gradually learns more and more about using magic. As he explains, "You do magic by learning formae which are like shapes in your mind that have an effect on the physical universe. As you learn each one you associate it with a word, in Latin…. You make it so that the word and the forma become one in your mind. The first one you learn is Lux which makes light…. You make a spell…by stringing the formae together in a sequence." (Broken Homes, p. 94) As you can imagine, Peter spends a lot of time practicing the casting of formae. ~ From: Fang-tastic Fiction

✥ The gods are more like the personifications of localities—true Genius Loci than what we think of as gods. Suvudu


Peter Grant is a regular guy with a strain of sadness in his familial past. He is biracial in ethnicity: his father is a white failed jazz musician (a recovering alcoholic), and his mother is an African immigrant who cleans offices. Peter gets along relatively well with his parents but hasn't lived at home since before he began his police career. He feels that he has disappointed them by not doing well in college, having been derailed by his inability to focus, a trait that has dogged him all his life. Peter takes to his magical instruction with relish and begins to modernize Nightingale's lessons with technology, dragging the Folly—with Nightingale kicking and screaming all the way—into the 21st century.

Peter narrates the books in the first person voice with a dry tone that is darkly humorous and always ironic. Some of Peter's jibes are aimed at various aspects of London life that may not be accessible to non-Londoners, but the stories are larded with enough flippant levity to bring smiles to readers who have never set foot on British soil. ~ From: Fang-tastic Fiction

Maps Edit

Characters Chart Edit

Resources for characters: 

Characters What About
Peter Grant Young police constable; Sorcerer's Apprentice Mixed race, father a musician, mother an African immigrant; 
Thomas Nightingale Peter's Superior and Mentor; both live at the Folly;
Inspector Seawoll Police Supervisor Supervisor in the London Police Dept
Alexander Seawoll: Detective Chief Superintendent SIO of unspecified Major Investigation Team operating out of Belgravia Police Station
Henry Pyke: ghost dead actor
Beverley Brook cute girl Peter is drawn to her; daughter of Mama Thames;
Abdul Haqq Walid Coroner the Coroner for special circumstances
Nicholas Wallpenny ghost first ghost Peter has a conversation with
Mama Thames Goddess The Goddess of the River Thames in London
Toby dog from a case that landed in Peter's lap as his responsibility
Tyburn daughter of Mama Thames
Molly: House Keeper house keeper at the Folly
Oxley son of Father Thames wife: Isis;
Miriam Stephanopoulos Detective Sergeant

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table or Column (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column.

Ben Aaronovitch

Ben Aaronovitch — Author of the Peter Grant series

Author Edit

Ben Aaronovitch

Bio: Ben Aaronovitch's career started with a bang writing for Doctor Who, subsided in the middle and then, as is traditional, a third act resurgence with the bestselling Rivers of London series. Born and raised in London he says that he'll leave his home when they prise his city out of his cold dead fingers. ~ Goodreads

✥ Ben Denis Aaronovitch is a London-born British writer who has worked on television series including Doctor Who, Casualty, Jupiter Moon and Dark Knight. He is the younger brother of actor Owen Aaronovitch and British journalist David Aaronovitch. ~ Fantastic Fiction

Cover ArtistEdit

  • Artist: Stephen Walter (Brit covers and later US covers, too)
  • Artist: Wes Youssi (US covers)

~ Source: Rivers of London - Series Bibliography

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher: Del Rey, Random House Ballantine
  • Author Page:
  • Bk-1: Paperback, 298 pages, Pub. Feb 1st 2011, ISBN-034552425X

Book Cover Blurbs Edit

BOOK ONE BLURB—Rivers of London (2011): Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic. ~ Goodreads | Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)

✰ My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to-and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden . . . and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos—or die trying. ~ FF

BOOK TWO BLURB—Moon Over Soho (2011): London constable and apprentice Peter Grant suspects sorcery when Soho area musicians drop dead, their brain scans showing magical draining. Victim Cyrus left girlfriend Simone, who beds Peter. His dad "Lord Grant" taught him jazz, but master mage DCI Nightingale still recuperates, and a Pale Lady bites off essential bits for an animal chimera slave ring. ~ Goodreads | Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2) by Ben Aaronovitch

BOOK THREE BLURB—Whispers Under Ground (2012): A WHOLE NEW REASON TO MIND THE GAP It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well. ~ Goodreads | Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, #3) by Ben Aaronovitch

BOOK FOUR BLURB—Broken Homes (2013): My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame—whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark. — Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man—a man whose previous encounters I've barely survived. I've also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there's a connection to the Crawley case, I'll be entering some tricky waters of jurisdiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least. Just the typical day for a magician constable. ~ Goodreads | Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4) by Ben Aaronovitch

BOOK FIVE BLURB—Foxglove Summer (Jan 2015): In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London - to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can't take the London out of the copper. Travelling west with Beverley Brook Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what's more all the shops are closed by 4pm… ~ Goodreads | Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5) by Ben Aaronovitch

BOOK SIX BLURB—The Hanging Tree (Nov 19, 2015): ~ Goodreads | The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant, #6) by Ben Aaronovitch

First Sentences Edit

  1. Rivers of London: It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St Paul's at Covent Garden.
  2. Moon Over Soho: It's a sad fact of modern life that if you drive long enough, sooner or later you must leave London behind.
  3. Whispers Under Ground: Back in the summer I'd made the mistake of telling my mum what I did for a living.
  4. Broken Homes: At twenty-three minutes past eleven Robert Weil drove his 53 registered Volvo V70 across the bridge that links Pease Pottage, the improbably named English village, with Pease Pottage, the motorway service station.
  5. Foxglove Summer: I was just passing the Hoover Center when I heard Mr. punch scream his rage behind me.
  6. The Hanging Tree:

Quotes Edit

Goodreads | Ben Aaronovitch Quotes (Author of Midnight Riot)

Read Alikes (suggestions) Edit

Awards Edit

  • Book-1: British Book Award (2011: New Writer of the Year, Shortlisted) ~ Shelfari

Trivia Edit

~ ranked on Best Urban Fantasy SERIES (357 books)


MUSIC VIDEOs—inspired by Rivers of London:

Notes Edit

See Also Edit

Category links at bottom of page

External References Edit




World, Characters, etc:




Community & Fan Sites:

Gallery of Book Covers Edit