Book Review: Relics by Tim Lebbon

“Lebbon opens a secret underground door into a new world of shadows and wonder that blends urban fantasy with crime suspense fiction in a way that is darkly refreshing.”

Tim Lebbon is a familiar name on many horror and dark fantasy bookshelves, and with his latest novel, Relics, Lebbon opens a secret underground door into a new world of shadows and wonder that blends urban fantasy with crime suspense fiction in a way that is darkly refreshing.

Relentlessly paced, Relics is the story of Angela Gough, an American criminology student living in London with her boyfriend Vince. The two get along quite a bit, which is why when Vince suddenly goes missing and leaves a note telling Angela not to come looking for him, Angela’s not having it. She soon uncovers Vince’s secret life–one that is more and more mysterious the deeper she digs.

Vince is involved in the dark and brutal world of hunting and trading relics–artifacts from a Time Before, when giants roamed the earth and unicorns raced through meadows. Fairies, goblins, and nymphs, secret fantastic creatures that were part of the fabric of existence, have been steamrolled by the modern age, leaving only these relics behind. Vince works for criminals and gangsters obsessed with the relics, so when he goes missing Angela finds herself caught up in a world more dangerous than any she’d ever known.

Tim Lebbon understands how to write a thriller, and by peppering the cat-and-mouse aspect of suspense fiction with a broad imagination and strange, sinister characters, he gives us a solid, entertaining novel that introduces readers to an unknown London. It’s not unfamiliar territory, as far as urban fantasies go, but Lebbon’s spin on things keeps it fresh and interesting. There are a few misleading moments, where characters are reduced to vague pronouns in order to keep readers guessing which characters are in trouble, and toward the end there are so many people on the page that they all seem to blur together, but overall Lebbon plays fair and keeps the roller coaster racing along.

Relics is a powerful introduction to an intriguing world. Fortunately for the reader, Lebbon not only seems to understand his world, but he promises even more for the future. If this is the start of a series, then it is clear that we’re all in for a wild ride.



Publisher: Titan Books
Paperback (336 pp)
Release Date: 21 March 2017

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