Mark Morris: The Wolves of London

wolves-of-london-cover

I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Alex Locke is a reformed ex-con, forced back into London’s criminal underworld for one more job. He agrees to steal a priceless artefact – a human heart carved from blackest obsidian – but when the burglary goes horribly wrong, Alex is plunged into the nightmarish world of the Wolves of London, unearthly assassins who will stop at nothing to reclaim the heart. As he races to unlock the secrets of the mysterious object, Alex must learn to wield its dark power – or be destroyed by it.

The Wolves of London is a fantasy, thriller that follows Alex Locke as he is dragged back into the criminal underworld he had previously pulled himself out of. After doing his time at a young age, he returned to society with his A-Levels and a degree in an attempt to better himself and those of his family. Now, one of his family is in financial debt to someone they really shouldn’t be, and has come to Alex for help. When he left prison, Alex was given a number and told that, if he ever needed help, he should ring that number. Alex is pulled into a world he never knew existed, and thrust into a situation he cannot get himself out of, all to help those he loves.

Not long into the beginning of the novel, I got a familiar feeling. The Wolves of London, though set in modern day times (2012, to be precise), has a Victorian style about the way the narrative is told. Though there are cars, mobile phones, and all manner of modern technological advancements, the writing style that Morris uses, as well as the events take place put me back into the world created by Mark A. Latham in his Apollonian Case Files series (reviews for his first two novels can be found here and here, respectively). The events that take place were reminiscent of this world and held many similarities that made this novel enjoyable and also gave the feeling of being a steampunk genre.

I’d like to go back to the character of Alex Locke. As mentioned, he is a reformed outstanding member of society. He has two children, is a psychology lecturer in London, and is able to comfortably look after himself and his family. Alex has a tough guy feel about him but, when interacting with his children, he becomes gentle and protective. Which brings me to the plot of the novel; ultimately, the only way he can protect his family is through crime which begs the questions of how far would one go in order to protect their children/family. Would you go so far as to break the law, depending on the circumstances? In Alex’s case, he tries to stay as far away from the criminal world as he can, but is implicated and thrust into this new criminal world by forces unknown who threaten to hurt his family. He has no choice but to follow the commands of those higher in power.

I really loved the way that the story was written, and the variety of scenes that Morris presents throughout in order to keep the pace going and keep the reader interested in the future of the narrative. There were dark and twisted scenes that left me feeling uncomfortable or scared, that left my heart racing in anticipation of what would be found around the corner, of what would be following Alex in the shadows around him. There are a lot of motifs surrounding the darkness in this novel, with creatures and criminals making their way out of the shadows, and following from within. This adds to the mystery and the thrill of the novel, enhancing the suspense of these dark and twisted scenes I have mentioned. Morris also presents a lot of twists and turns in regards to the progression of the narrative and how Alex himself develops as he gains more information and understanding about his position and what he is running away from. It’s a pace that is steady and doesn’t drag on, with scenes being perfectly structured within the story to provide crucial information to progress forward.

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