I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Beneath the surface of London there exists a black market unlike anything we could imagine. Where for the right price and with the right connections collectors of the mysterious can become the proud owner of a mummified satyr, gryphon claws, and much, much more…
These arcane relics offer a glimpse of a world that few ever believe existed, and the price they command is high.
Vince is an expert at finding such items, but when he goes missing it’s down to his partner Angela to track him down through the deadly underside of this world. As Angela peels back the layers of Vince’s secret life she soon uncovers Vince had connections to the infamous crime lord Frederick Meloy. Worse, it seems that the black market may have led Vince to a far more violent end. If Angela digs too deep she may be next, as her investigations threaten to let loose a deadly and ancient secret into the world.
Angela’s day starts off like any other. Being a student, she spends the majority of her days writing her thesis and looking up dangerous crime lords in the hopes of providing her own opinions on crimes and criminology. However, when lunchtime passes and she doesn’t receive a text from her partner Vince (as is standard), she begins to panic. Scattered amongst the post she receives that day is a note from Vince telling her goodbye, and not to go searching for him – advice she does not heed, leading her into this new and dangerous world filled with stuff of fairy-tales, myth and legend.
I think it is safe to say that, for the majority of people, it has been a dream for the creatures of children’s stories and conspiracies to truly be real. Who wouldn’t enjoy riding on the backs of unicorns, falling for a nymphs sexuality, or befriending a witch? In Relics, Tim Lebbon brings all of these to life in this alternate world where these creatures hide deep beneath London in tunnels, caves, and underground walkways that have lain abandoned for years. In this world, people collect the dead remains of these creatures as if they were antiques, or pieces of art to be coveted and admired when, in reality, it is hurting a society that has remained hidden for centuries.
With Angela taking it upon herself to find the one she loves, she fails to realise the dangers she is getting herself, and those she knows, into. Blessed with a stubborn nature, but knowledgeable in how the minds of criminals work, Angela is on a mission that she cannot be deterred from no matter who gets in her way. She knows that the man she loves could not possibly be this person everyone keeps telling her about but, as she finds out more and more about what lays hidden within London, she begins to realise that she doesn’t fully know Vince, but she will love him regardless. Angela is definitely an admirable character, having the guts and the determination to jump headfirst into this task knowing little about what lays before her. With everything that she has read about during her studies, she is finally able to put the skills she has read about to use and uses her own gut instinct to determine the true nature of those she encounters, being wary of anyone new that she meets and the associations they express to have with Vince.
Vince and Angela are definitely alike with him also possessing a very head-strong nature in that he will not stop until he sees Angela. He is fully aware that he is putting himself, and her, in danger but needs to know that she is okay, unable to fully believe what he is being told by his saviours, or captors. Vince is a cheeky kind of guy with a sense of humour, able to turn an uncomfortable situation into a comical one. Lebbon highlights this aspect of his personality throughout the novel; in the beginning when their upstairs neighbours wake them up with rampant sex, and later in the novel whenever Angela finds her mind straying to the man she thought he was, and knows he is. It is clear that this is something that Angela truly loves about Vince and is played on in later events as well.
From the get-go, Relics plays out as a thrilling mystery/horror gripping you within the first 30 pages as you try to comprehend what has happened to Vince, and why it is happening. You want to understand, from the prologue, why it is that Angela has ended up in America in police custody believing Vince to be dead. Relics was a fun, fantastical read that just oozes with darkness as events go from bad to worse.