Friday, March 31, 2017

Relics - Tim Lebbon

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 21/03/17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN: 978-1785650307

Format: Paperback, 382pp

Genre: Horror/Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in one word

First Impressions
Relics did not turn out how I imagined it would at all. I am not entirely sure what I had in mind, but this definitely surpassed my expectations. This book is made up of distinctive layers, each layers takes you deeper into a new world and further from the one we currently occupy. Horror and fantasy elements are in good supply here, as well as thrills, mythology and a slight tinge of comedy at times. Tim Lebbon has made it clear this will be a series of books and I am excited to read on in the upcoming instalments. Check out more of what Titan Books has to offer in 2017 here:

Book Synopsis
Beneath the surface of our world, mythological creatures and their artifacts still exist—corrupt people pay fortunes for a sliver of dragon bone, a basilisk's scale, or an angel's wing. Angela Gough is an American criminology student in London whose fiancé Vince disappears, and her investigation leads her into a black market specializing in arcane relics. She meets Mary Rock, a criminal of mythic status who also wants to find Vince... to kill him. Angela and a growing team of adventurers must stop this horrific trade, yet they face a growing menace as the hunted creatures begin to fight back. (Official Titan Books Synopsis)

The Review - There are many reasons for a boyfriend to go missing, but this one is a game changer!
Tim Lebbon has created something intriguing, fascinating and horrific, I am excited to see where he is going to take from here. Angela's life takes a turn for the worst when her seemingly perfect boyfriend leaves without notice or an explanation. Unable to accept the hurt, rejection and unanswered questions, Angela takes to the streets to find Vince. After following a string of clues, Angela stumbles upon Vince's world altering second life. She also accidentally enters a mythological turf war between two key members of Chicago's crime underworld. 

In Relics we follow Angela's decent into a world that belongs in ancient tomes and stories that have long been forgotten. We also follow Vince's journey for survival and his eventual capture by one of the many mythological beasts that roam London's underground tunnels. Personally I really enjoyed Relics as it combined mythology (my favourite topic) and the rough side of London. It felt unique and though Relics certainly comes across as a set-up novel for the rest of the series, instead of a stand alone piece, it was still a horrifying and interesting piece of fiction.

Lebbon's writing is focused on grittiness, horror and describing the indescribable. The horror writing is surprising, graphic, detailed and there is a wide range of terrifying themes to be experienced within. I have to say that to begin with, apart from the prologue, the plot took some time to get into a rhythm. There is definitely a definitive moment when this book kicks into a higher gear and you feel like you are reading a completely different novel. 

Angela is an okay character, she has a background in criminology which is quite interesting but doesn't really add much to the plot (yet..?). Vince is pretty cool, leading this second life, acquiring specific and unbelievable items for a certain breed of collector. The real stand out characters I can't really talk about because.... spoilers :/. I enjoyed the rivalry between the two crime bosses, Fat Frederick and Mary Rock, and their rather sick and twisted ways. The archaic themes and characters were my favourite element to this book and I am looking forward to that being explored in the future.

Overall, Relics is very much a book of two worlds, knowing and not-knowing. Crime and horror are consistent themes and the atmosphere is mainly one of grim wonder. Angela is desperate to get Vince back and she is willing to take down anyone, this world or not, to see him again. The plot is horrific, dramatic and deeply intriguing. The characters are complex, unique and I can't wait to see where Lebbon takes them in the next instalments. I have given Relics  4/5 stars because though slow to start, I found plenty of things to thrill, disgust and entertain within these pages. Thanks for reading :D

Pick up a copy of Relics here: Titan Books/Amazon UK/Goodreads

About Tim Lebbon (Official Bio): I was born in London in 1969, lived in Devon until I was eight, and the next twenty years were spent in Newport. My wife Tracey and I then did a Good Thing and moved back to the country, and we now live in the little village of Goytre in Monmouthshire with our kids Ellie and Daniel. It’s a lovely place – pub, shop, chip shop, school – and we’re very happy here. Two minutes’ walk in any direction and we’re in the countryside, and the area has featured, intentionally or not, in much of my writing.

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. The first story I recall actually finishing was when I was nine years old. It involved a train hijacking (yeah, a train has about ten thousand doors and is probably the hardest moving vehicle to hijack … but I was nine years old!), and one of the hijackers being clumsy enough to drop his gun. Naturally my hero found the gun and went on a killing spree. Die Hard on the 10:17 from Paddington.

In my teens I began about nine million novels, and finished none of them. They varied from World War Two action adventures to ’70s style disaster novels. Some had spooky elements, some did not, and it wasn’t until I was twenty that I wrote my first horror story, “Black Heart”. I still have it somewhere … and I suspect it will remain hidden away forever!

My first published story was in the UK indie magazine Psychotrope in 1994, and in 1997 Tanjen published my first novel Mesmer. Since then I’ve had over almost thirty books published in the UK and US by Bantam Spectra, Allison & Busby, Night Shade Books, Simon & Schuster, Leisure Books, PS Publishing, Necessary Evil Press, Cemetery Dance and many others, with many more due soon. Check out the Library section for details.

Quite a few of my novellas and novels have been optioned for the screen, including White (written by Stephen Susco), Exorcising Angels, Until She Sleeps, Face, In Perpetuiry, and The Nature of Balance. They’re all ‘in development’ right now, which means anything from ‘We’re trying to find a writer’ to ‘We have major studio interest and it’s only a matter of time’.  There are several others projects about to enter such a stage of development.  One day …

Late in 2006 I took the plunge into full-time writing and it’s going well. There’s plenty of exciting news on the horizon – new book deals, film options and other stuff – and you’ll find details posted at this site as and when they happen. (Bio + Picture shared from official website of Tim Lebbon -

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