This is the 7th book in the series and Ben is back on form in London. For me he writes more confidently about the London he knows so well. A complex and twisty story with lots of interesting components which I have highlighted below.
In this story his girlfriend has a vast garden of some 50m (that’s over 150 feet to those not in metric) which leads to her brook – the Beverley Brook. See the route in the map below. We hear about what happens to this brook if she feels a little upset, and it has been know to flood the low lying areas quite dramatically in real life not just in a story..
By Adam37 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22843211
We learn something more in this book about Peter in that his mother comes from Sierra Leone where there are many tribes or clans, Temne are 35% of the population and the largest clan who speak their own language), and they all seem to be related in some way to his mother! Now relations amongst these clans must be very close indeed for this to happen and this is a result of the original mix of ethnicities and origins due to slavery and immigration etc in the past. Fula is the main common language spoken but the Susu language is also spoken by most inhabitants. The ability of his mother to call on her many relatives and speak a common language proves important in their lives.
Now Beverly, Peter’s girlfriend of course, is related to all the rivers in London, one of the most powerful of which is the Tyburn, which is a brook that is a tributary of the river Westbourne. A village of this name was close to what is now Marble Arch and south Edgware Road.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the famous Triple Gallows was set up in Tyburn village. Tyburn Gallows has had many names during its history: The Elms, the Elms near Tyburne, Tyburn Tree, the Deadly Never Green Tyburn Tree, the Triple Tree. http://www.tyburnconvent.org.uk/tyburn-tree
Tyburn’s first recorded execution took place in 1196, when William FitzOsbert, or William with the Beard, was hanged for sedition. Some say that over fifty thousand persons met their death at Tyburn during the six centuries it was a place of execution. This gallows proves important toteh story.
Another important component is Babbage and his ‘Mary’ Engine’. You can see the various Babbage engines constructed in the Science Museum and they are fascinating, and of course are the fore-runners of modern computers. And don’t forget that the ability to program them was the work of Lady Ada Lovelace.