Tim Lebbon writes about loss and strange goings-on with a perceptive eye and great relish in the first book of a new trilogy about a freelance relic hunter.
Set in London in the present day, Lebbon uses the concrete landscape, disused buildings and underground tunnels as the backdrop to navigate how brutal and anonymous living in the big city can be. But with his main characters, Lebbon builds a warmer mood as he navigates the lengths some will go to in the name of devotion.
Angela and Vince are in a loving relationship. She spends her days at home studying criminal behaviour and writing her doctorate, occasionally meeting with her best friend Lucy for lunch, and casually messaging Vince throughout the day. When he doesn’t return home after work, Angela begins an exhaustive search to find him, only to discover he has been keeping huge secrets.
The way Lebbon writes about the fear of losing a loved one and the uncertainty of how well you know the person you are sleeping next to keeps you reading, as does the strength of the characterisation. Angela is shaded in so thoroughly that you can almost feel her pain at Vince’s deceit, yet she is also hopeful that he will be able to explain the things she uncovers.
The fantastic blend of reality and fantasy, violence and affection and a strong sense of place ensures that Relics remains exciting without being too fanciful.