Redlaw by James Lovegrove – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews Redlaw by James Lovegrove, published by Solaris Books.

“Moves along at a fantastic pace. Are you watching, Hollywood?” ~The Founding Fields

 James Lovegrove has recently become one of my favourite authors over the course of his amazing Pantheon Trilogy, which consisted of The Age of Ra, The Age of Zeus and The Age of Odin, and whenever a new novel by him comes out I make it a high priority within seconds of it hitting the shelves (or sooner).

Redlaw is set in a world where vampires, politely called Sunless, live among us. For all of those fans of Twilight who think this might be amazing and there shouldn’t be a problem, well that’s where you’re wrong. The Sunless are despised, and hated by the rest of humanity, as Lovegrove paints a chilling picture of what life must be like if the vampires of Stoker’s legend actually lived among us.

And they have to be policed by somebody, to stop them preying on humans, and that’s where SHADE come in. Short for the Sunless Housing and Disclosure Executive, it’s their job to ensure that vampires stay in their place and don’t bother humanity and the human ‘stokers’ don’t bother the vamps. Captain John Redlaw is, as well as being the titular character, is the top SHADE officer in London. Feared and respected by many, he’s the hero of the novel and I’m presuming that that is him on the front cover.

However, things start to get tough for Redlaw, as the vampires begin to riot in the streets and the humans begin to respond in kind. When he learns that there’s a mystery behind the violence, it’s up to Redlaw to solve and to solve quickly.

Redlaw grabbed me right from the thrilling introduction which shows off Redlaw to the reader and we know why he’s respected and feared by members of the community. It rips along at a very fast pace, and being only 300-ish pages long, it doesn’t take that long to get through, which in a way, can be a good thing and can be a bad thing.

I just didn’t want Redlaw to end. I knew that there would be an ending in the end (well, duh,) as this would be a standalone novel, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to read more of John Redlaw’s adventures and I hope that Lovegrove returns to this world, it’s one that I would want to see more of, even if it doesn’t focus on Redlaw.

I seem to be reading a lot of all-action novels recently, and Redlaw is no different. Surrounded on all sides and with nowhere safe, Redlaw must eventually save the day.

Despite this book, like most action movies, being predictable, Redlaw manages to overshadow this with a plot-driven novel that speeds along so fast that you will have your pages turning way into the middle of the night.

Vampires are becoming more and more popular in fantasy. With the advent of Twilight, a book which I seem to be slating more and more often with every vampire novel that I review, I’m pleased to say that in this book the vampires are proper vampires, and Lovegrove has managed to create a ‘realistic’ way of how the creatures of the night appeared in our world.

The main character Redlaw is very memorable, a no-nonsense man who really does steal the show in this fantastic novel. You won’t be putting this down easily if you’re a fan of any sort of Urban Fantasy / Action / Vampire / Lovegrove Novel. The breakneck pace keeps you entertained and Lovegrove has pulled off a fantastic mix of crime and horror together, making this book one that you won’t want to miss.

Verdict: 3/5

More James Lovegrove: The Age of Ra, The Age of Zeus, The Age of Odin, Gig, Days, Wings (As Jay Amory), Dead Brigade, Kill Swap, Cold Keep, Provender Gleed, Worldstorm, The House of Lazarus, Imagined Sights. 

Bane of Kings is one our most senior book reviewers here at The Founding Fields, based in England. He’s a prolific reviewer that has contributed to many things here and around the internet.


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