The Boy in the Smoke is a novella prequel to the Shades of London series, originally published for World Book Day. Unlike a lot of series novellas, this one isn’t just a bit of fluff and stands up on its own as a story. It’s even readable if you don’t know what happens in the other books, although if you’re reading the series, it may contain some spoilers (at least for the first book).

The gist of the story is what happened to Stephen prior to The Name of the Star, some of which was referred to already (can’t remember if it’s in book one or two though). It’s about how privilege doesn’t always make life easy and the pressure of parental expectations. I liked the fact that Stephen had always wanted to be a police officer despite everything.

I really recommend it to fans of the series and it has seriously whetted my appetite for book three, out later this year. The paperback is a mere £1 (or free from a bookshop with a World Book Day voucher) or you can now buy ebook versions.

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