I blogged back in April about the launch of Tim Kevan’s latest book from the BabyBarista files, Law & Peace, and noted that I had picked up promising signs having read the first couple of chapters. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case for me, my reading early in the summer consisted mostly of work-related books (blogging, seo, social media and the like).
Nevertheless, as can be seen from the embedded image, I managed to resume reading of Law & Peace as my summer book while on holiday in Crete and am glad for having done so, particularly given that it complemented last summer’s holiday’s read of Tim’s first BabyBarista novel, Law & Disorder (‘BabyBarista and the Art of War’ as it then was). Having read Law & Peace in full, I thought it would therefore be appropriate to provide some of my thoughts on this second published instalment to the BabyBarista blog files which may encourage others to pick up a copy.
Before discussing my own thoughts, below are links to other reviews of the book which provide different perspectives on the novel and are all worth reading:-
With BabyBarista having won the battle for tenancy, one may have thought that he would take things a little easier without resorting to his wayward moral compass, perhaps with fewer dirty tactics capable of destroying careers and, potentially in TopFirst’s case, lives.
Laugh-out-loud from front to back, the book is a racing read, as with the first. When I read the first BabyBarista book I was under the impression that it was a real account of a pupil in chambers. Nevertheless, despite knowing that the second book was still a fictional account, I couldn’t help but questioning on every page if those events had actually taken place in one form or another. As The Lawyer Magazine commented several years ago, “If this is a fictional account it is genius”. Well, the same applies for Law & Peace.
From tales of playing drinking games in court (and I should point out that there is planking in court to come in a future book) to seriously corrupt litigation tactics and indeed crooked lawyers and barristers, Law & Peace covers themes which most legal writers have never approached.
Just as BabyBarista’s first experiences as a pupil were largely influenced by the principles set out in Sun Tzu’s Art of War, so are his actions in Law & Peace. Almost at every possible opportunity where the reasonable person would ask “what should I do next?”, BabyBarista seems to have a clear idea of the possible options and often chooses the most devious, although sometimes he doesn’t really have a choice because of certain characters e.g. SlipperySlope, BigMouth, TheBoss & co.
But it’s not all corrupt litigation: characters such as Old Ruin, “BabyB’s redemption”, demonstrate that there is plenty of good left in the practice of law, which is in stark contrast to SlipperySlope’s idea that barristers and lawyers all end up becoming the same crooked characters.
The description of the novel as a “Machiavellian romp through the legal world” is spot-on, with so many injections of innuendo, you’ll probably have to read the book a second time to get them all. With Tim Kevan also being very tech-savvy there are some amusing passages of barristers getting used to new technologies such as Twitter and smartphones, with a particularly hilarious take on the “sent from my iPhone/Blackberry wireless device” message on smartphones.
Also clearly moving in parts with a developing romance, the novel contains various references to leaving the law and going surfing. Maybe it’s just because I’ve left the long hours of legal practice myself that I liked these references in particular.
Mirroring other comments, perhaps one of the only minor criticisms I’d have is that a lot of the same themes from Law & Disorder are covered in Law & Peace. But I think that’s a good thing and is to be welcomed – if you’ve read one book, you’ll have to read the other. Indeed, as I still do, you’ll enjoy continuing to follow the blogging of BabyBarista, both on his blog itself and on Twitter.