Thursday, October 18, 2007

"The Man with the Golden Torc" by Simon Green

(The cover pictured at left is the British artwork. If you're looking for a copy of the American artwork, do a Google image search under the book title)
Having been impressed with Green's other works (the Nightside series and a stand-alone title), I was excited to see us get this book, the start of a new series. YES! Always fun to be in from the start!

Edwin "Eddie" Drood is a field agent for the Drood family, a man that works undercover as "Shaman Bond", fighting the good fight and attempting to vanquish evil. The Drood family has been in the fighting biz for eons, as far back as Droods can remember. In fact, the Drood family is directly descended from the Druids. Each Drood child is fitted from birth with a golden torc, a sort of supernatural choker, a fantastic force field that each Drood can call on to make him or her almost invincible. Eddie is one of the few field agents living outside the family manor; he's been on his own for about the last 10 years, although he's still a Drood through and through.

One fateful night, after a somewhat difficult assignment, Eddie is summoned to the great Hall of the Droods. No reason is given, just that his presence is demanded. Eddie has a feeling that something is up, but no one says "no" the Matriarch, so off he goes. He's given a very special assignment, one that the Matriarch states she cannot trust anyone else with, for there's a good chance that there's a traitor in the Hall of the Droods.

Truer words were never spoken, as Eddie soon finds out. He is attacked by various factions on his way to Stonehenge. By the time he vanquishes the last of them, he is visited by his Uncle James and told that Eddie himself has been declared rogue - all Drood agents have orders to either bring him in or kill him. Eddie has no idea what he could have done to be declared rogue, and thus we have the meat of the book, Eddie attempting to contact various people who may have information about his status.

Of course, what good is an action-thriller without a ticking clock? During his huge fight on the freeway, Eddie was shot with an arrow by an elf, an arrow that somehow pierced his golden armor that is provided by the torc, a thing that is not supposed to be possible. The arrow contained "strange matter", something from another dimension, and it's slowly eating away at Eddie's body. He's running out of time to discover the Drood secrets and to save his life.

This was a fantastic start of what I'm hoping will be an awesome series. Eddie isn't perfect, but he's a good man at heart, so I found myself rooting for him quite a bit. Also, as the wild witch of the forest, Molly Metcalf, informs him, not all the bad guys are entirely bad. Eddie learns that his family isn't what he thought it was and there are some secrets too horrible to learn. I would definitely recommend this to dark-fantasy, action-adventure lovers out there. The best news is that there's a second book planned for June 2008!

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