The Man With the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Edwin Drood is a member of the legendary Drood family, a family dedicated to protecting humanity from threats. At least, that's what he thought until he was declared rogue and had the entire familly on his trail. Now, with Molly Metcalf, infamous witch, in tow, Edwin must find out the sinster secret at his family's heart. The only people that can tell him: the people he's been fighting against his entire adult life...
The Man With the Golden Torc is typical Simon Green. You have monsters, action, and dry jokes. The Secret Histories series is an homage to James Bond and it shows. The action is almost at a ridiculous level, reminscent of the Bond movies, making for a very exciting read.
The Drood family reminds me of the family from Roger Zelazny's Amber books and Eddie himself reminds me a little of Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius, only without the ambiguous sexuality. There are nods to the Nightside, as well as the other easter eggs common to a Simon Green novel. The enemies are top notch, be they Manifest Destiny, a group seeking to overthrough the Droods, or the Sceneshifters, a group that alters reality to suit them at will with the help of a mummified yet still living head.
So why only a three? Eddie is a little too powerful for me to care very much about. Each member of the Drood family wears a golden torc around his neck that allows him or her to be sheathed in a nigh-impervious golden armor at will. Not much jeopardy there. Also, his gadgets are a little too over the top. A watch that rewinds time? A gun that never misses or runs out of ammo? But the thing that really irked me was Edwin Drood's cover identity of Shaman Bond. It's not like the James Bond homage wasn't clear already. Shaman Bond is about as hamfisted as he could get. Although he could have called him Bames Jond or something, I suppose.
The Man with the Golden Torc is an exciting read and a good bit of escapism, quite enjoyable despite the flaws. I'd give it a three and a half if I could.
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