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The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-04-14 00:53
Subject: #250 Simon R Green: The Man With The Golden Torc
Security: Public
Tags:books, reviews
Simon R Green: The Man With The Golden Torc

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (17 May 2007)
ISBN-10: 0575079398
ISBN-13: 978-0575079397
Category(ies): Fantasy

"The name's Bond. Shaman Bond".

Actually, it's Edwin Drood, but the Droods don't normally let their identities be known. They've been guarding humanity from the creatures of the night, evil conspiracies, and outright nutters for two millennia, ever since they were actually Druids. And though Edwin is a little estranged from the Family, he still carries out the Family's work, tracking down demons and terminating them, and the like. It helps enormously that the golden torc round his neck can be willed to turn into all-enveloping golden armour, apparently immune to all normal weaponry and able to hide the wearer from detection too.

So, when Edwin is sent to return the heart of Albion to Stonehenge, it shouldn't be too much of a problem, should it?

But if life was that easy, we wouldn't have much of a story, now would we?

This is a book about trust and betrayal, and doing the right thing in the hardest of circumstances. The scale starts off quite small - at first sight, Edwin appears to be almost alone. But then the camera metaphorically pulls back, and we see the organisation that has been working for two millennia, with a full James Bond-style support organisation. Yet this is a more secret one than the one that 007 works for, because the mundanes must never suspect what is really going on. Like most such stories, it occasionally trips over the sheer lack of room for vast multi-generational conspiracies, whether benign or malign, but it's meant to be entertainment, and as that, it works well. Green may not be as outright skilful as some writers out there, but I usually enjoy his work, and this one is good, straightforward fun.

(Green delivered the first chapter as a reading at Worldcon 2005.)
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