Friday, July 16, 2010

The Man with the Golden Torc, by Simon R. Green

The Man with the Golden Torc, by Simon R. Green

Imagine every story you’ve ever heard about ghosts, aliens, demons, magic, and conspiracy theories is actually true; furthermore, there is a secret society of people that protect those of us that believe this is all fiction and keep us in the dark. Secret agents, elves, and demons may sound like an unwieldy collection but Green blends all facets well and serves up a rollicking novel. Eddie Drood is the protagonist, but he goes by the pseudonym, “Bond. Shaman Bond.” The cover name, as the book’s title, is an obvious nod to James Bond. The similarities don’t stop there either; chase scenes with exotic vehicles, world-threatening plots, unique and strange villains, and of course, the Armourer.

Fantastic plot elements and larger-than-life characters are fun, but the smart writing is what makes this parody stand out. My favorite line occurs when Eddie is working his way through abandoned subway tunnels under London: “I half expected to see Arne Saknussemm’s initials. Or Cave Carson’s.” If you haven’t read Journey to the Center of the Earth or your knowledge of DC comics characters stops at Superman and Batman this statement must be puzzling at best; the fact that no further explanation is given somehow makes me feel a kinship of sorts with the author. And given that the premise is that everything us mundanes believe is fictional isn’t, does that imply Lidenbrock really walked from Iceland to Italy through the crust of the planet? Or that Rip Hunter travels through time? I’m nearly giddy at the possibilities of future adventures in this universe! Part Ian Fleming and part Neil Gaiman, Green has the beginnings of an entertaining series on his hands here. And of course, Shaman Bond will return in Daemons Are Forever.

First Sentence:
It started out as just another everyday mission.

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