Book Review: Simon R. Green’s Man with the Golden Torc

Posted July 31, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Simon R. Green’s Man with the Golden Torc

Man with the Golden Torc


Simon R. Green

urban fantasy that was published by ROC on June 5, 2007 and has 393 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Something From the Nightside, Mean Streets, Agents of Light and Darkness, Nightingale's Lament, Paths Not Taken, Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth, Hell to Pay, Just Another Judgement Day, The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny, A Hard Day's Knight, Hex and the City, The Unnatural Inquirer, The Bride Wore Black Leather, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, Hex Appeal, Daemons are Forever, The Spy Who Haunted Me, From Hell with Love, For Heaven's Eyes Only, Live and Let Drood, Casino Infernale, Blue Moon Rising, Tales of the Hidden World, Blood and Honor, From a Drood to a Kill, The Dark Side of the Road, Dead Man Walking, Very Important Corpses, Moonbreaker, Dr. DOA

First in the Secret Histories urban fantasy series about a family who rules the world. In secret.

My Take

It’s like the Nightside, but Eddie Drood is just a wannabe John Taylor. I swear, I kept waiting for JT to show up. A similar cast of enemies and sidekicks is certainly here. Right along with the descriptive nicknames. Only Eddie operates in the real world as opposed to the Nightside. Although, there is a bar where anyone can gather — the Wulfshead as opposed to the Nightside’s Strangefellows. Actually, as I think about it, it is something of a blend between the Nightside and James Bond — Eddie has all these cool gadgets to play with!

Mostly, this is a set-up for the series. It provides an extensive background on the Drood family along with their skills, preparedness, and ruthlessness. I’m curious to read Daemons are Forever to see how it plays out.

I did enjoy the golden armor! Useful stuff although I’m surprised the weaknesses hadn’t been found earlier. What is the deal that everyone is so anti-Eddie? It’s not like the Droods don’t have agents spread out across the globe…

“…sending anonymous hate mail to Bill Gates.”

A fun read with plenty of drama between reading about the toys and following Eddie about as we get acquainted with his world and how that world views the Droods.

The Story

It’s a standard mission. Exorcise the demon and ensure the President doesn’t give birth. Only, everything goes wrong and Eddie is summoned back to Drood Hall. The family seat he escaped ten years ago. This can’t be good.

It’s the constant string of attacks on the motorway on the way to Stonehenge which raises Eddie’s suspicious and then Uncle James’ confirmation. Rogue. The family has declared him a traitor and he needs to find out what he’s done.

The Characters

Shaman Bond is the alias for Edwin Drood — it wouldn’t do for most in the world to know that Bond is part of the infamous and much-too-powerful Drood family. His job is to protect humanity. He thought. Until it all blew up. Charles and Emily Drood were his parents before they were murdered on a mission.

The Matriarch leads the Drood family. This one is Eddie’s grandmother, Martha Drood; Alistair is her second husband. Fellow Droods include Penny, the usual contact for agents in the field; Uncle James was practically Eddie’s father after his parents died and is known as the Gray Fox; and, Matthew is another agent based in London and must always win on any mission. Jacob is his greats-great grandfather, a ghost hanging out in the old chapel. The Sarjeant-at-Arms is similar to a butler, but more. He hates Eddie — and I’m certain everyone hates him right back. Uncle Jack is the Armourer with a soft spot for Eddie. He’s being retired, and Alexandra is taking his place. The family Librarian has been missing for some time now — William.

Molly knows a few rogues who might be able to help Eddie: Oddly John, Mole, and Sebastian.

Willy Fleagal runs an Internet cafe that Eddie uses. Janissary Jane is a mercenary; Indigo Spirit is a costume-obsessed superhero; Charlatan Joe is a confidence trickster; the Blue Fairy is middle aged and moaning with it; Subway Sue is all about the luck, taking it and selling it; Mr. Stab has a nasty past; Girl Flower…do NOT get too close to her!; and, Digger Browne, a practical ghoul.

Archie Leech is a serial possessor, an amulet allows his soul to jump bodies. He just uses ’em up and finds another. Manifest Destiny is a relatively new organization out to take over the world and free it from the Droods. Layers within layers within layers. Solomon Krieg is the Golem with the Atomic Brain, a relic from the Cold War. Truman is Destiny’s leader with good intentions and foul determination.

The CARnivores sound like the vehicles in the Nightside. Then there are the Chelsea Lovers who are into tantric sex whose mission is to take over the world with sex; the Sceneshifters who shift reality a piece at a time — their theory that God doesn’t rule the world but the Devil does actually makes a lot of sense; the Mole is exactly that, a networked guy living underground who hooks people up with what and who they need; and, the infamous Molly Metcalf, a witch who opposes most everything a Drood stands for and the one who peels back a peek at the truth for Eddie.

The Drood family has been protecting the world for centuries. Some say that “Drood” is a derivation of “druid”. The one known truth is that the golden torc is the armor that ensures Drood supremacy. Unless they are an agent in the field, the Droods all were born, grew up, and live at the Hall. A Drood can never leave the family.

The Cover and Title

You can’t miss knowing you’re in a big, older city as you eye the very narrow alley between towering buildings. One man is in silhouette with his gun, staring down the alley at us while a second man is tucked in tight in a corner, clutching his golden torc, praying, waiting, prepared. The only light appears to be a fire reddening and lighting up only the alley. The cascade of fire escapes on one building in stark relief.

The title reflects the protagonist in the story, Eddie Drood is The Man with the Golden Torc.