Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Man with the Golden Torc

These days I read more space opera and urban fantasy than anything else. There aren't many authors who can pull off both. Meet British author Simon R. Green, author of the Deathstalker and Nightside series. Confession: I have not yet read Deathstalker, but the Nightside series is a particular delight. The Nightside is the dark, hidden heart of London, where it is always 3:00 am. The series protagonist is private eye John Taylor, who can find anything. Green takes just about every mythology you can think of and runs them through a blender with hardboiled humor, over the top violence, and just a dash of romance. There are eight volumes in this series, all around 250 pages long, and the characters are really what drive the stories. The plotting is uneven, but all of them are worth the reading.

I've just finished the first volume of Green's new series about a man whose street name is Shaman Bond. His real identity? Edwin Drood. He's an agent of the Drood family, which has been keeping us safe from supernatural threats for millenia. Yes, it's a James Bond pastiche, with all that implies. This book shares the main ingredients with the Nightside, with sharper humor, more appealing characters, a superior plot, and much better writing, at nearly 400 pages in length. Highly recommended, and I expect to pick up the second volume in the series, Daemons Are Forever, very soon.

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