Packed with the usual cast of lunatics, fiends and devices.
Simon R Green is one hell of a consistent writer – if you like your Fantasy /SF served with lashings of pulp mayhem, dollops of snarky characters and big piles of extreme gore, violence and horror. Mmm tasty. This is the fourth book in the Secret Histories Saga, following the first person adventures of Eddie Drood, the less than favourite son of the Drood Family, the world’s secret protectors of humanity against all things extra terrestrial, magical, demonic, angelic and fantastic.
In this book Eddie and his girlfriend Molly are framed for the assassination of the Matriarch and are attacked by a frenzied mob of Droods. Something is clearly up. What emerges is the suggestion of a wider, shadow conspiracy, whispers of an ‘anti-Drood’ family, the antithesis of all that Eddie and his relations stand for. This other family have been manipulating world events for thousands of years and are at least as powerful as the Droods. They are known as the Immortals and significantly more worrying, they are shapeshifters. Realising that nobody can be trusted and that the integrity of Drood Hall has been breached, Eddie and his cohorts resolve to seek out the Immortals, clear his name and rid the world of possibly humanity’s greatest home grown monster.
Packed with the usual cast of lunatics, fiends and devices – Doctor Delirium, Tiger Tim and the Apocalypse Door, to name a few, the story takes Eddie to the depths of the Amazon, the cold of Antarctica and the mountains of Bavaria. It also sees a fall scale assault on Drood Hall itself by an army of drug crazed fanatics. So standard epic destruction – Green style. All great stuff and exactly what you’d expect. The one misstep is the Immortals themselves. After introducing one Immortal taking on the Children of Frankenstein and frankly besting them, the next time we see the Immortals in combat, they prove remarkably easy to take down. That he portrays them as a gang of almost bored ‘teenagers’ (whilst probably bang on in terms of what people blessed with immortality might be like) it also lessens their sense of threat. This great enemy that can even put one over on the Droods is just not as frightening in the final confrontation as they had been built up to be and it seems a shame that they become just the ‘villain of the week’. Okay, not strictly true as there are suggestions that there may be rogue Immortals still hiding within the Drood organisation after taken over the identities of the originals.
That said, this is another fine addition to the series and finishes with a classic Green cliff hanger. Which, as soon as you read my review of the next book, you’ll know what it is ;-)
Review by Alex Janaway
8.2/10 from 1 reviews
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