Series: SECRET HISTORIES
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V4, S3, H4
Publisher and Titles: Roc
The Man with the Golden Torc (2008)
Daemons Are Forever (2009)
The Spy Who Haunted Me (2009)
From Hell with Love (2010)
For Heaven's Eyes Only (2011)
Casino Infernale (TBA)
This post was revised and updated on 5/22/13 to include a review of the sixth book in the series, Live and Let Drood. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and summaries and reviews of books 1-5.
The plot is nicely constructed, with just enough convolution to keep it interesting, although several of the plot points are so heavily foreshadowed that the reader picks up on them way before Eddie does. An early scene with the Drood scarecrows is superfluous to the rest of the plot, but Green always enjoys adding yet another type of weird creature to his novels, so I'll give him a pass on this one. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the back story of the Uptown Razor Boys (aka Eton Irregulars)—a sly bit of English social commentary. The various battles go on a bit too long (as usual), but if you get tired of reading through the somewhat repetitious fights, just mentally substitute the words "Bam! Boom! Gaaaah! Pow! Bonk! Argghhh! Hack! Wham!"—and then scan quickly to the end of the scene. It works for me.
Super spy Eddie Drood has Dudley Do-Right’s integrity, James Bond’s high-tech gadgets, and Superman’s invincibility. Eddie uses the name "Shaman Bond" as his field-agent pseudonym so that he can hide his Drood (think Druid) identity. Each Drood family member wears a golden torc (collar) that turns into impregnable armor as needed. For centuries, the Drood family has fought to protect humankind from the dark forces, but as the series begins, Eddie discovers that his family has its own dark secrets.
Here is Eddie's description of what the Drood family stands for: "The Droods...guard the whole world. We are Humanity's shepherds, their shamans and protectors. All of this country's departments working together couldn't do what we do...Droods have field agents in every country and in every major city; there isn't a country or a culture on this planet that doesn't fall under our protection...It's our job to stand between Humanity and all the nonhuman things that threaten us." (Live and Let Drood, p. 160)
Set in England, this series boasts a wide variety of villains, all of whom are trying to bring down the Droods. Eddie and his girlfriend, Molly Metcalf (the wild witch of the woods), battle evil monsters in nearly every scene. The reader occasionally feels trapped in a rather violent video game, with bizarre supernatural creatures constantly attacking from all sides. The humor is dry and understated and frequently whimsical.
SUMMARIES OF BOOKS 1 - 4
In The Man with the Golden Torc, Eddie's family has decided that he is a menace to them and to humanity, so he is on the run. His purpose in this book is to prove that he is worthy of being a Drood, to unmask some family secrets (or lies), and to battle a bevy of beasts.
In Daemons Are Forever , Eddie is now in charge of the Drood family, and he must redeem them from the damage that has been done by their many lies. Since Eddie wants to prove to the world that the Droods are as strong as ever, he goes after the Loathly Ones, soul eaters who are one of the greatest enemies of humanity. But the situation goes from bad to worse when the Hungry Gods descend from a higher dimension, intent of consuming every living thing in the world.
In From Hell with Love, Eddie is back to his old job of field agent for the Drood family as he and another agent attempt to acquire a mysterious and powerful item (the Apocalypse Door) at a secret auction. Unfortunately, the villain of the book wants the door almost as much as Eddie does. In a related plot thread, the Droods are threatened by the dreaded Immortals, a malignant race that is the dark flip side of the Droods. When the Matriarch is murdered just after a confrontation with Molly, Eddie has to catch the murderer and prove that he and Molly are innocent of the dastardly crime.
REVIEW OF BOOK 5: For Heaven's Eyes Only
Eddie and Molly infiltrate a few Satanic meetings and a supernatural arms fair with little success. As the Satanists grow stronger, the Droods learn that one of their own has joined the enemy. In the final confrontation, several important Droods lose their lives. Following the big battle, just as you begin to believe that peace has finally come to the Droods, Harry returns from a peaceful and happy vacation with Molly to find that his world is, once again, knocked out from under him.
Eddie's adventures always include a plethora of weird and wonderful monsters, from demon dogs to dragons to hallways that turn into gigantic living throats, and more. Green spends a lot of time describing these battles. For example, Eddie's first fight with the Satanists in For Heaven's Eyes Only covers about 40 pages. Both the monsters and the various fighting techniques are fully described—sometimes to point that the reader (this reader, anyhow) is flipping pages to get back to the real plot. I do enjoy reading about Eddie and the other Droods, but I have to admit that the constant monster fights are beginning to get old. With the ending of the latest book, however, my interest is piqued, and I'll read on.
Here are some quotations to give you a taste of the humor:
Eddie muses on the annoying quirks of his family members: "When it comes to trying your patience, my family could make Mother Teresa drink vodka straight from the bottle while drop-kicking a leper." (For Heaven's Eyes Only, p. 80)