Live and Let Drood: A Secret Histories Novel
by Simon R. Green
Cover Artist: Paul Young
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451464521
Date: 05 June 2012 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
In Live and Let Drood, Eddie's mission is personal like none other. He wants to know who could possibly have taken out his family. This story is Eddie unleashed; although his torc (and thus his armor) is nonfunctional, Eddie remains a very dangerous fellow.
He explores the wreckage of the manor house, and finds that things are already subtly wrong—-certain passages are missing and some of the interior layout is not what he remembers. In any case, the grounds are now defenseless, so Eddie calls up a ghoulish host just as a scavenger crew arrives to loot the ruins. Eddie and Molly are able to gain the upper hand, but learn nothing useful for all their troubles.
That leaves Eddie with few options. Desperate for a weapon, he decides on a last-resort option known as Moxton's Mistake. He enters the Drood family's not-so-decorative hedge maze in search of a monstrous entity—-a murderous, self-aware suit of armor—-and strikes a fateful bargain for its services. Newly empowered, he and Molly set off to see if there are other rogue Droods who might help. After all, the family motto is Anything for the Family.
The handful of clues they turn up point to Crow Lee, the Most Evil Man in the World. As they seek out Crow Lee, Eddie's methods grow more brutal and violent, dismaying Molly (who has worked the strongest magic she can to keep the Mistake from overtaking Eddie's mind), even as they find new allies in a most unusual government office: the Department of the Uncanny, based underneath the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The Department is something of a last resort; Eddie and Molly consider and dismiss asking the Nightside, the Carnacki Institute, the London Knights, and others for help. (In truth, this amounts to a fascinating look behind the scenes of England's supernatural ecology.) Eddie also finds something entirely unexpected when he obtains the Department's help.
Taking on Crow Lee might be the least of their problems, however, as it turns out there just may be a means of undoing what's been done--though a harrowing journey and surprising enemies lie in wait. If Eddie isn't at the top of his game, the Drood family could well be doomed forever.
Green's latest supernatural/spy mashup is a terrific, adventurous blend of genres, delivering high octane heroism on a road lined with razor blades (figuratively). Eddie doesn't have his family's resources—-not that he relied on them too much previously, but it is a psychological blow to know they don't exist—-and Molly is troubled by her sisters' disappearance, but they are hardly less formidable for all that.
There are serious twists and turns in this story, as well as a dire prediction from Crow Lee about the future of the Droods. It is just possible that the family is entering an era of unprecedented danger—-and this story could be the beginning of the end. (By the way, astute readers will recognize "Crow Lee" as a call-out to Aleister Crowley, the British mystic who proclaimed himself the most wicked man in the world. Nicely done!)
Fans of Green's genre-bending tales of high adventure will love this latest installment of his Secret Histories series, but new readers really ought to start at the beginning; there is a LOT of history behind this tale. Green makes it easy for new readers to jump on board, but readers shouldn't deprive themselves of the full story. Eddie Drood and his world are a smorgasbord for fans of urban fantasy and espionage thrillers alike.