Property of a Lady Faire: A Secret Histories Novel
by Simon R. Green
Cover Artist: Paul Young
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451414311
Date: 03 June 2014 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
After a caper involving a trip into the Vatican's most secret library, and an encounter with ne'er-do-well Harry Fabulous, Eddie Drood discovers that his family has not run out of tricks meant to ensnare him. The latest is a bequest from his grandmother--a box that will give Eddie great power if...and there's always a catch, isn't there?
Making his choice, Eddie and his beloved Molly Metcalf then set out to fulfill a promise he made and wrest answers from Eddie's grandfather, the Regent of Shadows. One answer is long overdue: Molly needs to know why her parents were killed by the Droods. Unfortunately, the Regent is in no position to answer questions...
In the blink of an eye, Eddie and Molly are Public Enemies and on the run, forced to use dangerous resources to stay ahead of their pursuers. One of these is the Drood in Cell 13, a forgotten member of the family with a terrifying, self-inflicted curse. He taunts them for their ignorance before giving a vital clue: Eddie's Uncle James left an invaluable object in the hands of the Lady Faire, a "ladything" whom all desire. If Eddie can get it back, that might redeem him in the eyes of his family and ensure his safety. At the same time, he suggests that Eddie's Merlin Glass (a hand mirror that allows Eddie to teleport nearly anywhere) is far more dangerous to him than he can imagine.
Eddie and Molly must reach the Lady Faire's annual soiree, deep in a pocket world so cold that a human would flash-freeze to death instantly. To reach it, they must trust a Siberian train ride, and then make their way through a wintry hellscape to a party unlike any other. If they thought the cold outside was dangerous, Eddie and Molly haven't seen anything yet.
Because even in a private little universe, monsters sometimes appear. Indestructible, unkillable monsters proof even against Eddie's amazing golden armor. Monsters that murdered his grandfather... and the mastermind behind them too.
Property of a Lady Faire keeps up the "us against the world" motif that's animated many of Simon R. Green's Secret Histories stories. In this singular mash up of urban fantasy, horror, and international espionage, having the heroes on the run and in too deep, deprived of resources, and forced to rely on their wits, is a formula for success. Eddie and Molly are at their best when they have nobody but each other.
They're up against serious opposition this time, too, even as they note that they've been successful at taking out a lot of major players over the past few years. Who's left who could kill the Regent (who had impressive magical protection) and attack the Lady Faire herself? What is the endgame here?
The Lady Faire herself is an interesting character, in that she's not only the object of Eddie's journey but also a "boss" opponent in her own right. Boasting an unusual origin of her own (which I won't spoil here), there's a reason why she's the most sought-after creature on Earth. Green is very effective at portraying a woman who has incredible power and yet suffers from it even as her legions of lovers do. When pushed to act, she proves surprisingly capable and could well make another appearance; she shows all the signs of being a new entrant in Green's world of extraordinary supporting characters, popping up in the oddest places.
The plot, when revealed, makes perfect sense and yet represents a threat so unforeseen that Eddie and Molly can be excused for not seeing the forest for the trees. When dodging bullets, there's not a lot of time for intelligence analysis, after all. And yet the two of them doggedly persist until the final moment--when everything depends on the most questionable choice Eddie could make.
Green's worldwide legions of fans are sure to enjoy this newest entry into the Histories, as it represents all that readers have come to desire in an Eddie Drood and Molly Metcalf story: action, romance, intrigue, surprises around every corner, and an impossible threat defeated by heroism and a smidgen of arrogance. New readers will want to catch up first, as this book pays off some preceding storylines and sets up the next installment. Besides, why wouldn't you want to read these characters' exploits from the beginning?