From a Drood to A Kill: A Secret Histories Novel
by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451414335
Date: 02 June 2015 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
From a Drood to a Kill is Simon R. Green's latest entry in the terrific Secret Histories series, a literary love letter to the spy thrillers of the '60s mashed up with every sort of paranormal weirdness under the sun. It's sort of "James Bond Meets the National Enquirer," with an extra helping of weirdness and snark.
In Casino Infernale, Eddie learned that his parents bet Eddie's soul as stakes in a game. Although he won and redeemed his soul (and theirs), they disappeared before he could discuss matters with them. He's wanted that conversation pretty badly ever since, and now he's decided to pursue it. He asks the Drood family's ruling Matriarch for help, but she needs a favor first: the British government has a security problem involving their latest and greatest, a technology that lets them listen in on everyone. Eddie is sent to give them help...but his orders change and he must uncover the secret of "the Big Ear" no matter what.
Eddie finds what he's looking for, though things do not turn out to anyone's satisfaction. Then he gets an urgent summons home--there's been a death. (Readers of Tales of the Hidden World, Green's anthology of short fiction, will know what's going on.) Despite a detour and a remarkable introduction to a forgotten part of his family's history, Eddie is forced to say goodbye to the family member he loves most. The funeral then leads to a wake that introduces him to several strange and interesting people. It also puts him on the trail of his parents once again, when a chance meeting gives him a line on an oracle. Oh, and his girlfriend is kidnapped too.
He ends up inside Castle Inconnu, home of the formidable London Knights, where he meets a mythological figure and gets an invaluable bit of wisdom. Unfortunately, that immediately precedes a running battle against fighters who match his astonishing armor...and whom he's sworn not to kill.
Battered and bloody, he emerges only to find himself in a very different London and facing a date with destiny. If he can survive that, maybe he'll learn where Molly Metcalf (his true love) has been taken--and what the Big Game really is. This is perhaps the biggest and most dangerous game Eddie has ever played, because there can be only one winner--and only the winner gets to leave the Shifting Lands alive.
Green turns up the dial to 11 in this volume, which is really three stories in one. The Big Ear forms the first part, with Eddie investigating a high security installation to plug a leak...which leads to making some very important decisions. The second is the wake, wherein the stakes are set and Eddie begins to fall down an all-new rabbit hole, pursuing what could be a will-o-the-wisp: his missing parents, Charles and Emily. He must battle a pack of Knights and endure a grueling interrogation, which leads to a most unusual travel agency and its one-way ticket to the Shifting Lands.
Eddie remains the same doggedly independent, resourceful and stubborn agent the Drood family has ever produced. He is committed to his principles, including a new prohibition against killing; he's decided that he is an agent, not an assassin, following an unfortunate "death by Drood" that happens while cleaning up some old business. Like few times before, he has to make a choice between his principles and everything else--including the lives of his love and his family. It's a neat situation that puts Eddie's character to a severe test.
Molly Metcalf is herself, as always, sassy and terrifying in equal measure. She is absent for a large portion of the book, depriving Eddie of her eagerness to commit appalling acts of magical mayhem (not to mention her undying belief in him), but that only accentuates her importance to Eddie and as a protagonist in her own right.
New characters like Demonbane of the Soulhunters, Kate Drood (Eddie's new contact in the family), Sir Percyvale and Sir Bors of the London Knights, Nicolai Vodyanoi (former Russian agent and father of werewolf brothers), the Fantom (retired invisible assassin), and the Somnambulist (a sleepwalking powerhouse) all enrich Green's already-expansive world. They're worth additions, alongside returnees like Walker and Dead Boy (from his Nightside series), Bruin the Bear and the Sea Goat, and many more. Indeed, the wake itself is a microcosm of Green's bibliography, with call-outs to Shadows Fall, the Deathstalker series, more than one visit to the Nightside, and more. In celebrating a life, Green also celebrates the breadth and diversity of his work, which is impressive indeed.
As in many ongoing series, this is NOT the place to begin reading--but it's a great addition to the Eddie Drood narrative and even puts things in place for the next installment, Dr. DOA. Can't wait.