DR. DOA (Secret Histories)
by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451476937
Date: 07 June 2016 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
In this latest installment of the Secret Histories series, Simon R. Green puts his character into the worst place he could be, which is staring down the barrel of certain death. When Eddie Drood imagined his own end, after all, it invariably entailed taking all of his enemies with him in a blaze of glory. Poisoned? Not so much.
Accompanied by his love Molly Metcalf, Eddie starts a nearly hopeless search for the world's greatest assassin or, failing that, a cure--or at least a reprieve. His armor keeps him alive, but even so, Eddie is failing bit by bit. Eddie and Molly start off with the Armourers of the Drood family, who do their best but cannot provide any useful lead on the poison's origin or how Eddie was dosed in the first place--except that it happened while he was in Drood Hall itself, the most impenetrable place on Earth.
They then go in search of options and leads, a journey that has them visit the Nightside, an abandoned government facility, and a low-rent bazaar, each of which presents hazards. Eddie is also attacked by friends and acquaintances who say the same thing: he must die for the sins of his family. Given that they are friends, Eddie would prefer not to use lethal force but...that is not always an option.
One by one, doors are closed to them and the inevitable draws closer, until Eddie makes a fateful realization and a danger from the past resurfaces at the worst possible moment. If Eddie and Molly thought things were bad before...
Green uncharacteristically leaves his heroes in the lurch in this story, setting up what might well be the payoff of the entire series in the next novel. As a result, the story chugs along but only starts to fly toward the end. In other words, there's a lot of set up but only a certain amount of resolution.
This book is also unusual in that it does not really align with the spy thriller genre that is part of the series' DNA. That in itself is a break from the past, signaling that the series may either be evolving into something different or that it needs to go "off road" a bit to reach its destination.
Still, readers will very likely be surprised by how things play out, setting up a powerful confrontation in the next book. Considering the loose thread Green is tying off, this is probably one readers have been wanting to see for quite a while now.