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Daemons Are Forever by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462084
Date: 03 June 2008 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Eddie Drood thought that the worst was over when he exposed the hideous secret at the core of his family--and ended up overturning everything. He now runs the Drood family, humanity's secret protectors from a hostile universe, and he's finding that the job is a killer.

In Daemons Are Forever, Eddie realizes that rebuilding the family isn't just a good idea, it's a necessity. If the world's governments (and malefactors, which are sometimes the same thing) learned that the Droods' power was largely broken, all sorts of horrible things might happen.

He can't let that happen. His sense of duty is too strong.

So with his Inner Circle, a group that includes the wild witch (and Eddie's girlfriend) Molly Metcalf, the tireless Sarjeant-at-Arms, family techno-wizard the Armourer, the long-dead Jacob Drood and a few others, Eddie starts off by recruiting mentors to help the family cope with the loss of their torcs. These wondrous gold collars could turn into armor, making Drood field agents fast, strong and nearly invulnerable. The now-ordinary agents must learn some new tricks if they expect to survive, so Eddie and Molly hire Mr. Stab (an ancient serial killer) and Subway Sue (a luck vampire) to help them.

But showing them new tactics won't be enough. Eddie tries to find a problem the family can crush ruthlessly and decisively. There's nothing like a little mayhem to show the family is still on top.

They settle on tackling the Loathly Ones, soul-eating demons conjured up by the Droods during World War II. They've been left unchecked for much too long, so Eddie pulls together a battle group--including his untrustworthy cousin Harry Drood and Harry's half-demon buddy Roger--and takes them to Brazil to destroy a Loathly One infestation.

Things do not go well. The Loathly Ones appear in enormous numbers; even worse, they have weapons that can overcome the Droods' torc armor.

Eddie is forced to more desperate measures, when he realizes that the Loathly Ones are vastly more dangerous than he'd suspected. He calls upon a family artifact to bring a hero from the past and a hero from the future; the bygone hero is the living Jacob Drood, while the future hero is a name that will be very familiar to Simon R. Green's many fans. Retrieving the future hero involves borrowing the Time Train (a semi-reliable steam engine capable of going nearly anywhere or anywhen) and fighting alien creatures on a dying world--but Eddie and his comrades are up to the challenge.

Things take a turn for the worse when Molly is attacked by the Loathly Ones and Eddie calculates that they have really no chance of beating the demons. Unless the most hare-brained plan he can dream up works, a billion-to-one shot, Earth is about to experience an invasion like something out of Lovecraft's nightmares... and that will be that.

Some days, it doesn't pay to be in charge of humanity's secret protectors.

Simon R. Green's second Eddie Drood adventure takes the scruffy hero's challenges to the next level. Eddie saved his family... but can he save the world?

Although titled after James Bond, Green doesn't bind himself too tightly to the tropes of high-stakes espionage thrillers. For one thing, Eddie is more an enemy of government than ally, particularly in a scene where the government tests him and Molly rather aggressively. He isn't a government agent, but serves an ancient and very large family instead.

However, that's not to say there aren't Bondian elements. The Armourer's workshop is a place Q might imagine in his wilder moments, providing Eddie with a dizzying array of magic and technology (sometimes both) that rivals anything out of Fleming's imagination. Likewise, Eddie and his core team play for the highest stakes and deal with treachery around every corner.

The characters are hardly flawless paragons. Eddie is an anti-authoritarian and snarky operator, whose ruthless nature masks an enormous sense of justice and self-sacrifice. He is passionately devoted to Molly, who is similarly headstrong and impulsive, but learning to temper her self-absorption now that she and Eddie are in love.

Among the supporting characters, much more is learned of the Sarjeant and the Armourer, as well as the mysterious nature of the spectral Jacob Drood. Harry Drood, the new arrival and greatest rival to power Eddie has yet seen, is a fast friend and ally of Martha, the deposed Matriarch (who herself experiences some growth along the way), while the demonic Roger seems caught between his nature and his needs more than once. Mr. Stab (who seems to have gone by many names since the late 1880s) likewise suffers from acute contradictions between his essential self and what he would like to be, a crisis that has dire implications. And Subway Sue, whose luck has soured, nevertheless rallies in time to provide a crucial avenue of attack for our heroes.

Green provides his characters with a dazzling assortment of locations as well, from real-world London and Brazil to an alien world of the far future, a dying expanse of land in a broken parallel Earth, and the horrific home dimension of the Many-Angled Ones. The characters zip from location to location and the action (and dark humor) never let up.

Of a piece with his many other series, Green delivers on the high-stakes action/adventure in this new Eddie Drood tale. Fans of fast-paced heroics, featuring a snarky knight armored in silver and sarcasm, need look no further; Eddie Drood is your guy.

Recommended.

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