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For ages, Eddie Drood and his family have kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. But now one of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie's become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he's on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence... For ages, Eddie Drood and his family have kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. But now one of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie's become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he's on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence...


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For ages, Eddie Drood and his family have kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. But now one of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie's become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he's on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence... For ages, Eddie Drood and his family have kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. But now one of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie's become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he's on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence...

30 review for The Man with the Golden Torc

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Man with the Golden Torc (Secret Histories #1), Simon R. Green The name’s Bond. Shaman Bond. Actually, that's just his cover. His real name is Eddie Drood, but when your job includes a license to kick supernatural arse on a regular basis, you find your laughs where you can. For centuries, his family has been the secret guardian of Humanity, all that stands between all of you and all of the really nasty things that go bump in the night. As a Drood field agent he wore the golden torc, he killed The Man with the Golden Torc (Secret Histories #1), Simon R. Green The name’s Bond. Shaman Bond. Actually, that's just his cover. His real name is Eddie Drood, but when your job includes a license to kick supernatural arse on a regular basis, you find your laughs where you can. For centuries, his family has been the secret guardian of Humanity, all that stands between all of you and all of the really nasty things that go bump in the night. As a Drood field agent he wore the golden torc, he killed monsters, and he protected the world. He loved his job. Right up to the point where his own family declared him rogue for no reason. Now, the only people who can help Eddie prove his innocence are the people he used to consider his enemies... تاریخ خوانش: روز دوم ماه فوریه سال 2018 میلادی عنوان: مردی با توپ طلایی؛ کتاب یک از سری تاریخچه های مخفی؛ نویسنده: سایمون آر. گرین؛ این سری نیز همانند سری نایت ساید هستند؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Five stars stands for awesome, and that's what this book is! I loved it. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it as much as the Nightside series, but boy was I wrong. This book takes my love of James Bond spy movies and supernatural stories and makes a wonderful hybrid, but it has Simon R. Green's own stamp and spin on it. He incorporated all the humor which will make me laugh out loud, the angsty moments, and some thrilling/scary/downright horrific moments as well. I loved Eddie! Although Five stars stands for awesome, and that's what this book is! I loved it. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it as much as the Nightside series, but boy was I wrong. This book takes my love of James Bond spy movies and supernatural stories and makes a wonderful hybrid, but it has Simon R. Green's own stamp and spin on it. He incorporated all the humor which will make me laugh out loud, the angsty moments, and some thrilling/scary/downright horrific moments as well. I loved Eddie! Although I still love John Taylor from the Nightside series, I think I like Eddie more, because I got to see him as a fully developed character who evolved over the course of this book. He started out kind of arrogant, so assured of his place in the world. He got a painful wakeup call, and I experienced the gauntlet of emotions he faced as he realized his family wasn't the court of knights in golden armor that he believed they were. I think Eddie really rolled with the punches, dealt with a lot here, and came out on top, the hard way. He's a good guy. He cares about the world, about people. He truly believes in protecting the innocents and fighting the good fight, even at his own personal cost. Even though he can kill without remorse when necessary, he doesn't kill wantonly, and he's never a bully. Even though he doesn't fall in with the party line and play the good little soldier like his family demands, he's very loyal, and family matters to him. Because he's able to think for himself and he loves his family at the same time, he was the best guy to deal with the rot destroying his family from the inside out. Mr. Green always surprises me with the concepts he integrates into his stories, and I love that about him. The underlying origin of the family's power really surprised (and horrified) me, but it makes sense at the same time. I like how he built this story on the legend of the druids. I respect how Mr. Green brings in uniquely British folklore, legends, and storytelling in his stories. It's one of the things that keeps me coming back. And his sense of humor doesn't hurt either. Molly was a good companion for Eddie on his journey. She helps him to see that all is not as it appears. At the same time, he helps her to see that not all organizations that smack of the establishment have to be a bad thing. The world does need an organized force who can deal with the nasty supernatural threats, because that power vacuum will be filled, one way or the other. I loved their back and forth, sometimes trading insults, sometimes compliments. It was very well-done flirting that played excellently into this story. Their romance fits and compliments this story wonderfully. I loved this trip through England, Simon R. Green style. Although John Taylor takes me on a tour of the Nightside, and I am happy to merely observe that bizarre, creepy, horrific world from the detached view of my book; I am fully Eddie's sidekick on his dangerous journey to find out why he was declared Rogue and to do something about that. It had all the high-octane elements of a Bond action flick, but with fantastic supernatural/arcane elements. I loved the references to legends and lore, and a few Lovecraftian nods thrown in for good measure. Like the Bond movies, this book has the cool gadgets, even cooler because they are supernatural. Eddie's Uncle Jack, called The Armourer, could give MI6's Q a run for his money. Mr. Green did not let me down with this book. I have found yet another male-lead urban fantasy series that I simply must keep up with and add to my keeper shelf. Although I could probably write Mr. Green a crazy fan letter after reading this novel, I will let this semi-gushing review suffice! Casting Wish List: Jamie Bamber as Eddie Drood: Lucy Brown as Molly Metcalf: Jim Broadbent as Uncle Jack, The Armourer:

  3. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    This is the kind of book for which you need to turn off your brain and just enjoy the ride. The high octane, ridiculously fun ride. It’s like watching those Fast and Furious movies…brain off…enjoy the explosions. Eddie Drood, aka Shaman Bond, is a field agent for his family. The powerful Droods have guarded mankind for centuries against all the things that go bump in the night. Like that other better known Mr. Bond, ShamanEddie has all sorts of cool gadgets at his disposal. Those will come in han This is the kind of book for which you need to turn off your brain and just enjoy the ride. The high octane, ridiculously fun ride. It’s like watching those Fast and Furious movies…brain off…enjoy the explosions. Eddie Drood, aka Shaman Bond, is a field agent for his family. The powerful Droods have guarded mankind for centuries against all the things that go bump in the night. Like that other better known Mr. Bond, ShamanEddie has all sorts of cool gadgets at his disposal. Those will come in handy because when his family suddenly declares him rogue – something the Family never takes well – Eddie finds himself on the run and looking for answers in all the wrong places. The whole book is basically one long chase scene but Eddie leads readers through such a motley and interesting London Underground that it just adds to the fun flavor. Eddie himself makes for a likable and charismatic lead character. The secondary characters are, well…characters…in the sense that they are an outrageous and colorful lot. Be warned that the story is overflowing with plot contrivances. Eddie’s special gadgets can counter anything the enemy throws at him but they never seem to have anything to counter his stuff. Such-and-such a place is an impregnable fortress, inviolate, yadda, yadda, yadda…until, of course, it isn’t because the plot needs it to be so. And so on and so on. That’s the whole turn-off-your-brain thing. But it’s fun…and funny and worth a looksee when you’re in the mood for popcorn fluff.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Edwin Drood is a member of the legendary Drood family, a family dedicated to protecting humanity from threats. At least, that's what he thought until he was declared rogue and had the entire familly on his trail. Now, with Molly Metcalf, infamous witch, in tow, Edwin must find out the sinster secret at his family's heart. The only people that can tell him: the people he's been fighting against his entire adult life... The Man With the Golden Torc is typical Simon Green. You have monsters, action, Edwin Drood is a member of the legendary Drood family, a family dedicated to protecting humanity from threats. At least, that's what he thought until he was declared rogue and had the entire familly on his trail. Now, with Molly Metcalf, infamous witch, in tow, Edwin must find out the sinster secret at his family's heart. The only people that can tell him: the people he's been fighting against his entire adult life... The Man With the Golden Torc is typical Simon Green. You have monsters, action, and dry jokes. The Secret Histories series is an homage to James Bond and it shows. The action is almost at a ridiculous level, reminscent of the Bond movies, making for a very exciting read. The Drood family reminds me of the family from Roger Zelazny's Amber books and Eddie himself reminds me a little of Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius, only without the ambiguous sexuality. There are nods to the Nightside, as well as the other easter eggs common to a Simon Green novel. The enemies are top notch, be they Manifest Destiny, a group seeking to overthrough the Droods, or the Sceneshifters, a group that alters reality to suit them at will with the help of a mummified yet still living head. So why only a three? Eddie is a little too powerful for me to care very much about. Each member of the Drood family wears a golden torc around his neck that allows him or her to be sheathed in a nigh-impervious golden armor at will. Not much jeopardy there. Also, his gadgets are a little too over the top. A watch that rewinds time? A gun that never misses or runs out of ammo? But the thing that really irked me was Edwin Drood's cover identity of Shaman Bond. It's not like the James Bond homage wasn't clear already. Shaman Bond is about as hamfisted as he could get. Although he could have called him Bames Jond or something, I suppose. The Man with the Golden Torc is an exciting read and a good bit of escapism, quite enjoyable despite the flaws. I'd give it a three and a half if I could.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Espen Jensen

    A good plot and decent setting backed by disinterresting and seemingly disinterrested characters and a strangely disjointed and chaotic storytelling. I came to this book knowing that it is a part of long list of books set in the same world, and I've been longing for some good urban fantasy which i can really sink my teeth into. So naturally I was eager and hopeful. I guess this teaches me not to get my hopes up. The plot itself actually has quite a lot going for it, it's both interresting and not A good plot and decent setting backed by disinterresting and seemingly disinterrested characters and a strangely disjointed and chaotic storytelling. I came to this book knowing that it is a part of long list of books set in the same world, and I've been longing for some good urban fantasy which i can really sink my teeth into. So naturally I was eager and hopeful. I guess this teaches me not to get my hopes up. The plot itself actually has quite a lot going for it, it's both interresting and not too predictable. Although it has to be said that most of the story seemed utterly redundant. Also it has huge potential as a starting point for a series without leaving you with that dreaded cliffhanger feeling. However I have rarely come across a protagonist for whom I had so little empathy. Most of the time he came off as a bland nonentity whose role merely was to describe the events around him. The insights into his mind and personality was almost entirely taken up with explaining something or other in the world or with trying to justify a desicion. Likewise his relationships with almost all the other characters in the story, including his relationship with the love interrest, are stunted, arbitrary or enigmatically change from one scene to the next. The last can be said about the motivations of the characters as well. There is very little explanation given for why the characters act as they do throughout the book. I probably could have overcome my dislike for the the characters in the story, the plot itself was rather good after all. But then I have to add in a mess of inconsistencies if not outright plot holes which, while never critical to the storyline, does confuse some points and just generally irritate the hell out of me. Furthermore the pacing of the story seemed like utter crap to me. This might have been my own fault since I did not complete it in one sitting, but it did continuously ensure that my expectations would clash with the progress of the book. All in all it did pobably deserve more than the one star I gave it, but seeing as goodreads thinks that two stars means that the book was "ok", this one did simply not meet the criteria. I would not recommend it to anyone I like and I do not think it was ok. Though, truth be told I might read the sequels just to see if it gets any better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Another where I'd like to have either a "half star" or 10 star system. I was torn here as there are 4 star books I've liked better but I believe it rates more than 3. So...3.5+ equals a 4 star rating I guess. The book is good, it's recognizably Green I believe if you've read any Nightside. Eddie (or Shaman Bond) puts me in mind of John a bit, but maybe a bit more openly a "good-guy". Any of you who've read my reviews will know That would appeal to me a bit more than the other. Eddie is a "good son Another where I'd like to have either a "half star" or 10 star system. I was torn here as there are 4 star books I've liked better but I believe it rates more than 3. So...3.5+ equals a 4 star rating I guess. The book is good, it's recognizably Green I believe if you've read any Nightside. Eddie (or Shaman Bond) puts me in mind of John a bit, but maybe a bit more openly a "good-guy". Any of you who've read my reviews will know That would appeal to me a bit more than the other. Eddie is a "good son" by his own lights at least, serving the Drood family who he's been taught from infancy onward are the bastion of humanity against the forces of evil and darkness. He's a bit of a rebel and a little too independent to suit the old guard of the family, but totally loyal. Then he's declared a rogue agent. The only punishment of a rogue by the Droods is to be killed on sight by any member of the huge family. Eddie is stunned (frequently physically as well as mentally and emotionally) and sets out to find out why he's been labeled rogue. The story is fast moving and fairly fun. Lots of "word plays" (I mean let's face it "Edwin Drood" as the hero?). It walks a bit close to absurdest but stays pretty much on the "humorous action" side of things. I found it got a bit repetitive in a couple of places and some of it was somewhat predictable but on the whole that doesn't take away from the book. I like it. That's good as my daughter got me the rest of the series that's in print (3 more books) for Christmas LOL. So, enjoy. Action, humor, magic and fantasy science in an urban fantasy. 4 stars and a recommendation. ****************** Some Spoilers below line ***************** ***************** Possible Major Spoiler ******************* ***************** Skip if you wish to avoid Spoilers ******* I noted the book got a little repetitive. Green leans a bit on "series" of things. There are a "series of attacks", a "series of encounters", a "series of other rogues", even a "series of rooms" that got to be a bit much for me. Also were we really surprised that the Drood family weren't really "on the whole" the "good-guys"? It would have been a more surprising twist if the family had been what it seemed and the stories of their evil had turned out to be false. Still at least we get a hero who wants to be a hero and in the end is willing (reluctantly) to lead the family into what it was supposed to be in the first place.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    For the second time in just a few weeks, I’ve decided to set aside a book and not finish it. Sigh. I HATE not finishing a book, so that tells you something about how I felt reading this one. I only made it about a hundred pages in before calling it quits (hence the lack of rating). When I picked it up, I was hoping it would be a fun, lighthearted urban fantasy. It didn’t take long for me to realize I just wasn’t feeling the book. Within the first few pages, there were more creatures and types of For the second time in just a few weeks, I’ve decided to set aside a book and not finish it. Sigh. I HATE not finishing a book, so that tells you something about how I felt reading this one. I only made it about a hundred pages in before calling it quits (hence the lack of rating). When I picked it up, I was hoping it would be a fun, lighthearted urban fantasy. It didn’t take long for me to realize I just wasn’t feeling the book. Within the first few pages, there were more creatures and types of magic shown than you usually see in entire books. Normally a wide variety of magical powers and creatures is good in a book, right? Well, for me it felt like so much so fast that it started to lose meaning. It came across as if there were a bunch of cool ideas and every single one of them was crammed in right away. The effect for me was that the story didn’t feel grounded, and that a lot of the events just seemed over the top. There were also some issues with the main character and some items/powers that felt really overpowered, which meant that I didn’t feel any kind of tension during the action scenes. I think my biggest problem was that I just didn’t connect with the tone. It was the definition of glib, and it was just too much for me. It felt like it was all style without the substance. I can definitely see people enjoying this book, but it just wasn’t for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cait

    It's like the Nightside books, except that nearly half of the weird stuff presented actually had a purpose! So, despite the fact that the protagonist spent more time congratulating himself for being clever and bad-ass than he did actually being clever or, y'know, halfway competent, I'll be looking for the sequel. Perhaps in that one the protagonist won't be so ridiculously overpowered that the text of every fight scene could be replaced by "OMG WE'RE GOING TO DIE -- but wait, I had this handy-da It's like the Nightside books, except that nearly half of the weird stuff presented actually had a purpose! So, despite the fact that the protagonist spent more time congratulating himself for being clever and bad-ass than he did actually being clever or, y'know, halfway competent, I'll be looking for the sequel. Perhaps in that one the protagonist won't be so ridiculously overpowered that the text of every fight scene could be replaced by "OMG WE'RE GOING TO DIE -- but wait, I had this handy-dandy Save-The-Day-Device in my back pocket all along, so I never really had any reason to be panicked or even mildly alarmed." I know I sound disparaging, but it was so nice to be able to enjoy the plot of a Simon R. Green book again. (Seriously, his earliest stuff was so good -- what happened?)

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Flooze

    Edwin Drood has more gadgets than you can imagine: golden armor, a portable door, a self-aiming gun with never-ending bullets, and much more. But he also has more problems than you can shake a stick at. He's the supernatural answer to James Bond, and he's just been declared rogue. Now everyone (including his family) wants him dead, while all Eddie wants is the truth. It took about 50 or 60 pages for this book to hit its stride. But once it did, it was unstoppable. The pace was fast, the lead cha Edwin Drood has more gadgets than you can imagine: golden armor, a portable door, a self-aiming gun with never-ending bullets, and much more. But he also has more problems than you can shake a stick at. He's the supernatural answer to James Bond, and he's just been declared rogue. Now everyone (including his family) wants him dead, while all Eddie wants is the truth. It took about 50 or 60 pages for this book to hit its stride. But once it did, it was unstoppable. The pace was fast, the lead character was incredibly likable, and the dialogue was witty and natural. The secondary characters were inventive, and I hope they're brought back in later installments. It's a page-turner of a book, incorporating action, suspense, mystery, and even some romance, along with a large dose of humor...The Man with the Golden Torc has it all.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Executive Summary: Overall I’m pretty underwhelmed. I was hoping for something to take the place of Mr. Green’s Nightside series, but this just didn't do it for me. Audio book: This is the first book I've listened to by Stuart Blinder. I thought he was pretty good. He does several voices and accents that helped move along what could often be a rather slow plot. Full Review A friend of mine introduced me to Simon R. Green with his Nightside series a few years back. I didn't read a lot back then, Executive Summary: Overall I’m pretty underwhelmed. I was hoping for something to take the place of Mr. Green’s Nightside series, but this just didn't do it for me. Audio book: This is the first book I've listened to by Stuart Blinder. I thought he was pretty good. He does several voices and accents that helped move along what could often be a rather slow plot. Full Review A friend of mine introduced me to Simon R. Green with his Nightside series a few years back. I didn't read a lot back then, but I would generally pick up the new one he had out every year. I rated them all 3 star books save for A Hard Day's Knight, which I really liked. However, they were short and mostly fun reads that didn't require much thought. Mind Candy. The protagonist of this series makes a cameo at the end of that one, so I've always been meaning to check this out as a possible replacement. I got a good deal on it from audible, and I needed something to fill about a week or so of audio so it seemed the perfect time. Like Nightside this is another Urban Fantasy series. However instead of a detective protagonist, this one has a "secret agent" as the lead. James Bond, but with mostly magical gadgets rather than technological ones. In fact his cover name is Shaman Bond. The book titles of this series are all parodies of Bond titles. Mr. Green always likes to poke fun at tropes in his writing. With this one he's mocking both spy novels and fantasy tropes by combining the two. I'm not sure if the book just isn't as good, or if my tastes have changed as I've become a more voracious reader the past few years. The humor was still good, the plot was light. It just wasn't working for me. It felt too long. My recollection was that most of the Nightside books were ~250 pages each, while this is closer to 400 I believe. It's over 17 hours in audio. That’s probably at least 5 hours too long. There were too many dead-ends in the story. I recall Mr. Green writing scenes in Nightside that seemed unimportant to the plot but that explore some bizarre idea he must have had. This book has entirely too much of that. I think if a few of them had been cut out/saved for later books this might have been a better story. It's possible these books get better as they go along. There were parts I enjoyed, and the ending was pretty good to bump it from a 2.5 to a solid 3, but I'm not likely to continue on at this point.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Overall, I liked this book very much. It was more substantive than his Nightside series (which I also like, but not quite as well). It wasn't quite as dark, also. It felt a bit more like a combo of the action in his Deathstalker space opera with the horror/dark fantasy of the Nightside books. More humor, a very likable protagonist and a fun new premise to explore. There were a few of his classic divergences into long descriptions of the weird creatures he's imagined without any real impact on th Overall, I liked this book very much. It was more substantive than his Nightside series (which I also like, but not quite as well). It wasn't quite as dark, also. It felt a bit more like a combo of the action in his Deathstalker space opera with the horror/dark fantasy of the Nightside books. More humor, a very likable protagonist and a fun new premise to explore. There were a few of his classic divergences into long descriptions of the weird creatures he's imagined without any real impact on the story. But overall it was fast-paced and a fun new take on the genre. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    In the future, I will stick to Jim Butcher's 'The Dresden Files' for my hard-boiled urban fantasy needs. Not that there's not room in the genre for a novel with cars that eat people, or anything. In the future, I will stick to Jim Butcher's 'The Dresden Files' for my hard-boiled urban fantasy needs. Not that there's not room in the genre for a novel with cars that eat people, or anything.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I must admit that after finishing the nightside series (well almost) I was not expecting to heading back in to the worlds of Simon Green for a while however when it comes to books I should always accept nothing is as I plan. Well I picked up a copy of the last of the nightside series only to see that there is in fact a final book which tiles up that and the Secret Histories series (finally going to talk about the book in the review!). So of course the next step is to start on this series as well - I must admit that after finishing the nightside series (well almost) I was not expecting to heading back in to the worlds of Simon Green for a while however when it comes to books I should always accept nothing is as I plan. Well I picked up a copy of the last of the nightside series only to see that there is in fact a final book which tiles up that and the Secret Histories series (finally going to talk about the book in the review!). So of course the next step is to start on this series as well - including tracking the titles down as it seems that no one single publisher has printed the entire series in one go. So here we are with the first book in the series introducing us to Eddie Drood the man know to those around him as Shaman Bond. yes before we go too far we have got a book filled with the same thinly veiled references of James Bond, obvious world plays and pop culture references and you know what for me that is not only fine its also a lot of fun. I will be the first to admit I am not the most observant person so to read a book filled with them is great fun. The book is fast paced, violent and totally unapologetic and thats is all part of the appeal. The book really is setting the scene the question is where do we go from here.

  14. 4 out of 5

    C.T. Phipps

    Simon R. Green and I have a special connection. Well, no, actually we don't but it's weird how he seems to write the books I want to write and always has ideas I thought I came up with first. Either way, the Secret Histories series has been compared to Esoterrorism a few times so I thought I'd give it a try and see if it was any good. It is. Shaman Bond, the alias of Edwin Drood, is the greatest secret agent in the world. Sort of. Edwin Drood doesn't work for any government but his family of fo Simon R. Green and I have a special connection. Well, no, actually we don't but it's weird how he seems to write the books I want to write and always has ideas I thought I came up with first. Either way, the Secret Histories series has been compared to Esoterrorism a few times so I thought I'd give it a try and see if it was any good. It is. Shaman Bond, the alias of Edwin Drood, is the greatest secret agent in the world. Sort of. Edwin Drood doesn't work for any government but his family of former druids turned mystics. They guard the world from the vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. However, after a routine mission ends up with him witnessing the suicide of the world's most knowledgeable occultist, Edwin finds himself in hot water with the family. So much hot water that he may be forced to go rogue and seek the protection of the Drood family's worst enemies. The thing about Simon R. Green's work is it's weird and fun. If you need to know anything about his books, they're that. There's a scene where a bunch of UFOs, elves, and professional assassins attack our protagonist as he's carrying an ancient Stonehenge relic. There's a nymph flower elemental, the immortal embodiment of serial killing, a trepanning Nazi, and various other oddball concepts played entirely straight. Did I mention all of the Droods have magical golden Iron Man-esque armor? Yeah. Simon R. Green books are wall-to-wall goofiness and that's part of their charm. The thing is, despite the fact he throws everything and the kitchen sink at the reader, the books never treat their ludicrous situations as anything but serious. The willingness for the characters to internalize the weirdness of their setting helps lend itself an authenticity that makes it kinda-sorta grounded. You believe in the characters and their motivations even when they're visiting an extra-dimensional cat burglar. I liked Shaman Bond and Molly, the agent and anarchist who form the crux of the book's narrative. They form a good pair of modern-day Avengers with a decent bit of chemistry combined with contrasting worldviews which aren't so different underneath the surface. It was perhaps a little too easy for these two to fall in love given their circumstances but I was rooting for them to so I can't exactly complain, can I? The Drood family, itself, is a engaging and weird antagonist. A massive conspiracy of scientists, magician, and magically-empowered knights which is too stuck in a rut to really care whether it's serving the side or good or evil. All of us know something of family pressure and it's interesting to have the living embodiment of that as your foe. The family which will control everything in your life from beginning to end while insisting it is all for your good is a bigger nightmare to me than Cthulhu. I'm also a fan of Manifest Destiny as an enemy. In a world of the supernatural, it's very likely you'd have people who'd want everything to be safe and sane as well as scientific. Unfortunately, Manifest Destiny is unable to keep its truly vile elements under control as one you have a cause, it's all too easy to assume everyone who opposes it is evil. There's a nice bit of foreshadowing with one of the characters we later learn is a member being described in decidedly Nazi terms. In conclusion, The Man with the Golden Torc is a fun little bit of urban fantasy which is actually fairly conclusive in its ending. While there are many books behind it, I think it functions as a stand-alone if you're looking for a fast read. It may be too over-the-top for some but I think it's great for those who don't take their fantasy too seriously. 9/10

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    I wasn't sure I'd like this. I usually dig my heels in and resist "humorous" fantasy novels. They're not my cup of cocoa. Smart and funny is great; I have a weakness for really clever puns. But I'm not usually willing to offer the same suspension of disbelief to a book written with the primary intent of being comical as I am a more grounded book with a sense of humor. And I'd heard of Simon R. Green's books primarily as humor. Well, The Man with the Golden Torc was funny - from the title on thro I wasn't sure I'd like this. I usually dig my heels in and resist "humorous" fantasy novels. They're not my cup of cocoa. Smart and funny is great; I have a weakness for really clever puns. But I'm not usually willing to offer the same suspension of disbelief to a book written with the primary intent of being comical as I am a more grounded book with a sense of humor. And I'd heard of Simon R. Green's books primarily as humor. Well, The Man with the Golden Torc was funny - from the title on through. The wonderful thing about it was that it never sacrificed storytelling to make a joke, never stretched for the humor, never beat me over the head with a pun. Puns did abound - Archie Leech? Ow, and I resent that on behalf of Archibald Alexnder Leach - and so did jokes and running gags ("the infamous Molly Metcalf"), and I chuckled several times and smiled more. It was good, and it was funny, and the humor was integral, partly down to a narrator with an honestly witty voice, and partly to a feeling that the world was run by people who saw no reason not to be amusing in the setting up and naming of things, including super-villains. Well done. And, funnily enough (no pun intended), I learned a couple of things. Eddie Drood (whose name, along with Shaman Bond and Archie Leech, makes me wonder how many references I missed) mentions that the Drood home base boasts Rembrandts, Goyas, and Schalckens. I don't remember ever hearing of Schalcken before, which is surprising considering he seems fairly major and considering I thought I'd had a fairly decent art history education. I also picked up a few music recommendations (Hawkwind, Mary Hopkins, and Within Temptation), so this was a multi-media presentation. It also prompted me to look up Jaffa cakes. This wasn't perfect. There were a few instances of "But I thought you just said ... ?" In discussing the merits of the torc and the armour, Eddie explains several times in the first chapter that "no one sees me unless I want them to", which was (intentionally, I'm wondering belatedly?) funny because it seemed like every time he stated it was just before or after someone saw him who shouldn't have. The whole book was filled with instances of the much-vaunted perfect, impenetrable-in-all-ways protection of the torc being penetrated or overcome in one way or another. Another "huh?" moment for me followed Eddie and Molly's hike through the sewers of London. Although a visit to another ... establishment ... left its scent mark on him to the point that no one wanted to sit next to him on public transport, the schlep through what were described as overwhelmingly pungent tunnels seemed not to leave a trace of odor on them, given that there was no reaction from anyone they met before bathing and changing clothes. Small things, these, but they caught at my attention like slivers in a finger. So: not perfect, but, overall, I loved it. It was fast-paced and didn't let go, and I genuinely like Eddie Drood and the earnest goodness of (most of) his family. I loved the story, unique and well thought out as it was. The humor was not unalloyed - there are a couple of very serious elements to the plot, and there are sacrifices along the way. But the protagonists are good people doing what they can and what they must, and, occasionally, having a lot of fun doing it. Highly recommended. My favorite line: "You know, sometimes I swear the whole universe runs on irony."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    After discovering Simon R. Green through his Nightside series, I was looking forward to this new series. While The Man With the Golden Torc is occasionally entertaining, overall I was underwhelmed. The culprit in this case is a repetitiveness on the part of the author. He reuses certain phrases often, and it's not clear whether this is done intentionally, for the sake of irony, or if he's just not that inventive. Also, is this book supposed to be set in the same universe as the Nightside series? After discovering Simon R. Green through his Nightside series, I was looking forward to this new series. While The Man With the Golden Torc is occasionally entertaining, overall I was underwhelmed. The culprit in this case is a repetitiveness on the part of the author. He reuses certain phrases often, and it's not clear whether this is done intentionally, for the sake of irony, or if he's just not that inventive. Also, is this book supposed to be set in the same universe as the Nightside series? If not, then Green's reusing a lot of mythology from that series, which strikes me as unoriginal--for instance, the depiction of demons as creatures that sink their claws into someone and grow fatter the more people listen to their demon. This sends a message to me that Green isn't fully invested in creating an interesting world for his stories if he's just reusing what came before. Still, I'd overlook it if the story were outstanding. The story comes first. Unfortunately, The Man With the Golden Torc starts with a bang and ends with a whimper. The mystery component of it, in which our protagonist has to discover the secret behind his family, quickly lapses in a repetitive series of "find the next informant" adventures as Eddie and his companion visit fellow rogue members of the Drood family. During the climax, Eddie discovers the awful truth about the Droods and what the source of their power (the requisite mystical object, the Heart) actually is, only to be rescued by a deus ex machina that is ... well, to be frank, creepy. I'm not going to spoil it, but let's just say that if Eddie's new ally turns out to be evil, I won't be surprised, but I'll be disappointed. It's just too predictable. And that's the downfall of this book: there's very little about it that's special. It's mostly predictable, occasionally quirky enough to make me smile, but seldom did it pull me in and refuse to let me go. I'll continue reading the series to see if it improves, but so far the Secret Histories series isn't living up to what I've expected from Green.

  17. 4 out of 5

    JJ DeBenedictis

    This is an incredibly cheesy book, much like the old James Bond movies it emulates (although without the gratuitous sex.) It's not a skillfully-written novel, but once you get into it, it's good fluffy fun. That said, I found it hard to get into. The plot and character motivations make little sense for the first hundred pages, and there's some very repetitive strings of events. For example, there's a car chase where discrete clumps of baddies attack the protagonist and are vanquished, one by one, This is an incredibly cheesy book, much like the old James Bond movies it emulates (although without the gratuitous sex.) It's not a skillfully-written novel, but once you get into it, it's good fluffy fun. That said, I found it hard to get into. The plot and character motivations make little sense for the first hundred pages, and there's some very repetitive strings of events. For example, there's a car chase where discrete clumps of baddies attack the protagonist and are vanquished, one by one, seemingly endlessly. As a reading experience, it's bit of a pointless grind. The book is always inventive, but it's also contrived, with overly-convenient plot developments popping up everywhere. I didn't ever find it believable, but eventually I started to find it pretty amusing. I would have had a more positive reaction to the book if I'd known it was supposed to be silly, but there wasn't much to indicate that it wasn't a straight-faced urban fantasy. So, buyer beware. If you like this sort of thing, then it's a pretty fun novel. If you don't, then it's a rather irritating reading experience.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Crescendo

    Wow, what a mess..here is how story unfolds : we have our softhearted and naive agent/killer with a long list of gadgets to start with - indestructible golden armor, hand-watch to turn back time, auto aiming gun with unlimited bullets and portable door. He meets a series of almighty bad guys who happen to have weapons to counter his gadgets, but not to worry, our hero just keeps finding bigger and better gadgets - super-powerful shaman from another dimension, badge to confuse the whole universe Wow, what a mess..here is how story unfolds : we have our softhearted and naive agent/killer with a long list of gadgets to start with - indestructible golden armor, hand-watch to turn back time, auto aiming gun with unlimited bullets and portable door. He meets a series of almighty bad guys who happen to have weapons to counter his gadgets, but not to worry, our hero just keeps finding bigger and better gadgets - super-powerful shaman from another dimension, badge to confuse the whole universe and finally a stick that can destroy the whole universe! To generate some obligatory suspense he might just forget to use these ridiculous gadgets at times but always count on our bad guys to go in traditional monologue before attacking and we all know how that ends. Maybe book was supposed to be some mishmash parody of Bond and Dresden files but it just does not work for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    1 Star The Man With the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green did not live up to my expectations. I absolutely love Simon Green. His Nightside series is an absolute must read for fans of the Urban Fantasy genre. I went into ths Secret Histories series with high expectations. This is a series that is one part James Bond, one part science fiction, and another of fantasy. I simply couldn't get passed our invincible super hero. You see, he has a suit of armor impervious to everything including all things te 1 Star The Man With the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green did not live up to my expectations. I absolutely love Simon Green. His Nightside series is an absolute must read for fans of the Urban Fantasy genre. I went into ths Secret Histories series with high expectations. This is a series that is one part James Bond, one part science fiction, and another of fantasy. I simply couldn't get passed our invincible super hero. You see, he has a suit of armor impervious to everything including all things technological and also magical. WTF? What is the point then? Our hero can't be hurt. I started and stopped this book several times. I read around five chapters but decided it isn't worth my time. My love for the author may find me retrying this book again someday but for now, it was not for me. Who cares about a hero that can't be hurt? DNF

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emy

    I think this series may be the third one to make the grade for both me and my husband (the only other two to have managed that are the Dresden Files and The Laundry). This is much harder to do that you'd think!! For this book, making the grade needed a hero with faults, a heroine who is not a cypher or a squealer, and to tread the fine like between too little action to be plausible, and so much that it fails to have a story or plot beyond the action. Personally I also liked the English humour, L I think this series may be the third one to make the grade for both me and my husband (the only other two to have managed that are the Dresden Files and The Laundry). This is much harder to do that you'd think!! For this book, making the grade needed a hero with faults, a heroine who is not a cypher or a squealer, and to tread the fine like between too little action to be plausible, and so much that it fails to have a story or plot beyond the action. Personally I also liked the English humour, London setting, and the matter-of-fact supernatural.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    Read: March 2016 Rating: 3.5/5 stars (rounded down to 3/5) The Plot: Eddie Drood is a member of a large supernatural family who work undercover for the good of the country, protecting it from all paranormal and other dimensional threats. Suddenly Eddie finds himself declared an enemy of the family who begin to hunt him down. Now he must figure out how to stay ahead of the other Droods and why his family now want him dead. I am a huge fan of Simon R. Green’s work; I love the Nightside series and the Read: March 2016 Rating: 3.5/5 stars (rounded down to 3/5) The Plot: Eddie Drood is a member of a large supernatural family who work undercover for the good of the country, protecting it from all paranormal and other dimensional threats. Suddenly Eddie finds himself declared an enemy of the family who begin to hunt him down. Now he must figure out how to stay ahead of the other Droods and why his family now want him dead. I am a huge fan of Simon R. Green’s work; I love the Nightside series and the Ghost Finders series, and I was really hoping to love the Secret Histories series too. Unfortunately, whatever magic spark I found in his other books was missing here. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good book and a solid UF story but if The Man with the Golden Torc had been the first Simon R. Green book I ever picked up, I probably wouldn’t have ever gone on to read the Nightside or Ghost Finders series which would have been a shame. Things I liked: - The idea of the Drood family and their reason for existing. They remind me slightly of the Healy/Price dynasty in Seanan McGuire’s excellent Incryptid series, only even more paranoid, insane, and members of the British upper class to boot. - I liked the character of Molly, the witch with a grudge against the Droods and how she slowly becomes a partner to Eddie. - The discovery of how and why the Droods get their golden armour was horrifying and very well written (view spoiler)[ though I disliked how easily the golden armour was replaced at the end of the book. (hide spoiler)] Things I disliked: - Eddie Drood himself was a bit of a ‘nothing’ narrator. To me he was very much the voice of the author rather than an individual character. - All Green’s usual writing quirks – his use of exposition, deus ex machina’s, casual violence and imaginative horror – are used here but here they were more irritating that amusing. - The golden armour. Knowing that all the Droods are wearing armour that nothing can penetrate makes him pretty much invincible. (view spoiler)[ There is a sub plot where Eddie’s armour is pierced and he is being slowly poisoned but even then there was never any real sense of danger to me; it was obvious he wasn’t going to die. (hide spoiler)] Overall this was a decent story but I’m not sure if I will continue to read this series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly H. (Maybedog)

    This was a funny book but with a good plot and interesting world but the first quarter read like a comic book farce and was a little too out there for me to get into it. I really didn't like the protagonist very much and I almost stopped there but then the story got a little better as the real story of the book came out. I began to like the character better although it began to read like Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz or the Phantom Tollbooth but not nearly as good. What I mean is that This was a funny book but with a good plot and interesting world but the first quarter read like a comic book farce and was a little too out there for me to get into it. I really didn't like the protagonist very much and I almost stopped there but then the story got a little better as the real story of the book came out. I began to like the character better although it began to read like Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz or the Phantom Tollbooth but not nearly as good. What I mean is that the character goes from one weird situation, usually with peril, which is thoroughly resolved and then to the next with no overlap or need to go back. It's a bit tedious. I prefer my stories to be much less linear. But after the first half it got much more interesting and a little more cohesive. A new character was brought in that I liked. There was a brief stumble where it appeared the story and character were going to be okay with pure evil as long as the goal was achieved but the story was redeemed. The last third was a whirlwind, and interesting and fun although there was a bit of the one isolated situation to the next isolated situation again at one point. But I couldn't put it down. In addition to the action it was quite funny in parts. My favorite line: "You know I don't find humor funny." I'm even laughing just typing it. The last few pages were a bit cheesy but good. The main character grew a lot during the course of the book and I really cared about home in the end. I am definitely going to read the next book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eric Smith

    This book is even beeter than I remember it from my first read. The writing is descriptive, smart, witty, and moves at the perfect pace to keep the pages turning. The story is engaging and the characters are all interesting and the supporting cast moves in and out of the story before you can get tired of them and still leave you wanting more. I know i certainly wanted to hear more about Mr. Stab considering his history and how terrifying yet urbane he was. The story is good with the right mix of This book is even beeter than I remember it from my first read. The writing is descriptive, smart, witty, and moves at the perfect pace to keep the pages turning. The story is engaging and the characters are all interesting and the supporting cast moves in and out of the story before you can get tired of them and still leave you wanting more. I know i certainly wanted to hear more about Mr. Stab considering his history and how terrifying yet urbane he was. The story is good with the right mix of humor and action with fascinating ideas and disturbing but compelling imagery that kept my attention riveted. Both here and in the Nightside novels Simon R. Green has a way of presenting disturbing ideas and extremely interesting concepts in a very engaging and descriptive way that can make the reader shudder and be impressed with the turn of a phrase. I cannot think of another writer with quite his style and tone and that may be why I like reading his work so much and its an absolute shame I have been neglecting the Secret History's novels the last few years. I'm going to fix that. If you are a fan of clever, descriptive, thought provoking and sometimes weird fantasy that takes the urban fantasy formula and explodes it then stitches it back together in the most interesting ways this is worth your time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I started this book a bit of a sceptic, I mean its not everyday you get a main character who refers to himself as Shaman Bond in Public, and is actually called Edwin Drood, and the fact that the series as a whole seems to like making word plays of big James Bond titles. The overall story that unravels here was however very good, and while its often the people around Eddie who are often in more danger than he is, the story holds up a good amount of tension and suspense. Some of the twists of the s I started this book a bit of a sceptic, I mean its not everyday you get a main character who refers to himself as Shaman Bond in Public, and is actually called Edwin Drood, and the fact that the series as a whole seems to like making word plays of big James Bond titles. The overall story that unravels here was however very good, and while its often the people around Eddie who are often in more danger than he is, the story holds up a good amount of tension and suspense. Some of the twists of the story I didn't see coming which is always a good thing in a novel wrote this way, and the big evil secrets are as big and evil as could be imagined!. I also liked the interactions between characters in this book, even though the romance appears to be a whirlwind of a 1 day to get to relationship stage, and Edwin while Edwin can seem a tad over emotional throughout the book I think it works realistically to the situation hes in. my only real gripe with the book is that thinks always seemed to happen in 3's, He'd get attacked by 3 people one after the other without pause, escape, and go meet with 3 other people, before being attacked again by 3 different groups, it just seemed a lot of things in the book worked that way and I only really realised it as it happened so often.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shayan Kh

    3.7 stars. What can I say? I think people here already summed up this book pretty good: James Bond with magic. It is pretty much like a mix of GI joe and Nightside. Almost a typical Simon R. Green book. ( I haven't read the deathstalker series yet.) It tends to get repetitive a little after you read one of his series. But I just love the concepts he uses in his books. Like the Confiuselum, I just love picturing these things, and Mr. Green delivers every time. If you are a fan of his works, and 3.7 stars. What can I say? I think people here already summed up this book pretty good: James Bond with magic. It is pretty much like a mix of GI joe and Nightside. Almost a typical Simon R. Green book. ( I haven't read the deathstalker series yet.) It tends to get repetitive a little after you read one of his series. But I just love the concepts he uses in his books. Like the Confiuselum, I just love picturing these things, and Mr. Green delivers every time. If you are a fan of his works, and you aren't tired of it yet, I recommend this book to you. Or if you like urban fantasy stories, full of action scenes and somewhat confusing concept slapped in the middle, I recommend this to you. Otherwise, you are not gonna like it in my opinion.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    3.5 stars. Good paranormal thriller about Eddie Drood, the black sheep of a massive family that quietly protects the world from the supernatural. I was completely surprised by all of the turns this one took! *still boggled* This isn't rated higher because there was an awful lot of exposition that felt unnecessary and at times unending. 3.5 stars. Good paranormal thriller about Eddie Drood, the black sheep of a massive family that quietly protects the world from the supernatural. I was completely surprised by all of the turns this one took! *still boggled* This isn't rated higher because there was an awful lot of exposition that felt unnecessary and at times unending.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erth

    great read as usual. i love this author. easy to read and no constant repeating of previous chapters. would recommend this book

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Man With the Golden Torc is the first book in the Secret Histories series written by Simon R. Green. It stars Edwin Drood, codenamed Shaman Bond and he is a part of the Droods, an ancient family that purportedly watches over the world and protects it from various threats, including supernatural and magical ones. Eddie Drood, scion of the ancient Drood family, devoted to protecting humanity from the forces of darkness. He is protected by the secret weapon received at birth by all members of th The Man With the Golden Torc is the first book in the Secret Histories series written by Simon R. Green. It stars Edwin Drood, codenamed Shaman Bond and he is a part of the Droods, an ancient family that purportedly watches over the world and protects it from various threats, including supernatural and magical ones. Eddie Drood, scion of the ancient Drood family, devoted to protecting humanity from the forces of darkness. He is protected by the secret weapon received at birth by all members of the Drood family – a magical gold torc (neck ring) that turns into a suit of nearly impervious golden armor. Eddie faces arcane dangers with healthy doses of wry self-confidence and sarcasm. Then the family matriarch sends him on a mission that turns out to be a deadly setup. Declared a rogue, Eddie teams up with short-tempered witch Molly Metcalf to find out why he's been betrayed. The Man With the Golden Torc is written rather well. Taking place in the same universe as the Nightside, Green continues with every weird and wonderful horror conjured by his imagination in the weirdness and flavor, which gives the reader a Lovecraftian atmosphere. It is a dark fantasy with its tongue planted firmly in its own cheek that combines James Bond with the wild and insane magic and whirlwind of melodrama that can only be found in the Nightside. All in all, The Man With the Golden Torc is written rather well and is a good start to what would hopefully be a wonderful series, which I plan to continue in the very near future.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nick Brett

    I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting. The cover suggests a lightweight fantasy with James Bond nods. Not really. Had far more depth than I was expecting and no real Bond aspects apart from the title. Eddie Drood is a shaman, part of a family that have been protecting the world from the bad guys for thousands of years. They have immense wealth, power and access but still there is much bad stuff to be sorted. Eddie is kind of estranged from the family but acts as one of their agents in Lo I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting. The cover suggests a lightweight fantasy with James Bond nods. Not really. Had far more depth than I was expecting and no real Bond aspects apart from the title. Eddie Drood is a shaman, part of a family that have been protecting the world from the bad guys for thousands of years. They have immense wealth, power and access but still there is much bad stuff to be sorted. Eddie is kind of estranged from the family but acts as one of their agents in London. Helped by a magical suit he is the line of defence against evil. Called home for the first time in years, he is given a mission that goes wrong and he is declared rogue. Eddie has to try and survive and this will mean he needs the help of the sort of people he normally hunts down. As he and his entertaining gang get nearer the truth, that truth might be a step too far. Well written and great fun this, page turning with more depth than one might expect. Much to enjoy here.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    James Bond meets Urban Fantasy. Supernatural shenanigans, humour, violence, plots for world domination, all all manner of other madness are the order of the day in this series opener. Entertainingly absurd, but just a little too over the top for my liking.

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