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The Man with the Golden Torc (Secret Histories, Book 1) Hardcover – June 5, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews
Book 1 of 10 in the Secret Histories Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers who recognize the pun on Ian Fleming's James Bond title, The Man with the Golden Gun, will find the secret agent in question has more up his sleeve than a fancy car and some high-tech gadgets in this first of a new fantasy series from bestseller Green (Deathstalker). Meet Shaman Bond, aka Eddie Drood, scion of the ancient Drood family, devoted to protecting humanity from the forces of darkness. Protected by the secret weapon received at birth by all members of the Drood family—a magical gold torc (i.e., a 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. This spy yarn is packed with enough humor, action and plot twists to satisfy fans who prefer their adventure shaken, not stirred.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Green pulls out all the parodic stops to introduce supernatural field agent Shaman Bond, aka Eddie Drood, black sheep of an ancient, superpowerful family that protects humanity from its nightmares. And a good secret agent he is, partly because he has the best toys, from the golden torc that becomes impenetrable armor to a souped-up classic car. Called home for the first time in years, he comes to suspect there's a traitor within the family and discovers he has been declared a rogue. Fortunately, he has bolt-holes his family never suspected and tricks to stay alive while he investigates. He goes to former enemies, who know him as Bond, for help and discovers possible common ground with a few. For there's a bigger enemy to deal with, amid the truth behind the Droods' power, the family traitor, and the nasty things the Droods' major opponents do. Green sustains a good spy thriller's breakneck action with lots of magic, strange creatures, and even some character growth and romance. His new series star is one fun character. Schroeder, Regina
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451461452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451461452
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
That's Eddie Drood's code name. All his family has them. You see, all the stories are real--from the monster under the bed, to demons, and what these creatures can do to humanity is a lot worse than we could ever imagine.

The only thing that stands between us and ruination is the Drood (Druid) family. Eddie (aka Shamus Bond) is one of the younger members. He wears the Golden Torc in order to truly see through the veneers of creatures.

The Drood family knows everything. They have to in order to do their jobs. As Eddie says, you don't want them mad at you.

The problem is--they are worried that Eddie's got too much power and he's going to be dangerous. He's got to get away from them and use whatever he can to keep away....

"Torc" is a brand new series for Green that brings his "Nightside" elements into the mundane world. You've probably picked up on the fact that the series is a take-off on Ian Fleming's James Bond series.

The book's well-written with that 'insider gossip' feel that's going to draw readers in. In the first few pages, Shamus-Eddie has to abort a demon pregnancy in the President, who got shagged by a demon 'ladything' on a foreign mission--"no, not the one you're thinking of," he says. Still, I couldn't help laughing as I let my imagination play through the scenario.

I think this series is going to be a lot of fun for everyone from young adult readers on up. Green's 'voice' as Eddie is one of his deft and he knows how to keep us amused and reading.

While the parody seems a bit heavier-handed than his "Nightside" stories, I'd give this book a solid 4.5 and say it's well worth getting in the hardcover edition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book rates 3 1/2 stars if you have read many Simon R Green books, or 4 stars if you havent. The reason for the difference is that although the book is well written (and the hardback book I received has a good quality jacket), it is typical Simon Green. The setting is a bit different, but that is all. All his books tend to revolve around the following storyline:

There's the rebellious white male in his late 20's with powerful magical abilities who is suddenly victimised for no apparent reason. This forces him to join forces with a powerful, attractive yet psychotic woman, and together, they beat the bad guys and fall in love. Along the way, there are some fantastic scenes and characters.

I Like Simon Green's book, I really do. But it's becoming a bit of the same ol' thing. Not a bad read, but I hope the next one's got something a bit different in it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, let me just say that I am a fan of Mr Green's work, and have been for a number of years. I'm a particular fan of the Deathstalker series, and therein lies the problem. Let me explain...

In the Deathstalker series, the hero is Owen Deathstalker, member of a powerful family, who is declared "outlaw". He is cut off from all that he knew as a member of the aristrocracy, and is forced to reevaluate the system that he had always believed was for the good of the people. He allies himself with other outlaws, people he had always thought of as the lowest of the low, in his mission to bring down the Empire he had always fought to defend.

In "The Man With the Golden Torc", the hero is Edwin Drood (aka Shaman Bond), member of a powerful family, who is declared "rogue". He is cut off from all that he knew as an operative for the family who has defended normal people from all threats, supernatural and alien. Edwin is forced to reevaluate the system which he had always believed to be for the good of the people. He allies himself with other rogues, people he had always thought of as the lowest of the low, in his mission to bring down the Family he had always fought to defend.

Do you see my problem? In reading this book, I found myself constantly drawing comparisons between characters in each series (Valentine Wolf to Mr Stab, to name just one). I'm not saying that this is in any way an inferior book, it's just the same book in an "urban fantasy" as opposed to "science fiction."

Pick one of the above named series, but do yourself a favor and don't try reading them both. Repitition is great when you're trying to learn a new skill, but not so much when you're a best selling author.
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Format: Hardcover
With THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TORC, it looks like British sci-fi/fantasy author Simon R. Green is set to embark on yet another tremendous and nutty series. With the sequel to this one being tongue-in-cheeked titled DAEMONS ARE FOREVER, we easily note the Ian Fleming connection. But the James Bond ties are tenuous, at best. True, the lead character is a superspy, but that's about the only thing Edwin Drood and 007 share in common. Oh, and the cool gadgets. But no matter. Going by this first entry and by how consistently demented and fertile Green's imagination is, this series (dubbed The Secret History) is going to be a wild ride.

Plot SPOILERS begin:

Edwin Drood, known to the outside world as Shaman Bond, is the maverick son of the powerful, very secretive Drood family. For centuries, the Droods have made it their clandestine mission to protect humanity from the monsters of the world. Equipped with an arsenal of arcane gadgetry, mystical and scientific (mostly provided by the Armourer, or "Uncle Jack"), the family's most invaluable asset is the golden living armor bonded to the souls and nervous systems of its many agents. When not activated, the armor becomes a golden torc fastened around the bearer's neck.

Edwin, or Eddie, has been the only Drood member to somewhat break away from the family and gain a measure of independence. Still, he winds up undertaking missions for the Drood Matriarch now and then, which he doesn't mind. After one such mission, he's urgently summoned to the Hall, headquarters and bastion of the Droods, a place Eddie hasn't seen in ten years. There, the Matriarch (Eddie's grandmother, in fact) tasks him with playing courier to a very potent artifact.
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