The Man with the Golden Torc (Secret Histories, Book 1), by Simon Green
I’m about midway through this book, and although I’m enjoying it, it’s an exhausting read. I got on to it because of a review I ran across on NPR.org recently, which compared it favorably to the The Dresden Files) books by Jim Butcher. Both series feature male protagonists who walk between the mundane and magic worlds, but Green’s anti-ish hero, Eddie Drood, is British, somewhat of a Bond fan, and fully human and not really a magic user, although he has magic golden armor. Butcher’s guy, Harry Dresden, is a Chicago-based wizard who acts as a kind of magical private detective, and both have similar run-ins with witches, demons, murderers, and the undead. Drood is more like a secret agent-assassin, but in this first book, he’s chucked out of his large and influential family for some unknown reason, and is currently allied with old enemies in an attempt to survive and figure out why he’s become a shoot-on-sight target for everybody from his grandmother, the Matriarch, on down.
I liked the Dresden books at first, because I really liked The Dresden Files TV series with Paul Blackthorne (who takes amazing photos). But the books are quite a bit more violent and have more sex, naturally, than the old SciFi channel dared put on the screen. After about the 5th entry in the series, I was disinclined to read the next one, although my husband David has carried on with them as they come out.
I have hopes that these “Eddie Drood” books will continue to be enjoyable – like I said, “Torc” is pretty good so far, but exhausting. There’ve been a number of amazing battles, incredible escapes, and bizarre encounters all over and under modern London and the southwest of England… just in the first half of this book. It’s all a bit much of a muchness, but there’s enough interesting local color, intriguing character, and crackling dialogue to keep me turning pages. The sly nod-and-a-wink to the James Bond books (not to mention the fun magical gadgets and vehicles Drood uses in his escapes) are amusing, too.
I’m using a new plugin to pull in Amazon images and links, Amazon Reloaded. I already had an Amazon Web Services (AWS) key, secret key, and affiliate code, and although the plugin page warns that it’s not tested with my version of WordPress, it works fine, although the formatting on the buttons is a little weird. The search function is a little odd, probably due to inconsistent tagging on Amazon’s end, and it does seem to be missing an essential part of the link, the author’s name. I had to go look it up for both books I linked. In practice, it blends pretty seamlessly with the WP Edit Post page – it’s loaded into the center column, and can be dragged and dropped right under the edit form.
See how the one button is floating on top of part of the text? I’m using Firefox with WordPress, but it’s probably a minor formatting issue that will be corrected in a later version. However, an author link with the title would be really useful. I had to visit the book pages to verify the author’s names, shouldn’t have to do that since the point of the plugin is to work from within the WordPress editing interface.
I used to do Amazon links a lot more when this blog was created with Movable Type, but the plugin I used after switching to WordPress was a bit flaky, and stopped working altogether after an upgrade more than a year ago. I’d tried something with shortcodes, but hated the way the result looked in my posts, so I’m really happy to find Amazon Reloaded!