I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Property of a Lady Faire by Simon R. Green
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc on June 3, 2014
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Tales of the Hidden World, From a Drood to a Kill, The Dark Side of the Road, Dead Man Walking, Very Important Corpses, Moonbreaker, Dr. DOA, The Dark Side of the Road , The House on Widows Hill
Eighth in the Secret Histories urban fantasy series and revolving around Edwin Drood, a secret agent who rarely plays by the book.
As crazy as ever — how Green manages to think up such out-of-this-world characters and these scenarios…
Using first person protagonist point-of-view, it’s Eddie’s perspective all the way, as he and Molly continue to confound the family and grow their relationship. And Green keeps adding to the cast of Droods.
The theme is vengeance. So many want retribution for murder, for bad choices, for bad parenting, for power, and it will require saving the world, but up against one of the family with a terrifying and unbeatable weapon. It’s also an example of greed and shortsightedness that demonstrates why you shouldn’t try to have your cake and eat it too. With all the experience the Drood family has, I’d think they’d have learned something. Hmmm, then again, maybe that’s why they’re trying to do both. It’s a conundrum.
Green does make me laugh with this spoof of James Bond…and that “nice” differentiation between Edwin Drood and Seamus Bond, lol. Not so nice is the lengths to which a government organization will go to gain power.
Speaking of lengths, it’s not all one-sided, as the family also has its public and private face, quite explicitly in Property of a Lady Faire. It makes for a nice bit of tension in the story, as the family adjusts to the passing of the guard. And not a family I’d trust. Of course, Molly isn’t a nice person, part of what makes her so much fun, lol, and I do enjoy how she tweaks the family.
It could be my poor memory, but I think this is the first time Green revealed why the series is named Secret Histories, for the secret history of the world as preserved by Droods through the ages.
Edwin thinks Ethel might be raising Droods as pets, and after the example of the Heart in the earlier Secret Histories stories…eek! Still, I can’t help loving Ethel for her enthusiasm and appreciation for Eddie. Of course, I adore Uncle Jack — he’s one of the more reasonable Droods, ahem, in spite of the mayhem that occurs in the Armoury. He’s James Bond’s Q with an unlimited imagination and ability.
One of Uncle Jack’s T-shirts reads: “Yes I do hear voices, and they all know your name.”
Others on the Lady Faire’s guest list include the usual celebrities and politicians who espouse different agendas behind closed doors other than the ones they shout out to the public, aliens, ex-popes, and more. It’s when you think of why these, um, people are on the Lady Faire’s guest list (and the concept of what she is) that I got creeped out. And amazed at what a busy lady she’s been, *laughter*.
Always a fun and out-of-this-world read, I do enjoy Green’s Secret Histories.
It’s all about the secrets, but Molly is determined to find out who gave the order to kill her parents. And the Wulfshead club management is as determined to find out who is telling tales out of the club.
But that can’t matter now. Eddie’s parents are being held hostage. His grandfather has been murdered. And the future of his family, of the world, lies in the iron grasp of the Lady Faire, an incredibly seductive, mysterious, and powerful being.
Edwin Drood is one wild secret agent, always crossing the family, always doing what’s right. His alias is the always-welcome Shaman Bond. Molly Metcalf, the Wild Witch of the Wood, is his love and a “former” terrorist hated by the Droods. The Merlin Glass, created by Merlin Satanspawn, allows Eddie to create portals on the run.
Isabella and Louisa are Molly’s even worse sisters. Their parents (Trammell Island had been their home) had been part of the White Horse Faction that even makes Molly shudder.
The Droods were…
…originally Druids back in the day, and now we have the Droods based at Drood Hall. They’re a huge family of super-secret agents who keep the supernatural bad guys at bay, use secrets as leverage or blackmail, and keep the countries of the world in line. Emily was Arthur and Martha’s daughter who married Charles — Edwin’s parents whom Eddie thought dead for most of his life. Martha, Eddie’s grandmother, had been the Matriarch, the head of the Family. Capability Maggie is a landscape gardener.
The heart of the Hall is the Sanctity where the alien entity from another dimension resides and the ruling Council meets. The current entity is the much nicer Ethel, who provides the strange matter for the amazing Drood armor.
Current members of the ruling Drood Council include Uncle Jack the Armourer (he’d been one of the family’s leading field agents); William the Librarian (he recently married Ammonia Vom Acht, a very powerful telepath) who is slowly getting his mind back (Man with the Golden Torc, 1); Cedric, the bullying Serjeant-at-Arms (Eddie thinks he must have had his good side surgically removed); and, Callan, Head of the War Room.
The Drood in Cell 13 doesn’t officially exist. When he did, he was Laurence Drood, the then-family Armourer. Uncle James had been the Grey Fox, THE super secret agent for the family.
Organizations For the Good??
The Department of the Uncanny is…
…a government information-gathering organization created by Edwin’s grandfather, Arthur, Martha’s first husband and a rogue Drood who became the Regent of Shadows. (They used to call Arthur the Drood with a conscience.) Diana and Patrick, Edwin’s parents’ aliases, have been disowned by the family for working for the Regent of Shadows. Ankani is Arthur’s personal aide. The Phantom Berserker is a Viking ghost.
The London Knights are another agency for good. Black Heir is a super secret organization that cleans up weird tech left behind after alien incursions.
MI 13 is…
…the British government’s secret spy organization whose mission is to protect Queen and country from supernatural threats (it’s said that a lot of their higher-ups are Wulfshead club management). The inept Alan Diment is its current head (For Heaven’s Eyes Only, 5). Philip MacAlpine had been its previous treacherous head (For Heaven’s Eyes Only).
The Nightside is…
…an anything goes “Underground” in London ruled by the Authorities who are represented by Walker, and it seems that John Taylor is the new Walker, and he’s on his honeymoon (The Bride Wore Black Leather, 12).
Some of those who patronize the Nightside include Monkton Farley, the famous consulting detective — “A hard man to dislike — but worth the effort”; Ellen de Gustibus is an agent of the Good, but she, literally, eats monsters; Charlatan Joe is no longer welcome in the Wulfshead; the Painted Ghoul is disgusting for the fun of it; Waterloo Lillian; Harry Fabulous could get you ANYthing, then he crossed the club management; the Karma Catechist knew all there was to know about magical systems; and, Hadleigh Oblivion, the Detective Inspectre who has no shades of grey, is unstoppable, investigating the very worst crimes, where reality is under threat. He used to be Walker in the 1960s and 70s until something happened to him. He appears to be associated with the Deep School/Dark Acadamie. A former hippie, the Dormouse builds inter-dimensional Doors, a trick he learned from old Carnacki.
Yet more were on the invitation list for the Lady Faire’s ball: Jumping Jack Flashman, a thief and burglar who uses his short-range teleportation skills to pull it off. The Vodyanoi Brothers, Gregor and Sergei, are an obnoxious pair of Russian werewolves who were kicked out of the Moscow Mafiosi for nastiness. Dead Boy. Jimmy Thunder, God for Hire (he’s a descendent of the old Norse Gods and is a private investigator, bounty hunter, and supernatural bail bondsman), carries Mjolnir, Thor’s Hammer. The original Bride of Frankenstein is dating Springheel Jack who is/was the precursor to Jack the Ripper. The Replicated Meme of Saint Sebastian were six versions of the same personality in six different bodies, a soul-share deal. The Living Shroud makes a living haunting people who won’t pay up. Lady Alice Underground is an elderly but robust explorer of the Underverse. The Last of Leng is the only survivor of a vicious people. Tommy Oblivion is an existential private eye, specializing in cases that may or may not have occurred. Ms Fate is a costumed adventurer.
The Wulfshead is…
…a bar (and club) patronized by denizens of the Nightside. The club management is feared throughout the world. The Roaring Boys are club security.
The Winter Palace is…
…the ultimate in exclusive and located in Ultima Thule, the coldest place in any world, existing in a pocket dimension, a world with its own rules.
The Lady Faire was…
…created by Baron Frankenstein (when he was getting old and kinky) as a ladything, an omnisexual, and the ultimate sexual object, being all things to all people.
The blood-red men are unstoppable. The Red King and the Sceneshifters were a really secret group who rewrote History. False Knights are members of the Order of Steel who gave themselves up to a dark force which permanently bound magical armour to its wearer, making them completely unbeatable, created in answer to the Droods. Shadow Banks are secret underground financial institutions that fund supernatural crimes and criminals. Kayleigh’s Eye is an amulet that makes the wearer invulnerable to all forms of attack. The Lazarus Stone is an alien device, a time travel mechanism that lets the user reach back in time. Drood scarecrows are the dead-but-aware bodies of Drood enemies bound to protect Drood Hall. The OverNet is the darkest side of the Internet dealing exclusively with supernatural anything. Siberian Death Wurms are really nasty.
The Cover and Title
The cover is the blues, purples and whites of the icy Winter Palace, as the suited Edwin Drood, his back to us, chases down the Lady Faire in her white mini and over-the-knee black boots, desperate to grab the Lazarus Stone that shines in her outstretched hand. An info blurb is at the top in black with a gray horizontal rule separating it from the author’s name in purple. At the bottom in a black-outlined, cold yellow is the title with the series information at the very bottom right, set off with its own horizontal rules.
The title is everyone’s focus, the Property of a Lady Faire.