BOOK & BLOG
|June 24, 2007
Book of the Week: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TORC by Simon R. Green
Ive enjoyed all Simon Greens Nightside books featuring the terrifying detective John Taylor, but I think I liked THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TORC even better. Its almost impossible to find a writer with a more fertile imagination than Simon, and in his latest book he combines that imagination with non-stop action adventure and a dash of romance. Eddie Drood, a black sheep member of the incredibly powerful and secretive Drood clan, is called back to his ancestral home unexpectedly, after the completion of a mission that didnt go quite as planned. Eddie, who both loves and hates his very extensive and quirky family (which is pledged to protect the unknowing humans of the world from evil magical forces) arrives at the huge and luxurious house to find hes been giving an incredible assignment. He has to carry a priceless ancient relic back to Stonehenge and bury it there.
On his journey through the English countryside, Eddie discovers that hes being ambushed. By hook or by crook, Eddie survives all the forces thrown at him, and makes a tour of magical London to find out whos put the mark on him. The answer shocks Eddie; its his own family, the Droods. To find out why, Eddie joins forces with a wild witch, a woman as stand-up as they come, and together they go through the dangerous depths of London in search of an answer.
The final confrontation is a doozy, and Eddie goes through many transformations in his quest to find the truth and then to implement change. Its wonderful to watch this cocky character become humbler and more serious in the course of the book; but he never becomes too humble or too serious.
If you havent sampled Simons work before, MAN is a good place to start, since its the beginning of a new series. After you read it, youll probably want to go back and read his backlist. Hes a writer who seems endlessly inventive.
You cant make everyone happy. Thats the conclusion I have to draw over and over. All you can do is try to keep the commitments youve made in the best way you can and try not to overextend yourself. Sometimes that involves saying No when youd like to say Yes.
Probably because of the HBO deal, Im getting more requests to speak and make appearances than Ive ever gotten before. Very flatteringly, many more writers would like me to blurb their books. And since I was raised to be polite and obliging, theres nothing Id like more than to say yes to all these requests. This year has marked a turning point in my public life, though. If I say yes, I wont have enough to write, and I wont have enough time to read books by old friends and old favorites.
Saying no is especially difficult when a local acquaintance is asking. I think of those times I was glad to speak for the price of my gas to and from the event, and the times I would stare at the phone thinking how exciting it would be if someone, anyone, would ask me to blurb them. It makes me feel ungrateful in a cosmic sense if I cant help out all these nice people who want me to do the same thing now.
The harsh realization hit me about Fall of 2006. I had no more time for myself. I had to start turning people down.
Its gotten a little easier as time has gone on, but I still feel like a creep when I have to tell someone I cant speak at their club event in a month (!), and that I just dont have the time to read their latest book. The fact is, I now establish my calendar a year in advance. I try to leave some room for unexpected opportunities, but by December or January Ive already picked my conferences for the year. This selection is based on a lot of factors the date, the location, the on-sale date of new books, whether or not Im a featured guest and thus get my expenses paid, and so on. And I always have to charge a fee when Im asked to speak, or Id be gone to every library club in the state; which wouldnt be a bad thing at all, library people are lovely, but I just have to have time to work and to see my family.
If this sounds apologetic, it is. Its built into my character that turning down people is an uncomfortable and almost painful procedure. But these days, its necessary.
Some day, Ill probably look back on this time wistfully and wish I were back in hot demand. But for now, to misquote the song from OKLAHOMA!, Im just the girl who has to say no.
Most of the time.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris