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From Hell With Love: A Secret Histories Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Simon R. Green
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Book Description

June 7 2011 SECRET HISTORIES (Book 4)
The Matriarch of the Droods has been murdered and the general consensus is that the killer was either Eddie Drood or his best girl, Molly. And Eddie knows for a fact he didn't do it...


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About the Author

Simon R. Green is a New York Times bestselling author whose works include Drinking Midnight Wine, Beyond the Blue Moon, Blue Moon Rising, The Adventures of Hawk & Fisher, and the Deathstalker series. A resident of Bradford-on-Avon in England, he is currently working on the next Deathstalker novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PREVIOUSLY IN THE SECRET HISTORIES . . .

The name’s Bond. Shaman Bond.

You can mention that name anywhere in the darker parts of London, and someone will smile ruefully, or nod knowingly. Shaman Bond is a well-known face—always turning up when things get dangerous or a little bit weird; always ready for action, intrigue and a little illegal fun. Always there on the edges, where the games get strange and the night people dance to their own peculiar piper. Everyone at work or at play in society’s shadows knows Shaman Bond.

Except, they don’t.

I’m Eddie Drood, and Shaman Bond is just my use name—a mask for me to wear in public, to hide who and what I really am.

I’m a field agent for the ancient and mighty Drood family. We stand between Humanity and all the dark forces that threaten. We defend you from aliens and elves, mad scientists and their monsters, secret organisations and ancient inhuman enemies. Ever since my Druid ancestors first made contact with an other-dimensional entity called the Heart, who made them the protectors of Humanity by granting them incredible golden armour.

It was only very recently that I discovered the awful price my family paid for that armour, and was still paying, centuries later. I destroyed the Heart, to save my family’s soul. Now we have new armour, provided by a new other-dimensional entity. Called Ethel. I really don’t want to talk about that.

I saved the family from itself, and for my sins they put me in charge, but I was never happy with that much responsibility. First chance I got I dumped it all on someone else, and went back to being just a field agent again. One of the best, if I do say so myself.

But—the Man from U.N.C.L.E. had to contend with agents of THRUSH. James Bond had SPECTRE. So it really shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me, that a family as ancient and powerful as mine might have its own very dark shadow . . .



CHAPTER ONE

The Return of Doctor Delirium

In the secret agent business, no one is necessarily who or what they say they are. It comes with the job, and the territory. Agents in the field collect names and identities the way normal people collect credit cards; and just like you, we all have to pay the cost when the bill comes due. Use names are common, if only to help us avoid the consequences of our actions. I’m Shaman Bond as often as I’m Eddie Drood. In fact, a lot of the time I think I prefer being Shaman; he doesn’t have the duties and responsibilities of being a Drood.

And it’s not just us poor bastards risking our lives out in the field—no organisation is ever what it appears to be, when seen from the outside. They all have levels within levels, inner circles and hidden agendas, and the left hand is never allowed to know who the right hand is killing. Like the onion, there are layers within layers within layers, and sometimes, just like the onion, we have no heart.

The Droods are a family, as well as an organisation. Anything for the family, we are taught to say, from a very early age. And if you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?

It’s always hot as hell in Los Angeles, but that’s just one of the reasons why the natives call it Hell A. On the one side you’ve got Hollywood, where all your dreams can come true, including all the really disappointing ones; and on the other side you’ve got Disneyland, where dreams are up for sale, or at least rent. And in between . . . there’s all the sin and avarice in the world, just waiting for you to put a foot wrong. Everyone who matters turns up in LA eventually, because LA is a city that deals in temptation. Especially for the kind of people who like to think they’re above the laws and moral constraints that operate in the rest of the world. Las Vegas deals in money, New York deals in deals, but LA deals in sin.

Hollywood is the town where people will sell their soul for a three picture deal; or a sit down with a big name producer; or just for a walk-on in a popular sitcom. Hardly surprising, then, that the place is full of people ready to buy as well as sell. You can buy anything in LA, if you’re prepared to pay the price. Dreams come cheap in Hollywood, because there’s a glut on the market.

I arrived in Los Angeles on a commercial air flight, under the Shaman Bond name. Business class, so as not to draw attention. You have to keep up the character, as well as the name, and Shaman Bond had never gone first class in his life. Ordinarily, I would have simply activated the Merlin Glass, and stepped from the family Hall in England to my destination in Los Angeles, but apparently using a major magical item that powerful would set off all kinds of alarm bells, among all the wrong people. And since I was supposed to be operating under the radar on this one, I did it the hard way. And made a point of keeping all my receipts. The family’s been coming down really hard on expense claims recently; just because a few of us have been known to be a little . . . creative, on occasion.

And I am here to tell you, fourteen hours cooped up in a plane gives you a whole new insight into air rage.

To my surprise, Los Angeles turned out to look exactly like it does on all the television shows. Brilliant blue sky, towering palm trees, more fast-moving traffic than the mind can comfortably cope with, and a sun so hot it’s like stepping into a blast furnace. My bare skin actually smarted from contact with the sunlight, so I grabbed the nearest taxi and told the very laid-back driver to take me to the Magnificat Hotel in Anaheim.

The driver just grunted, took a long drag on his hand-rolled, and steered the taxi straight into the thundering traffic with a casual disregard for road safety, and indeed survival, that took my breath away. The driver was big and black and uncommunicative. He’d covered the inside of his cab with assorted voodoo charms, pictures of the saints, and a whole bunch of severed chicken feet. More feathers and fetishes dangled from the roof. I would have settled for one of those little green pine things. I wondered whether I should inform the driver that I knew for a fact more than half his collection was complete and utter bullshit. I decided against it.

I was going to Anaheim, not Hollywood. Anaheim is on the whole other side of town, as far as you can get from the glamour and the ballyhoo and still be in the same city. There was a Disneyland park, which I hoped to visit if I got the chance. If only to chat up Snow White. (Boyhood crushes are a terrible thing.) Still, despite all my best intentions, I was just a bit overawed at being in a city I knew only from films and television. We passed off-ramp signs, for places like Echo Beach and Mulholland Drive, names the whole world knew. It was like seeing road signs to Narnia and Oz.

I was in Los Angeles to meet up with the local field agent, Luther Drood. I didn’t know the man, but then, it’s a large family, and field agents by their very nature don’t come home much. In fact, it’s the reason why most of us become field agents. Luther had made Los Angeles his home for more than twenty years, and despite all the good work he’d done, there was always the chance he’d gone native. Nothing like being a big fish in a small pond to make you forget all about the sharks who operate in the larger world.

I was supposed to meet Luther at the Magnificat, the single biggest hotel in LA, opening tomorrow morning in a gala ceremony at nine a.m., sharp. But Luther and I had business to attend to in the Magnificat today, and how we got on would decide whether there would be any grand opening tomorrow. Whenever possible, I like to get in, do the job, and get out again without being noticed, but given the nature of the job, sometimes fire, general mayhem and extensive property damage are just unavoidable side effects.

The taxi driver fixed me in his rearview mirror with his calm, steady gaze. “So, man, are you an actor, or a writer?”

“Neither,” I said firmly.

There was a long pause, as he tried to get his head around such a novel concept. “Hell, man, everyone here is either an actor, or a writer. Or a producer. Everything else is just what you do to pay the bills, till the big break comes around. You’re a Brit, right? Love the accent. You guys make the best villains . . . So, are you a producer? Because I got this killer screenplay, guaranteed to do major business. All about this guy who can turn invisible, but only when he’s naked . . . You don’t like that one? Okay, how about this for high concept— James Bond meets Alien!”

“Been there, done that,” I said. “Just drive.”

And there must have been something in my voice, because he sniffed loudly, shut up, and fixed his gaze on the road ahead. He turned his music up loud, which seemed to consist mainly of bass beats, heavy grunts and extensive use of the word “ho.” I didn’t think it had anything to do with the song from Snow White. Unless one of the dwarves was called Shouty.

We hadn’t been driving long before we hit hard traffic. Every lane was full, in every direction, and everyone had ground to a halt. There was a lot of bad-tempered horn abuse, and even more harsh language. My driver just sat back in his seat and rolled up another fat one, quite content to sit there as long as it took, and watch his fare rise. I wasn’t. I had work to be about, and a deadline to meet. So I got out of the taxi, paid off the driver, (including a tip nicely calculated to spoil his whole day without inciting actual violence), and walked up the highway, strolling in and out of the parked cars. And no one saw me, because I had armoured up and invoked stealth mode.

The marvellous armour of the Droods flowed out of the golden torc around ...

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Kill them all, Drood June 6 2010
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The Drood family has always specialized in thwarting deranged maniacal magic-using megalomaniacs who want to take over the world.

But what can they do about an organized "Anti-Drood" organization that is as old as they are, and has spies in their ranks? Simon R. Green tackles that weighty idea in "From Hell With Love," his fourth Secret Histories novel -- a sometimes confusing tangle of magical battles, shapeshifters, spies and impending world destruction.

First off, Eddie is sent to L.A. to stop the small-time villain Dr. Delirium at a magical auction... only to have Delirium make off with the aptly-named Apocalypse Door. And after he returns back to the Droods' vast mansion, the Matriarch is brutally murdered in her bed, throwing the Droods into mass confusion and chaos -- as well as a berserker rage that causes them to attack Molly.

Eddie suspects that the mysterious Immortals -- an ancient clan who have served as the "anti-Droods" throughout history -- are behind it all, but the Drood Library is suspiciously devoid of information on then. The Immortals have slipped "flesh-dancing" spies into the Droods' ranks, and plan to destroy the Droods and harness the Door's power... unless Eddie destroys them first.

We have Springheel Jack, a woman immortalized by endless waking, a talking dragon head, the Spawn of Frankenstein and a Droodlike family of immortal sociopaths. Yeah, this is definitely a Simon R. Green book. But "From Hell With Love" is a darker story than the previous Secret Histories novels -- especially since the Droods suffer the biggest losses we've seen yet.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Armourer: "And I've always wanted a dog. I used to have one, a long time ago. But it exploded. Poor little Scraps." June 7 2010
By H. Bala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Eddie Drood never was comfortable being head of the Family and so he relinquished that burden promptly enough once the Hungry Gods war got done. FROM HELL WITH LOVE, the fourth novel in Simon R. Green's Secret Histories series, finds Eddie back to being just another field agent and this time assigned to Los Angeles. In "Hell A," Eddie hooks up with a family member, Luther Drood, as they attempt to bust into a dark and strange, highly exclusive auction and obtain an item on the auction list, the Apocalypse Door, this insidious device which the Droods alarmingly know little of. But Eddie and Luther bollock things up in a big way, even if only a smidgen of it were actually their fault. But their not completing the mission would have grave repercussions. End of the world type repercussions.

Simon R. Green's audacious, go for broke schtick never gets old for me, although he's done this over and over in his writing career. As always, one of his chapters presents enough wild ideas to satisfy other fiction authors for an entire book. I even like that Green occasionally inserts these bits of non-sequitur, some past adventure or anecdote which has nothing to do with the current story thread, and yet they serve to flesh out Eddie Drood's very improbable world. Green jampacks his books with widescreen and extremely violent acts of derring-do (my favorite action bit may be of how Eddie disposes of one frightening dragon), and Green's all over the place in terms of introducing vile, loathly creatures in need of slaying and despicable arcane artifacts in need of safeguarding or destroying. A villain in the piece is one of those patented mad scientists, but this one historically had been more of a low-rent nuisance than a bonafide threat. Except now Doctor Delirium has gotten a hold of the Apocalypse Door. But Doctor Delirium would turn out to be the least of Eddie Drood's concerns. Returning from his eff-up in Los Angeles, Eddie's world is topsy-turvied by a murder of devastating consequences. For one thing, it implicates his wild witch girlfriend, Molly Metcalf. And for the Drood family, the other shoe finally drops. Although, as crazy things have been happening to the Droods of late, this is probably, like, the fifth other shoe to drop. But it's a big one.

The Drood family had been working in the shadows for who knows how long now, striving to keep the world safe from harm, staving off apocalypse time and again. Because of the vast networks accessible to the Droods, they have become the de facto secret rulers of the world. Or, if not exactly ruling the world, at least influencing it behind the curtain. In this volume Simon R. Green unveils the flip side to the Droods. There have always been murmurs circulating amongst the unnatural world, this unfounded urban myth, about a malignant race of Immortals. Eddie Drood comes to find that the Immortals are worryingly real, that they are in fact the dark counterparts to the Droods. Worse, that while the Droods had been covertly putting their stamp on history, the Immortals had infiltrated the Droods and had been all along pulling the strings. This makes the Drood family vulnerable to an attack from within. And you know it happens.

I think it's cool that Green seems to be be placing his various series into this one shared reality. The prior entry in the Secret Histories, THE SPY WHO HAUNTED ME, featured John Walker from the Nightside series, and here Green makes further mention of Nightside and even of Shadows Fall. And, in DAEMONS ARE FOREVER, he'd even found a way to tie in the Deathstalker books. That is some comprehensive world building.

Moorcock to Lumley to Green. British authors who deal in lovely bombastic storytelling. Just about everyone of Simon R. Green's characters are stylish and larger than life, each prone to speaking in hyperbole or making grandiose statements, and our protagonist is as guilty of this as anyone. When an enslaved kobold tries to put Eddie in his place, Eddie, in the middle of storming the enemy's stronghold, airily declares: "I'm a Drood. Other people do the dying." Green's characters are so dipped in ego they should just all become television wrestlers.

The writer isn't so keen to inject character development, but, oboy, are there plenty of plot developments. Still, how can you not get curious about folks with fetching names like the Armourer, the Waking Beauty, Springheel Jack, and, er, Ethel? Simon R. Green continues to spin tales rife with super-science and eldritch magics and also the occasional dark humor. Eddie Drood's adventures continue to achieve this grand scale. The Secret Histories aren't my favorite books by this author (that would be BLUE MOON RISING and SHADOWS FALL). The Secret Histories fall just a tier below on my list, and Eddie Drood isn't as contemplative or rich in character as Prince Rupert or Owen Deathstalker. But he's grown on me, and irregardless of that alarming cliffhanger ending, I'm assured he'll be back in the next sequel FOR HEAVEN'S EYES ONLY. Okay, if there's one thing I can't stand about this series, it's those cheesily cheesy book titles.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much fun June 2 2010
By Shala Kerrigan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Simon R. Green's books. I started with Blue Moon Rising (Darkwood) nearly 20 years ago and have been able to rely on his books ever since for great monsters, lots of action and likable heroes with their own harsh definition of honor and justice. It's not literature, it's fun swashbuckler action and some of the best urban fantasy around.
This series though has rapidly become my favorite. The Drood family protects us all, they are the secret masters of the world and Edwin Drood, known as Shaman Bond to his friends and Eddie to the people who love him is a family rebel who really does want to protect people, even from his family. Various events have made the family aware there is another family that's been around as long as they have, and they aren't friendly. I don't like doing summaries of books because sometimes they give away too much of the plot.

I liked it. Green can be a bit predictable as a writer, but it makes him reliably enjoyable if you do like his work. I've liked the relationships in all his books, but Molly Metcalf is my favorite of all his romantic leading ladies. This book can stand alone, but you'll probably prefer to read from the beginning if you haven't and get to know the characters.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kill them all, Drood June 6 2010
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Drood family has always specialized in thwarting deranged maniacal magic-using megalomaniacs who want to take over the world.

But what can they do about an organized "Anti-Drood" organization that is as old as they are, and has spies in their ranks? Simon R. Green tackles that weighty idea in "From Hell With Love," his fourth Secret Histories novel -- a sometimes confusing tangle of magical battles, shapeshifters, spies and impending world destruction.

First off, Eddie is sent to L.A. to stop the small-time villain Dr. Delirium at a magical auction... only to have Delirium make off with the aptly-named Apocalypse Door. And after he returns back to the Droods' vast mansion, the Matriarch is brutally murdered in her bed, throwing the Droods into mass confusion and chaos -- as well as a berserker rage that causes them to attack Molly.

Eddie suspects that the mysterious Immortals -- an ancient clan who have served as the "anti-Droods" throughout history -- are behind it all, but the Drood Library is suspiciously devoid of information on then. The Immortals have slipped "flesh-dancing" spies into the Droods' ranks, and plan to destroy the Droods and harness the Door's power... unless Eddie destroys them first.

We have Springheel Jack, a woman immortalized by endless waking, a talking dragon head, the Spawn of Frankenstein and a Droodlike family of immortal sociopaths. Yeah, this is definitely a Simon R. Green book. But "From Hell With Love" is a darker story than the previous Secret Histories novels -- especially since the Droods suffer the biggest losses we've seen yet.

And Green packs the entire book with a harrowing string of gruesome battles that leave countless Droods dead or wounded, as well as a bleak sense of paranoia over what spies have wormed their way into "the family." His writing is tight and colorful, and his usual sense of humor is in place (Eddie deals with a legendary, unkillable dragon by... grabbing the inside of its tail and pulling it inside out. EW).

And Eddie has a rougher time in this book than he has since the first book of this series -- the Droods still regard him with scorn and suspicion, and he seems to have lost the person closest to his heart. Green also fleshes out the Armourer by revealing more about his personal life, and the sacrifices he has made for the Droods; and we also get the cruel Immortals, who are the dark twins of the Droods.

The downside? A couple of plot threads are left dangling (Roger's trip to Hell), and Green himself leaves us dangling with a hair-ripping, finger-gnawing cliffhanger. Oh come on, I suffered through an almost identical cliffhanger once this year already!

Simon R. Green splashes his Secret Histories series with a healthy dose of blood, mayhem and paranoia in "From Hell With Love".... but honestly, that cliffhanger is just cruel!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you like Simon R. Green then here is another book for you. June 22 2010
By John R. Vasquez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First of all I purchase all of SRG's books as soon as they come out so I would have to be considered a fan. That being said I'm not a head over heels fan. His books are interesting and I like that many are interconnected not stand alone. What is starting to wear is that they are all the same. Even the cool stuff is just the same and if you have read all the other books then about 5-8% of the book covers stuff you already know and don't want to waste time rereading. Hey I will continue to buy his books including the nightside series, but know what you are getting into when you buy it. Is it worth the price? I'm on the fence on this. At a kindle price of 9.99 I would say maybe at 7.99 or less then yes not question. At the current price, you might want to wait.
5.0 out of 5 stars From hell with love Feb. 21 2014
By Vurester - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A thrilling ride from start to finish, with many surprises. I would recommend the hidden mysteries series to anyone who enjoys scifi/fantasy. Can't wait to read the next book.
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