The Man With the Golden Torc (2007) is the first volume in Simon Green's latest series effort. Ostensibly an occult/modern fantasy pastiche of James Bond, the book quickly degenerates into a depressing regurgitation of Green's previous plots and characters.
Although he consistently designs and populates creative worlds, Green has a tendency to escalate the action in his books to a feverish pace. In some cases, this makes for an intense, cinematic read. However, in many others, his hastily contrived plots and paper-thin characters can't keep up.
Too often his books resolve in a scenario where everyone runs around finding bigger and bigger guns (with grim-sounding names in Capital Letters), only for everything to be neatly resolved with a Power that Was Inside All Along.
The Man with the Golden Torc falls into the latter category. And is further damned by the unfortunate fact that Green brings nothing new to the book. The lead characters - male and female - are simply rehashed from previous series. The plot, with its so-called 'twists and turns', is unfortunately predictable, as the same villains, traitors and secret allies are lifted whole-heartedly from previous Green stories.
With the espionage premise and the tongue-in-cheek humor, The Man with the Golden Torc sits on the shelf with a great deal of potential. Unfortunately, upon reading, it is a disappointment - a collection of out-takes and 'worst of...' moments from previous books.
Pass this by and revisit Green's previous books instead. They're much the same, but, you know... better.
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