The latest entry in Simon R. Green's John Taylor series brings us again to the depths of the Nightside, the secret twisted heart deep below the streets of London, where John Taylor is faced with a series of difficult and horrible choices. Yeah, I know what you are thinking: What else is new? Well, this is the first book where events of Green's newer Drood series (The Man With the Golden Torc, Daemons Are Forever, and The Spy Who Haunted Me) actually impact the Nightside.
For those of us, like myself, who have been reading Simon Green since the days of Hawk & Fisher, we all know that Green's various universes, with the exception of the Hawk & Fisher universe, are intertwined. Often characters from Drinking Midnight Wine or Shadows Fall or even Deathstalker will make appearances in the Nightside, or among the Droods, but generally these are specific to the events of the story itself. In the case of this book, Green links events discussed in The Spy Who Haunted Me with the ongoing action dealing with Walker in The Good, The Bad, & The Uncanny. While I do not wish to give any spoilers for either book, I will say that there is something going on with Walker that effects the events of both books, and the bridging of the two series likely means some very exciting things on the horizon for both.
OK, on to the book itself. Like most of Green's stories, this one starts off with a tangential mission that will be tied into the main story later in the book. That is the point at which this story departs from the standard Green formula. Unlike most of his works, The Good, The Bad, & The Uncanny, contains not one but three different mysteries to be resolved. The initiating action of the story leads into an Elf hiring John Taylor to escort him to a fairy gate at the edge of the Nightside. This takes up a full third of the book and introduces a bunch of excellent new characters like Ms Fate, the Transvestite Avenger. Next up, Larry Oblivion hires Taylor to help find his brother, who was last seen helping John Taylor during the Lilith War (Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth). In the midst of this investigation, Walker keeps popping up and trying to seduce the unflappable and incorruptible Taylor to take his job as spokesman for the Authorities of the
While not the absolute best of the series, I have to say that this is a strong departure from the standard John Taylor formula, and a great book on its own. My only real issue with the book is that reading the newer Drood series is pretty much required. Of course, if you are a fan of Simon Green, then you have likely already done that, but if you are simply a fan of the John Taylor series, there will be a great deal of information missed without access to the other books. Still this is a great book and a worthy addition to the John Taylor series.