Friday, May 1, 2009

Agents of Light and Darkness, The Nightside bk 2, Simon R. Green

Like film noir? Well, how about neon noir? This is the world of the Nightside. The dark reflection of London. Where all your dreams and desires, virtues and vice, damnation and enlightenment can be found, for a price. This is also where PI, of a sort, John Taylor has been recently called back to. Taylor isn't like the PI's you're used to, he's only good at one thing...finding anything...especially if those things don't wish to be found. He uses his third eye, his private eye to see things that others can't or have the good sense not to look for. It's the one useful gift he got from his mother.

The mother that he's never known anything about except that when his father found out she wasn't human, he killed himself by inches with a bottle. The mother that he's been told that if he goes looking for her could bring about the ruination of the world. Not just the Nightside, but the entire world.

Agents of Light and Darkness (Nightside, Book 2) begins in a church of all places. Not that places of worship are that hard to find in the Nightside. Just stroll down The Street of the Gods and you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. This church however is nowhere near there probably because it's the only church in the Nightside. This church is older then the Street of the Gods, older then the Time Tower, even older then Strangefellows, the oldest pub in the world. The church is St. Jude's even older than Christianity itself. Dedicated to the patron saint of lost causes, and if there was ever a more fitting saint for the Nightside no one's thought them up yet.

This time Taylor's PI, white knight persona is going to send him on a quest. A grail quest to be exact. Oh no, sorry, not that one. Not the one that Christ drank from at the last supper. The un-holy grail. The cup used by Judas Iscariot which can bring ultimate power with the only cost being ultimate damnation. It seems that if this cup is found by the wrong players a little something called Armageddon will happen. Taylor is commissioned by the Vatican itself, and he figures, "How hard could it be?"

Hard. Quite a number of angels are in search of the cup. From both sides of Light and Dark. The only thing they have in common is their equal disdain for humans. Add to the fact that Taylor can't use his gift without said angels swooping in and and trying to kill him, he reckons some help is needed.

He calls on Suzie Shooter, also known as Shotgun Suzie, and Oh God It's Her Run! As well as Razor Eddie, Punk God of the Straight Razor. With a little help from Alex Morrissey, descendant of Uther Pendragon (On the wrong side of the sheets) and Merlin Satanspawn who is buried in the cellar of the pub Alex owns, Strangefellows.

Oh, and there's also the Speaking Gun. The only weapon ever made that can harm angels.

With dark humour and deft writing Green begins to show the larger story he's telling here. The secondary characters begin to get a back story and the tale of who is John Taylor's mother unfolds. This is a wonderful second novel in the series, and brings us firmly back to the Nightside. Where the laws of physics not to mention reality aren't laws so much as suggestions.

Welcome back.

Agents of Light and Darkness (Nightside, Book 2) receives a rating of Excellent, 3.5 Star out of 4

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