Spoilers be here. Faire (see what I did there?) warning since this is a relatively new book. Property of a Lady Faire is the latest in Simon R. Green’s Secret History novels. We start out with plucky hero Edwin Drood running from the guardians of the Vatican’s secret vaults. The guardians look like nuns and priest to begin with and then, with how he wrote it, turned in to Ringwraiths (or similar). Eddie was charged with replacing a book that the Droods felt the Vatican shouldn’t have access to. It would just upset them.
With his mission on the brink of success, Eddie uses the Merlin Glass to escape to Soho in London where he has another job. Something or someone is selling secrets from the Wulfshead Club. Since the Wulfshead is rather Vegas like in that whatever is done or said there, stays there, the management is understandable upset. And they want to get to the bottom of it. So they call Eddie in under the guise of his alter ego, Shaman Bond.
Shaman schmoozes among the clients, listening to what is and isn’t being said and is right in time for shit to go down (naturally, as he is the star of the book). People start disappearing and Eddie uses a bit of his golden torc to See that there is something wrong with the many, many televisions in the Club. Something is reaching through and snatching people because what is better than listening to secrets? Getting them directly from the source (or sources as they’re snatching damn near all the patrons).
Eddie gets mad and confronts the possessed tellys (that’s British slang for TVs, fellow Yanks). He makes it quite clear that everyone is to be returned to the club unharmed and this insidious surveillance removed or he will get very upset. Suddenly, violently and all over the place. That all said and done, everyone is returned and we find out that the government is behind the whole thing (the representative being old pal Alan Diment who really doesn’t like Eddie or the Droods).
The Club management thanks Eddie, tells him that they owe him a favor and drop him off directly on the grounds of Drood Hall. This is something that shouldn’t be able to happen so Eddie (and the family) are necessarily worried. They’ve had a lot of attacks on the Hall recently after all. So Eddie ambles on up to the Hall, collecting Molly on the way and goes to meet the family council. He doesn’t really want to, he rather hates the bureaucracy, but his grandmother left him something in her will (of course, she did die several books ago but there are traditions to be maintained apparently).
Among other things, the Matriarch appointed her sister (the gardener) as Matriarch because she feels the family needs a Matriarch and she leaves Eddie a box. This box is rather like a mini monolith from 2001/2010 in that they haven’t been able to open or scan it. Its set so only Eddie can open it and he doesn’t really want it, not the least because the Matriarch’s will specifically stated that it is something that will make him undisputed head of the family (I can’t wait to see what this turns out to be). Eddie basically tells the lot of them to shove off (again) and leaves with the box in tow (he may not want it but he doesn’t want any of them to have it either).
Business done, he and Molly go to visit his grandfather, the Regent of Shadows. They want to know why he killed Molly’s parents (who, from what I understand, were not good people at all). Unfortunately, they’re too late. Someone has taken down his organization, every last one of them, including the Regent himself. Which really should have been impossible since he had Kayleigh’s Eye physically implanted in his chest.
The thing that did that (referred to as the Voice by Eddie because they have no way of telling what it is beyond the voice they’re hearing) wants Eddie to retrieve the Lazarus Stone or else Eddie’s parents are dead. Again. Well, for realsies this time. Neither Eddie nor Molly know what the hell a Lazarus Stone is so Eddie goes the only place he can…back to Drood Hall to talk to the Drood in Cell13.
This Drood (Laurence) used to be the family Armourer before Jack. He did something to himself that affected his brain. He now knows everything in the old and new Drood libraries, not to mention every new thing that happens within Drood Hall. He doesn’t appear to age any longer and the family all agreed (including poor Laurence) that he was too much of a danger to the family to be allowed to roam free so they built him a very specialized prison cell.
Laurence is definitely more than a little batshit and he tugs Molly and Eddie around by the nose a bit but eventually tells them that the Lazarus Stone is a bit of the stone that was rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb so Jesus could raise him from the dead. Supposedly. In the end, the best explanation we have as to what this thing can do is that its some sort of mechanism (possibly alien in origin) that has to do with time travel. He also hints that Eddie’s late grandfather, the Regent, last had the stone. This they already know so with Droods bearing down on them thanks to all sorts of alarms, they run off to the Armoury to talk to Jack (one of my personal favorite characters in this series).
Jack eventually tells Eddie that his brother James had the stone and gave it to a woman he actually loved, a courtesan of Frankensteinian make called the Lady Faire. She was apparently made to be everyone’s perfect sexual object (men, women, other). She had many lovers and more ex-lovers and James knew that she’d never be his and yet love makes you do silly things.
The rest of the book is Eddie and Molly facing increasing odds as they try to figure out a way to 1) find the Lady Faire and 2) get close enough to her to take this. Of course, things aren’t that straight forward and there is a bit of a twist toward the end that is quite good (made me grin really). I loved this book and I was really temped to immediately start reading it again. In fact, I may just have to go back and reread it right now. Highly recommended, rating: A+.