Agents of Light and Darkness
Written by: Simon R. Green
Published by: ACE
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Not long ago I gave up the fight against sequel reviews. So, in the spirit of sequels, I bring to you my review of Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green, sequel to Something From the Nightside—one of my new favorite books.
Agents of Light and Darkness picks up several months after the end of the last book, with John Taylor, a private eye, having relocated back to the Nightside for good, doing his usual business of using his ‘special gift’ to find what others can not. There are still people who want him dead, still mysteries yet unsolved in his life, not the least of which is who and what his mother was.
John is approached by an enigmatic priest, claiming to be a representative of the Vatican, with a special request. The priest, Jude, wants John to find the Unholy Grail, the cup that Judas the betrayer had drank from during the Last Supper. It is fabled to have dark, corruptive powers, equal, though opposite to that of the Holy Grail. Jude tells him the ‘somber cup’ is in the Nightside and angels from both Heaven and Hell are looking for it, ready to tear the Nightside apart if need be to find it.
John readily accepts the job, in part because it’s a challenge and in part because Jude has offered to pay him an exorbitant amount of money for the job. So with the help of some old friends, Suzie Shooter and Razor Eddie, John makes his way through the Nightside, looking for anyone who might know the location of the Unholy Grail. Only, with the angels lurking around every corner, and with no one strong enough to stop them, finding living contacts becomes increasingly difficult. It isn’t long before both sets of angels contact John and demand he finds the Grail for them. And to make matters worse, Walker, voice of the Authorities—the only real law in the Nightside—informs John that all of his people are pulling out of the Nightside, and they want him to retrieve the Grail for them or else.
Unable to turn a corner without someone demanding his services, making threats or dying around him, John Taylor has not only a mission to accomplish, but a decision to make—who to give the Unholy Grail to if he ever manages to find it.
Agents of Light and Darkness had everything the original book had, with the exception of some of the mystery of the Nightside, which is to be expected in sequels—characters and locations are already established, so it’s hard to duplicate the sense of reading something new. But the book was just as gritty, just as interesting, and just as fun to read as the first. Green, even manages to peel back another layer on the mystery of John Taylor’s mother, teasing the reader with a taste of what I’m sure will be an exciting and worthwhile story in the future. My only grievance with the story is with the confusion over when this book takes place. The mention of Cathy Barrett, John’s newly acquired secretary, as having been around for only a few months contrasts with John remembering the last time he’d seen Suzie Shooter six years ago—Suzie Shooter who was in the last book where John first met Cathy Barrett. Other than that, the book was topnotch and I’m eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of the series.