Camille Bacon-Smith’s Daemon Eyes is an omnibus edition of Eye of the Daemon and Eyes of the Empress, which tell the story of the half-daemon Evan Davis, who is part of a most unusual detective agency.
To fill in the situation, Evan is the half-breed son of the demon lord Badad, a lord of the Prince Ariton. Unlike most such, Evan has survived to become a young man — such half-breeds generally either kill themselves or are killed by one agency or another: they’re powerful and insane, which is not a good combination from anyone’s point of view. The prologue relates Evan’s story at the point where he first encounters Omage, a lord of the Prince Azmod, rival to the Prince Ariton — or perhaps we should say, in the way that daemons think of these things, that Azmod and Ariton never ally themselves with each other. Badad, known in his human form as Kevin Bradley (“Brad”), comes to kill the boy before he does real damage to the planes of existence, and decides, in the face of Evan’s anger and need, not to. He is thus consigned to remain as Evan’s guardian until the end of Evan’s natural life. With him is the daemon Lirion, who takes human form as Lily Ryan.
Eye of the Daemon is the first book in the “Daemons, Inc.” series, about Kevin Bradley, known as Brad, a private investigator who is actually the demon Badad; Evan Davis, his half-human son; and Lily Ryan, their partner and Evan’s lover, who is the demon Lirion.Bacon-Smith has done some updating from the original version, but no heavy revisions. The second book is another installment, in which Kevin Bradley is the one at risk from the machinations from a reincarnation of the last Empress of China. This one spans the continent, from Philadelphia to Vancouver, and takes Brad, as he is known, into some very scary places indeed.
The way in which Bacon-Smith explores the relationship of father and son is noteworthy. Eye of the Daemon provides a sensitive and intelligent view of a young man’s coming of age in relation to/ his father and his father’s influence, while Eyes of the Empress puts the shoe in the other foot, so to speak: rather than Brad being the anchor in Evan’s life, Evan is now his father’s rescuer. Add a layer of emotions that Brad can’t identify very well and can’t really deal with, the product of his extended sojourn in a physical body, and you have an intriguing story indeed.
In spite of the flaws in the first book, this omni edition is certainly worth reading. Bacon-Smith includes some fascinating universe building in her description of the planes and their inhabitants that serves to round out the story very well and, when all is said and done, the psychological realism is exemplary.