Sunday, 6 March 2011
THE COMPLETE LITERARY 007 - No Deals, Mr Bond
However you should never judge a book by its cover, nor it's crap title, for No Deals Mr Bond is a damn fine novel. I'm not sure who is to blame for the book's title (probably some idiot at Glidrose who may have seen one of the films once but certainly never read any of the novels) but I do know that John Gardner hated the title and fought against it. Alas, he was simply the writer for hire and didn't have sufficient clout to get it changed.Gardner's own choice was, Tomorrow Always Comes, which is at least Bondian but Glidrose (now Ian Fleming Publications) first suggested Oh No, Mr Bond and then Bond Fights Back, before settling on No Deals, Mr Bond.
No Deals, begins with a mission in the Baltic Sea dubbed "Seahawk", which involves James Bond stealthily extracting two women that have completed an assignment in East Germany. After accomplishing his mission, the book continues 5 years later with Bond being called in by M to learn more background into what those women were doing there before being extracted. Their mission, dubbed Cream Cake, was a honey trap that involved getting close to top Soviet personnel as a means to not only spy for the British Secret Service, but to secure the defection of 2 highly ranking Soviet officers, an act that the Soviets occasionally performed against countries of the West. Involving 4 women and a man, the operation was considered a complete debacle that ended with the members being found out. After being extracted and given new identities, however, two of the women were discovered to be gruesomely murdered. Bond is subsequently sent by M, "off the record", to find the remaining members of Cream Cake before they suffer the same fate.
There are some great in-jokes throughout the book - at one point Bond does a Pierce Brosnan impression in order to check into an Irish hotel (note when Gardner was writing the book it was expected Brosnan would take over from the then James Bond, Roger Moore but the actor later had to decline when he couldn't break from his Remington Steele contract) and he also references writer, Kingsley Amis. Bond fans will know that Amis wrote the 007 adventure, Colonel Sun under the name Robert Markham.
An excellent addition to the Bond universe and maybe only second to Icebreaker among Gardner's 007 novels. Ignore the stupid title - what matters is what's between the covers.