Monday, 23 May 2011
THE COMPLETE LITERARY 007 - The Man from Barbarosa by John Gardner
The Man from Barbarossa was the novel that the late John Gardner called his favourite of all his Bond books.Unlike his other Bonds it used real life events in its plot, namely the Persian Gulf War. The novel also suggested a coup inside the Russian leadership which would result in the fall of the then communist Russia and that this would end the Cold War. Events that came to pass later that year.
Many fans of the series look upon this book as experimental and often lump it in with Fleming's, The Spy Who Loved Me as not really belonging in the Bond universe, but this does a great book a disservice. It amuses me that often Gardener was accused of writing to a strict formula, but when he tried to deviate from this he was lambasted. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't - indeed.
In short don't read this book if you're expecting a standard action-packed James Bond adventure, with little or no character development. If that's what you want you will be disappointed and you'd be better off starting with Gardner's Licence Renewed or For Special Services. However, if you want a complex Cold War thriller along the lines of Craig Thomas, then you're sure to enjoy this. Like Gardner's Icebreaker, No Deals Mr Bond and Death is Forever this book experiments with the standard formula and it's a better book for it.