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Thursday, 30 June 2011


Jumping forward in our look at the complete Bond, - we will return to cover the remainder of the John Gardner books and then move onto Benson and Faulks - in order to cover the recently released and freshly read Carte Blanche.

So has Jeffrey Deaver, a bestselling writer in his own right (write), captured Fleming's Bond? Well not really - for a start the book is set in the modern day which seems strange given that one of the best received aspects of the previous Bond novel, Devil May Care was that it was set in period. This means the book suffers from the same basic flaw as those written by John Gardner and Raymond Benson. Only this time more so - Deaver's turned Bond into a non smoker who believes in sexual equality.

What the F**k? Why bother writing a Bond novel if they are going to take away the basic essence of the character? Change the character name from Bond to say Bertie Bland and the book would stand up as a modern thriller, but as it stands it's a Bond novel that doesn't feel like a James Bond novel.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the story or plot - it's quite cleverly plotted, though a little overly complicated. And the author certainly knows how to pace a story, but it's just not James Bond and I probably wouldn't have finished it had I not had to write this review. I felt the book started off well but by half ways through I was bored senseless.

Look at the evil man, smoking!
A big disappointment after Devil May Care - all this updating of classic characters is troubling. Not only has the setting been brought forward to the present day but the character has been updated with it, given the opinions and lifestyle of a contemporary man. That's all very well but it takes something away from the original works and rewrites the DNA of Fleming's remarkable creation - it ignores the aspects that made the character so successful in the first place. It makes you wonder where all this rebooting shit is going to end - will they one day remake Superman and take away his ability to fly because of health and safety issues?

Deaver's Bland (whoops, Bond) is an Afghanistan veteran whose favourite gadget is his iQphone with which he can Tweet the detailS of his latest adventure, in no more than 140 words of course.
Just had a brush with big guy with metal teeth.
Just done my third bird in as many hours.
Caused a secret lair to explode.
Think I may have to visit the clinic.

It's Bond but not as we know him.


john.watson60 said...

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Brian Drake said...

I think the continuation novels need to stop. They are nothing more than a way for IFP to keep money rolling in. They have gone way too far from the original character (the book Bond today is the movie Bond because that's what people know and more than likely expect) and because of this Fleming's work is going to suffer. Folks will read about the Gardner/Benson/Deaver wussy Bond and then be shocked at Fleming's version.

I think the best thing IFP has done is the limited edition of Fleming's entire output from Queen Anne's Press but at 2000 pounds (or just shy of 3500 U.S.) it's way out of my reach.

I've even lately also become unsatisfied with the movies and all of their plot problems but that's another comment.