In this disappointing "reboot" of James Bond, Jeffery Deaver takes a literary scalpel and piece-by-piece surgically removes everything that makes Bond a compelling (though highly problematic) character. The opening chapters focus on inter-agency politics and force Bond into an antagonistic position vis-a-vis a fellow British agent - albeit someone from the domestic branch of the secret service. Granted, Bond has always been a bit of a loner, but that was due to the nature of his role and position as a double-0 agent, not because of ego, petty in-fighting, or jurisdictional disputes. This attempt to introduce a bureaucratic conflict with Percy Osborne-Smith places Bond in situation where he can very nearly be said to engage in obstruction or even treason. A focus on the internal struggles of the intelligence community works well for Le Carre or for something like "The Sandbaggers" but it has no place in the Bond mythos. Furthermore, Bond is practically neutered with regard to his relationships with women. He voluntarily foregoes an evening with a newly-single co-worker because he deems her "not yet ready," then he pines for her throughout most of the rest of the book. When he finally does hook up in somewhat more of a Bond-like fashion with a beautiful South African philanthropist, he almost immediately falls in love and goes all moony over her, imagining a future and worrying about how he can ever tell her who he really is. Granted, these are all fine characteristics and behaviors of a upstanding and noble man - just not of James Bond. The story itself is also a bit of a mess. The primary antagonist and his henchman are both somewhat compelling and seem to be worthy adversaries, even if their master plot ends up being lame and anti-climatic. In an attempt to raise some suspense early on, Bond intercepts some intelligence that leads him to believe there will be an attack leading to several dozen causalities. But Deaver's clumsy handling of the build-up blatantly telegraphs the fact that the plot is not what it seems and it ends up making Bond look foolish for misreading such obvious clues. Sure, Bond is not infallible, but neither should his face be so covered in egg as to look ridiculous. This is, quite simply, not a Bond story.
Kudos to Mr. Deaver for a good effort at updating James Bond. I thought he had the British society and lingo down pat and wouldn't have know this was written by an American. I felt the story moved along well for the most part and captured the essence of the franchise, even including the stupid, annoyingly sexist "Bond girl" names such as "Felicity Willing". Groan. A fun, light read -- would be great to take on a plane or to read on a beach.
The Lincoln Rhyme books are his best. This is an ambitious endeavor, obviously, with mixed results. One of the best writers in these ‘thriller’-centric genre (no ess), this one is very good and readable, for sure. But, to critique: updating Bond is beautiful (that iPhone, yikes..) but, he stepped out of the style too much at the half-way mark and fell into Lincoln Rhyme from there on (not a bad monkey to have, but a flaw here). We know Bond’s m/o all too well and Deaver really should have stayed with it. Deaver’s stuff is the headiest around and Bond just isn’t that deep. No disrespect 007, but you are a honed instinctual marvel always on the move and spending half the book stuck in S. Africa acting as a business man talking to the bad guys just isn’t your thing after 5 minutes. ----------—Deaver got himself in ‘tween-land and it was his undoing here. Trying to incorporate his own intellectual structures onto Bond pulled us out of Bond and pulled Deaver out of Rhyme. Stuck in the middle. ----------Still, Deaver is such a master that it’s a great read and (movie deal? anyone?) the updating idea is brilliant. A lot of British ‘stuff’, too. Stuff about Bond’s father..... ---------Where Fleming was shallow, Bond is now more filled out. I'd advise listening on the ‘pod to various James Bond music as you ride along and it’s Sean Connery, always.....
Thoroughly enjoyed this 007 story even if it wasn't written by Ian. Its a page turner and I hope Deaver writes another.
It's a tough act following all the Fleming novels as well the subsequent Bond novels written by other authors, including Raymond Benson (all of which I have read). At first I didn't like this one that much. I tried not to nitpick, but there are a few notable changes with this modernized version of Bond. However, it got better as it progressed. It seemed like it took Deaver a while to hit his stride and find the right tone / voice for carrying on with the Bond franchise. It's worth a read!
Very slow! It is a bit too back and forth for my taste. I do love the way that Bond has been updated. It made things more interesting, but the pace was too slow. It was a story that could have been in about 100 pages less.
OK. Jeffery is no Ian. But he holds up the tradition pretty well. His other novels have held much more fun and suspence or, perhaps Bond is so ... "Bond" that there's not much you can do but follow the formula. Not a bad read ...
Suspense, Action, and Bond all come together for Full Entertainment. I read this book twice.
man this bond can really drink. every day and night this guy is boozing it up. in the real world he'd be flat on his face.
Best Post Fleming Novel ever!
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