Anthony Horowitz's James Bond novel - Trigger Mortis

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  • eddychaputeddychaput Montreal, Canada
    Posts: 364
    bondboy007 wrote: »
    I liked reading Benson when I was younger (15 or so), but haven't read them since. I'll soon be reading the entire series in order so I'd like to see what I think of it now.

    I really did enjoy Solo & Carte Blanche. Nothing ground breaking, but I honestly had fun reading them. Devil May Care was the only continuation novel I thought was honest to god terrible. Faulks was damned terrible.
    .

    Nice to know there is a kindred spirit in these parts. I feel if every time a Bond fan mentions Carte Blanche or Solo, it's with utter disdain. Were they perfect Bond novels? No. Were they at least enjoyable. I honestly think so.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    eddychaput wrote: »
    bondboy007 wrote: »
    I liked reading Benson when I was younger (15 or so), but haven't read them since. I'll soon be reading the entire series in order so I'd like to see what I think of it now.

    I really did enjoy Solo & Carte Blanche. Nothing ground breaking, but I honestly had fun reading them. Devil May Care was the only continuation novel I thought was honest to god terrible. Faulks was damned terrible.
    .

    Nice to know there is a kindred spirit in these parts. I feel if every time a Bond fan mentions Carte Blanche or Solo, it's with utter disdain. Were they perfect Bond novels? No. Were they at least enjoyable. I honestly think so.

    I agree, I enjoyed Carte Blanche and Solo, albeit Solo moreso.
  • Lancaster007Lancaster007 Shrublands Health Clinic, England
    Posts: 1,874
    I actually didn't mind Solo - I'd heard so much negativity about it I was expecting a big pile of you-know-what.
    What I do like is the fitting in a story between the Fleming books, works well and I'd like Mr Horowitz to do more, plenty of time between Fleming's missions for more missions.
  • Having finished 'Trigger Mortis' I can proclaim myself to be both relieved and, with a couple of caveats, satisfied.
    I say relieved because the last three adult Bond commissions from IFP had truly put the literary franchise on life support and as one of the aficionados who had lobbied hard for Horowitz, I have skin in the game.
    I lobbied for him largely on the back of his tremendous Sherlock Holmes novel, 'House Of Silk', were he demonstrated phenomenal skill in continuing the attributes of the originals whilst injecting the pace and élan that modern readers expect from their thrillers.
    Frankly, had he dropped the ball with Bond I'd have been mortified. A fourth debacle could well have sent continuation Bond into the literary wilderness indefinitely.
    Did he succeed with 007 as well as he did with Holmes?
    With a couple of reservations, I'd say that he has.
    He has definitely succeeded in mirroring Fleming's high old tone and his style is virtually indistinguishable from the great man.
    As you all know, he sets his novel between Goldfinger and Thunderball, Bond's halcyon days when he was at his peak. This works well because it doesn't bog Bond down with the baggage that he carried post OHMSS and it allows Horowitz to send him on a straightforward Bondonian adventure.
    The core of that adventure is both credible and exciting and Horowitz captures the period perfectly. He also certainly succeeds in writing some great set pieces and fantastic action sequences whilst giving the story the pace that today's reader demands.
    All in all, it's a very enjoyable affair albeit, I do have a couple of caveats.
    The first concerns the plot.The first part of the book is not completely coherent. The events surrounding Pussy Galore are not wholly credible and although Horowitz seamlessly weaves in Flemings 'Murder On Wheels', the link between this sub plot and the main event is, to say the least, a little tenuous.
    The second caveat I have is that he is not as strong on detail as Fleming. At one point, Bond conjures up a pistol and it is posthumously explained that it was given to him earlier by a friendly service (no spoilers here). Fleming would never have done that. He was rigorous on detail.
    My third caveat revolves around the tricks that Horowitz uses to try and avoid the perennial charges of homophobia and sexism. To try and address the homophobia issue, he gives Bond an overtly openly gay friend who holds a senior position in the service. Frankly, this is somewhat farcical. Homosexuality was illegal in the UK at the time the book is set and certainly the secret service would never have employed an openly gay man. It could have been a clever device if the book had been set post 1967 but as it is, it just comes across as forced.
    Last but by no means least, the book lacks Fleming's eroticism. Horowitz's sexual encounters lack the frisson of the originals.
    That said, these are small things. In the round, he has succeeded better than anybody since Kingsley Amis and has well and truly put literary Bond back on the map and 'Trigger Mortis' is as good as many of Fleming's and you can't give higher praise than that.
    What's more, if he does another, I think that having mastered the style he will give us something really special.
    Bravo Anthony and thanks a million, you've saved our hero!
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    Posts: 4,399
    if Horowitz does come back to do another - and he continues on in the Fleming era... i wouldn't mind him actually starting his own thing, post TMWTGG and post CS - to kind of bridge the gap (so to speak) between the 60s and when Gardner took over in the 80s..
  • Posts: 2,491
    I bought (and started) this today. I bought the Waterstones exclusive with the 'Murder On Wheels' treatment at the end of the book. I have nothing to report yet, as I only read the prologue and 1st chapter to get started.

    And for what it's worth, I liked the Gardner books (most of them) and the Benson books. I didn't like the 3 post Benson books.

    What "Murder on the wheels' treatment ?
  • HASEROT wrote: »
    if Horowitz does come back to do another - and he continues on in the Fleming era... i wouldn't mind him actually starting his own thing, post TMWTGG and post CS - to kind of bridge the gap (so to speak) between the 60s and when Gardner took over in the 80s..

    Personally, I'd like him to stay in Bond's prime.
    There are a lot of opportunities - he could do Bond's war or his pre 'Casino Royale' missions or maybe an adventure just after 'Moonraker'or even follow on from his own 'Trigger Mortis'.
    There are a range of things he could tackle before moving into his meloncholy post Tracy's death epoc.
    In any event, I don't think you can bridge a gap with a re-boot. Bond would be 80 by the time he got to Gardner.
    The most important thing is that we get another Horowitz and not to start playing Russian Roulette again with the likes of Faulks/Deaver & Boyd.
    He said at the launch that he'd do another so let's hope IFP have the sense to sign him.



  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited September 2015 Posts: 4,399
    HASEROT wrote: »
    if Horowitz does come back to do another - and he continues on in the Fleming era... i wouldn't mind him actually starting his own thing, post TMWTGG and post CS - to kind of bridge the gap (so to speak) between the 60s and when Gardner took over in the 80s..

    Personally, I'd like him to stay in Bond's prime.
    There are a lot of opportunities - he could do Bond's war or his pre 'Casino Royale' missions or maybe an adventure just after 'Moonraker'or even follow on from his own 'Trigger Mortis'.
    There are a range of things he could tackle before moving into his meloncholy post Tracy's death epoc.
    In any event, I don't think you can bridge a gap with a re-boot. Bond would be 80 by the time he got to Gardner.
    The most important thing is that we get another Horowitz and not to start playing Russian Roulette again with the likes of Faulks/Deaver & Boyd.
    He said at the launch that he'd do another so let's hope IFP have the sense to sign him.



    that is true.. even as i was writing that i was thinking about the age Bond would be if he bridged the gap between Fleming and Gardner... in terms of age, i always thought the idea of a past-his-prime Bond trying to survive and make it in a spy world that might have passed him by (ie: Never Say Never Again or Skyfall) is an interesting one... i assume that is what Boyd and even Faulks were trying to do with their novels, but i guess failed to do it successfully?.... again, i think there is room for a really good story in there - a series? probably not.. but maybe a 1 or 2 book story? i think so.. it just needs to be done well..

    but i agree, much like the films, i think keeping Bond in his prime is probably the way to go if Horowitz continues on - which would mean keeping things in that GF, TM, TB timeline (or thereabouts).
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 2,598
    Anything pre CR, in between the Fleming time line or post TMWTGG up until the late 60's would be fine with me. Bond would have been in his 60's in the Gardner era.

    I really hope we get some books set in Bond's war days and some books covering his assignments with the service pre CR. Just comics is not enough. Whether Cole, Higson or an adult Bond continuation author does this remains to be seen, presuming it will be done. I sincerely hope so!

  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,967
    dragonsky wrote: »
    I bought (and started) this today. I bought the Waterstones exclusive with the 'Murder On Wheels' treatment at the end of the book. I have nothing to report yet, as I only read the prologue and 1st chapter to get started.

    And for what it's worth, I liked the Gardner books (most of them) and the Benson books. I didn't like the 3 post Benson books.

    What "Murder on the wheels' treatment ?

    "Murder On Wheels" is the outline for a Bond tv series that Fleming had planned. In copies exclusive to Waterstones, the outline is featured at the back of the book.

    http://www.thebookbond.com/2015/08/waterstones-special-edition-of-trigger.html
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I'd like to see a very young Bond book. With a 5yr old James in his
    Play group becoming suspicious of the new Monocle wearing German
    Kid. Who is doing something mysterious with clockwork toys in a locked
    Cupboard.
    May Bond's Nanny, could help pushing Bond in his gadget loaded pram as
    he chases after, the German kid ( being pushed by his nasty Russian Nanny). :D
  • Posts: 5,903
    Or maybe some adventures with Agatha Christie's James Bond. After all, that may be the same guy (even if Pearson didn't mention it).
  • Posts: 2,598
    DrGorner wrote: »
    I'd like to see a very young Bond book. With a 5yr old James in his
    Play group becoming suspicious of the new Monocle wearing German
    Kid. Who is doing something mysterious with clockwork toys in a locked
    Cupboard.
    May Bond's Nanny, could help pushing Bond in his gadget loaded pram as
    he chases after, the German kid ( being pushed by his nasty Russian Nanny). :D

    This would be on the top of my list of reading choices. Bond's infant days must be discovered. Only then will I feel that I really know the character. I just don't get IFP sometimes. Why haven't they done this already?
  • Posts: 315
    I finished it this morning and would rate it as 'OK'. Nothing exceptional and doesn't measure up to Ian Fleming. Parts of it are like a paint by number set where some of the numbers are missing. Wanted more and it didn't deliver.
  • FLeiter wrote: »
    I finished it this morning and would rate it as 'OK'. Nothing exceptional and doesn't measure up to Ian Fleming. Parts of it are like a paint by number set where some of the numbers are missing. Wanted more and it didn't deliver.

    We will have to agree to disagree.
    Is it as strong as CR, MR, FRWL, DN, TB, YOLT or OHMSS ? Absolutely not but then again, nothing ever is.
    Is it as good as L&LD, DAF, GF or TMWTGG ? I would say yes.
    In the continuation stakes, is it better than DMC, CB & Solo and all of Benson ? Absolutely yes but there again, everything is.
    Is it as strong as Gardner's best and CS ? I would say yes.
    Is it as good as Higson's YB and Westbrook's 'Moneypenny' trilogy? Complex one and probably a subject for a thread.
    Anthony sights 'GF' as his favourite Bond and it shows in 'TM'. The emphasis is really on letting the story rip rather than the slow burn of a 'FRWL' or what I would consider to be Fleming's other classics.
    All said, it's a broad church but if this is painting by numbers, buy me a paint set!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Not to be forward or anything, but does the criticism "not as good as Fleming" even roam in the realm of possibility to anyone here, because it certainly doesn't to me. I'd never go into a continuation novel expecting it to be better than the originals upon which it is based simply because I don't think it's truly possible. The original creator, no matter who they are, was the origin of that character in body and spirit, and knew everything that made them tick, from their breakfast rituals in the morning to the feeling they got when behind the wheel on a twisting roadway. Writers trying to follow that can only get a sense of the character, without fully knowing them as if they were a real person as could the original creator, because they possessed supreme and unending knowledge and ownership of the character in a way nobody else could.

    It's why nobody will ever write a Holmes story to the level of Doyle, why nobody will write a Poirot like Christie, and why nobody will ever write a Bond like Fleming.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    As much as I agree GF is the best Bond novel, a follow up is sacrilege in the same league as those stupid follow-ups to classic Disney films. I may read TM if I find it cheap in a used books store, though.
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    edited September 2015 Posts: 4,399
    Not to be forward or anything, but does the criticism "not as good as Fleming" even roam in the realm of possibility to anyone here, because it certainly doesn't to me. I'd never go into a continuation novel expecting it to be better than the originals upon which it is based simply because I don't think it's truly possible. The original creator, no matter who they are, was the origin of that character in body and spirit, and knew everything that made them tick, from their breakfast rituals in the morning to the feeling they got when behind the wheel on a twisting roadway. Writers trying to follow that can only get a sense of the character, without fully knowing them as if they were a real person as could the original creator, because they possessed supreme and unending knowledge and ownership of the character in a way nobody else could.

    It's why nobody will ever write a Holmes story to the level of Doyle, why nobody will write a Poirot like Christie, and why nobody will ever write a Bond like Fleming.

    very well said..

    i think sometimes that is what makes writing continuation novels hard after the original author has passed - there's a sense of authenticity that dies along with them... that doesn't mean that new authors can't create great works with the character as well - it's been done before with Holmes, and even Bond.. but like you said, there is always something that will be missing, no matter how good those stories are..
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 2,598
    Yes, I think there will always be a little something missing but if we can get something almost as good, then I'll be happy.

    Nirvana died with Kurt Cobain. Did Bond die with Ian Fleming?
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited September 2015 Posts: 7,527
    Bounine wrote: »
    Yes, I think there will always be a little something missing but if we can get something almost as good, then I'll be happy.

    Nirvana died with Kurt Cobain. Did Bond die with Ian Fleming?

    No, because nobody carried on with Nirvana once Kurt died. We have continuation novels of varying quality and an incredible film series that has survived long after the death of Ian, and is currently at its most successful.

    Bond lives.

    EDIT: Forgot what thread I was in... even if we're strictly talking about novels my point still stands. As long as Bond is alive in the minds of talented writers, and an audience that loves to read Bond novels new and old then Bond is alive.
  • eddychaputeddychaput Montreal, Canada
    Posts: 364
    It's why nobody will ever write a Holmes story to the level of Doyle, why nobody will write a Poirot like Christie, and why nobody will ever write a Bond like Fleming.

    My thoughts exactly. When I read or hear comments (not saying where or by whom) that comment on the fact that the book, or any of the recent continuation novels, lack the level of detail Fleming put into his books, or they lack 'this' that Fleming did, or lack 'that' Fleming did…my first reaction is always essentially what you just typed.

    Did Roger Moore play Bond like Connery did? No, but they were both Bond.

    Did Martin Campbell direct his films like Terence Young did? No, but they're both regarded as among the better Bond film directors.

    I'm not sure why many (I might be exaggerating with the 'many') literary Bond fans are having trouble with the notion that whomever the Ian Fleming Foundation or whatever it is hires to write a new book, that person will not produce a pure Fleming piece of work. It can still be Bond, it just won't be Fleming and never will be.

    A fan of the books certainly doesn't have to like all of the continuation novels. I don't (I don't love all the movies either for that matter), but to compare them incessantly to how Fleming approached the character and his world as a means of arguing why they aren't as good (comparing them for purely analytical/theoretical purposes is fine, of course) seems like a futile exercise. It's like bemoaning that one didn't get the product that was literally impossible to create.
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 2,598
    That isn't me. It's always still been Bond for me except in Carte Blanche. Deaver's Bond is not Bond. I just put out the question in my above post.

    Some stubbornly refuse to read anything that is not Fleming which I just don't understand when they're happy to watch the movies that aren't based on Fleming books.
  • A week after launch and the reviews are in and doubtless Horowitz and IFP will be delighted. Qualitatively he has undoubtably succeeded.
    Hopefully sales will be good and we'll see a resurgence of literary Bond.
    Regarding comparisons with Fleming, frankly it depends on which book. Not even the most ardent Flemingista would pretend that all Bond books were born equal and I'm sure that when some of the defenders of the faith have actually read TM they will concur that Anthony has done a good job and has hit the sweet spot somewhere in the middle of the canon.
  • Posts: 315
    With all due respect TM, your own review told us the book lacked:
    1) An understandable and sustainable plot.
    2) Fleming's attention to detail.
    3) Directly addressing sexism and homosexuality of the time.
    4) Fleming's eroticism.

    Gee..what's left? Nice Cover..easy opening pages...large print? You took the book apart and then claim it as a success.
  • eddychaputeddychaput Montreal, Canada
    Posts: 364
    FLeiter wrote: »
    With all due respect TM, your own review told us the book lacked:
    1) An understandable and sustainable plot.
    2) Fleming's attention to detail.
    3) Directly addressing sexism and homosexuality of the time.
    4) Fleming's eroticism.

    Gee..what's left? Nice Cover..easy opening pages...large print? You took the book apart and then claim it as a success.

    He made it quite clear that
    a) he liked the book
    b) those complaints were minor, to him at least.


  • Posts: 315
    Many consider a good plot a nice thing to have, if not a major requirement.
  • FLeiter wrote: »
    With all due respect TM, your own review told us the book lacked:
    1) An understandable and sustainable plot.
    2) Fleming's attention to detail.
    3) Directly addressing sexism and homosexuality of the time.
    4) Fleming's eroticism.

    Gee..what's left? Nice Cover..easy opening pages...large print? You took the book apart and then claim it as a success.

    This is obviously a broad church but if you are going to quote me, please do it accurately.
    I made it perfectly clear in my review that:
    "The core of that adventure is both credible and exciting and Horowitz captures the period perfectly. He also certainly succeeds in writing some great set pieces and fantastic action sequences whilst giving the story the pace that today's reader demands."
    [/quote]
    But maybe you missed that part.
    I think the book is a resounding success. Clearly you think otherwise albeit you omit to say why ?
  • Posts: 315
    FLeiter wrote: »
    With all due respect TM, your own review told us the book lacked:
    1) An understandable and sustainable plot.
    2) Fleming's attention to detail.
    3) Directly addressing sexism and homosexuality of the time.
    4) Fleming's eroticism.

    Gee..what's left? Nice Cover..easy opening pages...large print? You took the book apart and then claim it as a success.

    This is obviously a broad church but if you are going to quote me, please do it accurately.

    Your words, kind sir:

    The first concerns the plot. The first part of the book is not completely coherent... not wholly credible... the link between this sub plot and the main event is, to say the least, a little tenuous.
    The second caveat I have is that he is not as strong on detail as Fleming. Fleming would never have done that. He was rigorous on detail.
    My third caveat revolves around the tricks that Horowitz uses to try and avoid the perennial charges of homophobia and sexism. Frankly, this is somewhat farcical... it just comes across as forced.
    Last but by no means least, the book lacks Fleming's eroticism. Horowitz's sexual encounters lack the frisson of the originals.

    Possibly we rate books from a different perspective. But 'not completely coherent..not wholly credible..little tenuous..this is somewhat farcial...forced..lacks' are not words people use when they like something.

  • FLeiter wrote: »
    FLeiter wrote: »
    With all due respect TM, your own review told us the book lacked:
    1) An understandable and sustainable plot.
    2) Fleming's attention to detail.
    3) Directly addressing sexism and homosexuality of the time.
    4) Fleming's eroticism.

    Gee..what's left? Nice Cover..easy opening pages...large print? You took the book apart and then claim it as a success.

    This is obviously a broad church but if you are going to quote me, please do it accurately.
    Possibly we rate books from a different perspective. But 'not completely coherent..not wholly credible..little tenuous..this is somewhat farcial...forced..lacks' are not words people use when they like something.

    What I have tried to do, is to give fellow fans a balanced perspective.
    As I said out the outset, there are caveats but they are minor.
    My desire not to divulge spoilers prohibits me highlighting the many excellent scenes in this book but I think those without an agenda will have got it by now - this is an excellent first Bond from Horowitz. Long may he continue!


  • Posts: 2,598
    Presuming IFP have always planned to continue with the adult Bond, even if sales don't end up being as high as they hoped, they should still ask Howowitz back. If sales struggle then I can't help thinking that this would have been the case with any author due to the fact that the last three books have been so lacklustre coupled with the fact that there was a lack of promotion for this latest book.
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