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I'd go for the Gardner novel you haven't read. It's not Never Send Flowers by any chance? ;)
I have indeed and enjoyed it I am thinking of either Win lose or die or Role of honor…. Or maybe just breeze through high time to kill or the facts of death
For Gardner I'd favour Win, Lose or Die over Role of Honour which I think is probably Gardner's weakest Bond novel. The two Benson novels you mention are good too, though.
As I said Benson is my favorite so I love all of his books shrugs I will probably grab Win lose or die and a benson novel off my shelf show them both to Amanda and have her choose… it’s not like I have shortage of books as I am currently in three (Neil Strauss the game and two books on how to be a spy… who says self improvement should be boring)
@Dragonpol amanda choose win lose or die so I will read that
I plan on reading all the Gardner books simply because well it’s new to me at least
First Bond novel of the year, or is it? It's an odd little forgotten curio that was IFP's attempt to capitalise on the Bridget Jones trend. I liked the epistolary format, but the playing with levels of reality with the 'Kate Westbrook' framing device does make your head spin a bit.
As with all the continuation novels there's a heavy dose of referencing Fleming. There's an entire page devoted to what the Bond girls are up to now. But it's used really well when taking verbatim the Bond/Moneypenny scene from YOLT but writing it from Moneypenny's perspective.
Jane Moneypenny as a character is given an intriguing backstory and through the course of the novel there are shades of a proto-Eve with her thrust into field work. Also the book references the events of SilverFin with May's surname and backstory so that was nice to read. Overall it's a decent enough story and I'm going to check out book 2 but it's nothing remarkable.
That's disappointing to hear, that's the next on my list. Similarly, I finished Colonel Sun and I was underwhelmed with it. The copy I read from was the original printing that my library has, complete with the 'interesting' cover art. I may have set my expectations too high, because I knew the torture scene was used in Spectre it has the brilliant hook of M's kidnapping so I was waiting in anticipation of those moments. By the end I enjoyed it, the like the trio of Bond, Niko and Ariadne but I just wanted more from the story.
I've only read Colonel Sun once, and I remember being impressed with the quality of the writing, and really connecting with it in a Bondian way. But I wanted a more meaty story towards the end. I think it gets good reviews which it deserves, but that can make people think it's a more entertaining read than it is. I hope that makes sense.
It was still an enjoyable pastiche for a while, but then it got increasingly distasteful and dull I’m afraid, it also looked increasingly like Bond was basically superfluous to the story, and I scan read to the end just to see if the ‘twist’ was as obvious as I thought and… it was.
It likely offends someone somewhere, but I think Benson and Deaver, and to an extent Horowitz, have been the best modern Bond writers. Frankly they should have kept Benson on another decade or so.
I think Benson left on his own. Nice to see some love for Deaver, though. At least he realized Bond was always a modern character.
Yes, I get what you mean. Colonel Sun is my favourite Bond continuation novel as I think it's still the best after all these years. It helps that it was written contemporaneously to the Fleming originals. It is rather bookended by the terrific M kidnap scene at the beginning and the gruesome torture sequence and drawn out death of Colonel Sun at the end. It does tend to drag a bit in the middle with the scenes on the Altair.
Is there anything new with this release? Of course, I've had these on my Paperwhite forever.
I've always been fond of this one; I think it was one of the first I read. I think of it as the last of the 'happy' Bond novels - after this we get OHMSS and after that Bond's been through the wringer and feels older, tireder and sadder.
I like the fact that Bond doesn't call women tarts unless that's what they do for a living. Though I suspect this only applies to the pretty ones.
Really appreciating Felix Leiter in this one. His constant teasing and joke-cracking is a nice contrast to Bond, who can be quite dour. But they're friends even though they're so different. (I can believe Felix gets married. And even that he produces a daughter.)
Thing I noticed this time: I'd always thought the dashes in Felix's "The - Manta! Our latest - atomic submarine!" were pauses for emphasis. Now I realise they're supposed to be censored swearwords :)
New really bad covers, maybe a new higher price tag, and a new way to make you accidentally buy them again if they turn up in a sale, oh - and a new way to mess with the collections view on the kindle. Last I looked, the German editions had the best covers.
I think we might get that again, with Kim Sherwoods books as a back door pilot. And it’s a bloody good idea to be honest.
But it could be worse, just look at the US covers, actually best not.
The only one of these new set to stand out to me was the neon TSWLM cover, which is alright. But agreed, these kinda blow. I guess I'm asking family for the Folio society stuff, better start now if I want the full collection before I'm dead.
I usually buy my Bond books from thrift websites selling the little almost pocket-sized versions. Have a few of the early books but need the collection.
I've just finished the first story - From a View to A Kill. Which I thought was a middling adventure, and read like a TV screenplay (which I'm betting it was). I'll rate the short stories as I read them.
The full-length novels, I rated thusly, this time round. . .
1 OHM Secret Service
4 You Only Live Twice
5 Live and Let Die
8 Dr No
11 Golden Gun
It's a bit of fun rating them, but it's not really fair because I thoroughly enjoyed them all, and although Goldfinger is low, the first chapter might be my very favourite Bond chapter.
Moonraker has dropped two places, considering your MI6 profile ranking of it as the favorite. Interesting! You've made me go dig up the first chapter of Goldfinger.
I don't think I took much notice of filling in those favourites when I signed up again. I'd rather them not be there, as things change all the time. But Moonraker would probably be my first choice for someone new to Fleming. In a way, it's a perfect Bond book. It's just that on my re-read, I found FRWL and OHMSS more rewarding as novels. And it's a close thing, because if I were to meet someone who said Russia was Fleming's masterpiece, I doubt I'd argue with them. The build-up to Bond meeting Grant is superb thriller writing.
The Blades sequence in MR is probably my favorite part of any of the books. It's so well written, you'd think you were there. And now if you'll excuse me, I've really got a mania for some smoked salmon.
It's the daftest villains scheme in the eleven novels I think. But it didn't detract from the book for me. The way Fleming writes is very authoritative, and that goes a long way. You can almost tell when someone is writing with confidence in their story.
The film is quite close to the novel, and sometimes it was hard not thinking about the film, (I see Fleming's Bond as separate to the movies and don't visualise any actors). But there were enough differences to keep me in the book. I was surprised that Bond and Blofeld didn't meet in the book, (I hope I've remembered that right).
Tracy has always been seen as the great love of (Fleming's) Bond's life, which didn't translate to me from the book. I got the vibe that Bond thought "she'll do", and his affection for her came as much from his desire to protect her as it did from real affection.
The part where he refuses the million was much better rendered than the film. I found that quite emotional, as I remember. It's been perhaps eighteen months since I read it, I hope I'm remembering right.
I know when I finished it and put it down, I thought 'well, that's the best one yet'.
I noticed I missed off Spy Who Loved Me from my list. It'd be towards the bottom, perhaps third or fourth from bottom.
@ColonelAdamski For me, it's Vesper who'll always be the love of Bond's life in the books, he remembered her in the subsequent books, she stayed in his memory, and she changed him.
I think Tracy was given a weak characterization in the book, really, she's not given anything to do, she's started out as a depressed woman that if you're going to skip some parts, one may find her a bit annoying in terms of how she acted towards Bond, I get that Bond loved her, but I don't know if she did loved Bond like how Bond loved her, that's one of the issues for me, with Vesper, I see that she loved him because of the fear that she felt for Bond at the third half of the book really showed it, the same for Tiffany Case, when she sacrificed her own feelings, just to be cold to Bond in order to protect him from the dangers of his mission, heck, even Kissy Suzuki really showed that she loved Bond, based on how she treated him and her dialogues.
But with Tracy, it's liked did she really love Bond at all? She comes off to me as spoilt brat.
And when she returned to the book after missing from many pages and scenes, she's already cured, like this girl's different from the one that we've met earlier in the book, and still it didn't felt that she loved him, there's no warmth inside the character, instead she began to act childish towards Bond.
That's why when she died, I felt more for Bond than the woman he'd married, because it's not shared, she's just too quick as a character for me and made me think that "Bond you can still find another woman", like "man you deserve a better woman than her" kind of thing 😅.
And that makes me disappointed towards this book, because it's supposed to be the grandest romance for Bond, yet it didn't worked because his partner (or his Bond Girl) in this time wasn't as convincing as the other leading ladies Bond had been with in the previous novels.
I just wished Fleming gave Bond a better partner to marry with, or at least make Tracy, a Bond Girl deserving of Bond's marriage, because I felt she didn't deserved it.