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James Bond News • James Bond Articles • James Bond Magazine
Arthur Conan Doyle
Roald Dahl (childhood nostalgia)
Robert Louis Stevenson
Richard Castle ;)
Writers I want to get into:
I recommend you to add some Italian and Latin American authors into your wish list (they are my favorites).
Given the late, great John Gardner's association with Bond, I was wondering how many of you aficionados have read his terrific Boise Oakes novels?
In 1966 I was seduced by the first in the series, "The Liquidator", when it was published by Corgi with great cover art featuring a particularly phallic bullet tied in red ribbon. This, together with the jacket blurb soon had me reaching for my hard earned 2/6.
At that time, the market was awash with new spy heroes but Gardner's Oakes books were different. Not only did they thrill, they were laugh out loud funny!
The novels featured a rich cast of characters but at the centre of the action was one Brian Ian Oakes (aka Boise) , a coward, a wimp, a would be cad who has been mistakenly recruited from civi street to be MI6's new top assassin. Boise looked the part, the women love and he quickly finds himself completely intoxicated with the high life and desperate to hang on to the perks but can't face the work. The solution is simple — he subcontracts his hits to an undertaker called Griffin!
Fabulous stuff, you will be sweating and laughing in equal measure. I'm pleased to say they are hugely politically incorrect and amongst other things involve a character called Mostyn, the greasiest deputy head of Mi6 to ever walk the corridors of Whitehall.
Back in the day, the "Oakes" books sold like hot cakes and were undoubtably the previous work experience that got Gardner the Bond gig.
In total, between '64 & '75, he published eight Oakes books. The best were the first (The Liquidator), the third (Amber Nine) and the fourth (Madrigal).
If you haven't read any of them you are in for a treat and I'm delighted to say that "Top Notch Thrillers" have republished "The Liquidator" and it is available from Amazon uk.
For the rest, doubtless they'll be available in e-book form soon but in the interim, the internet is probably the only way.
They're turning one of the Stone books into a film too. Jason Statham (who seems like a great choice) is rumoured to be starring in it.
Be warned, they're far, far from PC; full of (often mock-) racism and sexism, but very funny. His ability to conjure up time and place in the exotic Victorian colonies is second to none too...
Sure, from Latin America the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges are simply masterpieces of world literature, beautifully written and with limiteless imagination. The novels of Mario Vargas Llosa are also very good too.
In Italian literature, Umberto Eco is my favorite author of all time and The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum are most complex and interesting. Italo Calvino is another of my favorites.
There's also a very good series of a Sicilian detective, by Andrea Camilleri, called Inspector Montalbano. There's also a TV series of the books (more than 20, a good rival for Bond). But the translations in English might lose the rich content of the Sicilian dialect and culture.
You are clearly a man of great taste.
The "Flashman" novels were terrific. Laugh, you needed oxygen when reading and as you say they are historically very well informed.
It's interesting that he wrote the "Octopussy" movie because although it's a mocherey of a Bond film, the only saving grace is it's humour and those moments had good old George's fingerprints all over them.
The other thing that has a George connection of course is that his hero's monicar has been adopted as our current PM's nick name. It brings on images of "Flashman" on a police horse, chasing a flame haired nubile editor through the Chipping Norton country side with his riding crop at the ready!
The American civil war, the Australina gold rush I remember are incidents Flashman was involved in that never got told.
Maybe his estate will ask someone to carry on the Flashman saga? May prove controverial but who knows.
Fresh from my viewing of the fabulous "Skyfall" I can't help but reflect on the importance of a good story.
No doubt, Sam Mendes is an amazing director that understands completely the formula for a 007 cocktail and he had a good story to work with. Please note I say a good story, not a great story.
If a fabulous film can come from a good story - what could come from a great story?
I pose the question because whilst eon struggle for good scripts for a great franchise it is ironic that the great Blaise franchise which has so many ready made great stories remains completely unexploited - hopefully the success of Mendes' Skyfall will persuade Tarantino to exploit his rights - if he still has them?
I live in hope.
Good points all, sir, but personally I wouldn't exactly refer to Rebekah Brooks as 'nubile'... ;)
The guy (Furst) writes great thrillers set either in or just before WWII. In truth he's probably closer to Eric Ambler or Graham Greene than Fleming but I'm sure that Bond fans will dig him.
By the way, who's this Rebekah Brooks chic that Bentley mentions?
I have never read Furst, but have seen some great Q&As and writing videos with his as the focus on YouTube. Very sharp guy, it seems.
Agreed but I prefer the book to the film. Love 'Eye of the Needle' too. Both books are superior to the films. Casting Donald Sutherland as Henry Saber was a splendid choice. I've read many spy novels but for the life of me I can't remember the name of them nor who wrote them. I'm hopeless with names. Desmond Bagley is one of them though. Don't know why I remember his name.
Whats this guy talking about?
Anyway Bentley, thanks to you I'm reading Rain and he rocks. Definitely this generation's Bond!
Ludlum was very hit or miss for me, but I thought The Matarese Circle was excellent.
I don't think I was addressing the question to you, and Bentley left weeks ago. So what are you talking about?
Sorry mate but I thought this was a forum?
Anyway I like this thread and if I understand correctly the idea is to share good authors that would appeal to Fleming fans.
One I like a lot is Philip Kerr who writes the Bernie Gunther books. They are great and another good writer is Charles Cumming who has just won the Ian Fleming "Silver Dagger" for Foreign Country (a great read with a female head of Mi6). What I like about Cumming is that he is a sought of cross between Fleming and Le Carre and probably writes the sought of stuff that Ian would have wrote if he'd been around today.
By the way, were's Bentley left for? He was writing the best threads on this site.
"November Man'' looks fantastic. It's out of print in the UK but I've got a used one on the way. The reviews are great and maybe you already know but there's a movie in the hopper starring Dominic Cooper and guess who? 007 himself - Mr.Pierce Brosnan!
What a book- It arrived on Saturday and I read it in two sittings.
I can't thank you JimThompson45 enough for the recommendation.
This guy was a hell of a writer and I can't understand why he isn't better known.
I'm trying to get my hands on as much of his stuff as possible.