When not reading Fleming - I would recommend ?

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  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    For those that want a taste of Charles Cumming:






    And he even won an Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award recently, presented to him by none other than Steven Berkoff:


    And it looks like Cumming is a Bond fan.
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 4,622
    I read Le Carre'a A Perfect Spy years ago. It was a bit of a slog getting through it, so I never picked up another until very recently, although I did ulitimately find Perfect Spy a satisfying read. It was just a bit of an effort ploughing through it.
    Recently though I was curious to see what he was doing in the now, and read Our Kind of Traitor which was a much easier read than Perfect Spy. I'd recommend it. It held my interest. Very topical.
    I am now about 40 pages into his latest, A Delicate Truth, which is setting up to be another decent, yet typically understated thriller. Le Carre's sardonic wit is shining through in the early going.
    Eventually though I want to sit down and read some of the vintage stuff such as the Smiley trilogy.
  • Posts: 2,483
    Villiers53 wrote:
    The only Le Carre I've read is Russia House, and frankly, it bored me to tears.

    So far I'm impressed with Cumming, but I'm not sure his style is right for Bond. Perhaps too literal and lacking the requisite flamboyance.

    It's a shame that your only Le Carre experience is 'Russia House' because that's a little like judging Fleming by TSWLM. My strongest advice would be try 'The Honourable Schoolboy'. In my not so humble opinion, it's one of the best books of the last century — any genre and it's certainly the best Spy story ever written. As 4EverBonded said, he is the very best — my God, I can't believe I said that on a Bond site!

    Truthfully, I enjoyed Spy (and Gun) much more than Russia House. At any rate, I'll probably give Le Carre another bash one of these decades, but it's certainly not high on my list of literary priorities.

  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Hugh Laurie's 'The Gun Seller' is worth a read. It's funny, Bondian and well-written.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Gun-Seller-Hugh-Laurie/dp/067102082X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371735164&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Gun+Seller
  • Posts: 4,622
    Le Carre is rather droll. His latest offering drips with this droll humour.
    His books are a bit of a slog. You have to read them at a relaxed pace, absorb every sentence, otherwise it's real easy to get lost.
    I am about a third through his latest entry, and I still have very little idea as to what the story is about.
    Not a complaint. I am happy to be drawn along on the periphery, much like the main character. This seems typical of his style. The story is a big mystery until all the layers are finally pulled back and the core is revealed.
    His books do require a patient read.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    edited June 2013 Posts: 28,694
    timmer wrote:
    Le Carre is rather droll. His latest offering drips with this droll humour.
    His books are a bit of a slog. You have to read them at a relaxed pace, absorb every sentence, otherwise it's real easy to get lost.
    I am about a third through his latest entry, and I still have very little idea as to what the story is about.
    Not a complaint. I am happy to be drawn along on the periphery, much like the main character. This seems typical of his style. The story is a big mystery until all the layers are finally pulled back and the core is revealed.
    His books do require a patient read.

    I agree with all of this. I read The Spy Who Came In From the Cold a few years ago and liked it enough, but I definitely need to revisit it. I tried to read the first of the Smiley books (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) during my high school years and couldn't get through it. I could never focus and the plot is very hard to follow if you aren't completely focused on it every second, which is hard when I was reading it in a noisy school. I always prefer reading in a quiet setting otherwise I get easily taken out of concentration by noises/sights around me that enter my peripheral. Before I had a go at Tinker Tailor I read his Our Kind of Traitor and hated it. It was just boring, uneventful and the worst thing, predictable; something Le Carré should never be. I will revisit Le Carré some day though, I promise.
  • Posts: 2,483
    If an author is boring and nettlesome, you can be sure the critics will annoint him a genius. Particularly if he holds the korrekt political views.

    \m/
  • Posts: 802
    Whilst I agree that you have to concentrate whilst reading Le Carre - his books are not for simpletons - I would never describe him as boring.
    Naturally, in a career that has spanned fifty years, not all of his works are equal but taken as a body, he is one of the most important authors of my lifetime, any genre!
    Of course, he is the complete antithesis of Fleming.
    His books, particularly the Karla trilogy, are complex fables that whilst being steeped in the real, murky and morally ambiguous espionage world succeed in creating a level of tension that has the attentive reader perched on the edge of their seat.
    Fleming,on the other hand,was a great entertainer who specialised in serving up great fantasys that were well laced with sex, violence and snobbery.
    Both have their place but make no mistake, nobody does the real spy world like Le Carre.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2013 Posts: 17,772
    If an author is boring and nettlesome, you can be sure the critics will annoint him a genius. Particularly if he holds the korrekt political views.

    \m/

    Indeed. The very words of the late great Raymond Chandler. Great minds think alike and all that.
  • Posts: 22
    I love Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp novels, and have read a good amount of them. I like Ludlum's The Bourne Identity (one of the greatest espionage novels), but the rest of the Bourne books are horrid disappointments. I don't think Ludlum ever figured out that having a purposely over complex plot doesn't mean the book will instantly be a success.

    You may be interested in reading this regarding the passing of Mr. Flynn on June 19, 2013 http://www.startribune.com/nation/212142451.html
  • Posts: 802
    BMT216A wrote:
    I love Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp novels, and have read a good amount of them. I like Ludlum's The Bourne Identity (one of the greatest espionage novels), but the rest of the Bourne books are horrid disappointments. I don't think Ludlum ever figured out that having a purposely over complex plot doesn't mean the book will instantly be a success.

    You may be interested in reading this regarding the passing of Mr. Flynn on June 19, 2013 http://www.startribune.com/nation/212142451.html

    This is very sad and at such a young age!
    Although his books weren't my particular cup of tea, he gave pleasure to millions and will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with his family and friends. May he RIP

  • edited June 2013 Posts: 615
    I love Sax Rohmer's classic Fu Manchu novels... They're like a cross between Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Fleming's James Bond, spanning the period 1913-1959 (from before WWI to the Cold War).

    Last year, Titan Books began reprinting all the Fu books in excellent new trade paperback editions, featuring groovy "old school" cover art. (The books are also available for the Kindle e-reader.) The sixth in the series, The Bride of Fu Manchu, was just released this month:
    http://www.amazon.com/Fu-Manchu-Bride-Sax-Rohmer/dp/0857686089/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371887895&sr=1-1&keywords=bride+of+fu+manchu

    The next volume comes out in September.
  • Posts: 802
    CraterGuns wrote:
    I love Sax Rohmer's classic Fu Manchu novels... They're like a cross between Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Fleming's James Bond, spanning the period 1913-1959 (from before WWI to the Cold War).

    Last year, Titan Books began reprinting all the Fu books in excellent new trade paperback editions, featuring groovy "old school" cover art. (The books are also available for the Kindle e-reader.) The sixth in the series, The Bride of Fu Manchu, was just released this month:
    http://www.amazon.com/Fu-Manchu-Bride-Sax-Rohmer/dp/0857686089/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371887895&sr=1-1&keywords=bride+of+fu+manchu

    The next volume comes out in September.

    What a great reminder. I read these books when I was at school and have very fond memories of them. I definitely think they influenced both Ian Fleming and the Saint's creator, Leslie Charteris, in a massive way.
    Fu Manchu was definitely the inspiration for Dr.No and although John Buchan, Eric Ambler and Erskine Childers are often credited with influencing Fleming, I think that Sax Rohmer had a bigger role in shaping the fantasy of Bond villains than any of the aforementioned.
    I'm going to buy one and re-read.
    Great inspiration and beautiful covers!

  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,459
    I've never read them, so thanks for telling me. I will try one for sure!
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Beautiful covers you say @Villiers53?

    Care to share a few?
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 802
    007InVT wrote:
    Beautiful covers you say @Villiers53?

    Care to share a few?
    Unfortunately, my IT skills are very limited and I can't do that 'link thing' but if you follow @craterguns amazon chain you can see some great artwork for the series.
    If you know the books, you will realise straightaway that they capture completely the zeitgeist of the time. The books were mainly written in the first two decades of the twentieth century when Arthur Ward (aka Sax Rohmer) created this phenomenal cocktail of mystery, glamour and horror and I think these retro covers reflect the contents perfectly. Of course,today the novels are considered to be hugely politically incorrect but frankly they just reflected the attitudes of the time and should be taken as such.
    Great covers for great thrillers. IF only IFP/JC would do the same.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    BMT216A wrote:
    I love Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp novels, and have read a good amount of them. I like Ludlum's The Bourne Identity (one of the greatest espionage novels), but the rest of the Bourne books are horrid disappointments. I don't think Ludlum ever figured out that having a purposely over complex plot doesn't mean the book will instantly be a success.

    You may be interested in reading this regarding the passing of Mr. Flynn on June 19, 2013 http://www.startribune.com/nation/212142451.html
    Thanks for that, mate. It is weeks like this, what with the passings of James Gandolfini and Vince that I realize how cruel and thankless life can be, and that every moment counts in the end. If talented and genuine men like them can die so young, what is the hope for the rest of us? I found out about Vince Thursday, right before I left for work, and the entire day I was in a depressed shock. I had been a fan of Vince for years ever since I got one of his books for Christmas a few years back, and was hooked on him and Mitch Rapp ever since. I always watched any interviews he gave, got his monthly newsletter, listened to his views on politics, America and the international world and most importantly followed his fight with cancer for all these years, making his death all the more painful to me. I never once thought he would lose his fight, as he was so tough, writing through his pain and he seemed to be improving in front of us, so all this news was just a giant shock to me. My father is a survivor of prostate cancer, and that makes Vince's death even more startling and personal for me, and I feel so grateful that my dad was able to overcome it.

    My mind has never and probably never will be able to comprehend death well, especially as we enter further into the technological age. I mean, Vince is dead, but I can watch him any time I want, full of life on YouTube in various interviews, book signings and more. It is quite a weird thing nowadays, death, where you can really never die when you have the renown Vince did. Regardless, we have lost not only one of the best writers in the literary field, but above all a compete class act of a human being whose dedication, passion, strength, and determination in everything he did amount to the exemplification of all we can hope to achieve in our mortal lives on this earth.
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 615
    The Fu-Manchu Series
    * New Titan edition available now

    01. The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu ( a.k.a. The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu ) *
    02. The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu *
    03. The Hand of Dr. Fu-Manchu *
    04. Daughter of Fu-Manchu *
    05. The Mask of Fu-Manchu *
    06. The Bride of Fu-Manchu *
    07. The Trail of Fu-Manchu
    08. President Fu-Manchu
    09. The Drums of Fu-Manchu
    10. The Island of Fu-Manchu
    11. The Shadow of Fu-Manchu
    12. Re-Enter Fu-Manchu
    13. Emperor Fu-Manchu
    14. The Wrath of Fu-Manchu

    Yes, it's actually "Fu-Manchu" per the original British text... They dropped the hyphen for some reason for the Fu Manchu films (w/Boris Karloff & Christopher Lee).
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,772
    CraterGuns wrote:
    The Fu-Manchu Series
    * New Titan edition available now

    01. The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu ( a.k.a. The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu ) *
    02. The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu *
    03. The Hand of Dr. Fu-Manchu *
    04. Daughter of Fu-Manchu *
    05. The Mask of Fu-Manchu *
    06. The Bride of Fu-Manchu *
    07. The Trail of Fu-Manchu
    08. President Fu-Manchu
    09. The Drums of Fu-Manchu
    10. The Island of Fu-Manchu
    11. The Shadow of Fu-Manchu
    12. Re-Enter Fu-Manchu
    13. Emperor Fu-Manchu
    14. The Wrath of Fu-Manchu

    (Yes, it's actually "Fu-Manchu" per the original British text... They dropped the hyphen for some reason for the Fu Manchu films (w/Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee.)

    Are these the original Fu-Manchu novels or are they merely comic strips as Titan is the publisher, @CraterGuns?
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 615
    They are the original novels as written by Sax Rohmer.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,459
    CraterGuns wrote:
    They are the original novels as written by Sax Rohmer.

    And that's why I am really interested.
  • Posts: 4,622
    I finished Le Carre's latest A Delicate Truth Actually it turned out to be a page-turner. The story was interesting enough. Ultimately I'm not very satisfied with how things were "resolved," but I kinda new I wouldn't be. He does give us enough closure though, to get a sense as to how things might play out going forward.
    Having read Vince Flynn and Le Carre back to back, the contrast in both style and political sensibility is stark.
    I prefer Flynn's less murky world view, but Le Carre can be an interesting change of pace.
  • Posts: 802
    timmer wrote:
    I
    Having read Vince Flynn and Le Carre back to back, the contrast in both style and political sensibility is stark.
    I prefer Flynn's less murky world view, but Le Carre can be an interesting change of pace.

    @timmer, you certainly couldn't get a bigger contrast than these two.
    Personally, my love for Carre has grown as I've got older. I think it's his use of language that I find so fascinating. Albeit, if you haven't read it, I'd certainly recommend 'The Honourable Schoolboy' - I think it's the most complete spy story ever written.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2013 Posts: 17,772
    CraterGuns wrote:
    They are the original novels as written by Sax Rohmer.

    And that's why I am really interested.

    Me too! Thanks for the list @CraterGuns. Our member @Perdogg is also a Fu-Manchu fan. I really need to bulk buy these novels!
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Villiers53 wrote:

    @timmer, you certainly couldn't get a bigger contrast than these two.
    Personally, my love for Carre has grown as I've got older. I think it's his use of language that I find so fascinating. Albeit, if you haven't read it, I'd certainly recommend 'The Honourable Schoolboy' - I think it's the most complete spy story ever written.
    Yes I would like to visit the vintage stuff now, such as the Smiley trilogy, which I think is Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's People.
    It was A Perfect Spy which put me off Le Carre way back. Although the book was ultimately satisfying, it was such an effort to get through it, that I never went back. However, I've now read his two latest, Our Kind of Traitor and A Delicate Truth. Both of these books delivered fine (I do like to read an author's current work before I delve into the archives) so I think it's safe now to go back and check out the vintage Le Carre.
    In the meantime, I'll cherry pick the Vince Flynn titles as well, probably in order, but not a steady diet, rather spread them over the next few years. Flynn is also an acquired taste which I think is best judiciously distributed.

    Edit: @perilagukhan. I picked up the first David Stone, Echelon Vendetta (2007) along with the latest and now likely last Vince Flynn(RIP)-Mitch Rapp, The Last Man (2012).
    As there are only 4 Stone titles, may as well start with the first one. It's not that far back.
    I'll get back to Le Carre, down the road.
    Looking forward to settling into these two espionage thrillers.

  • edited July 2013 Posts: 267
    Fellow Agents,
    If you haven't read 'I AM PILGRIM' by Terry Hayes, you are in for a real treat.
    It is possibly the best book since 'The Day Of The Jackal' — it's that good. Bond fans will adore it.
    I was attracted by the cover but read the 'Amazon' reviews before buying and they are virtually all five star.
    It's a real page turner and sets the summer reading bar extremely high. Boyd better have something phenomenal up his sleeve to match this - it's simply amazing.
    Regards,
    Bentley
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 802
    Bentley wrote:
    Fellow Agents,
    If you haven't read 'I AM PILGRIM' by Terry Hayes, you are in for a real treat.
    It is possibly the best book since 'The Day Of The Jackal' — it's that good. Bond fans will adore it.
    I was attracted by the cover but read the 'Amazon' reviews before buying and they are virtually all five star.
    It's a real page turner and sets the summer reading bar extremely high. Boyd better have something phenomenal up his sleeve to match this - it's simply amazing.
    Regards,
    Bentley

    I bought this at @Bentley's recommendation from Waterstones this morning and when I took it to the check-out, the assistant, who is a huge Bond fan said; "I have read this and I think it's the best thriller I've ever come across".
    Got it home and have consumed the first hundred pages and can concur that it absolutely rocks. Like all great books it is really quite unique but if I had to draw comparisons I would say that if you put Bourne, Bond and Milo Weaver in a blender and launched them into a story that has a structure as strong as 'The Day Of The Jackal', you have the flavour of it. Albeit, make no mistake, this is deeply original.
    Couldn't agree more about Boyd. If he's read IAP, he'll be crapping himself. It's an absolute corker.
    Great to see you back @Bentley. This thread has given so many good recommendations but IAP is the find of the decade!
  • Posts: 135
    I will doubtlessly give my stamp of recommendation to Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,144
    Bentley wrote:
    Fellow Agents,
    If you haven't read 'I AM PILGRIM' by Terry Hayes, you are in for a real treat.
    It is possibly the best book since 'The Day Of The Jackal' — it's that good. Bond fans will adore it.
    I was attracted by the cover but read the 'Amazon' reviews before buying and they are virtually all five star.
    It's a real page turner and sets the summer reading bar extremely high. Boyd better have something phenomenal up his sleeve to match this - it's simply amazing.
    Regards,
    Bentley

    Bentley. Thankyou so much for the tip it arrived on Monday and I've not been able to put it down great read
    Regards coggins .
  • Posts: 267
    Dear Coggins,
    Delighted that you are enjoying it.
    Its a truly amazing book - unfortunately it was released a bit late for this years 'Ian Fleming' Silver Dagger Award'.
    Shame because it would have been a most worthy winner. The old boy himself (Fleming) would have loved it.
    An absolute must for any Bond / thriller fan!
    Regards,
    Bentley
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