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I think you'll enjoy Never Send Flowers due to its heavy symbolism throughout, @007InVt!
I'm trying to get hold of Role of Honor, Icebreaker and Nobody Lives Forever next.
I'm glad that you're on a Gardner roll at the moment.
I like the chapter titles already and the fact he's driving a Bentley. All rather promising.
Still have NLF to start too. Busy weekend of reading!
1. For Special Services
2. Licence Renewed
4. Role Of Honour
6. Licence To Kill
8. Nobody Lives For Ever
9. Death Is Forever
10. No Deals, Mr Bond
11. Win, Lose Or Die
12. SeaFire - John Gardner
13. Never Send Flowers
16. The Man From Barbarossa
He didn't try to imitate Fleming, but his light prose and imaginative writing made (almost) every book enjoyable - and he further explored the world of secret agencies, gave it a new dimension. Even if I'm not always particularly fond of Gardner's plots, he knows how to structure a story. He was a pro.
Here I will only be counting his originals, but Gardner's novelizations are also great.
1. Icebreaker (with this Gardner made Bond his own - never better)
2. For Special Services (wonderful over-the-top story, great images)
3. Nobody Lives Forever (suspenseful and very fast-paced)
4. Scorpius (An innovative and shockingly relevant idea)
5. Licence Renewed (Nothing more than a nice story, yet so entertaining)
6. Win, Lose or Die (James Bond is a Royal Navy Commander after all! Why not put him on a ship for once?)
7. Role of Honour (Good first half, so-and-so middle part, good last half)
8. No Deals Mr. Bond (While every scene cries out to be more fleshed out, it's somehow still a page-turner)
9. Seafire (A recycled idea, obviously, still better than anything by most other continuation authors)
10. Never Send Flowers (more of a detective story than a classic Bond adventure, but it sure is interesting)
11. Death Is Forever (Gardner's modern "From Russia with Love"; a real spy story)
12. Cold (Not the strongest plot, but a well-timed and well-toned farewell to Gardner)
13. Brokenclaw (Sadly I had my problems with this one, and I don't seem to be the only one)
Not included: The Man from Barbarossa (currently re-reading)
THE MAN FROM BARBAROSSA was the last one I read.
Some of the Gardner's I thought had great titles: ROLE OF HONOR, SCORPIUS, and BROKENCLAW, for instance. Some had awful titles. I always felt it was a pity EON never saw fit to adapt the Gardner's for film adaptations. We could have had the next film's title announced at the end credits, and some of his plots I thought were quite entertaining.
That applies to a lot of other Gardners too!
Agreed... but there was a great respect and effort put into his novels (that I had read, and I can no longer read in my adulthood (I tried and failed about eighteen months ago)).
In the end, no one can re-create Mr Bond from Fleming's ashes. He was a special man who created a special spy. Markham/Amis was closest, in my opinion. He was a friend of and a scholar of Fleming's work. Colonel Sun seems the most genuine interpretation of Bond outside of Fleming.
Bond had some nasty edge in this book.
The first two were good reads too.
Trying to read them again was a challenge. It felt Bond-lite at the best of times (the character seemed very sanitized), and just a guy with the same name as Fleming’s creation, and that’s it, at the worst of times.
I think I gave up after Role of Honour.