The 'Carte Blanche' discussion thread

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  • Posts: 406
    Good to hear good things about it, I'm just starting uni exams so I have it safe in the back of my wardrobe so I'm not distracted by it
  • Just finished it. I enjoyed it and would not object to Mr Deaver doing another.
    could you do a review?
  • ChevronChevron Northern Ireland
    Posts: 370
    I'll probably do a review for my occasionally-updated book blog. I'm a bit wary of spoilers but I'll write a few comments now.

    First of all, while Top Gear does get a mention once I do not recall it being a programme that we are told Bond watches. :) Deaver must have done a lot of research on British pop culture. The Two Ronnies gets a mention when M sees a couple of officials wearing glasses. ASDA gets a mention. The only 'mistake' I picked up was one reference to 'Dr Who' instead of 'Doctor Who'.

    I think I enjoyed the early UK-set parts of the book more than the latter parts, maybe because of the little touches of Fleming and passages describing Bond's thoughts on his appealing colleague Philly.

    There are four main settings: Serbia, the UK, Dubai and South Africa. I thought there was relatively little time spent in Dubai considering how the book was being trailed as being set there.

    As mentioned elsewhere there is a lot of misdirection. Some of it I didn't like as I thought 'no, that wouldn't happen', and indeed in the next chapter we would discover that we, and the villain, had been tricked.

    For example (and I'm making this example up!) a chapter might end with 'Bond's Mini Cooper crashed at high speed into a Boing 747 and blew up.' Then the next chapter would start with 'Bond watched as his remote controlled Mini Cooper blew up.'

    Let me hasten to add that there are no Mini Coopers, remote controlled or otherwise, in the book!

    However some of the misdirection is good and will leave you wondering who the villain is and what their plot entails.

    I quite liked having a longer than average Bond novel.

    Overall there are worse ways to spend the weekend.

    Final score, probably 7 or 8 out of 10, with the understanding that I'll rarely award a 10/10.

    As mentioned before I would have liked to have seen some Fleming-style chapter titles, so here are a few more suggestions...

    Steel Cartridge
    Do Buy
    The Dragon of Fear

    Mr Deaver has my permission to add them to the paperback edition. :)
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    Posts: 15,534
    The book arrives here in a couple of days - will buy it on opening day !!
  • I'll probably do a review for my occasionally-updated book blog. I'm a bit wary of spoilers but I'll write a few comments now.

    could I have a link to your book blog thanks!
  • nick_007nick_007 Ville Marie
    Posts: 443
    I'm happy to see the positive reviews. I look forward to buying it.
  • ChevronChevron Northern Ireland
    edited May 2011 Posts: 370
    I'll probably do a review for my occasionally-updated book blog. I'm a bit wary of spoilers but I'll write a few comments now.

    could I have a link to your book blog thanks!
    Ok, here it is...

    http://bookswhatilike.blogspot.com/
  • Posts: 7,653
    Finished the novel which is vert Deaveresque in style, which I like a lot, however the endgame/goal of the baddie made me as enthousiastic as I was about the goal of the baddie in QoS.
    Well written and excitingly told, but it lacks a somewhat credible/interesting plot. It is however easily an improvement on the last effort by mr. Faulks. The difference being that mr. Deaver is easily a brilliant thrillerwriter and that shows. If he did write another one I wouldn't mind.
    But Daniel Silva or Lee Child wouldn't be shabby either.
  • edited May 2011 Posts: 9
    Finished it last night. I'll write a quick review without any spoilers.

    The first thing that hit me was Deaver's less than elegant use of language, but he's American, so allowances were given and it was to the better good that they were. The plot positively whizzes along, pulling you along with it. There are also quite a few homages paid to Fleming along the way, suffice to say; you get your fix of Fleming while Deaver updates the scenery cinematically.

    The plot is contemporary and my only real criticisms are Deaver's re-writing of the genealogy of Bond and his impatience towards the end shows in quite a considerable plot jump that lacks the care and attention he pays to the storyline elsewhere in the book.

    The finalé is both colourful and protracted. It will sate your many queries and leave you hoping that this becomes a celluloid classic. I agree with the writer of the second Guardian review, but will add my own pinch of Armchair Casting in putting forward Rachel Weisz for the role of Felicity Willing.

    Clever, compelling, contemporary with it own blend of the tragic. Deaver, to his credit, has successfully rebooted the literary franchise, and while his words may not be so flowery as Flemings, his ability to build tension and bring the world of 007 literally kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century far outweigh any of his minor shortfalls.

    Buy it, because you can't borrow mine.
  • Posts: 5,353
    The french edition was in store monday (I'll wait until the british edition is available as a paperback). I browsed through it in the store, and I can already tell you that the translator has no idea about how to translate military protocol. He has Bond call M "mon amiral". Well, in the french navy, you don't use the "mon" before a rank, no matter how high your superior is. Some say that the abrogation of the "mon" (which started as an abreviation of Monsieur) was done by Napoleon after the battle of Trafalgar, as a way to punish his naval officers, but that's more likely a legend). You say "Amiral", or "Monsieur", not "mon Amiral". The "mon is reserved for infantry and air force officers (as in "mon capitaine"). You see why I prefer to read books and watch movies in their original versions.
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    Posts: 15,534
    Thank you Gerard - will keep away from the french edition !! Hmm I'll order it on amazon uk...
  • ChevronChevron Northern Ireland
    Posts: 370
    Guess what the French edition is called: Carte Blanche!

    You would think they might have translated the title...

    ;)
  • edited June 2011 Posts: 2,560
    Good to read that most of the reviews are positive. I have been scanning them while trying to avoid most of the spoilers. Nice little review from Saunders. I take it you've read Andrew Lycett's excellent biography of Ian Fleming?

    I haven't even begun reading Carte Blanche yet. It's sitting on my bookshelf saying "Bounine, please read me." I have just been so damn busy lately. I really have. Well, that's my excuse. :) Plus I don't want to just sit down and read a few pages here and there. When I read books I like to read a reasonable chunk of the book in one sitting. I'll be able to crack into the book soon. Really looking forward to it.

    Someone said that Deaver was particularly concerned about pleasing the Fleming fans. This was nice to hear. Good to have writers who care about the purists. He sounds like a pleasant, sensitive, down to earth chap.
  • Posts: 5
    I thought it was a very good book. Wasn't even going to bother buying it after Devil May Care as I didn't think it was that good, but Carte Blanche is completely different! Finished it in a couple of days. Couldn't help thinking that the tone of the book would be very fitting for a Daniel Craig Bond movie. Be very interested to see if JD will write another one.
  • I thought it was a very good book. Wasn't even going to bother buying it after Devil May Care as I didn't think it was that good, but Carte Blanche is completely different! Finished it in a couple of days. Couldn't help thinking that the tone of the book would be very fitting for a Daniel Craig Bond movie. Be very interested to see if JD will write another one.
    Green Way would fit comfortably into the Quantum organisation don't you think? Especially as Green Planet's CEO was so unceremoniously usurped :)


  • Posts: 32
    Here's my full review of Carte Blanche:

    http://xandermarkham.blogspot.com/2011/06/book-review-carte-blanche.html

    I thought it was a decent novel in its own right, but not a particularly good Bond novel. Deaver struggled to reconcile the modern setting with the character traits which make Bond such an engaging protagonist.
  • I'm about 80 pages in, Bond has just had the meeting in his office with the obnoxious man (who I cant remember the name off) and at the moment its OK, nowt special but nowt wrong with it.
  • Posts: 269
    I've just finished reading as well.
    I have to say I had quiet a lot of fun reading it. The James Bond universe in our contemporary world has been adequately adapted and the 007 of 2011 is much credible.
    I was particularly enthusiastic about the world of espionage. The book give a fairly complete and in-depth view of the secret world of spy, with a lot of imagination by establishing the bounds between the various intelligence services (in the UK or overseas).
    I also liked the villains and stakes that have been imagined for this adventure. The idea such as the Green Way enterprises, the various plots, the background with international relationships tensions, and the Anti-hunger organization were pretty well depicted and original. Severan Hydt is of course a completely crazy character barely credible, but mr Deaver depicts him good enough so he doesn't seem so strange to this Bondian universe. The same can be said of other James Bond girls and allies. "Cliché" of course, but in the direct line of Fleming's character (perhaps with a little more feelings), and with an entertaining personality (even if it can get a bit boring in the last part of the book, where none of them afford an evolution).

    To the new James Bond in itself, he is a credible agent in today's universe, but lack the cynical depth of the Fleming's spy who gave him all his flavour. This James Bond features a few dimensions which would deserve to be diversified. James Bond is not just a running agent which tricks the bad guys during the entire story, James Bond's tastes do not boil down to a list of meals, cocktails and brand that are supposed to define the character, and James Bond's human aspect is not only considering sleeping with a girl or not for the sack of fidelity or seriousness.

    For me, the depiction of Bond goes through his inner reflections of the world and what he's observing, and not just the clinical description on an environment. Of course, he wouldn't be such a good agent if he didn't spot out every tiny details and anticipated any trick of the bad guys, but the James Bond I like does not only have infiltration perspective when he observes a situation. All the Bondian universe goes through the particular vision of this agent, a great machine with cynical reflections that depict a dark but sensible universe. The literary universe made me think more of the contemporary James Bond films background, with exotic, and hi-tech destination which are always thrilling.

    Another thing that bored me was the number of twist at nearly each chapter. Of course, it fulfils its mission, surprised me a few time, but gets quiet boring after the 70th "God-it-was-not-what-it-seemed" and the 80th "You-were-scared-but-you-forgot-i-m-thinking-of-everything-even-if-i-don-t-warned-you-of-my-plan-before".

    But apart from this, I really enjoyed the universe. The introducing chapter in Serbia is a great moment in a "pre-title-sequence" spirit. The short but surprising events in Dubai pleased me a lot.

    But most of all, I will remember from this book all the crazy and typical extraordinary characters coming in the James Bond universe, who spend their time tricking each other in that wide and comprehensive world of espionage.

    To conclude, the ideas and moments I really appreciates : the steel Cartridge operation, Mathis' intervention, the "diplomacy with the natives" moment, and all of the main villain and allies.

    Things that bored me : speaking of "Carte Blanche" every chapter to remind us of the title (Fleming didn't need to do this, and used a lot more French expressions in his books), the twists based on gadgets, the unending list of brands and cocktails supposed to define Bond but that miss their purpose.

    As Chevron and other, I wouldn't mind if Deaver did another 007 Book !
  • zebrafishzebrafish <°)))< in Octopussy's garden in the shade
    edited June 2011 Posts: 3,855
    I was wondering which Bond those of you that read Carte Blanche already pictured in their minds while reading the book? Fleming's Bond, Sean or even Daniel?
  • Posts: 7,653
    For me any Bond novel always puts a young Connery in my mind. Perhaps due to the fact that I read the novels before I discovered that there were movies (no internet in those days) and most of the pockets nicked from my dad carried a b/w drawing of SC on the back. And to this day even after seeing all those movies when I read a 007 book that is the face of James Bond.
  • edited June 2011 Posts: 2,560
    I was wondering which Bond those of you that read Carte Blanche already pictured in their minds while reading the book? Fleming's Bond, Sean or even Daniel?
    I have never pictured any of the actors. He's always been someone close in appearance to Hoagy Charmichael even before I read that comparison in CR as this wasn't the first Bond book I read.

    It was a thoroughly enjoyable read with some exciting twists littered with surprises that were most welcome albeit a couple of which I was able to guess. It was refreshing to read a Bond book with a plot that was absent of relative simplicity unlike Fleming’s and Benson’s stories. I have never minded however about the straightforward plots in the books and films as it’s everything that revolves around these stories that interest me. Hydt is a most chilling, original character with his perverse love of decaying bodies and I was particularly intrigued with his reasons behind his interest in Jessica. Dunne is a worthy adversary. I enjoyed the Fleming homages and the sub plot about Bond’s parents is compelling. I hope it will be expanded on further in the series. While it gave me pleasure reading about Mathis and Leiter, the latter's presence really wasn’t required. The amusing phone conversation between Maidstone and Bond at the conclusion of the novel is reminiscent of Bond’s meeting in the park with Gala Brand in Moonraker.

    The problem with Carte Blanche is that with Deaver’s Bond we are only given a mere glimpse of our hero. Gone are Bond’s cynicism, the subtle melancholy and his brooding nature. The Bond in Carte Blanche is unfortunately almost one dimensional and mechanical. He’s less confrontational and his tendency to have a bit of a temper has almost vanished although he does seem slightly more like Fleming’s creation in the last quarter of the novel which is heightened in the last few pages. I liked the way Bond romanticised about the source of the boat horn.

    The book is well thought out, including much detail in the tradecraft of spying and unlike Lee Child; Deaver’s sentences are more rounded and eloquent I feel. The quick paced writing works very well in the action scenes which are most exciting but a little more description is required in the slower sections - the landscape Bond sees from the plane and car and his opinion of it and what was Bond wearing in the last half of the novel? Part of what I love about Fleming’s books and sections of Gardner’s work is that we were allowed the chance to really soak up the atmosphere. Deaver must also invite us into Bond’s thought process to a much greater extent. I realise he wants to write fast paced novels to appeal to his regular fans but this doesn’t always work in a Bond novel. I think a balance must be found.

    I wouldn’t be adverse to Deaver returning to write another but he must flesh out the character of Bond considerably more! This is imperative. He should study the original Bond’s personality and identify what gets under his skin. What are his weaknesses and vulnerabilities? At the conclusion of his first meeting with Jordaan, when out of earshot Bond would have said “bitch” out loud as he did following his first run in with Domino in Thunderball. In the Gardner books I felt like I was reading about our man most of the time as I did in Benson’s otherwise failed literary efforts but in Carte Blanche I could have almost been reading about any chap who just happened to share the same name as Bond, with the same background history and interests with a Scottish housekeeper called May. In terms of his car, I’m glad he drives a Bentley but I feel a model from the 1950’s or 60’s would have been more appropriate. Afterall, in the 50’s, Fleming had Bond drive a 1930’s Bentley.

    For the third book I think I would welcome the return of a more traditional Bond story but for the second I wouldn’t be opposed once more to a book like Deaver has given us - something very much in the vein of contemporary crime thrillers, but our protagonist must be the man who we all got to know and love in Fleming’s yarns! The odd change is fine. I was happy with Bond’s alcohol intake in CB and his racism can remain a thing of the past but the remainder of his personality should predominantly remain intact with perhaps a subtle hint of chauvinism. :) He doesn’t have to be perfect. Fleming’s Bond is far from this.

    If you remove Bond from the equation, as I said the book itself is most engaging with a welcome sense of realism in parts. I couldn’t wait to open it up each day (I want to check out Garden of Beasts and other Deaver novels now). It did seem to miss our hero to a large extent though.

  • I wasn't expecting good reviews. I may have to check this out at the library. I learned the lesson of buying a newly published Bond book when I shelled out for a hardcover DEVIL MAY CARE.

    I'm still not keen on the idea of officially rebooting Bond in the books.
  • j7wildj7wild Suspended
    Posts: 823
    I just received my copy from Amazon.com today.

    I hope it's worth my time and money!
  • HASEROTHASEROT has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season---
    Posts: 4,399
    so far, i am only 30+ pages in..... i love how part 1 "The Red Danube" essentially plays out like a PTS.... it's a lot of good action, that sets up an enemy that Bond has to track down..... really good so far.... it's a little weird having Bond not part of MI6, but of a newer more secretive organization - but i'm glad it's still M, Moneypenny, and Q/Q Branch - not something else..

    i know 30 pages out 400+ isn't much of a sampling - but i am hooked in now... if it continues being this good, then i hope Mr Deaver gets brought back for another..
  • j7wildj7wild Suspended
    Posts: 823
    maybe Mr. Deaver should write the script to Bond 23 and Bond 24 instead of those 2 guys that I don't like
  • I am currently starting it...very good so far...and @J7wild he would be a lot better
    scriptwriter...his ideas is creative and orginal unlike P and W....
  • brinkeguthriebrinkeguthrie Piz Gloria
    Posts: 1,311
    just got it @ the library- starting it riiiiiight now.
  • j7wildj7wild Suspended
    Posts: 823
    I am currently starting it...very good so far...and @J7wild he would be a lot better
    scriptwriter...his ideas is creative and orginal unlike P and W....
    finally, someone agrees with me that P and W are over-rated screen writers
  • doubleonothingdoubleonothing Los Angeles Moderator
    Posts: 864
    This isn't a discussion about Purvis and Wade's scriptwriting ability. Let's keep this on topic.
  • The new Bond book just arrived from Amazon, same day as my signed #'d copy from the U.K. via eBay. If you all will excuse me I am off the begin reading. (Been trying to avoid spoilers for a couple of days now.)
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