SOLO by William Boyd - Reviews & Feedback

edited September 2013 in Literary 007 Posts: 802
Renowned Bondologists, Flemingistas & Other Ne'er-do-wells,
With Thursday fast approaching and with the 'Times' having published two extracts, I thought we'd get ahead of the game and start this thread now.
Interested parties can jump into the fray at will — either as they read Boyd's book or after they've finished.
From the tasters in 'The Times', I think things are looking very positive.
In Saturday's edition they gave us part of the first chapter and I have to say it starts well. He writes from Bond's perspective and he gets the voice absolutely right. I loved the way he evoked the zeitgeist of the late '60s, from one who was around and in London at the time (aged 16 in 1969 - God help me ) I would say he nails it. His description of Bond's routines — albeit it's not a normal day — are well handled. We know we are in Bond land from the get go but he doesn't make the mistake of aping Fleming. I also liked the way he mentions Bond's clothes and accessories with a deft touch. He sets the high old tone but doesn't labour it and avoids pastiche.
Today's extract is taken from location in Africa and includes a significant action scene. Again it reads exceptionally well and dispelled a small reservation I had about Boyd writing Bond. Anybody who has read any of his other excellent works will know that action writing has not been a particular feature. Here he shows that he can handle it well and it makes for exciting reading. Another key moment in this extract is his first meeting with the books villain and yes, for a first encounter, I think he gets it right — physical deformity et all — and my skin was starting to crawl.
All in all, so fare so good and I can't wait to get my hands on the real thing this Thursday when I attend the launch.

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Comments

  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,139
    I'm trying as hard as I can not to read any of this until I get the book but thanks Villiers it looks like it will be worth the wait when you say that you are going to the launch do you mean Thursday evening at the south bank ? If so I will also be there I wonder how many others from here will be at the event?.
  • Mrcoggins wrote:
    I'm trying as hard as I can not to read any of this until I get the book but thanks Villiers it looks like it will be worth the wait when you say that you are going to the launch do you mean Thursday evening at the south bank ? If so I will also be there I wonder how many others from here will be at the event?.

    Yes indeed, Thursday evening at the Southbank - I'll be there.
    Regarding this thread, hopefully everybody will avoid spoilers.

  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    I'm getting curious about it! Considering the latest disappointments I was unsure whether to buy Solo or not. I'm leaning more towards the former now.
  • Posts: 267
    I agree with @Villiers 53. Judging by the extracts in the Times, I think Mr.Boyd has found the right equilibrium by respecting the Bond code whilst maintaining his own style as a writer. The fact that his natural style is not so fare from Fleming's helps.
    I've also read some of his other books and was particularly impressed by "Waiting For Sunrise".He is quite a different writer to Faulks and Deaver which also bodes well and as @Villiers53 pointed out he can certainly evoke a great sense of time and place.
    Roll on Thursday!
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,351
    Bentley wrote:
    Roll on Thursday!
    We here stateside are condemned to wait a tad longer...
    :-<
  • chrisisall wrote:
    Bentley wrote:
    Roll on Thursday!
    We here stateside are condemned to wait a tad longer...
    :-<

    Good God - October 8th and you get that awful cover!
    It's virtually worth a flight over - maybe you could expense it to 'Universal Export'?

  • SaintMark wrote:

    Good God, this is an empty piece if ever there was one.
    The idiot Guardian writer doesn't even know that IFP and Eon are different entities and the only similarities between Faulk's Bond and Deaver's is that they were both excruciating awfull !
    Hopefully Boyd's will be great - we just want a good book and of course it will be written for today's audience - but it must include sex, violence and snobbery. This is James Bond not Andy Pandy!

  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Villiers53 wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:

    Good God, this is an empty piece if ever there was one.
    The idiot Guardian writer doesn't even know that IFP and Eon are different entities and the only similarities between Faulk's Bond and Deaver's is that they were both excruciating awfull !
    Hopefully Boyd's will be great - we just want a good book and of course it will be written for today's audience - but it must include sex, violence and snobbery. This is James Bond not Andy Pandy!

    And the cretin has clearly never heard of Kingsley Amis, John Gardner or Raymond Benson. Is it too much to expect a journalist on a broadsheet newspaper to perform even the most perfunctory research before spouting forth on particular subject?
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 34,963
    @TheWizardOfIce, absolutely. I constantly see Yahoo News post about grammatical errors in logos, shirts, etc., when their articles are filled with them.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 14,731
    Villiers53 wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:

    Good God, this is an empty piece if ever there was one.
    The idiot Guardian writer doesn't even know that IFP and Eon are different entities and the only similarities between Faulk's Bond and Deaver's is that they were both excruciating awfull !
    Hopefully Boyd's will be great - we just want a good book and of course it will be written for today's audience - but it must include sex, violence and snobbery. This is James Bond not Andy Pandy!

    And the cretin has clearly never heard of Kingsley Amis, John Gardner or Raymond Benson. Is it too much to expect a journalist on a broadsheet newspaper to perform even the most perfunctory research before spouting forth on particular subject?

    Yes, very few of them are aware of what we call The Continuation, though The Times bis well aware of this.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @TheWizardOfIce, absolutely. I constantly see Yahoo News post about grammatical errors in logos, shirts, etc., when their articles are filled with them.

    That's what happens when unprofessional people get hired to write for a news source.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 34,963
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @TheWizardOfIce, absolutely. I constantly see Yahoo News post about grammatical errors in logos, shirts, etc., when their articles are filled with them.

    That's what happens when unprofessional people get hired to write for a news source.

    Seems to be quite the trend these days.

    I think I might save this book (and read the reviews you all have, as those are the ones that matter to me) for some Christmas reading, perhaps a gift to myself. I just started a Crichton novel that I would love to finish.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @TheWizardOfIce, absolutely. I constantly see Yahoo News post about grammatical errors in logos, shirts, etc., when their articles are filled with them.

    That's what happens when unprofessional people get hired to write for a news source.

    Yeah but it's not the Sunday Sport. If you are working on a 'quality' paper shouldn't you be professional?
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @TheWizardOfIce, absolutely. I constantly see Yahoo News post about grammatical errors in logos, shirts, etc., when their articles are filled with them.

    That's what happens when unprofessional people get hired to write for a news source.

    Yeah but it's not the Sunday Sport. If you are working on a 'quality' paper shouldn't you be professional?

    Of course, but sadly it doesn't appear to work that way.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,351
    This will be a good one. \:D/
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,090
    Well, I'll be picking up my copy tomorrow!
  • I've just downloaded it as ebook for my kindle, and I'm starting it right now.
    And just for starters, the book is divided in 5 parts, and more than 35 chapters. The titles of the chapters are very promising. I feel it's going to be a lot of fun !

    Nice reading everyone ! \:D/
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,351
    I haven't read it yet, and I want Boyd to write another ASAP. :))
  • SaintMark wrote:

    Bodes well but I'm not sure I rust these Guardianistas!
    Bond wouldn't be seen stiff with one of those liberal rags under his arm.
  • Posts: 686
    SaintMark wrote:

    if the Guardian likes it, one has to wonder.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 14,731
    Just got William Boyd's Solo hardback tonight in Tesco for £9. It looks very promising from what I read in the blurb.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    edited September 2013 Posts: 13,305
    Here's a round up so far:

    http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-09-26/william-boyds-new-james-bond-novel-solo---reviews

    Above average seems to be the verdict so far.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,351
    Samuel001 wrote:
    Here's a round up so far:

    http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-09-26/william-boyds-new-james-bond-novel-solo---reviews

    Above average seems to be the verdict so far.
    This book will rock; my confidence is high.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Riding a white swan to Matera
    Posts: 12,185
    I have a half-hearted feeling about it after reading most of these new reviews, but I will read it.
  • edited September 2013 Posts: 2,531
    I don't think that I'll start reading Solo until I've read the other two books I have on the go at the moment. Anyway, this way I can build on the suspense and retain that excitement. Once I've read it, then that's it. It'll be another two years until the next one.

    The reviews according to this website seem fairly positive thus far:

    http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-09-26/william-boyds-new-james-bond-novel-solo---reviews

    This review seems positive but I've only read part of it as I don't want to read spoilers:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2432833/Solo-William-Boyd-review-Hurrah-James-Bonds-ruthless-bed-hopping-best.html

    I don't think I'll bother skimming through the rest of them out there at the moment until I've read the book. It's difficult to avoid spoilers.

    Who will be the first Bond fan website to post their review..? :)
  • Posts: 5,767
    I read the first few pages today at the book store. Right away it felt both like Fleming´s Bond and like a writer in his comfort zone. I don´t think the last two Bond novels conveyed either of those feelings.
    I don´t know of course if Solo continues like that, but after the first 20 or 30 lines I felt huge respect for the writer. It was one of these magnified paper back editions, I guess otherwise I´d have bought it.
  • edited September 2013 Posts: 72
    Man, I'm reading very mixed reviews, so I'm not sure if I'm going to buy the book... I've read the first pages and its looks good, but the mixed reviews....
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