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Carte Blanche

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"The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too..." James Bond, in his early thirties and already a veteran of the Afghan war, has been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI "The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too..." James Bond, in his early thirties and already a veteran of the Afghan war, has been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI6 and the Ministry of Defense, its very existence deniable. Its aim: To protect the Realm, by any means necessary. A Night Action alert calls James Bond away from dinner with a beautiful woman. Headquarters has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. And Agent 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission . . . The new thriller by Master of the Mind Game JEFFERY DEAVER featuring JAMES BOND as you've never seen him before.


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"The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too..." James Bond, in his early thirties and already a veteran of the Afghan war, has been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI "The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too..." James Bond, in his early thirties and already a veteran of the Afghan war, has been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI6 and the Ministry of Defense, its very existence deniable. Its aim: To protect the Realm, by any means necessary. A Night Action alert calls James Bond away from dinner with a beautiful woman. Headquarters has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. And Agent 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission . . . The new thriller by Master of the Mind Game JEFFERY DEAVER featuring JAMES BOND as you've never seen him before.

30 review for Carte Blanche

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Gordon

    I really wanted to love this book, to slap 5 stars up and tell the world to go and enjoy this while the 3rd Daniel Craig movie takes yet another long year to film. Especially when you consider that Jeffrey Deaver is a world class thriller writer and the Daniel Craig Bond movies have demonstrated it is possible to achieve the seemingly impossbile task of modernising Bond and still maintain his essential anti-hero arrogance, unpleasantness, and cruelty all wrapped up in a redemptive package of bra I really wanted to love this book, to slap 5 stars up and tell the world to go and enjoy this while the 3rd Daniel Craig movie takes yet another long year to film. Especially when you consider that Jeffrey Deaver is a world class thriller writer and the Daniel Craig Bond movies have demonstrated it is possible to achieve the seemingly impossbile task of modernising Bond and still maintain his essential anti-hero arrogance, unpleasantness, and cruelty all wrapped up in a redemptive package of bravery in the face of insurmmountable odds... then big things are expected of Carte Blanche. Alas, as much as I enjoyed the book there are several fatal flaws: 1. Strangely the book seems overly long. Never a good sign that over the 2 days it took to read the hundred thousand or so words, I put down the book at least a dozen times. Judge that againnst the page turning tension of the longer Suzanne Collins Hunger Games when I read that from cover to cover in one session. But I did manage to pick it up again. 2. The old writer's trick of limiting the Third person intimate Point-of-View of the protagonist so you are tricked into believing you are enjoying the ride inside Bond's shoes but no; it turns out you are not actualy privvy to his inner thoughts as the apparent dangerous situation, or life threatening peril that Bond finds himself in, turns out to be nothing of the sort: Bond had it under control all along with hurried post-mortem explanations of previously hidden vital information of Bond's actions. The first time this writer device was used I felt annoyed. The fifth time I was spitting blood. Its such a cheap literary device to con the reader with fake excitement. So for that I deducted one star. 3. Finally, the Bond character himself: Ian Flemming created a character of subtle satirical dry wit that seems unrecognisable in Carte Blanche. I might as well be reading a Lee Child Jack Reacher novel because this new Bond is so pleasant, so likable that he berates himself for being annoyed by irritating minor characters. The whole point of Bond is that he is supposed to be an unpleasant, intensely snobbish bore who manipulates and exploits any weakness in people for his selfish ends. Especially other people who lack his all consuming passion for life at the edge and all its finest rewards and pleasures. But Flemming cleverly tempered this personalty with the background of a tragic childhood and the product of an English boarding school upbringing resulting in a longing to look up to authority father figures such as 'M'. Ian Flemming brilliantly held up the closeted and biggotted attitudes held by society and demonstrated its hypocrisy when Bond thunders and crashes into any situation requiring his ruthless efficiency. But do we get the modern equivalent with the Carte Blanche Bond? Will you be shaken, and stirred? Will Carte Blanche's licence to kill have you in Bond's gun sights? No, no, and NO! What we get is Bond the bleeding heart liberal who wakes with night sweats and troubled conscience for sleeping with a woman when he may be falling for a work colleague. WE get the errant Knight Sir Galahad who puts the beautiful and vulnerable date in a taxi and waves goodbye lest he be tempted to take advantage....OMG. WHy oh Why is Bond so wet? When you consider that Daniel Craig's Bond is just as nasty and selfish and unlikeable as the Ian Flemming original; yet brilliantly portrayed as a complicated and flawed and vulnerable adrenalin junkie; why do we get such a feeble and bland Bond in this book? So for that I took off another star. This would have made a fine novel in the mould of Lee Child's Jack Reacher if the author had not adopted the baggage of James Bond 007 and decided to call his character something different like JAMES BLAND.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Whenever I read Ian Fleming Bond stories, I picture Daniel Craig as 007. I know I should be picturing Connery or Moore, or even Brosnan, and not the "Blonde Bond", but I can't help it -- Casino Royale was the first Bond film that engaged me. Previously, I had only seen a few minutes of a Brosnan Bond flick with an ice castle that only left me thinking how stupid the whole franchise must be. So after reading Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories and Doctor No, I'm excited to se Whenever I read Ian Fleming Bond stories, I picture Daniel Craig as 007. I know I should be picturing Connery or Moore, or even Brosnan, and not the "Blonde Bond", but I can't help it -- Casino Royale was the first Bond film that engaged me. Previously, I had only seen a few minutes of a Brosnan Bond flick with an ice castle that only left me thinking how stupid the whole franchise must be. So after reading Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories and Doctor No, I'm excited to see a modern day literary take on 007, where the image of the rebooted Bond Daniel Craig belongs. It seems that it took a while for Jeffery Deaver -- this is his first Bond novel -- to get comfortable writing 007. The first few chapters are a bit stilted and tentative, but once Deaver settles in, the book begins to flow into a great globe-trotting thriller that keeps to the spirit of the original Ian Fleming character, and features guest spots by M, Q, Miss Moneypenny and Felix Leiter. I don't really understand the low ratings for this book. I would highly recommend it to fans of espionage, thriller and Bond stories, and look forward for further Bond tales from this author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Being a fan of Deavers writing I kind of got what I expected from his 007 book. A lot of twists in the tale and overall a decent book about a James Bond planted in our time. Well reseached by the writer with all the obvious things that makes the "movie" James Bond such fun to watch. Having read all Ian Fleming novels I am somewhat dissapointed by the fact that Deaver wrote a sequel to the movie-007 and not to the literary creation as envisioned by Ian Fleming. (The only continuation novel that is Being a fan of Deavers writing I kind of got what I expected from his 007 book. A lot of twists in the tale and overall a decent book about a James Bond planted in our time. Well reseached by the writer with all the obvious things that makes the "movie" James Bond such fun to watch. Having read all Ian Fleming novels I am somewhat dissapointed by the fact that Deaver wrote a sequel to the movie-007 and not to the literary creation as envisioned by Ian Fleming. (The only continuation novel that is similar to Fleming is the Kingsly Amis "Colonel Sun"). Like Gardner, Benson, Faulks and now Deaver they all write about recognisable moviehero. I had hoped on the strength of Deavers own work he would have chosen for a more Flemingesque story. It is a slick tale, but by NO means the best Deaver has to offer.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    We are gathered here together to witness the joyous union between the James Bond literary franchise, and the successfully established thriller novelist Jeffery Deaver.   And like any good wedding, we've ensured that we've observed the traditions.   Something Old:   James Bond is back - with all the high adventure, bizarre villains, and beautiful women (with whimsical names). Bond drinks the finest wines, consumes fabulous meals, and drives fast and exotic cars. And Deaver's gone way back to the beginn We are gathered here together to witness the joyous union between the James Bond literary franchise, and the successfully established thriller novelist Jeffery Deaver.   And like any good wedding, we've ensured that we've observed the traditions.   Something Old:   James Bond is back - with all the high adventure, bizarre villains, and beautiful women (with whimsical names). Bond drinks the finest wines, consumes fabulous meals, and drives fast and exotic cars. And Deaver's gone way back to the beginning, so Bond is young and exuberant. Seems like old times, with the novel free from any baggage that might otherwise be remaining by keeping continuity with the John Gardner or Raymond Benson storylines. In fact, Bond seems a bit fresh in his personal struggles, so this novel could arguably use Ian Fleming's first couple of Bond novels its starting point.   Something New:   For all that Deaver's gone back to the beginning, it's also a reboot of the series. Other authors' works appended to the series, but Deaver's version is actually a reimagining of the character for contemporary times. This is not your father's version of James Bond - he's rather politically correct, a non-smoker, and comes across a bit less self-assured. He doesn't always charm the girls, and he employs a largely defensive form of fighting. Moreover his high-tech gear is up-to-date: his cellphone alone has many of the apps he needs for his job in one handy package.   Something Borrowed:   Bond novels (by Fleming) always seemed to focus on adventure, in which there also happened to be some espionage activity. In this new start, Deaver actually seems to focus more on espionage - I've never seen Bond so careful. To me, Fleming's novels depicted that Bond's espionage skill was ART (ie: he was good at it partly due to his confidence and ability to bluff), but Deaver's novel seems to showcase that Bond's espionage skill is CRAFT. He literally never goes into any situation without a backup plan, as readers will discover in this novel.   Something Blue:   Bet you thought I couldn't deliver, but from p. 331: "A blue crane, the South African national bird, stood regally in a pond nearby, perfectly balanced on one leg."  Thank you Mr. Deaver for not forgetting, and now the wedding is perfect.   Some general thoughts about this book - I've never read any works by Deaver before, but I certainly hope he writes more James Bond, as I definitely want to read more. Will I check out his other works? Perhaps. Deaver writes an economical style of prose, succinct and parsimonious. Deaver's writing is very basic, so much so that younger readers who've never tried anything beyond YA novels could devour this without breaking a sweat. And truthfully, the simplistic exposition and the basic vocabulary helps speed the book along. This book held my attention raptly and I was sorry when it was done - always leave them wanting more, right Deaver?   And not to be prudish, but an extra half-point to Deaver for writing a grim thriller with no strongly profane language. A couple milder expletives, but easily overlooked: I appreciated his restraint.   I'll definitely be cheering Deaver for more Bond. Best reboot of any long-running franchise that I've read so far!   5 stars!  

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    This is the newest reincarnation of James Bond, and I was interested in seeing how Deaver would reinvent 007 as a 21st Century British operative. I’ll admit I’m not an avid James Bond fan, though I liked Sean Connery in Dr. No, and I’ve read Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. I was impressed with Deaver’s interpretation. He stayed true to the spirit of Bond, but added his own impeccable plotting, which frankly made a lot more sense than many of the Bond movies. All in all, Deaver successfully transpla This is the newest reincarnation of James Bond, and I was interested in seeing how Deaver would reinvent 007 as a 21st Century British operative. I’ll admit I’m not an avid James Bond fan, though I liked Sean Connery in Dr. No, and I’ve read Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. I was impressed with Deaver’s interpretation. He stayed true to the spirit of Bond, but added his own impeccable plotting, which frankly made a lot more sense than many of the Bond movies. All in all, Deaver successfully transplanted Bond into 2011. The narrative twists are many and suitably surprising. The villains are well drawn, equally creepy, compelling and competent. Bond comes across as very human, admirable and somewhat tragic. While there is no shortage of romance with the usual ‘Bond girls’ with ridiculous names – Felicity Willing, Philly Maidenstone – there is nothing ‘throw away’ or glibly macho about Bond’s emotional life. This is a three-dimensional James Bond whom I would love to follow in further adventures.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    In reviewing Carte Blanche, I’m going to be referencing all sorts of things Bond-related, from the films to Fleming’s Bond to some of the other literary versions. I think its important to note, right from the start, that I’m a Bond fan (probably safe to assume, given my speedy reading of this). But what sort of Bond fan? My favourite book is Fleming’s OHMSS (along with Thunderball, From Russia with Love and Dr No); My favourite films are Thunderball, From Russia With Love, Casino Royale; My favou In reviewing Carte Blanche, I’m going to be referencing all sorts of things Bond-related, from the films to Fleming’s Bond to some of the other literary versions. I think its important to note, right from the start, that I’m a Bond fan (probably safe to assume, given my speedy reading of this). But what sort of Bond fan? My favourite book is Fleming’s OHMSS (along with Thunderball, From Russia with Love and Dr No); My favourite films are Thunderball, From Russia With Love, Casino Royale; My favourite Bond actor... I always say Timothy Dalton, but its probably equal with Daniel Craig. I’ve never read any Jeffrey Deaver before this, but every other Bond novel except for the last two Raymond Benson books, which I couldn’t bring myself to read – so horribly misjudged did I find the first few. So that’s me. That’s the context. To get back to Carte Blanche, I enjoyed it enough. It was a good read. I expected Deaver to be a slightly more highbrow writer. Highbrow? Bond? Well, yes. Highbrow perhaps is the wrong word, but for all that Fleming’s stories were (and they were a product of their times), there was something very classy about his prose. His attention to detail and use of language did put them a cut above similar (and more forgettable) stories of the day. In the same way that John Le Carre writes such beautiful prose that its lovely to read, no matter what the subject. Fleming could do that. Kingsley Amis could do that too, and his Bond novel (as Robert Markham), ‘Colonel Sun’ remains my favourite of all the non-Fleming Bonds. Faulks is a clever writer and he tried to do it.. but not hard enough. And the fact that he wasn’t particularly a Bond fan showed. John Gardner’s plotting and characterisation went a bit potty at times, but his prose was mostly elegant. He is also a specialist genre-writer (The Secret Generations trilogy, being, I think, his best work and one that shows how well he understands the Spy Game). The next thing I was looking for in Deaver was how English the story was? Because there is no mistake that his English-ness is one of the things that has endured in Bond. I don’t want to waste too much time on Raymond Benson, but this was where he came most terribly unstuck (Bond referring to people as ‘Cowboys’ and many more Americanisms, the Englishness being almost a parody). This is where Deaver impressed me. Careful, intelligent research – showing skills as a natural writer (which Benson wasn’t) and only occasionally succumbing to gingo-istic stereotype (Rugby, in particular lept out rather self-consciously). In fact, this Bond feels very naturally English and very at home in London. I should probably reflect on the plot [slight spoiler alert], which is very topical (read: will date easily), globe-trotting and almost features the complete distruction of the villain’s lair. Just like... the films. And this is where both Faulks and Deaver have disappointed me. Given the opportunity to create a new literary Bond, they both appear to have followed the formula of the films. This one has girls 1, 2, 3 (girl next door, victim, leading lady), evil henchman, villain’s lair... in fact more than that... this one is Licence to Kill. Yes - my favourite Bond film between 1969 and 2005 - Hydte is Robert Davi’s Franz Sanchez, Dunne is Benicio Del Toro’s Dario, Jessica is Lupe Lamora (okay, he doesn’t sleep with Jessica), Isthmus becomes Cape Town, Cocaine becomes... recycling(?!). Bond goes undercover, gets accepted as one of their own, someone who might become useful, eventually is revealed, henchman suspected all along... I almost expected the same dialogue (“You disappoint me Mr Bond”). Only 1989’s LTK managed to be very Fleming-esque, even as a film set in the 80s (the decade style forgot) and yet Carte Blanche fails. In fact most of the books that have tried to be like the films, even though they’re written by a carefully selected writer - don’t do it half as well as the films do (which are often written by committee in the end, with three writers having main responsibility). So why do so many author’s fail in trying to write a literary Bond? Fleming, of course, never had to stick to a formula and didn’t. Although ‘The Spy who Loved Me’ is one of the most dreadfully mysoginistic books ever written, I love the structure (like the film ‘Under Siege’, Bond is an incidental character who appears about halfway in and makes life difficult for a bunch of hoodlum’s whilst coincidentally staying in an American motel one night). He killed Bond off twice, had him married twice.. none of that can happen for someone writing a one-off novel. They have to stick to the formula. But they also try and write too much, in my opinion. Fleming’s Bond never talked about sport, or about films, or about books, or about music (Deaver’s does all of these). Perhaps that’s because Fleming himself wasn’t very interested in them, but it does help for Bond to be the ‘blunt instrument’ he was described as being. Film’s can’t show us inside Bond’s mind. Books can and so Faulks and Deaver have chosen to. But that’s a mistake. Fleming didn’t try most of the time. His Bond was not romantic (as Connery could be). Not particularly desperate to get women in to bed (as Moore seemed to be). He just had a kind of raw animal magnetism. Is it politically correct to write a character like that in the modern age? Is the old Bond redundant in the modern age? Is there even a need for new Bond novels? I’ve frequently thought about all these questions and decided the answer to them all is no. If Bond can’t be how he was then why continue him? And when he isn’t, it loses something. But then there was Licence to Kill. And then there was Casino Royale. Both great films, Fleming-esque and yet entirely a product of their times and ages. If the films can manage to do this, then surely literature should? A few quick responses to things you’ve already read about: 1. Deaver is a car nut and a fan of Top Gear. [Sighs] Yes we get that. 2. Bond drinks Bourbon instead of Vodka Martini. Not strictly true as he does have one Vodka Martini, and when in America [in Fleming’s Diamonds are Forever] he quite got into Bourbon. I don’t really have a problem with this. This is where Deaver can, in my opinion, put his likes and expertise on to Bond. 3. Yes there are gadgets [acceptable], and a version of Q [A British Asian Cricket-fan whom I quite liked]. 4. Its another re-boot. Bond’s been re-tooled so many times now. I’m not a big fan of re-boots. I know you have to suspend disbelief quite a lot to picture someone who cut their teeth in WW2 and grew up through the Cold War still fighting in Afghanistan today, but readers (and watchers) are used to suspending disbelief. The question is, is it more authentic to do that, or to have a Bond entirely bereft of those experiences. 5. Current day setting: See above. If you can make it authentic then surely that’s better, but for me, Faulks’ was so wrong I’d rather have a modern re-boot that gets it right. And they did that in Casino Royale. Having said all that, I’d like to remind you of my earlier statements. I quite liked Carte Blanche. It was good fun. There’s a lot worse thrillers out there [a lot]. And a lot better too. In terms of Bond books it wasn’t a patch on Fleming (obviously), or Robert Markham. It was better than Faulks, Benson and some of Gardner’s later ones. When I’m reading a Bond novel its interesting to me which of the existing Bond actors I find myself picturing. Is that a guide to which Bond the author had in his head? I never picture Roger Moore ever (although For Your Eyes Only is quite good, and quite Fleming-esque). Occasionally flashes of Lazenby’s physicality might strike me in a fight scene. I picture Dalton more in the better Gardner Books (Icebreaker, for example).. perhaps because I’m so used to seeing him in 80s garb. Devil May Care was definitely Connery (but a late-era toupee-wearing Connery, like Never Say Never Again). Carte Blanche was mostly Daniel Craig, with Connery appearing in all the cheesy moments. That would draw the conclusion that he’s trying to do for the books what Casino Royale did for the films... but not quite succeeding. And that is probably how I’d sum it up.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    too technical writing. no juicy, no witty, no cynical. where is the James Bond we loved? of course iit s a very efficient now days one, who came out of the limbo of Afganistan but it is just ok.its looks more like Deaver had the idea of a movie in his mind.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Randy

    I read all the Ian Fleming Bond novels when I was fourteen-fifteen. I had to hide them from my mother as she didn't approve. I've followed all the "new " novels since Fleming's death: Kingsly Amis(as by Robert Markham, those of John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Charlie Higson(the young Bond series), and the one by Sebastian faulks. Even the two by Christopher woods based on the scripts for The Spy Who Loved Me and moonraker, both sufficiently different that a few name changes, and title, and you'd h I read all the Ian Fleming Bond novels when I was fourteen-fifteen. I had to hide them from my mother as she didn't approve. I've followed all the "new " novels since Fleming's death: Kingsly Amis(as by Robert Markham, those of John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Charlie Higson(the young Bond series), and the one by Sebastian faulks. Even the two by Christopher woods based on the scripts for The Spy Who Loved Me and moonraker, both sufficiently different that a few name changes, and title, and you'd have new Bond novels. Jeffery Deaver won the Ian Fleming Dagger Award for his novel GARDEN OF BEASTS. In his acceptance speech, he spoke glowingly about his feelings for Fleming's writings. It led to his being asked if he would like to write a Bond novel. This is a James Bond updated to today's world. Mid-thirties, Bond is a member of a secret branch of British intelligence called the Overseas Development Group. Run by M, Bond is a 007 charged with protecting the realm by any means necessary. All the characters are here; Moneypenny, Mary Goodnight, Bill Tanner, his housekeeper May is mentioned, Q Branch, even Felix Leiter puts in an appearance. In this modern world, Bond has the latest mobile phone and enough apps to render such things as shotgun mikes, bugs, and even following someone too close superfluous. Bond has the Fleming woman also: Felicity Willing by name(make your own jokes). A villain named Severan Hydt. Known as the Rag-and-Bone man, he owns Greenway International, the world's largest disposal and recycling company. Headquarters receives an electronic whisper that's chilling: Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. Bond is sent in to find out what and stop it. However he feels necessary. As I read this one, I realized something. The Bond I pictured in my mind was timothy Dalton. While Connery is probably my favorite, I had read all the Fleming novels before I ever saw one of the films. I had my ideas built up of how he looked and Dalton comes the closest of all the actors that have filled the role. A very good book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    This was a close one. I was very close to going 2 stars on it..but it finally seemed to pull itself together and finish strong. I will say that it's the best post Fleming 007 book I've tried. I read Ian Fleming's Bond books years ago (the late '60s and early'70s) and since he passed (and the post Fleming's death books) there have been a "series of writers" adding to the "series of book". I've yet to be really drawn into one of those. I started another recently and laid it aside so often I had to This was a close one. I was very close to going 2 stars on it..but it finally seemed to pull itself together and finish strong. I will say that it's the best post Fleming 007 book I've tried. I read Ian Fleming's Bond books years ago (the late '60s and early'70s) and since he passed (and the post Fleming's death books) there have been a "series of writers" adding to the "series of book". I've yet to be really drawn into one of those. I started another recently and laid it aside so often I had to return it to the library. Note: I have not given it a bad rating, I plan to give it another shot. Here we get the first I've actually gotten into. Bond getting involved in nefarious doings about feeding the starving. (Yeah I know that's a "what the..." statement but you need to read the book to get the details). Bond has moved forward and has access to the NET and so on. The book works as a fair thriller and the plot ties up well with a climatic ending. Still, I guess the problem is it's not really Bond. Others who read the book may not "feel" that way but I did. I found my interest wandering and spent a good deal of the book somewhat bored with it. I was well into the book before I finally got interested in it...and then I was still ready for it to end. So, maybe Bond is a character of his time and that magic just won't be recaptured. I live in hope that I'll find a volume that i can get involved in, maybe even a little excited about. That still hasn't happened but i will say that I've liked Mr. Deaver's book better than any of the other (as noted) post Fleming works.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    When I think of a reboot of James Bond, I think about Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies and all the newer Bond movies. Carte Blanche is the first novel in the Bond series to get a reboot; a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and former smoker. These are the only real big differences I can see in this novel. Everything you would expect in a Bond novel/movie is still here; the cars (a Bentley Continental GT and even a Subaru Impreza WRX) the girls (so many of them), the gadgets (including a custom ip When I think of a reboot of James Bond, I think about Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies and all the newer Bond movies. Carte Blanche is the first novel in the Bond series to get a reboot; a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and former smoker. These are the only real big differences I can see in this novel. Everything you would expect in a Bond novel/movie is still here; the cars (a Bentley Continental GT and even a Subaru Impreza WRX) the girls (so many of them), the gadgets (including a custom iphone called a qiphone) and of course the over-the-top action. Even some of the common friends of Bond make an apperence in this book, including; M, Moneypenny and Felix Leiter. As for the story, this reminds me a lot of Tomorrow Never Dies but instead of an insane Reporter causing all the attacks it is an Eco Terrorist group. There is a lot of action, flirting and double crossing, I’ve never read another Bond novel but this was everything I wanted. I know many people are concerned about this reboot but I must admit, it still lives up the the Bond name. I will go back and read some of the older 007 novels but for now this lives up to the Bond name, if I compare it to the movies.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Jeffery Deaver doing James Bond is like having Robert Downey, Jr. play... Sherlock Holmes. Well done, but with serious disconnects on multiple levels. One needs to just enjoy the story as a story, and suspend complaints about deviations from Fleming's ideal. Though I am enjoying the story, I think Deaver needs to get back to Lincoln Rhyme. Jeffery Deaver doing James Bond is like having Robert Downey, Jr. play... Sherlock Holmes. Well done, but with serious disconnects on multiple levels. One needs to just enjoy the story as a story, and suspend complaints about deviations from Fleming's ideal. Though I am enjoying the story, I think Deaver needs to get back to Lincoln Rhyme.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    Jeffery Deaver is one of my favorite authors. So, Deaver writing a James Bond yarn, why not? This is a contemporary Bond, i.e. post 9/11. He receives a bulletin from headquarters warning of an attack threat scheduled for later in the week jeopardizing British interests and estimates thousands of casualties. Of course this sends Bond to the airport and we are in for a complicated journey that is fraught with danger. It's not the Bond we remember but it is Bond. Jeffery Deaver is one of my favorite authors. So, Deaver writing a James Bond yarn, why not? This is a contemporary Bond, i.e. post 9/11. He receives a bulletin from headquarters warning of an attack threat scheduled for later in the week jeopardizing British interests and estimates thousands of casualties. Of course this sends Bond to the airport and we are in for a complicated journey that is fraught with danger. It's not the Bond we remember but it is Bond.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Jeffery Deaver accomplished something beyond the capacities that I expect from contemporary writers: he wrote a twenty-first century Bond novel that reads exactly as a Bond novel set in the twenty-first century should. Since Fleming passed away and the Bond name and series continued without him, a handful of authors have added to the Bond canon with varying measures of success, yet without capturing the vitality--the soul, you could say--that makes Fleming's books so good. Somehow, Deaver has ca Jeffery Deaver accomplished something beyond the capacities that I expect from contemporary writers: he wrote a twenty-first century Bond novel that reads exactly as a Bond novel set in the twenty-first century should. Since Fleming passed away and the Bond name and series continued without him, a handful of authors have added to the Bond canon with varying measures of success, yet without capturing the vitality--the soul, you could say--that makes Fleming's books so good. Somehow, Deaver has captured this essence and combined its potency with a story that stands up as an excellent international thriller in its own right, Bond or no Bond. This is, undoubtedly, a Bond book, and anyone who has read Fleming's work will immediately recognize the tone of the story. Bond is clinical in his approach to his job and absolutely certain about his cause. He lives in the present and for the moment, and seizes opportunity when and where it appears--be it a chance to infiltrate a potential enemy stronghold, despite a lack of fall-back options; or a high-speed drive in a high-performance car on winding, back-country roads. He is also sharp of mind, using his tools, craft, and raw intelligence to outdo obstacle and enemies, and to crack the greater puzzle behind the story. In combat, Bond is fearless, savvy, and brutal when need be. "Carte Blanche" reads like a Bond novel, and Deaver writes Bond so that he acts and speaks as Fleming intended. The one note that Deaver edits from Fleming's oeuvre is the morbid side of Bond that grows more pronounced with each book in the earlier series, until it culminates in a personal crisis that causes Bond to consider drastic actions for relief. As Deaver envisions him, Bond is in his mid-thirties and is resolute in his cause to "protect the Realm, at all costs." In context, this falls perfectly in step with the romantic connotations that phrases like "on her Majesty's secret service" evoke, and connects Bond with the literary tradition of British spycraft. More importantly, however, Deaver offers a Bond who is heroic in a classical sense, free to exercise his talents and pursue his mission without any taint of modern cynicism or censure. Another noteworthy accomplishment of Deaver's is his use of modern and traditional spycraft. In "Carte Blanche," Bond relies greatly on his mobile phone and its various apps to trail suspects, eavesdrop on conversation, snap photos, and video important events. Deaver shows himself impressively adept at incorporating modern digital gadgets and tools with just enough detail to work these devices into the fabric of the story. At the same time, he writes Bond into positions where old fashioned spycraft--such as cutouts, and an ingenious means of getting past a secure doorway--serve as the best strategy. Deaver combines these old and new tricks into a seamless blend that, again, connects Bond with the espionage tradition, while also serving readers an updated take on a spy whose exploits fascinate and entertain. "Carte Blanche" had the same effect on me as the twenty-first century "Casino Royale:" once again, I was able to experience the same adventure and intrigue, the same thrills, that I once did when I first read about British Secret Agent James Bond, 007. In fact, "Carte Blanche" is so good, I actually took my time reading it, so as to make the concoction last just a little longer. James Bond is a unique figure in literature, and a spy tale such as "Carte Blanche" does not come along often enough.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    Well paced. But, while Deaver is intent on reiterating Bond’s tastes in fast cars, sharp attire, and quality booze, he misses what originally made 007 such an iconic figure. Ian Fleming’s James Bond, arising from the conformism of the 1950s, carried the appeal of being an outsider within the system, someone who exercised the freedom of his “licensed-to-kill” status to create his own rules, bucking convention. Fleming’s Bond worked on very long tether from HQ as he pursued his quarries, as in his Well paced. But, while Deaver is intent on reiterating Bond’s tastes in fast cars, sharp attire, and quality booze, he misses what originally made 007 such an iconic figure. Ian Fleming’s James Bond, arising from the conformism of the 1950s, carried the appeal of being an outsider within the system, someone who exercised the freedom of his “licensed-to-kill” status to create his own rules, bucking convention. Fleming’s Bond worked on very long tether from HQ as he pursued his quarries, as in his search for his nemeses from SPECTRE. He could be cold and arrogant, definitely not a team player. While a reader certainly roots for him, there are occasions that same reader might not be sure whether he likes him. Critics even came to characterize him an “anti-hero.” (In contrast to Deaver, the cinematic reboot casting Daniel Craig as 007 actually captures these character traits quite well.) Deaver, on the other hand, wants to have a likeable James Bond, who loves his parents, cares about world hunger, only wounds his attackers if he doesn’t absolutely have to kill them, and is always “phoning home.” His relationships with all his colleagues at HQ are warm and chummy. His apartment decorations reflect sentimentality. Even in pursuit of a bad guy, Bond takes time to “smell the flowers,” noticing the beauty of his surroundings. At one point, Deaver has Bond asked himself, “What would M do in this situation?”—something Fleming’s Bond would never be caught doing. This is a sanitized Boy’s Life version of James Bond (an appropriate metaphor in more ways than one, since the book feels like it was written at a sixth-grade level). this new Bond is so pleasant, so likable that he berates himself for being annoyed by irritating minor characters. Also, the whole point of Bond is that he is supposed to be an unpleasant, intensely snobbish bore who manipulates and exploits any weakness in people for his selfish ends. Especially other people who lack his all consuming passion for life at the edge and all its finest rewards and pleasures. But Flemming cleverly tempered this personalty with the background of a tragic childhood and the product of an English boarding school upbringing resulting in a longing to look up to authority father figures such as 'M'. Ian Flemming brilliantly held up the closeted and biggotted attitudes held by society and demonstrated its hypocrisy when Bond thunders and crashes into any situation requiring his ruthless efficiency. But do we get the modern equivalent with the Carte Blanche Bond? Will you be shaken, and stirred? Will Carte Blanche's licence to kill have you in Bond's gun sights? No, no, and NO! What we get is Bond the bleeding heart liberal who wakes with night sweats and troubled conscience for sleeping with a woman when he may be falling for a work colleague. WE get the errant Knight Sir Galahad who puts the beautiful and vulnerable date in a taxi and waves goodbye lest he be tempted to take advantage....OMG. WHy oh Why is Bond so wet? The villain is a childish cardboard cut-out, and there's LOTS of detail on the food people order.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bill Lynas

    Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver has been a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels since he was a child & his love of 007's adventures is clearly shown in this modern day Bond story. The novel opens with plenty of action & shows a young Bond (in his 30s) working for a new British agency similar to the SOE of World War 2. As the story progresses Deaver starts & ends some chapters with "twists" that become a little tiresome. However, this is Fleming's Bond with a highly enjoyable 21st Century Deaver Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver has been a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels since he was a child & his love of 007's adventures is clearly shown in this modern day Bond story. The novel opens with plenty of action & shows a young Bond (in his 30s) working for a new British agency similar to the SOE of World War 2. As the story progresses Deaver starts & ends some chapters with "twists" that become a little tiresome. However, this is Fleming's Bond with a highly enjoyable 21st Century Deaver spin. Thankfully the author doesn't fall into the trap of slavishly trying to copy Fleming & creates his own version of Bond. For an American writer it has a reasonably good British feel & the ending is very much in line with Fleming's conclusions to his better novels. I wish Deaver had been asked to write another 007 adventure, but sadly the next James Bond story was Solo by William Boyd. Solo, for me at least, was the worst Bond story ever.....but that's a story for another time.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Based on the author being Jeffery Deaver, I decided to read this James Bond book that he wrote. It was very well-done, and I enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately, he must not have written a second one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    J.F. Penn

    Full video review here http://mysterythriller.tv/carte-blanc... I had to read this book as I am a huge Bond fan and also enjoy Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series. For an American thriller author to write in the biggest British spy novel franchise, it’s quite the combination. Anyway, the book opens with a message that has been intercepted by British intelligence about an incident by the mysterious ‘noah’ that will have thousands of casualties and impact british interests. James Bond is assigne Full video review here http://mysterythriller.tv/carte-blanc... I had to read this book as I am a huge Bond fan and also enjoy Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series. For an American thriller author to write in the biggest British spy novel franchise, it’s quite the combination. Anyway, the book opens with a message that has been intercepted by British intelligence about an incident by the mysterious ‘noah’ that will have thousands of casualties and impact british interests. James Bond is assigned to find out what it is and stop it. This adventure leads him to rubbish disposal multi-millionaire Severan Hydt who has a ruthless Irish henchman, and Bond ends up travelling in Britain, to Dubai and then on to South Africa where the book escalates to the final twist. So what did I like about the book? I like Q - this reincarnation is an Indian IT guru who can make interesting gadgets from what is locally to hand. It was good to see Felix Leiter born again, a new American who meets up with Bond in Dubai. There’s the obligatory flirting with the ladies, who are portrayed as stronger than previous Bond girls. I particularly loved the villain, Severan Hydt who is sexually aroused by decay and death. He is thrilled to be near dead bodies and even loves the decay of buildings and cities. He doesn’t allow his lover to wear makeup so he can see her aging process. Creepy. His business of rubbish disposal is a curious, but effective bad-guy business. England now is critically short of rubbish space and it is a hugely important topic here and these mega-rubbish tips are brilliant places to keep bodies. The descriptions are also excellent - it’s amazing what people throw away and there are some good bits about technology invented to scan hard drives before destroying or extract precious metal which can be on-sold. One can see how lucrative the business could be. This is a really original villain’s business. Brilliant! However, I didn’t think the story was big enough for Bond - in terms of the scale of evil or the threat and also the ending wasn’t consequential enough for me, although no spoilers! In my mind, Bond has to save the world - he is almost like Flash Gordon, saviour of the Universe! But in this book, I don’t see him saving anything big enough to warrant his attention - a lesser agent could have dealt with it. Bond himself is possibly too introspective for me as well - the Bond in my mind is all action, less thinking about how lonely he is really and how we can’t get close to people. He shoots people, has sex, has a few drinks, adjusts his tie and gets on with it - for England. I don’t need him to be a sensitive, new age man. Leave that to other heroes. I also got annoyed about the product placement - there was so much of it - perhaps that was for the film tie-in. BUT, all that said, I enjoyed the ride. Deaver knows how to write a thriller and keeps it interesting enough - and the new take on Bond may be justified after so many outings. Worth a read on the Kindle!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Book Him Danno

    I was excited to read the latest James Bond, especially since it was going to be a modern Bond, much like Daniel Craig portrays in the new movies. For me he has revitalized the series, moving away from the over the top cartoonish aspects of the previous few Bonds, and going more towards the hard hitting thriller agent a la Jason Bourne and the like. This really hit home when I read Devil May Care awhile back featuring a period Bond; a very boring book. Jeffrey Deaver, an outstanding thrill write I was excited to read the latest James Bond, especially since it was going to be a modern Bond, much like Daniel Craig portrays in the new movies. For me he has revitalized the series, moving away from the over the top cartoonish aspects of the previous few Bonds, and going more towards the hard hitting thriller agent a la Jason Bourne and the like. This really hit home when I read Devil May Care awhile back featuring a period Bond; a very boring book. Jeffrey Deaver, an outstanding thrill writer, was commissioned to write the new books after he praised Ian Fleming in an award acceptance speech as a great influence. He has managed to bring the written Bond up to date with a believable plot, and realistic bad guys. The villains are a businessman willing to do some horrific things for money, and an idealist who has lost sight of what is right. The latter forgets the ends do not justify the means. Bond is outfitted with nifty gadgets and can actually communicate and travel with equipment more sophisticated then what we the general public gets. So no more pay phones for our hero. The downside of the book, and thus the 3.5 star rating, is two fold. One I blame on circumstance and the other on the author. First, Deaver’s respect for Fleming and his writing style bleeds through every page, and that is not necessarily a good thing. Every conversation is laced with exhaustive product name dropping and over the top descriptive elements of every finer thing Bond enjoys. The food descriptions alone outnumber all other dining experiences in the last 100 books I have read and they all read like the menu romance copy found at a mid level restaurant chain. Not having read the original Fleming before I assume it was all there as an homage to his style; because I have read several of Deaver’s previous books and that was not to be found. The second problem I had was the extremely stilted dialogue between Bond and every attractive female character in the book. For someone who is supposed to be the smooth ladies man Deaver totally missed the mark here. The conversations just seemed awkward and were all dependent on extremely obscure personal preferences they would both have in common. MS. Two Boobs Johnson (points for that reference) would make an whacky statement like she preferred Penguin cutlets that were prepared in Boolooroog New Zealand, but only if the penguin was left handed. And the Bond would smile knowingly, thinking this woman was amazing because everybody knows the right handed ones were total shyte. Once, maybe; but the book was full of this sort of thing. At the end of the day it was a good book and the thriller portion was brought up to date. A must read for all Bond fans, especially the modern Bond. But for me to stick with the eventual series Deaver is going to need to move away from the Fleming style and more into his own ballpark, plus learn how to write a smooth ladies man in conversation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    The charm of Pierce Brosnan while enacting the character of James Bond has been a major factor for my getting interested in the British spy. Which other character gets to ride the sexiest cars, make love to stunning women, shoot with unerring accuracy, wear brooks brothers & saville row suits and save the world in the process ? This was my superficial view of this arrogant, selfish, brutal and outright chauvinistic thug whom Fleming conjured in his novels. There have been offshoots after Fleming The charm of Pierce Brosnan while enacting the character of James Bond has been a major factor for my getting interested in the British spy. Which other character gets to ride the sexiest cars, make love to stunning women, shoot with unerring accuracy, wear brooks brothers & saville row suits and save the world in the process ? This was my superficial view of this arrogant, selfish, brutal and outright chauvinistic thug whom Fleming conjured in his novels. There have been offshoots after Fleming's passing as the mantle of 007 have been taken up by writers like Raymond Benson & John Gardner, none of which I have read. Jeffrey Deaver's take on the spy is a spinoff which is more rooted in the post 9/11 world but sadly it never understands who James Bond is. None of the novels in this series can hardly be called literary masterpieces but they have achieved cult status over the years. While Jeffrey Deaver does go overboard at times with his short stories, I have liked his writing style and the ambience he creates in some of his stories. These factors led to that little imp called expectation step into my reading experience and make a mess of it all by the time I was done reading. It is a decent thriller with a lot of globe trotting action all in a gap of a week. This is not the kind of story to snoop around for plot line, characters or dialog as you may very well know. Now for the reason as to why this book was a disappointment.Whoever the protagonist is in this story, he is not the James Bond I knew. Bond beds a lot of women on any mission that he is on but this is the first avatar of him I know where he has a prick of conscience while courting. While this made me scratch my head at the instances where I encountered it, there is another method of story telling that Deaver employs which made blanch. It goes like this : 007 is in a tight spot and all seems to be over for him from the first person POV and the chapter closes. The next chapter sees the him making mincemeat of all those baddies who thought they could get the better of him. The funny part is that this is told from a third person POV. While this is amusing the first two times, it gets to be a repeated technique and proves to be a major deterrant in enjoying this story. Any mission that 007 undertakes bloodies him up in the end. He has been fed to sharks, tortured, shot, stabbed and been through countless fights and like any other human being he suffers the scars in the novels & the movies. Deaver's 007 is a hollywood macho man ( read Chuck Norris or Liam Neeson ) who even after the most devastating or hair raising of encounters walks off after flicking the flecks of dust off his suit. A tad interesting if you like your thrillers hollywood-ish. If you are a 007 lover, then its wiser to stay off this one !

  20. 5 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    The 37th original James Bond novel “Carte Blanche” updates James Bond’s backstory to fit the 21st century setting and to appeal to a new generation. In Mr. Deaver’s version, James Bond was born in 1979 and is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan instead of WW11 and the Cold War as originally penned by Ian Fleming. The story is set in mid-2011 and takes place over the course of a week. James Bond, a former Royal Naval Reserve officer, is employed within the 00 section of the Operations Branch of the The 37th original James Bond novel “Carte Blanche” updates James Bond’s backstory to fit the 21st century setting and to appeal to a new generation. In Mr. Deaver’s version, James Bond was born in 1979 and is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan instead of WW11 and the Cold War as originally penned by Ian Fleming. The story is set in mid-2011 and takes place over the course of a week. James Bond, a former Royal Naval Reserve officer, is employed within the 00 section of the Operations Branch of the Overseas Development Group, a covert operational unit of British Security. The main plot brings the intrepid Spy to Serbia where an enforcer named Dunne is planning to derail a train carrying 300kg of methyl isocyanate with the ultimate purpose of contaminating the Danube. Of course Bond is there to save the day and at the same time the intelligence gathered leads him to a connection with Green Way International, a waste disposal consortium. Given the green light by his handlers, Bond investigates the inner workings of the company and its enigmatic leader, Severan Hydt, a man with an intense morbid fascination. Bond poses as a Durban based mercenary in order to infiltrate the company’s South Africa holdings and get close to the head man himself, Hydt. From this point on the action develops into your typical James Bond flavour, fiction on steroids, peppered with excitement and suspense. As in any version Bond will be Bond, while in Africa, he meets Bheka Jordaan, a colourful female police operative, who will become his strongest ally and Felicity Willing, a charity spoke person, who will charm the pants off of him. He soon finds out the alluring Felicity is a master at deception and uses her assets to benefit her own agenda…… In a sub-plot Bond looks into a KGB operation code named “Steel Cartridge”. He suspects his father was a former Cold War spy and was silenced by the Russians in a clean-up operation. He learns his mother was also linked to the trade and may have been a Soviet mole…. This novel has all the attributes of a modern fiction, short chapters, gripping action and an underlying message. The story progresses with a slow tempo, however towards the end, the writer deploys a few twists with dazzling results and I was in a nail biting mode from then on, unfortunately this was short lived. Early on the action is predictable but nevertheless entertaining. I like the new James Bond but prefer the satirical, dry wit operative of the Cold War version. The new Bond lacks the flamboyant panache of his predecessor. In this book, the villains have a tendency to overshadow the protagonist. They are the binding force that hold the story together.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roger

    I was hoping that the combination of one of my favorite authors (Jeffery Deaver) and my favorite fictional characters would be a slam dunk good read. We're bringing Bond into the modern era. I expected more of an influence of the new movie style on Bond: gritty, hard, deeply flawed, emotionally damaged but still likable. Sadly, I was disappointed. Where the true James Bond (misogynist, elitist, specialist, connoisseur, womanizer) should be is a broken ex-military man with an intense love for his I was hoping that the combination of one of my favorite authors (Jeffery Deaver) and my favorite fictional characters would be a slam dunk good read. We're bringing Bond into the modern era. I expected more of an influence of the new movie style on Bond: gritty, hard, deeply flawed, emotionally damaged but still likable. Sadly, I was disappointed. Where the true James Bond (misogynist, elitist, specialist, connoisseur, womanizer) should be is a broken ex-military man with an intense love for his car, gun and high-expense living. Brought into the 21st Century, this bond is lacking in the characteristics that make the Bond persona enjoyable. It is a sad caricature of the man we know rather than a reboot of the man we wanted. Should the character be renamed to John Smith, the book could instantly become elevated to better than average, but as a Bond book it is lacking in the subtleties of the Bond persona. Gone is the wit and subtlety of his personality. Absent is the callous disregard and the stiff upper lip. He's a cold fish playing at rich boy games. The book itself seems to be suffering from editors heavy hand and an apparent commercialism. Every time the automobile is mentioned, it sounds like someone had copied the dialogue from an advertising campaign. Even in the immense bromance with the Bentley, there's no passion. The base story was interesting, but after having read the entire novel, I wondered why I felt as though I had read more of a fluffed short story. Too many pages of irrelevant exposition, not enough internal dialogue. The character does not even share the most interesting points of fact until after they are past. We are not even privvy to the inner working of Bond's mind. He passes the amazing and interesting tricks on after the action has passed as though he's trying to explain the story to a child and the child wouldn't really understand the whys and hows, so he just reveals how brilliant he is afterwards rather than as it happens. Disappointing in all facets. As a Bond fan, I can't recommend this book except as a sadly canon story that will lead to more novels.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Jeffery Deaver was hired to do a modern reboot of 007 novels just as Daniel Craig was brought in to the film franchise. Similar Big Name. Similar Big Results. When I have recommended Fleming's Bond books to people in the past I've told them that, while they are completely formulaic and a product of their time, they transcend the limits of formula thrillers and the constraints of outdated ideology through a careful literary feel for when to bypass the formula and a studied political ear for when Jeffery Deaver was hired to do a modern reboot of 007 novels just as Daniel Craig was brought in to the film franchise. Similar Big Name. Similar Big Results. When I have recommended Fleming's Bond books to people in the past I've told them that, while they are completely formulaic and a product of their time, they transcend the limits of formula thrillers and the constraints of outdated ideology through a careful literary feel for when to bypass the formula and a studied political ear for when to cut against then-popular group-think. His instincts - both for conventions and their undermining - served Fleming well. How did Deaver do? Let's run the checklist: The classic Bond novels were structured, in my reading, around five sections - like a newspaper - and had something for everyone. Bond (mot in order): 1) Went somewhere 'exotic' - a travelogue 2) Ate great meals - food and restaurant review 3) Gambled, and gave us an insight into a game - sports columnist 4) Fought a bad guy - headline news 5) Bedded a beautiful woman - to stretch a poor newspaper analogy, personal ads And he did all of this in about 200 pages. Deaver nails all of the points save #3 - albeit in a bloated 400+ pages; and without attempting to subsume his own stylistic bents at all. In addition to the Fleming formula, we are inundated with typical Deaver devices - double agents, misheard and misinterpreted scraps of conversation, ambiguous pronoun-ing to disguise characters and cliffhanger chapters that are shocking...until they happen so often that they are not. Carte Blanche is a good James Bond and it's a good Jeffery Deaver; but with a little more attention to convention it could have been great.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jack Silkstone

    There is no doubt in my mind that Jeffrey Deaver can write. His work embodies all of the tenants of a good read. In saying that this novel is a real let down for many many other reasons. For starters it is obvious that Mr Deaver has a very limited understanding of both Bond and the world he operates in. Bond is ruthless, charming, rugged, chauvinistic and a bit of an altruist. Deaver's character comes across as a bit of a namby pamby. All equal opportunities and first name, open plan offices. In There is no doubt in my mind that Jeffrey Deaver can write. His work embodies all of the tenants of a good read. In saying that this novel is a real let down for many many other reasons. For starters it is obvious that Mr Deaver has a very limited understanding of both Bond and the world he operates in. Bond is ruthless, charming, rugged, chauvinistic and a bit of an altruist. Deaver's character comes across as a bit of a namby pamby. All equal opportunities and first name, open plan offices. In an attempt to bring Bond into the modern world Deaver has desexed him. As a result he wanders around the house like my small brown dog, a little aimless and definitely not a hunter. Deaver does know how to construct a good thriller, I give him that. However, he doesn't know one end of action from the other. The constant listing of weapon and equipment brands made me feel like I was reading a US camping store catalog - possibly where he did his research. 5.11 tactical this and 5.11 tactical that. Most operators chose equipment based on performance and comfort, not branding. Overall I give two stars for Deaver's natural ability to tell a good story. Take Bond out of the equation and it's a good read. But unfortunately Deaver was given carriage of a concept and a character, one that he hasn't done justice. Jack Silkstone Author of the PRIMAL series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    fleurette

    I love all the books from Jeffery Deaver and when I found out that he wrote one of the James Bond books I was really interested. And definitely, I'm not disappointed. James Bond is given a new mission. His unsuccessful action in Serbia seems to have a bigger impact than anyone suspected. A dangerous engineer of the felonies, the Irishmen escapes to UK where Bond has no power to act. But as the case becomes more and more serious, he has to leave England to stop the criminal schema. In some way this I love all the books from Jeffery Deaver and when I found out that he wrote one of the James Bond books I was really interested. And definitely, I'm not disappointed. James Bond is given a new mission. His unsuccessful action in Serbia seems to have a bigger impact than anyone suspected. A dangerous engineer of the felonies, the Irishmen escapes to UK where Bond has no power to act. But as the case becomes more and more serious, he has to leave England to stop the criminal schema. In some way this is a very typical book from Deaver. The plot is intense and complicated with lots of twists. Nothing is what it seems to be. Everybody who likes Deaver style won't be disappointed. Bond is also more complicated character than what we know for the movies. This is a highly entertaining read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    I enjoyed this a lot more than I'd thought, from my limited knowledge of the author and comments from Bond fans, I would. Some details didn't quite ring true with me but it's a decent stab at Bond, with a plot that had me looking forward to finding out what would happen next. Nice to see Leiter and Mathis show up, although the latter's appearance is offstage and limited. And Deaver comes across as a nice guy and true fan. It was a bit of a Dan Brown read, in that it all felt convincing until the I enjoyed this a lot more than I'd thought, from my limited knowledge of the author and comments from Bond fans, I would. Some details didn't quite ring true with me but it's a decent stab at Bond, with a plot that had me looking forward to finding out what would happen next. Nice to see Leiter and Mathis show up, although the latter's appearance is offstage and limited. And Deaver comes across as a nice guy and true fan. It was a bit of a Dan Brown read, in that it all felt convincing until the author touched on a subject I actually knew something about (motorbikes), and I thought 'hang on a minute'.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Keith (of the clan)

    This was my first ever bond novel, I thought I'd hate it but I actually really liked it, I would recommend it if you like the spy thrillers of today. Deaver did good here. This was my first ever bond novel, I thought I'd hate it but I actually really liked it, I would recommend it if you like the spy thrillers of today. Deaver did good here.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Got half way and gave up reading it. Boring, slow-moving plot.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Gherzo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Carte Blanche, Jeffery Deaver's contribution to the literary James Bond franchise, is mostly enjoyable, although there are some problems that keep it from being as great as it could have been. 007 is on the trail of a waste management baron who is planning a deadly attack that will claim thousands of lives. Along the way there is the requisite danger, intrigue and gorgeous women with suggestive names. Carte Blanche is the first time the book universe has been rebooted (at least going all the way Carte Blanche, Jeffery Deaver's contribution to the literary James Bond franchise, is mostly enjoyable, although there are some problems that keep it from being as great as it could have been. 007 is on the trail of a waste management baron who is planning a deadly attack that will claim thousands of lives. Along the way there is the requisite danger, intrigue and gorgeous women with suggestive names. Carte Blanche is the first time the book universe has been rebooted (at least going all the way back to Fleming), and, although it's unnecessary, it mostly works. Bond now works for a fictional agency called the Overseas Development Group, or ODG, a secret intelligence organization whose job is to "protect the Realm... by any means necessary." Translation: Bond's license to kill is intact. Bond himself is now a veteran of Afghanistan, where he performed many covert missions that brought him to M's attention. His gadgets mostly come in the form of apps for his Iphone (which, because it comes from good old Q-branch, is referred to as an IQ-phone). It's a neat take on updating Bond's gadgets for the modern world. Some of the changes, however, are unwelcome. I don't understand why Deaver didn't use Major Boothroyd (Q in the movies, though I believe the book writers, for some reason, aren't allowed to call him Q, which seems incredibly silly and shortsightedly territorial, but whatever) as the head of Q branch. Instead, the chief gadget maker is an English Indian named Sanu Hirani. Hirani is a complete non-character. No personality at all. It seems Deaver wanted to comment on the fact that there is a large Indian population in England, but thought making him Indian would be enough to create a character. It isn't; it's tokenism and political correctness masquerading as ethnic sensitivity. He'd have been better off keeping Boothroyd and writing some fun repartee between him and 007. Otherwise, the ODG is almost exactly the same as Bond's traditional MI6 surroundings, making one wonder why the change happened at all. M (who is Miles Messervy again) is still in charge with Moneypenny as his secretary; Mary Goodnight is still Bond's assistant (replete with a not-so-subtle casting recommendation from Deaver should Carte Blanche ever become a film); Bill Tanner is still the Chief of Staff. The only difference is the presence of Opehlia Maidenstone, a liaison between the ODG and MI6, but she could easily have been just another MI6 officer. It's not a problem, it just seems unnecessary. The characters are uniformly good, with the villains being standouts. Severan Hydt is a fascinating specimen, a man obsessed with waste and decay to such an extent that he even secures a romantic partner that reflects his infatuation with degradation. He gets sexually excited at the thought of dead bodies. He becomes as giddy as a schoolboy when talking about recycling mass graves. At first it just seems strange, but Deaver does a great job of using this sick preoccupation to shape a true monster. It's even reflected in his appearance: mangy hair, gruff beard, long, dirty fingernails. Hydt is a villain in the grand Fleming tradition, ugly inside and out. Also fascinating is Hydt's henchman, Niall Dunne, an Irish mercenary who functions like a machine and is able to coldly assess any situation and plan perfectly for the desired outcome. Again, in lesser hands this could have been silly, but Deaver makes the character work. Dunne is a dangerous henchman and always feels like a true threat to Bond. The two main women this time out are Felicity Willing, the head of a hunger relief organization based in South Africa, and Bheka Jordaan, an officer of SAPS, the South African Police Service. The women contrast each other very well; while Felicity Willing lives up to her last name in terms of Bond's advances, Bheka Jordaan is a much tougher nut to crack (which, of course, makes her all the more fascinating to Bond). Ophelia Maidenstone is less in the Bond tradition and more the representative of an office romance, with all its potential pleasures and pitfalls. New allies like Percy Osborne-Smith and Gregory Lamb get in the way more than they assist, while Felix Leiter and Rene Mathis return (albeit on the phone, in Mathis' case) to lend a hand. There will be big spoilers from here on out... The plot is interesting, for the most part. It was fun slowly unraveling Hydt's plan with Bond. Hydt's new business venture, finding discarded memorandums from intelligence agencies and selling them to the highest bidders, fit perfectly with his refuse obsession. My initial disappointment with the scope of his impending attack (and his rather unceremonious send-off) was dashed when it was revealed that Hydt was merely a pawn (or, more accurately, a side venture) for the real mastermind behind the operation. I had a suspicion that Felicity Willing may have been working for Hydt (I had her pegged as either a traitor or a sacrificial lamb), but I never thought she would turn out to be the puppet master. I loved her scheme too; using famine to prop up dictators is decidedly evil. However, I was disappointed again when it came to her and Niall Dunne's fates. In fact, the entire climax was a whimper instead of a Bondian bang. Felicity is just arrested by Bheka. She's never much of a threat. Dunne is outwitted by Bond, which is appropriate, but the whole showdown had more of a sense of the end of a Law And Order episode (or at least the first half of an episode) than a James Bond adventure. The rendition aspect was a nice, satisfying touch, but again, not very Bondian (that actually felt more like something that should happen in 24). I think the biggest mixed bag is how Deaver writes James Bond as a character. He gets a lot right. I was very happy that he didn't go the route of the new movies in the rebooted series (the bane of my Bond fandom) and make him an SAS special forces brute. He retains his status as a Commander in the Royal Navy. It shows much more respect for Bond's origins, as well as his overall character. I also loved the fact that he kept Bond's particularity about every aspect of his life, from his food and drink to the utensils he uses to groom himself (I laughed out loud when Deaver described the handle of Bond's razor as being made out of Buffalo horn; that's exactly the kind of thing Bond would use). Furthermore, Bond's refinement and sophistication are part of why M wants to recruit him into the ODG. And Deaver conveyed this much more successfully than Sebastian Faulks did in Devil May Care, where he just tried to ape Fleming's writing style (always a mistake). It would've been nice if Bond was smoking again, but in this P.C. "won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!" era that was hoping for a little too much. His weakness for women is intact as well. As the book went on, though, I had some problems with Bond's characterization. First, Bond isn't as ruthless as he should be. The idea that he's cold-blooded and will kill without compunction is put out there (he still has the cold, cruel eyes that Fleming described so long ago), but he never actually does anything to suggest this. He never kills in cold blood; he always uses non-lethal force on anyone who isn't shooting at him, and even in self-defense he almost always shoots to wound. Bond is supposed to be, at his heart, a cold-blooded killer. He doesn't enjoy it, but he does it without remorse. Deaver seemed to really lighten him up in that regard. His newfound good sportsmanship is also reflected in how he deals with women. Bond is attracted to three women in this book, but he only sleeps with one of them. He has the opportunity with Ophelia Maidenstone, but holds back because he's afraid she might not be ready. Huh? That seems decidedly un-Bond. Well, okay, he seems to actually want a relationship with her. But why does he decide not to sleep with Bheka Jordaan? From the moment they meet, you're waiting for Bond to break through the barriers she's set up and get her to sleep with him, but when he finally does, he won't go through with it because they could never have a real relationship. So what? I wasn't holding out for a wedding. Is Bond only gonna sleep with girls after they exchange promise rings? It all feels very watered down. It's almost like Deaver is trying to appeal to potential female readers by giving them what he thinks (probably incorrectly) they want. It's a shame, because what he gets right is wonderful. Ultimately, I enjoyed Carte Blanche enough to recommend it. Deaver isn't the best of the continuation authors (my favorite is Raymond Benson), but he certainly isn't the worst (that would be the thankfully one-off Sebastian Faulks).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clem

    I want to start this review by stating that I’ve read every James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, John Gardner, and Raymond Benson. I’ve also read about 25 Jeffery Deaver novels. I state this because this will be a rather lukewarm review, and I didn’t want readers to think I’m either a James Bond snob who doesn’t think Deaver is up to the task, or a Deaver diehard who can’t stand James Bond. I will say, though, that I find this pairing a peculiar match. James Bond, as everyone knows, is the world’s m I want to start this review by stating that I’ve read every James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, John Gardner, and Raymond Benson. I’ve also read about 25 Jeffery Deaver novels. I state this because this will be a rather lukewarm review, and I didn’t want readers to think I’m either a James Bond snob who doesn’t think Deaver is up to the task, or a Deaver diehard who can’t stand James Bond. I will say, though, that I find this pairing a peculiar match. James Bond, as everyone knows, is the world’s most famous fictitious spy. Jeffery Deaver, on the other hand, is known mainly for crime-solving detective novels that usually involve an element of creepiness. I wasn’t surprised to also find out that, for whatever reason, the marriage between Deaver and Bond only lasted for this one novel. Lovers of James Bond books know that the literary hero doesn’t really have that much in common with his cinematic counterpart. The brains and grit are definitely there, but the grandiose spectacle of exotic locations and voluptuous women everywhere is somewhat tamed down. In this book, those elements are tamed down a bit too much, and we read a book that makes us feel as though we want to take a bath every time we take a break from reading. One of the key villains in our tale is Severan Hydt, who is a garbage/recycle mogul. That alone should make the curious scratch their head. Why would such an occupation play a key role in a James Bond novel? It doesn’t really help that the guy is obsessed with death and decay. Now, an obsession with death maybe a cliché when talking about villains, but decay? This guy likes to watch dead people decompose. His mistress is even an older lady that he will not allow to wear any makeup or lipstick. Every new wrinkle on her skin that she accumulates is a massive turn on for this odd character with a bizarre fetish. Give Deaver at least some credit for originality. I guess. For obvious reasons, the time period for this book is fast forwarded to the present, with Bond being in his young thirties. We hear references to his parents being killed in a mountain climbing accident “back in the 80s”. Familiar characters from the books are also present – M, Moneypenny (‘Penny’), Goodnight, and Leiter amongst a few others. Missing from the Deaver specialties is the ‘a-ha’ plot twist that’s so prevalent in his books. I kept waiting for a massive plot turn near the end, but there wasn’t one to be found. Maybe there was one, but if it occurred, I may have missed it because I was somewhat disconnected by that point. If you’re a diehard James Bond fan that grew up with Ian Fleming, don’t write this author off. He really does tell a good story. I would recommend some of the early Lincoln Rhyme novels. Overall, this is not really a bad book, but it’s not really a good one either. My instincts were correct when I finished this book – Bond and Deaver together left me stirred, but not particularly shaken.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The problem with the book is twofold. First, Deaver spent too much time aggressively pointing out that his new Bond is not the old Bond. Second, Deaver tried to write like he wasn’t Deaver. Now, both of these problems resolved themselves around the halfway mark. But by that late in the story you really can’t create the literary magic that makes a great book. The midpoint is where you can feel Deaver relax. As if he suddenly remembered that he was a brilliant and well established author taking a The problem with the book is twofold. First, Deaver spent too much time aggressively pointing out that his new Bond is not the old Bond. Second, Deaver tried to write like he wasn’t Deaver. Now, both of these problems resolved themselves around the halfway mark. But by that late in the story you really can’t create the literary magic that makes a great book. The midpoint is where you can feel Deaver relax. As if he suddenly remembered that he was a brilliant and well established author taking a fully sanctioned stab at modernizing a series which, by now, couldn’t be killed by even the most horrific flop. Then the plot pace and slight of hands that we know so well from the Lincoln Rhyme books kicked in and the intrigue carried me through to the end. And his Bond was finally given a shade or two of color, although all on the rosy pink side. Overall, not a bad story, but I’m not disappointed to hear that he hasn’t produced another Bond book. Deaver should stay Deaver, and I’ll stay his devoted fan, and leave my Bond craving for Fleming and Connery.

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