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Bond is back. With a vengeance. "Devil May Care" is a masterful continuation of the James Bond legacy-an electrifying new chapter in the life of the most iconic spy of literature and film, written to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth on May 28, 1908. An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event Bond is back. With a vengeance. "Devil May Care" is a masterful continuation of the James Bond legacy-an electrifying new chapter in the life of the most iconic spy of literature and film, written to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth on May 28, 1908. An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event leads to the recall of Agent 007 from his sabbatical in Rome and his return to the world of intrigue and danger where he is most at home. The head of MI6, M, assigns him to shadow the mysterious Dr. Julius Gorner, a power-crazed pharmaceutical magnate, whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed. Gorner has lately taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives, both legal and illegal, and this urgently bears looking into. Bond finds a willing accomplice in the shape of a glamorous Parisian named Scarlett Papava. He will need her help in a life-and-death struggle with his most dangerous adversary yet, as a chain of events threaten to lead to global catastrophe. A British airliner goes missing over Iraq. The thunder of a coming war echoes in the Middle East. And a tide of lethal narcotics threatens to engulf a Great Britain in the throes of the social upheavals of the late sixties. Picking up where Fleming left off, Sebastian Faulks takes Bond back to the height of the Cold War in a story of almost unbearable pace and tension. "Devil May Care" not only captures the very essence of Fleming's original novels but also shows Bond facing dangers with a powerful relevance to our own times.


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Bond is back. With a vengeance. "Devil May Care" is a masterful continuation of the James Bond legacy-an electrifying new chapter in the life of the most iconic spy of literature and film, written to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth on May 28, 1908. An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event Bond is back. With a vengeance. "Devil May Care" is a masterful continuation of the James Bond legacy-an electrifying new chapter in the life of the most iconic spy of literature and film, written to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth on May 28, 1908. An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event leads to the recall of Agent 007 from his sabbatical in Rome and his return to the world of intrigue and danger where he is most at home. The head of MI6, M, assigns him to shadow the mysterious Dr. Julius Gorner, a power-crazed pharmaceutical magnate, whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed. Gorner has lately taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives, both legal and illegal, and this urgently bears looking into. Bond finds a willing accomplice in the shape of a glamorous Parisian named Scarlett Papava. He will need her help in a life-and-death struggle with his most dangerous adversary yet, as a chain of events threaten to lead to global catastrophe. A British airliner goes missing over Iraq. The thunder of a coming war echoes in the Middle East. And a tide of lethal narcotics threatens to engulf a Great Britain in the throes of the social upheavals of the late sixties. Picking up where Fleming left off, Sebastian Faulks takes Bond back to the height of the Cold War in a story of almost unbearable pace and tension. "Devil May Care" not only captures the very essence of Fleming's original novels but also shows Bond facing dangers with a powerful relevance to our own times.

30 review for Devil May Care

  1. 5 out of 5

    Supratim

    This James Bond novel has been penned by Sebastian Faulks. I had heard about his literary novels and was curious to see his version of the iconic British spy. I can’t claim to be a die- hard fan of the James Bond series, but I do enjoy watching the movies and reading the novels. It is the swinging sixties. Industrialist Dr. Julius Gorner, consumed by his hatred for Britain, is flooding it with narcotics. But, his animus won’t stop at that. He has something more devastating in his mind (he has to! This James Bond novel has been penned by Sebastian Faulks. I had heard about his literary novels and was curious to see his version of the iconic British spy. I can’t claim to be a die- hard fan of the James Bond series, but I do enjoy watching the movies and reading the novels. It is the swinging sixties. Industrialist Dr. Julius Gorner, consumed by his hatred for Britain, is flooding it with narcotics. But, his animus won’t stop at that. He has something more devastating in his mind (he has to! Otherwise how can we have a jolly good adventure?) Bond would travel exotic locales all around the world – fight a lot of bad guys, face certain death situations, kill a lot of bad guys, prevent World War III and thwart the villain’s plans, and get the girl at the end. I particularly liked two things - a tennis match between Bond and Gorner, and the visit to Tehran of the sixties. Not saying anything more!! Evil genius plotting his twisted schemes, a psychotic henchman, mysterious and attractive women, exotic locales, intense action – all the tropes of Bond stories are there. The story is well-written – a page-turner that can be read very quickly. It was fun read, but I was expecting something more you know. Maybe because I had heard about Faulk’s literary novels – I thought there would be a bit more complex characterization or more clever twists. I am not saying the book was bad – it was a thriller after all, and Faulks did try to write a decent Bond novel. Anyway, I would recommend this book to Bond aficionados who don’t mind the authorized novels.

  2. 4 out of 5

    F.R.

    Reading this directly after Kingsley Amis’s ‘Colonel Sun’, really does show up the flaws in this other ‘literary’ Bond novel. For a start, Faulks does not get anywhere near as close to Fleming’s voice as Amis did. Whereas ‘Colonel Sun’ could have been mistaken for an actual Ian Fleming novel, this stands about as much chance as Anthony Horowitz’s ‘House of Silk’ does to being mistaken for an actual Conan-Doyle. And part of that might be that whereas Faulks is writing historical fiction (this boo Reading this directly after Kingsley Amis’s ‘Colonel Sun’, really does show up the flaws in this other ‘literary’ Bond novel. For a start, Faulks does not get anywhere near as close to Fleming’s voice as Amis did. Whereas ‘Colonel Sun’ could have been mistaken for an actual Ian Fleming novel, this stands about as much chance as Anthony Horowitz’s ‘House of Silk’ does to being mistaken for an actual Conan-Doyle. And part of that might be that whereas Faulks is writing historical fiction (this book, like ‘Colonel Sun’ is set directly after the events in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’), Amis was writing about the time in which he lived. So while Faulks feels the need to slip in references to The Rolling Stones, the 1966 World Cup Final (something I don’t think Ian Fleming would have cared that much about) and to put historical lectures into the mouths of his characters, Amis is just far more comfortable with the world around him. Another problem is that Faulks as a writer keeps peeking through. I wrote in my review of ‘Colonel Sun’ that Amis and Fleming were much the same type of Englishman. Faulks on the other hand is unashamedly a man of the left. This does lead to a rather amusing aside basically implying that Rupert Murdoch is some kind of James Bond villain (which does gain more bite with events since publication), but other more Twenty First Century and – to use a dread phrase, PC – attitudes find themselves creeping in and that just isn’t Bond. But the biggest problem – the most crucial by far problem – is that it just isn’t exciting enough. Yes there’s the mad super villain, the dastardly plan, the beautiful woman and the torture scene – yet where it should be exciting, it just tends to be a bit perfunctory. These are thrillers and as such they’re supposed to grab the reader and not let him or her go, but instead this reader found himself going ‘ho-hum’. Just for the sake of clarity, I won’t be reading the Jeffrey Deaver book as it’s set in modern times, and surely if we want a James Bond in today’s world we can just watch the films. That’s what they’re there for, right? However I will be back on board for the William Boyd version which has just been announced.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grace Tjan

    First, I have a confession to make: I’ve never read anything by Ian Fleming, or anything by Sebastian Faulks, for that matter. All I know about “the name is Bond, James Bond” I learned from the movies, specifically the ones starring Messrs. Dalton, Brosnan and Craig --- and a couple of half-remembered early 80’s Moore films. It’s not that I’m a particularly ardent fan, but somehow, over the years, I have managed to see more than a half dozen of them (having action-starved boys/men in the house c First, I have a confession to make: I’ve never read anything by Ian Fleming, or anything by Sebastian Faulks, for that matter. All I know about “the name is Bond, James Bond” I learned from the movies, specifically the ones starring Messrs. Dalton, Brosnan and Craig --- and a couple of half-remembered early 80’s Moore films. It’s not that I’m a particularly ardent fan, but somehow, over the years, I have managed to see more than a half dozen of them (having action-starved boys/men in the house certainly helped). I have no idea whether Faulks’ Bond is faithful to Fleming’s or whether this book is a typical Faulks oeuvre. That said, this Bond is a different beast from his cinematic counterpart: a. he is not a cruel, hairy-chested chauvinist/ womanizer (1); b. he is not a middle-aged man in safari suit who gasps and wheezes while chasing the bad guy up the hill (2); c. he is not a ridiculously good-looking man who looks dashing in a tuxedo and drives an invisible car (3); and d. he is not a thuggish Blondie who thinks nothing of parading around the beach in a mankini(4). The villain, as they are wont to do in any Bond movie worth its multimillion-dollar budget, has a flashy underground lair crammed with every world-destroying apparatuses illicit money could buy. And yes, HE WANTS TO DESTROY THE WESTERN WORLD --- by flooding it with cheap narcotics and turn its young people into dope addicts. But he’s also history literate enough to point out to Bond that the British Empire that he serves had been the first and “greatest drug cartel the world has ever seen” way back in the 19th century when it flooded China with Indian opium. An ironic statement that apparently is not wholly lost on Faulks’ Bond. Set at the height of the Cold War in the 60’s, Faulks’ book is a brisk, action-filled spy thriller that feels modern but still manages to include all the requisite elements in the Bond formula: exotic locales (Paris, Iran, Afghanistan, the USSR), scantily-clad women (though thankfully, there are no galore of --- ahem --- Pussys in this one), car chases, shootouts, crashing planes, and even a scene involving lots of naked girls that must delight the 13-year old inside every man (It’s set in pre-Islamic Revolution Iran and Bond’s libertine Persian host dubs it a preview of heaven. Yes, that same heaven with the 72 virgins that suicide bombers think they’re going to enter after blowing themselves up). Faulks provided just the right amount of geopolitical context and convincing period detail to make the story interesting and relevant for 21st century audiences, without trying too hard to turn it into something that it is not. And he makes you care for Bond (who is more a romantic than a bed-hopping tomcat) and his girl. So, a John le Carre it ain’t, but nevertheless a perfectly enjoyable fun read to curl up with on a long weekend. 3.5 stars (a half star deducted for minor plot implausibility/ inconsistency) Other Random Observations Number of anatomically deformed villains: 1 Number of henchmen with (surgery-induced, instead of congenital) analgesia: 1 Number of scenes involving naked girls, gratuitous or otherwise: 4 Number of Martini units consumed by the protagonist: 5 Number of product placement: 1(Bentley)* *Product placement should be a particularly lucrative part of bestselling novels. If Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig make millions extolling the virtues of BMW, VISA and Omega watches, Stieg Larsson should receive similar amounts from IKEA, Apple, Mace and the maker of those Jura Impressa coffee machines. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) Sean Connery (2) Roger Moore (3) Pierce Brosnan (4) Daniel Craig

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I enjoyed this continuance of the James Bond saga. James in the books is a far cry from James on the silver screen. He's much grittier, less camp, and - funnily enough - less of a cad with the ladies. One of the things I liked about this book was the setting in post-WW II in the glory days of the Soviet Union. There is something nice and clean about the Soviets. You knew where you stood with them. There was a system in place. The action is excellent and the characterization tight. I enjoyed this continuance of the James Bond saga. James in the books is a far cry from James on the silver screen. He's much grittier, less camp, and - funnily enough - less of a cad with the ladies. One of the things I liked about this book was the setting in post-WW II in the glory days of the Soviet Union. There is something nice and clean about the Soviets. You knew where you stood with them. There was a system in place. The action is excellent and the characterization tight.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Some things in life are meant to be experienced in specific formats. For James Bond stories that format is cinematic, at least in this day and age. Meaning that when the original books came out, they must have been great fun, but this pastiche mostly comes across as hopelessly dated. It's only fun to a point to listen to action, it really must be seen. Bond as suave and capable as he is, in audio book form just comes across as a snobbish arrogant dandy with alcoholic tendencies. The book does ha Some things in life are meant to be experienced in specific formats. For James Bond stories that format is cinematic, at least in this day and age. Meaning that when the original books came out, they must have been great fun, but this pastiche mostly comes across as hopelessly dated. It's only fun to a point to listen to action, it really must be seen. Bond as suave and capable as he is, in audio book form just comes across as a snobbish arrogant dandy with alcoholic tendencies. The book does have all the elements of a good Bond film, deformed megalomaniacal villain with apocalyptical aspirations, hot ladies, exotic (though distinctly third world) locales, action, action, more action. But it just doesn't really engage and barely entertains, even the surprise twist at the end is utterly predictable. It's short enough at 7 discs, but never rises above average and it nowhere near as much fun as a Bond movie.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Turi

    From the way the cover is worded, "Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming", I assume that Faulks was trying to write a real, Fleming-style Bond book. I think he succeeded - he definitely did his homework. The whole book is peppered with references to Fleming's books, from Bond's wardrobe preference to workout routines to cars to scrambled eggs. The overall plot structure felt pretty authentic, too - he even ends the book similarly to Fleming's. I thought it was thouroughly enjoyable - I'm glad From the way the cover is worded, "Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming", I assume that Faulks was trying to write a real, Fleming-style Bond book. I think he succeeded - he definitely did his homework. The whole book is peppered with references to Fleming's books, from Bond's wardrobe preference to workout routines to cars to scrambled eggs. The overall plot structure felt pretty authentic, too - he even ends the book similarly to Fleming's. I thought it was thouroughly enjoyable - I'm glad someone is back writing Bond books, and Faulks seems like a great choice. I can't compare this to any of Faulks other writing; I haven't read any of it. I did notice, though, that one of his previous books was a "collection of literary parodies," which might be interesting - and probably served him well when trying to write like Fleming...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I first met James Bond as a young teenager recently graduated from children's books and starting to explore the wide world of adult fiction. And of course I fell in love. Who doesn't at 14? Bond became the benchmark by which all heroes should be measured and I lapped up every adventure Ian Fleming had written. As my literary tastes matured over the years (not to mention my feminist awareness) I began to read more widely, more deeply and more intelligently. Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong was one of ma I first met James Bond as a young teenager recently graduated from children's books and starting to explore the wide world of adult fiction. And of course I fell in love. Who doesn't at 14? Bond became the benchmark by which all heroes should be measured and I lapped up every adventure Ian Fleming had written. As my literary tastes matured over the years (not to mention my feminist awareness) I began to read more widely, more deeply and more intelligently. Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong was one of many beautifully written books I read, and yet my Bond books remained on my bookshelf and '007' remained carved on a part of my heart. These books have a special place in my life, so it was with some distaste that I heard that Sebastian Faulks was writing a new James Bond novel. I don't like books written as spin-offs of another author's character, even fully sanctioned spin-offs. Sebastian Faulks' writing was the cheese to Ian Fleming's chalk. This could never work and I wasn't going to betray James Bond by reading this presumptious book. Then it started getting good reviews. Reviews from people who love Ian Fleming's Bond. A frisson of curiosity started to undermine my resistance. Then, a few weeks ago, there it was, in the library where I work. Just asking to be picked up and taken home and read. Who am I to resist the clarion call of a lonely book? I started it yesterday. And finished it today. And loved it! Sebastian Faulks has captured the very essence of Ian Fleming's writing and he has written this book with love. All the little nuances that brought Fleming's novels to life are here alongside the main plot themes. The detailed description of food, clothing, place. A deformed villain and high technology. A plot of gargantuan proportions. A beautiful woman and fast cars. Pain and torture and death. And Faulks has very cleverly added a twentieth century sensibility to this novel, even though it takes place immediately after the last of Fleming's novels ends. The villain holds a grudge against Britain, and the litany of imperialistic wrongs he despises Britain for are not invented. Thus Faulks's book is not a black and white case of good vs evil, but the moral greyness is very subtle and enhances rather than detracts from the story. In the words of M himself, "Come in 007, it's good to see you back."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ron Irwin

    What can one say? A book that was hyped up beyond belief, a book we all waited for and hoped for, is pretty much a B- if you feel generous, but it is really a C. Yes, lots of good period pieces and it is good to have James back, but the architecture is a mess, the plot lurches back and forth like Bentley needing oil, and certain transgressions have been made here that will have Fleming flip flopping in his grave. Right off the bat: pitchers of martinis (which have to be stirred)? Bonking a 004? What can one say? A book that was hyped up beyond belief, a book we all waited for and hoped for, is pretty much a B- if you feel generous, but it is really a C. Yes, lots of good period pieces and it is good to have James back, but the architecture is a mess, the plot lurches back and forth like Bentley needing oil, and certain transgressions have been made here that will have Fleming flip flopping in his grave. Right off the bat: pitchers of martinis (which have to be stirred)? Bonking a 004? M doing Yoga? A damsel in distress named Poppy held captive by a heroin kingpin? Penguin? Hello? Edit much? Granted, the past books were pretty flimsy but still, I would have to say that hitchhiking out of the Urals is a pretty tall order for Bond, and the main villain's uncanny ability to find him on--wait for it--a riverboat named The Huckleberry Finn in Paris, is simply impossible. Never mind the Oddjob knockoff who, despite not being able to feel pain, "bellows" in pain when Bond breaks his little finger. I'm a very, very soft audience for this stuff, but even I have to wonder how Faulks thinks we'll react when we have Bond smoking dope and drinking scotch naked with some other naked "virgin" nubiles in an opium den/unisex bathhouse in Tehran called Paradise. Other problems crop up in the last 35 pages or so as Faulks tries to move his characters across vast distances in minimal time restricted by the technology of 1969 and trusting them to the good faith of utter strangers. But things really fall apart when Bond and the love interest finally make it back to Paris free and clear only to separate to pull themselves together after the long trip--Bond retires to a seedy Gare du Nord hotel while the woman he has jumped out of a plane with and traveled across Eastern Europe with disappears into the night looking longingly at him through the taxi cab glass. Um, hello? Ritz? Place du Concorde? Bollinger? But of course we have to have James alone so he can decide to take the ill fated steamboat ride rather than get ridden by ...oh, forget about it. If anyone wants to but a slightly thumbed and furiously tossed version of this book, email me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    A few years ago I read about half of the original Ian Fleming 007 series and generally found them quite enjoyable and different than I had expected based on the film franchise. Don't get me wrong, they're not great literature, but they are ripping yarns that reflect their era and are much darker than one might expect. Since Fleming's death, there have been several writers authorized to continue the franchise (including Kingsley Amis!), but I'd never been that interested in trying any of them. Ho A few years ago I read about half of the original Ian Fleming 007 series and generally found them quite enjoyable and different than I had expected based on the film franchise. Don't get me wrong, they're not great literature, but they are ripping yarns that reflect their era and are much darker than one might expect. Since Fleming's death, there have been several writers authorized to continue the franchise (including Kingsley Amis!), but I'd never been that interested in trying any of them. However, the involvement of a non-thriller writer like Sebastian Faulks -- whom I've never read, but have heard many good things about -- intrigued me enough to pick this up and give it a whirl. The first good thing is that the book follows the chronology just of the original Fleming books, taking place after the last one, in 1967. It opens with Bond on extended physical and mental convalescent leave, seriously considering whether or not he's had enough of working in the field and is ready to settle down to the quiet life of a desk agent. M calls him away from this break to help out a new 004, by "talking to" a curious businessman named Dr. Gorner, a Lithuanian who just might be the world's foremost heroin dealer. (This set up is a little odd, unless "talk to" is supposed to be a dry euphemism for "kill" or something like that.) In any event, soon enough, Bond is off to Paris to sniff around Gorner, and the stage is set for a classic Bond adventure. And, it has to be said, that it all feels very much like a blend of the original books and some of the better elements from the films: * The villain is diabolical and deformed (he has a monkey paw for one hand!) * Bond and he go mano-a-mano in their first meeting (on a tennis court) * The story takes Bond to an exotic locale (Iran), * The villain has crazy military vehicle called an Ekranoplan (which is entirely real and historically accurate, right down to its nickname) * Bond has a suave, likable local ally on the ground a la Darko Karim. * Felix Leiter and Rene Mathis both have supporting roles * There are two beautiful women (twins!) * The window-dressing is all in place (plenty of descriptions of food, booze, cigarettes, clothing, etc.) * There's plenty of action, including gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, a car chase, and an exciting action sequence in an airplane. Indeed, the book struck me as a rather effective imitation of the classic Bond novels from its structure down to the various details. I know some Bond fanatics feel like the Fleming style isn't there, but quite honestly, I don't recall Fleming having much style to begin with. There are some minor missteps in terms of continuity with the Fleming books (likely only to bother the trainspotters among the readership), a few bad Roger Mooreish puns creep in, and rather disappointingly, the villain delivers an extended monologue to the captured Bond explaining his master plan in enough detail to give Bond all the info he needs to thwart it. There's also a "big twist" at the very end concerning the identity of one of the major characters which is unlikely to surprise most readers (even Bond admits that he had worked it out early on). One final aspect of the book that's worth mentioning is how Faulks, as Fleming did in many of the original books, takes an issue contemporary to the time (the rise of heroin) and uses it as the catalyst for the adventure. And although the villain's plan is as insane and grandiose as any Bond villain's, he weaves in quite a number of historical British colonial atrocities as justification (Opium War, Potato Famine, the Malay and Mau Mau rebellions), which Bond has no response to. All in all, a completely satisfying return to the 1960s, when Bond had to save the world without the help of computers and cell phones!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    Penguin's selection of Sebastian Faulks, author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, to write a sequel to Ian Fleming's James Bond novels for the centenary of their creator's birth was perhaps an unusual one, but made the project much more interesting than if it had been given to some modern-day equivalent of the chain-smoking old hack. Devil May Care is set soon after The Man With The Golden Gun. In this, Fleming's last Bond novel, our hero returns brainwashed from Russia with instructions to kill Penguin's selection of Sebastian Faulks, author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, to write a sequel to Ian Fleming's James Bond novels for the centenary of their creator's birth was perhaps an unusual one, but made the project much more interesting than if it had been given to some modern-day equivalent of the chain-smoking old hack. Devil May Care is set soon after The Man With The Golden Gun. In this, Fleming's last Bond novel, our hero returns brainwashed from Russia with instructions to kill M and, once foiled, bounces straight back on the trail of eccentric yet sinister villains. Faulks gives Bond a little time out to recover from his amnesia and subsequent Soviet indoctrination, not to mention the death of his new bride way back in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the start of the novel finds him bored and restless in France as the end of his enforced convalescence approaches. A beautiful woman with the unlikely name of Scarlett Papava appears on the scene and begs Bond to liberate her twin sister Poppy from the shadowy Dr. Julius Gorner (who shares his first name and qualification with that other doctor, No - homage or slip?). Handily, he is then summoned by M to investigate Gorner's part in the international narcotics trade. The mission takes him to Persia and follows the time-honoured path of snooping around, capture, torture, villain's plan revealed and explosive climax, with a few dinners and changes of clothes along the way. He meets old friends Mathis, head of the Deuxième Bureau, and ex-CIA pal Felix Leiter, as well as new characters like the charismatic Darius Alizadeh (our man in Persia) and the comic yet trusty taxi driver with his 'bootbrush moustache'. One Fleming set piece is the contest between Bond and the villain in which the latter's nasty nature is revealed, as exemplified by the golf game with Auric Goldfinger; in Devil May Care it's tennis, and thrillingly handled. The clothing and equipment necessary for the match is also described in all the loving, elitist detail you would expect. The villain himself is a worthy successor to Drax, Blofeld and the rest: nursing a deformity and a grudge against Britain, and accompanied by a sadistic henchman. The choice of subject matter is also a tribute to Fleming, who came up with the storyline for trippy anti-drug film Poppies Are Also Flowers. From his 21st-century vantage point, Faulks extends Bond's world, yoinking him firmly out of postwar austerity and into the Swinging '60s. He is of course practised in writing historical fiction and does it well, although some of the detail he picks out might not have been selected by an author writing at the time. He has obviously pored over the Bond canon, but he reveals a little too much of his research, referring too often and too specifically to past missions. Take a tip from J. K. Rowling: know your characters' backgrounds and histories but don't wave them in your readers' faces. And why, being otherwise faithful and accurate, does he write 'SMERSH' when it's an abbreviation, not an acronym? Sometimes Faulks's prose reads like pure Fleming; at others it jumps out of the groove. I loved the line about Bond's Paris hotel being 'a typical Moneypenny booking', but moments later he's casually mentioning Moneypenny's name to a total stranger. Part of the problem, I think, is the impossibility of ignoring the film Bond and his slightly different habits. Scenes between 007, M and Moneypenny in particular seem written for the screen more than the page; permissive '60s notwithstanding, I can't see Fleming's Bond getting away with threatening to spank his boss's secretary. Then there are moments when Faulks simply tries too hard to write like Fleming, and the writing is so excessively perfect as to be off-putting and unlikeable - like Goldfinger's golfing tweeds or the Windsor knot in Red Grant's tie. Sebastian Faulks does not pull off his predecessor's style half as well as Kingsley Amis does in Colonel Sun (under the pseudonym of 'Robert Markham). But the task he faced was far harder: moving Bond forward in time while setting his work in the past; undoing four decades of Bond's screen evolution without completely losing sight of the changes made; explaining the Cold War and Vietnam to a new generation without being too expository, and making us care about these wars long over and this leftover spy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    Do you remember that classic line from "Goldfinger?" Bond: Do You expect me to talk? Goldfinger: No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die! This novel captured the feel of the old original Ian Fleming "cold war" bond that other writers have attempted to capture without much success. John Gardner's "License Renewed" came close, but in subsequent novels Gardner seemed to rejoice not in true Bond action, but rather in Bond's sexual escapades, turning Bond into something of a sexual gymnast rather than a su Do you remember that classic line from "Goldfinger?" Bond: Do You expect me to talk? Goldfinger: No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die! This novel captured the feel of the old original Ian Fleming "cold war" bond that other writers have attempted to capture without much success. John Gardner's "License Renewed" came close, but in subsequent novels Gardner seemed to rejoice not in true Bond action, but rather in Bond's sexual escapades, turning Bond into something of a sexual gymnast rather than a super-spy who is often seduced or seducing beautiful women. This writer, Faulks, managed to create the feel of the older Fleming novels. While the plot had many weak points, it was more like a REAL spy novel than some of the others. I take issue with the name of the book, however. I think "Monkey's Paw" would have been a much better title. The main villain, suffered from a deformity that made one of his hands shaped (and haired) like a monkey's paw, with a non-opposable thumb. Bond here is a superman. He is highly resourceful, but the reader never gets the idea that Bond is unstoppable. He is easily captured and held prisoner, but also difficult to kill. He's a hero. Bond is not presented as an asexual creature, but neither is he a sexual acrobat. He has tender feelings for women (marked in his SMERSH dossier) as a weakness to be used against him. He also has sexual desire, but the author treats his affair as an affair of the heart rather than as if he is simply a male dog jumping on any female remotely receptive. By offering this view of Bond, we can see he is something of a romantic-- which is something that the latest theatrical incarnation of Bond (with Daniel Craig) has sought to use to balance his cold use of violence. There's a good balance achieved here and fans of the original Bond novels will be thrilled with the revival of this older style and acting in a more reserved and matured manner.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard Barnes

    Sebastian Faulks does Fleming by numbers. Deformed supervillain, grotesque henchman, exotic locations, lots of detail about high-end wining, dining and dressing, beautiful girl and Bond, James Bond. At the start I loved this - Faulks writes it as a straight follow up to Fleming's last Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun. Faulks writes very much as Fleming did and it was great fun to go back to that style and enjoy Bond the literary character as opposed to the movie version (which I also love, Sebastian Faulks does Fleming by numbers. Deformed supervillain, grotesque henchman, exotic locations, lots of detail about high-end wining, dining and dressing, beautiful girl and Bond, James Bond. At the start I loved this - Faulks writes it as a straight follow up to Fleming's last Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun. Faulks writes very much as Fleming did and it was great fun to go back to that style and enjoy Bond the literary character as opposed to the movie version (which I also love, but the two are different beasts). Where Faulks went wrong was in churning out a Bond novel made up of other Bond novels. While there was always glamour, thrilling locations and girls in Fleming's novels, story-wise they were not so formulaic. Casino Royale is largely a hard spy romance, From Russia with Love has nearly three quarters of the book without Bond in it at all, The Spy who loved me is a first person narrative about a stranded girl and mean gangsters. Devil May Care, on the other hand, lifts its scenes from the earlier Bonds - a tennis match between Bond and the villain is almost a straight copy of the golf match with Goldfinger, Darius in Tehran is Darko Kerim in Istanbul, there is even a fight on a train and the girl has a secret only revealed at the very end. The Iranian setting provides some novelty, but the villain's evil scheme suffers a sudden change of direction just so we can have a big dramatic fight. I was close to giving this two stars, but the big fight is a great piece of action writing. So ultimately, it's a fun enough piece, but one would have hoped that getting a serious writer of literary fiction like Faulks to write it would have produced something far more original. Or frankly, just a little bit original.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nick Duretta

    This sticks a little too close to the Bond formula at times (nasty villain intent on world domination, improbably narrow escapes, sexy female companion), but mostly it's a very satisfying read. I admire Faulks' other novels and he does a fine job with this one; very much an homage to Ian Fleming. I like the fact that it is set in the same timeframe (early 1960s) as the classic Fleming novels; the Cold War tensions provide a nice background, and the Russian scenes are particularly effective. The This sticks a little too close to the Bond formula at times (nasty villain intent on world domination, improbably narrow escapes, sexy female companion), but mostly it's a very satisfying read. I admire Faulks' other novels and he does a fine job with this one; very much an homage to Ian Fleming. I like the fact that it is set in the same timeframe (early 1960s) as the classic Fleming novels; the Cold War tensions provide a nice background, and the Russian scenes are particularly effective. The great twist at the end is a bit anachronistic, but it brought a big smile to my face.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tom Tischler

    Once again 007 is called out of retirement by M. A Dr. Julius Gorner a powerful crazed pharmaceutical magnate whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed has taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives both legal and illegal. A shapely accomplice by the name of Scarlett Papava shows up to help 007 and he is going to need her in a struggle with his most dangerous adversary yet as a chain of events threatens to lead to a global catastrophe. This is book 36 in the James Bond Series and it's a t Once again 007 is called out of retirement by M. A Dr. Julius Gorner a powerful crazed pharmaceutical magnate whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed has taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives both legal and illegal. A shapely accomplice by the name of Scarlett Papava shows up to help 007 and he is going to need her in a struggle with his most dangerous adversary yet as a chain of events threatens to lead to a global catastrophe. This is book 36 in the James Bond Series and it's a typical Ian Fleming novel. I gave it a 3.75.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ângela

    This book was... ok. I am a fan of James Bond films, but I had never read any of Ian Fleming books, so I can compare Sebastian Faulks writing with Fleming´s. With the films I´m used to an ongoing- craizy- thrilling- action, with a lot of going on in the backstage and a cohese story. This book was quite boring sometimes, there were some action, but not enough to make me love it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    Supposedly, a James bond novel, but James Bond is wholly absent from this novel. I don't know who this guy calling himself James Bond is, but he is definitely not Ian Fleming's creation. I got so mad, I quit at page 50. Supposedly, a James bond novel, but James Bond is wholly absent from this novel. I don't know who this guy calling himself James Bond is, but he is definitely not Ian Fleming's creation. I got so mad, I quit at page 50.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    A lot better than I was expecting. Typical Bond so I definitely had to suspend belief but it was a very enjoyable read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    I've been on a mission to read through all the Bond books in published order, and it is a huge relief to see some proper writing after the dirge of Raymond Benson stories. I've been on a mission to read through all the Bond books in published order, and it is a huge relief to see some proper writing after the dirge of Raymond Benson stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is the first book in the continuation by famous writers after Amis, Gardner & Benson. It seems to ignore the Amis/Markham installment called Colonel Sun. And the first re-read after its publication by me. The story is set 18 months after 007's encounter with Scaramanga in the man with the golden gun and Bond is on an enforced sabbatical by M to see if his will is still in his job as a 00. As he is not at the end of his sabbatical is recalled by M who needs his 007 on a job. The enenmy is Dr This is the first book in the continuation by famous writers after Amis, Gardner & Benson. It seems to ignore the Amis/Markham installment called Colonel Sun. And the first re-read after its publication by me. The story is set 18 months after 007's encounter with Scaramanga in the man with the golden gun and Bond is on an enforced sabbatical by M to see if his will is still in his job as a 00. As he is not at the end of his sabbatical is recalled by M who needs his 007 on a job. The enenmy is Dr Julius Gorner whose aim seems to be to flood the Britisch isles with drugs and thus render the UK to a nation of dope addicts. There may however be something else he is planning please find out 007 and stop him. Bond first meets his opposition in Paris where he plays a match of tennis in a match of strength and wit, the idea of 007 playing tennis a rather farfetched but Faulks does manage to make it somewhat exciting. He also lets Gorner be a cheater instead of being just good. Then the journey is towards Tehran in Iran where Bond meets the local head of the MI6 station who does take him on a tour of Tehran and its people. Bond then goed looking for the lair of evil he manages to find the place and winds up being caught together with the token damsel in distress who keeps following him around based upon the presumption of Bond trying to find her twin sister who fell into the hands of Gorner due to drugs problems. Bond now has is token torture by the bad guy and finally learns his real evil move and is forced to participate in he exercise. Of course 007 rescues to day and Rene Mathis, his French friend, & Felix Leitner will do a cameo before the book is over. Okay to be fair I do like the Tehran setting and it is probably the best part of the book, however it feels like Faulks is doing the book by the formula and forgets to install any feeling of dread or tension. The book lacks any feeling of Fleming who could in detail tell you about food, local hotspots, clothing. It is these little touches that makes it feel like a published bit of fan-fiction, and I have read better ones than this. I do stick with my original view that this book is most certainly one of the least quality of 007 books published since Fleming died in his 56st year of his life. He left us with a few 007 books we'd love to read and with writers as Faulks who is a quality writer on his own, but his effort to write a 007 book leaves a lot to be desired. This book is for 007 aficionados only and I do know quite a few book fans who where thoroughly disgusted with this book even if Faulks had quiet a few good ingredients to write an excellent 007 book, it remained a poor effort.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I wanted to prepare myself for the new bond film "Spectre" coming out this weekend so I picked up "Devil May Care" by Sebastian Faulks. Faulks wrote this book as if he was Ian Fleming and it was a continuation in terms of tone and time period the original books taking place not long after "Octopussy and the Living Daylights." Faulks definitely channeled Fleming here, for better or worse. The sexism and racism are still large and in charge but Bond is starting to see the writing in the wall that t I wanted to prepare myself for the new bond film "Spectre" coming out this weekend so I picked up "Devil May Care" by Sebastian Faulks. Faulks wrote this book as if he was Ian Fleming and it was a continuation in terms of tone and time period the original books taking place not long after "Octopussy and the Living Daylights." Faulks definitely channeled Fleming here, for better or worse. The sexism and racism are still large and in charge but Bond is starting to see the writing in the wall that the late sixties may mean his relevancy is drawing to a close. Things I liked: - Bad Guy with Gorilla Hand. - Tense Tennis Match a la the golf match from Goldfinger. - Super Villain creates a super bad guy weapon: a nuclear submarine/airplane type thing that hovers and goes super fast. (Fun fact: This was a real thing, the Ekranoplan, and was totally bad ass!) - Great female lead. - The final twist at the very end upgraded this book an entire star. Things I didn't like: - Faulks takes a lot of time setting up the Ekranoplan and how awesome it is and what it can do. Does the thrilling conclusion involve James Bond doing anything with the Ekranoplan? Nope! - The falling action at the end is very boring and predicable. - Faux-Twins for no discernible reason. - M lying to 007 for no discernible reason. - Super Villain goes out like a chump (or chimp if you will. It's a hand joke people.) If you enjoy the early Bond books, flaws and all, pick this up. If you don't, what are you doing? Beat it! Get out of here!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carson

    "Devil May Care" presents James Bond emerging from a forced sabbatical several months after the events of "The Man With the Golden Gun." If you know Bond lore, you know that this was the aftermath of the murder of his wife Tracy, Bond more or less stumbling across and then destroying Ernst Stavro Blofeld, going into an amnesiac state after injuries and fathering a child with Kissy Suzuki, and then - with a spark of memory - returning to Russia where he was brainwashed to go after M. M is coaxed "Devil May Care" presents James Bond emerging from a forced sabbatical several months after the events of "The Man With the Golden Gun." If you know Bond lore, you know that this was the aftermath of the murder of his wife Tracy, Bond more or less stumbling across and then destroying Ernst Stavro Blofeld, going into an amnesiac state after injuries and fathering a child with Kissy Suzuki, and then - with a spark of memory - returning to Russia where he was brainwashed to go after M. M is coaxed to give him one last shot - the showdown with Scaramanga - and that is where the Fleming stories conclude. Sebastian Faulks is billed as "writing as Ian Fleming" and - at times - with his "Good girl" or his style of shower, breakfast, and surveying a bugged room, it feels familiar. It feels even more familiar with the villain - bent on taking out angsty revenge against Britain - utilizes some familiar Bond villain tools (no spoilers here), along with a henchman who seems quite familiar as well. It's quite formulaic, with a few departures - a fun tennis game, a Bond girl with some twists - so it's little risk and not as much reward as I think we could have gotten. It's fun to see some familiar allies surface. It just was not quite enough of something completely new. Good. 3 out of 5 stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Waters

    I enjoy the Bond series and am fan of Ian Fleming. Sebastian did such a phenomenal job at recreating the Bond mystique that I was hooked from the beginning. The writing style was smooth enough that I would lose track of the mechanical act of reading and become immersed in the story. But I'm confused. Maybe i'm making too much of it but the novel is set during the days of the Vietnam war and there are quite a few references to Tehran being in Persia with not a single reference to Iran. Perhaps thi I enjoy the Bond series and am fan of Ian Fleming. Sebastian did such a phenomenal job at recreating the Bond mystique that I was hooked from the beginning. The writing style was smooth enough that I would lose track of the mechanical act of reading and become immersed in the story. But I'm confused. Maybe i'm making too much of it but the novel is set during the days of the Vietnam war and there are quite a few references to Tehran being in Persia with not a single reference to Iran. Perhaps this is just the author's whim or perhaps it was common to refer to Persia in those days since Pahlavi declared that both could be used but when I try place the book into the Bond timeline, I simply can't...but perhaps I haven't tried hard enough. And the truth is, I probably won't. If you are a Bond fan, do not miss this book. If you enjoy spy novels, do not miss this book. If you enjoy a good read...well, you know. ;-) Great job Sebastian!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    This book is the first new adult James Bond novel in a few years. I've been a Bond fan for a long time and have read all the novels by other authors. I didn't have the problems some critics seemed to have with this one. This book is the first new adult James Bond novel in a few years. I've been a Bond fan for a long time and have read all the novels by other authors. I didn't have the problems some critics seemed to have with this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Sometimes I pickup a book because I want to extend my universe of new stories about familiar or well-loved characters. When an author writes about characters that another created the results can be very "uneven". Probably the most consistently successful attempts are true collaborations (two or more authors writing in one novel) or a "shared universe" situation (where authors define different characters who live and interact in the same world). But for the ordinary pastiche the quality depends s Sometimes I pickup a book because I want to extend my universe of new stories about familiar or well-loved characters. When an author writes about characters that another created the results can be very "uneven". Probably the most consistently successful attempts are true collaborations (two or more authors writing in one novel) or a "shared universe" situation (where authors define different characters who live and interact in the same world). But for the ordinary pastiche the quality depends solely on the new authors ability to "ape" the style of the originator. Even if the replacement author is a better writer the results may not be what the critics or target readers want or expect. In some cases, it should never be done: just imagine someone trying to write a new Bertie and Jeeves novel. I defy any author, anywhere to devise a suitable madcap plot (and all the necessary idiotic side-plots), lean on the early 20th century class structure of England to shake loose some wacko relations or relationship that must be "dealt with", put suitably inane and simultaneously convoluted phrases in Bertie's mouth, create the frisson that must (temporarily) divide Master and Man, and allow Jeeves to use that gigantic Brain of his to produce a deft solution to Bertie's dilemma. All whilst "cracking wise". Seems to require superhuman skills doesn't it? One might say that it is nigh impossible no matter who the original author was. Yet, many have turned their hand to this. Probably the most widely "copied" is "The Great Detective". Either together with Watson or alone. Like many others, I have read many of these stories because I have such an affection for Homes and simply want to enjoy more than the "official" material produced by ACD. Another series that I recently sampled was the extension of Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series written by Mr. Betancourt. I only read a couple of the books and would probably read all of them if I could get copies. Somewhere along the line I know that I have read the odd volume or two where another author finishes a work or does a one-off to another's characters. (The excellent prequel, "Spade and Archer", springs to mind.) The one other character whose further exploits I have read in a fairly consistently is of course the Cold War creation of Ian Fleming: James Bond. I can't recall every non-Fleming book that I have read, but there was a set done by John Gardner that I thought were not too bad. He moved Bond forward in time, gave him some interesting gizmos (a souped-up Saab I seem to recall) and put a healthy dose of action and megalomaniac in every novel. None were ever used for a movie, although I thought that some of them certainly could be. (They may not have been grandiose enough.) Bond is enough of a familiar character that even in an odd or weak story one tends to just keep reading just to get your "fix". All of which is a long way of getting to this book, "Devil May Care", by Sebastian Faulks (with the prominent, "writing as Ian Fleming" below his name). There have been a few times in the last four years that I have know what I wanted to write about a book as I was reading it. I am happy to say that most often this has been because of the richness and excellence of the story (I experienced this with more than one of the "Lew Archer" novels.) Occasionally, it has been to consider what I do not like about the book. This is one of those instances. On an absolute scale, I am "lukewarm". I am giving it a "3" because I did not hate the book and I don't think a "2" is fair - even though it is probably closer to a "2.5" than anything else. Even if I read my own review (whining below included), I would probably read the book. You might like it better than I. Before continuing I must note that I don't think I know Sebastian Faulks from a hole in the wall. I have never read anything else by him and he might be a superb author. I'll look him up, though. There must have been some reason that he was tapped to write this celebration of Fleming's 100th birthday. Then, there is the "writing as" bit. In general, using another's characters is already a "writing as" situation. I'm sure that this was meant to feel, smell, and taste like it was Fleming himself writing this book. But then, I don't think that this is the story that he would have come up with. Fleming was sick, dying, as he wrote the last Bond books and was a markedly uneven author. Others have noted and I concur that as the first few movies came out it influenced the way that Fleming wrote the final installments about Bond. I think that this book, had Fleming written it, would have more spectacle than what lies within. But, judge for yourself. (view spoiler)[ I'm going to try to explain this without giving any specific details away, but I am going to draw some parallels between this and one of Fleming's own works. But, if you don;t want any preconceived notions I can say that Bond does his usual world- or England-saving magic, puts a stint in with odd people and odd places and manages to escape destruction a time or two. If you just like Bond, it's "okay". It may satisfy you to see him in another tale. On the whole all the books tend to be less "ridiculous" than the movies since the pyrotechnics are merely ink and paper. My biggest beef is with the originality of the story (for that read on, below). As I worked my way thru the book I kept thinking how this was a poor "copy" of "Goldfinger". Now, I know that the author did not set out to have readers think he was making a copy of "Goldfinger" (the book, not the movie), but just as "Never Say Never, Again" (the last go for Sean Connery as Bond) was a rewrite of "Thunderball", so too is "Devil May Care" a rewrite of "Goldfinger". At least to me. We have the foreign-born, but English-educated wackjob who has (in some semi-mysterious way) been able to corner the market on a desirable commodity under the cover of a legitimate business. All the while evading official notice for much of their career. (Goldfinger was smuggling gold illegally out of England, here it is drugs.) In both books the villain has manufacturing concerns in Europe and elsewhere (which get our hero into his foreign adventures). And, there is another strong parallel; both have a laconic chief henchman who is Asian. Oddjob serves mostly as a valet and a "fixer" in a limited way. The latter-day assistants have become "planners" as well as fixers. It is they who make some of the "black ops" decisions or oversee the dark operations. (This is consistent with the movies and other "modern" books. When "Goldfinger" was written, or even that "Man With The Golden Gun", it was enough that the man-Friday was different and nefarious.) The author does try to twist the story around a bit (I mean more than just substituting drugs for gold). The villain is not (no longer) an (oops! Anglophone) Anglophile. He has come to hate and despise the English and their society and mannerisms. There is a side-lot that places Bond just after the events in "You Only Live Twice" and Bond suffers from doubt and angst. There is one additional plot thread that I won't mention except to say that it seemed to border on the blatantly obvious about halfway through. (hide spoiler)]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Author Faulks has produced a 2008 one-off addition to the James Bond series. A villain and international skullduggery in the spirit of series creator Ian Fleming. A tennis match between the Julius Gorner and Bond that is reminiscent of his high stakes Baccarat with "Le Chiffre" in Casino Royale (1953), bridge with Hugo Drax in Moonraker (1955), canasta and golf with Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger (1959), and chemin de fer with Largo in Thunderball (1961). The feel of the novel is authentic but t Author Faulks has produced a 2008 one-off addition to the James Bond series. A villain and international skullduggery in the spirit of series creator Ian Fleming. A tennis match between the Julius Gorner and Bond that is reminiscent of his high stakes Baccarat with "Le Chiffre" in Casino Royale (1953), bridge with Hugo Drax in Moonraker (1955), canasta and golf with Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger (1959), and chemin de fer with Largo in Thunderball (1961). The feel of the novel is authentic but the authenticity sometimes seems forced as in at least 5 mentions of special made cigarettes and Chesterfields as an acceptable American substitute. Uneven but enjoyable read. An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event leads to the recall of Agent 007 from his sabbatical in Rome and his return to the world of intrigue and danger where he is most at home. The head of MI6, M, assigns him to shadow the mysterious Dr. Julius Gorner, a power-crazed pharmaceutical magnate, whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed. Gorner has lately taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives, both legal and illegal, and this urgently bears looking into. Bond finds a willing accomplice in the shape of a glamorous Parisian named Scarlett Papava. He will need her help in a life-and-death struggle with his most dangerous adversary yet, as a chain of events threaten to lead to global catastrophe. A tide of lethal narcotics threatens to engulf a Great Britain in the throes of the social upheavals of the late sixties.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick Guzan

    Devil May Care continues the 007 saga in the tradition of Ian Fleming, for better or worse, though this dedication to the original Bond author comes across a bit too much like fanfic rather than a consistent voice at times. To an unnecessarily heavy degree, it also continues the rather unhealthy cultural attitudes that characterized Fleming's writing in the '50s and '60s to the point where the characters' rather overt racism distracts from the otherwise engaging narrative. That said, Sebastian F Devil May Care continues the 007 saga in the tradition of Ian Fleming, for better or worse, though this dedication to the original Bond author comes across a bit too much like fanfic rather than a consistent voice at times. To an unnecessarily heavy degree, it also continues the rather unhealthy cultural attitudes that characterized Fleming's writing in the '50s and '60s to the point where the characters' rather overt racism distracts from the otherwise engaging narrative. That said, Sebastian Faulks delivers a very entertaining - if predictable - retro-adventure that moves at a brisk, fun pace and should certainly appeal to fans of classic James Bond books and movies looking for a quick read. 2.5/5.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

    On the whole, satisfying. Faulks starts in the mid-60s, directly after The Man With the Golden Gun. Iran makes a new geographical setting for 007. And the whole 004 plot thread is, at least, somewhat different. All the basics are in place—crusty M, staunch Bill Tanner, loyal Moneypenny—and Felix Leiter gets a good share of the action, as does Rene Mathis. The femme fatale is delivered with more than a twist.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    From genrebusters.com: THE PREMISE This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of Ian Fleming, the British writer who created the character of James Bond. What better way to celebrate than to contract a respected British writer of historical, WWII-era novels to concoct a new Bond tale, set in 1967, immediately after Fleming's last, posthumously published Bond book, The Man with the Golden Gun? IN REVIEW You will note that I did not give any plot description in the above premise. There are two rea From genrebusters.com: THE PREMISE This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of Ian Fleming, the British writer who created the character of James Bond. What better way to celebrate than to contract a respected British writer of historical, WWII-era novels to concoct a new Bond tale, set in 1967, immediately after Fleming's last, posthumously published Bond book, The Man with the Golden Gun? IN REVIEW You will note that I did not give any plot description in the above premise. There are two reasons for this: the first is that, on the whole, I try to avoid plot spoilers, and, this being a Bond novel, these are too easy to commit when describing the latest installment of a series that relies on formula; the second is that the plot that Mr. Faulks has created for Bond's return does not, unfortunately, warrant any positive mention. There is Bond (tired after a string of trying exploits), a girl (beautiful, mysterious), a villain (deformed, insane, intelligent), and a plot to undermine Western society (megalomaniacal, ludicrous, shallow). These are mixed in recognizable proportions, shaken (not, of course, stirred) and displayed upon the page. To Mr. Faulk's credit, his handle on 1960s dress, music, food, and locations feels authentic - at least it does to this reader, who was born a decade later. A few characters comment on current events - Vietnam, drugs, changing sexual mores, the Stones - and these asides are a nice atmospheric touch, though little used. Mr. Faulks sends Bond to numerous countries and establishes the continental feel that Fleming cultivated in his own works and filmmakers realized on the silver screen. Overall, Devil May Care has the look and texture of a Bond tale, complete with long descriptions of sitting at table and walking busy urban streets. It is what Mr. Faulks misses that made this a disappointing read. The most glaring oversight is his take on Bond's psyche. Readers of Fleming will know that, throughout each tale, Bond suffers a growing amount of trauma, until he has reached his limit and lost touch with his own personality. This was Fleming's greatest accomplishment in the series, and I had high hopes that Faulks would continue this development and take it further. At first, he seems to be setting Bond up for this: mention of past missions is made, and Bond constantly reflects upon his fatigued state of mind. But once the new mission queues up and M calls Bond in for the usual talk, all mention of these frailties is dropped, and Bond falls into the role of tough, arrogant, resourceful spy without comment or reflection. Were this outing in itself interesting, then this take on the series could be admissible as a new adventure for devoted followers; as mentioned previously, the plot of this tale is poor, and unworthy of our beloved character. Moreover, Faulks incorporates elements that do not work well in the attempt: the true story of our mystery woman is one that Bond should have figured out on his own; the use of a Middle Eastern locale feels more like an unnecessary attempt to reference the present; and the book's sole homosexual is made out to be an underhanded, traitorous crook. This latter choice inspired the only emotion (anger) I felt in the entire reading, and in reaction I have but one comment, in the key of Bond: bad form, Mr. Faulks.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    Having read a lot of James Bond novels by various authors such as John Gardner and Raymond Benson, I wondered what Sebastian Faulks’ approach would be like, especially since his publisher boldly billed him as “Writing as Ian Fleming.” What I really like about “this” Bond novelist is that he takes the reader back to the middle of the Cold War. Other successors to the Fleming legacy have updated the super spy into the modern era much like Daniel Craig updated the movie legacy from Sean Connery’s d Having read a lot of James Bond novels by various authors such as John Gardner and Raymond Benson, I wondered what Sebastian Faulks’ approach would be like, especially since his publisher boldly billed him as “Writing as Ian Fleming.” What I really like about “this” Bond novelist is that he takes the reader back to the middle of the Cold War. Other successors to the Fleming legacy have updated the super spy into the modern era much like Daniel Craig updated the movie legacy from Sean Connery’s defining performance and Roger Moore’s quick label change from The Saint to James Bond without having to stretch his thespian chops to any great degree. Unfortunately, I don’t perceive the transition as particularly positive. The Cold War was a time of espionage and a time of political incorrectness. The conflict made more sense than merely having rich villains with secret underground complexes and the like. Admittedly, Fleming himself had a few of those super-villains with secret bases, but I haven’t actually re-read the “canon” since college so it’s pristine in my memory—nothing strange about Dr. No or Moonraker on that account, is there? Nonetheless, the villains behind the iron curtain made sense to me at that time in my life, so when Sebastian Faulks set his version of Bond back in that era, I was thrilled. Oh, the ultimate bad guy has a secret base or two. Yes, he hates the U.K. with an irrational passion that seems somewhat far-fetched. Still, I resonated tremendously with the idea that an isolated incident designed to “frame” one faction might create a nuclear conflagration that would engulf the entire world. What can I say, I’m a product of the world where MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) was the order of the day. In spite of the implausibility regarding certain portions of the story, it seems valid enough for me to suspend my disbelief. Of course, in spite of setting the story in the period shortly after the French had lost the Algerian War of Independence and their colony in IndoChina, today’s sensibilities do come into play. There is more than one surprise with regard to gender stereotypes before both the penultimate and ultimate revelation. And, it’s nicely done because I wasn’t expecting the ultimate reveal within the context until the actual denouement. I always used to say that readers want a mixture of comfort and surprise (stole that from a former publisher and he was RIGHT) and this novel has just the right balance. I enjoyed Devil May Care the most of any Bond novel since Benson’s first effort. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was imagining the young Connery as Bond instead of Craig in what seemed a soulless last film.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    As others have pointed out, Sebastian Faulks is the 4th author to carry on the Bond series since Fleming died: Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and now Faulks. Gardner's novels had a character named James Bond, but the style was all wrong. Benson was closer, but still not quite right. Faulks has managed to capture much of the "Fleming Sweep" and style and may very well turn into the best "continuer" of the series. He shows great promise. The best aspect of "Devil May Care" is the deci As others have pointed out, Sebastian Faulks is the 4th author to carry on the Bond series since Fleming died: Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and now Faulks. Gardner's novels had a character named James Bond, but the style was all wrong. Benson was closer, but still not quite right. Faulks has managed to capture much of the "Fleming Sweep" and style and may very well turn into the best "continuer" of the series. He shows great promise. The best aspect of "Devil May Care" is the decision to go back to the 1960's and set Bond in the Cold War. It is OK to have the movie Bond move forward in time, as the movies (up to Casino Royale anyway) have long abandoned Fleming's stories and spirit. Movie Bond has a world all of his own. Literary Bond has a world too, and the Cold War is the best of that world. The novel moves quickly and has interesting characters, new as well as from Bond's past. Rene Mathis and Felix Leiter are there, as they should be. As much as I enjoyed it, I found it to be about one narrow escape and one villainous encounter too long. If Faulks hones his stories a little sharper, he will craft excellent Bonds. There has been some criticism of the credit "Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming" as being pretentious. I suspect it was just to get the novel on bookstore shelves with the other Bond novels, rather than lost next to Faulkner.

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