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For Special Services (JAMES BOND) Paperback – 2 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409135632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409135630
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

James Bond's services are rarely short of special, but SPECTRE is rarely short of grisly surprises. A series of aeroplane hijacks and a note found on a murdered CIA agent's body suggest the unthinkable-- Blofeld and SPECTRE are back and threatening world security.

Teaming up with Cedar Leiter, the jaw- droppingly beautiful daughter of Felix, Bond is placed on Special Services to the US government with the task of infiltrating the organisation of Markus Bismaquer, suspected of collaborating with SPECTRE on "some kind of venture that may set the world ablaze". Bond and Cedar pose as art experts leaving the UK in a shower of publicity with six hitherto unknown, signed Hogarth prints. The cover is designed to win them an audience with Bismaquer whose weakness for art is legendary. When they are set upon shortly after arriving in New York, it seems that everything is going to plan.

Or is it? Gardner's second Bond novel has more twists than the thirty-foot python displaying its SPECTRE credentials in an opening scene. Even before Bond has left for America, Blofeld's announcement that, "I have personal scores to settle with Mr Bond. I have devised a method to deal with him--call it a lure if you like. If it has worked, soon we shall have the pleasure of Mr Bond's company on this side of the Atlantic", has the alarm bells ringing. The hunter may just have become the hunted.

For Special Services packs action and drama onto every page. It is closer to the Bond of the films than Fleming's blueprint, but what it sacrifices in subtlety, it makes up for in thrills and spills. --IainCampbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


A must for James Bond fans. (Bradford Telegraph & Argus)

This is a thrilling read. (The Catholic Herald)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Captain Pugwash on 23 Aug. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This effort from Ian Fleming's successor as the `official' James Bond novelist is arguably his best - the novel is a rollercoaster ride that stays true to Fleming's creation whilst having a fresh feel and original flavour that lifts it above many of Gardner's other 007 stories.

The best scene sees our intrepid hero in a nail-biting car race with the hideously disfigured `death's head' Walter Luxor - who may or may not be the successor to Ernst Stavro Blofeld as the head of SPECTRE, who are once again at work, and involved in hijacking aeroplanes. Bond is sent to investigate the sinister Count Bismaquer in Texas, and along with the daughter of his old CIA buddy Felix Leiter, Cedar Leiter, now attached to the agency herself, he poses as an art specialist in order to uncover SPECTRE's evil machinations and continue his personal vendetta against the family of the man who killed his wife.

All the old favourites appear throughout the story - even Felix himself puts in an appearance at the end, and this is ultimately an accomplished and thoroughly entertaining slice of James Bond.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amon Avis on 27 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gardner's 2nd Bond book was the first of his that I read and I've always been tempted to suggest that others do the same. His 1st Licence Renewed was a solid start but it's here that he really gets going. In fact, he even seems to overtly tackle some criticism of that book whilst raising his game.

Score: 9/10. The strong plot sees Bond on the trail of a reborn SPECTRE, this time intent on destroying 007 and hijacking weapons satelites. The latter gambit would find its way into the films- as would the hotel lift business, where there's admittedly a lull for a while (Bond in disguise never works). Moreover, Gardner introduces narrative devices of his own: taking two Fleming bad guy moulds (rich megalomaniac and disfigured psycho) then making us guess at the new Blofeld's identity. The uncertainty of the Colorado battle is truly tense.

Straight away the book begins with an action packed, filmic, "pre-credits" sequence: in comparison to the previous book's low key start, here we find a well drawn 007 on a mission, tense amid the hijacking of a luxury airliner. Plus the excellent Saab 900 remains, but the dull Browning pistol is binned in favour of a Heckler & Koch VP70 and a Sykes-Fairbairn dagger (toys for the boys having always been part of the fictional Bond's world). Bond and Q'ute are now friends with benefits; there's a brief update/revery of past Bond girls; his cigarettes are now made by Simmons and it's great to see 007 enjoying a vodka martini again, too!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with action, romance and suspence. I couldn't put it down. The action sequences were very well done and so was the characterization of Bond himself!!!!!! This is a classic James Bond novel it takes you from England to Amirillo, Texas, and to the bayous of Louisianna. Blofeld is back and out for blood... James Bond's blood!!!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Devitt on 23 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given a mix of 20 Bond books to review, made up of part Fleming and part Gardner it is quite likely that without author credits you would pick John Gardner as the originator of the series and not Fleming. That is how good a writer Mr Gardner was. Undoubtedly the king of the Bond revivalists and certainly never bettered. More detailed in his descriptive writing the Gardner series require more of the reader. More attention, more retention and, to be honest, a larger vocabulary. I suppose the skill of Fleming was to be so engaging and descriptive in so few words, but Bond really does benefit from Gardner's style. The more recent movies do too.

The first in the series Licensed Renewed is a great romp through the Scottish Highlands and over into France in a story not unlike Goldfinger. This is different and sees the return of the Blofeld Dynasty. Need I say more. The ultimate Bond baddie was always Blofeld. I am rather hoping that they will find a way of 'unkilling him off' for future Bond features with Daniel Craig !!!! For the moment this dynastic revival will have to do. Another great Gardner Bond book. You will enjoy it.

It's a joy to see the re-issue of these books as a newly bound series with new artwork. I shall enjoy collecting them a placing them alongside those wonderful Fleming originals, where the truly deserve a place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Haynes VINE VOICE on 23 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The appearance of Felix Leiter’s daughter, Cedar, in this book jarred with me and I kept wondering ‘just how old is Bond exactly?’ a question all fans really should avoid like a shark infested swimming pool. The return of a Blofeld character referred to always as ‘Blofeld’ and not ‘he’ or ‘she’ made the supposed twist at the end about as surprising as the fact that Bond once again taps the wife of the supposed bag guy. There really are no prizes for guessing who the new Blofeld is, and there really should have been more an effort at a mystery.

The whole book seems to follow a pattern established in the original books and Broccoli’s films and already plundered to great effect in "Licence Renewed" and it felt really unoriginal this time around.

On the plus side Gardner does well on the trapeze balancing his characters’ hidden agendas and play-acting despite the quickly predicted twist and lack-lustre red-herrings, and his writing style is once again satisfying Flemingesque.

Bond once more unrealistically has every female he wafts his pheromones in a swoon and falling into his arms. He is certainly old enough to be Cedar’s father (if not grandfather) and reality seemed to be stretched by this objectification of women beyond breaking point. Some of the ‘romantic’ moments verged on farce.

Still, for all that, it was another entertaining page-turner, and not the sort of book to over-analyse. If you liked the SPECTRE based films and the idea of doped ice-cream, killer ants, giant man-eating swamp snakes and killer satellites, you will enjoy this book.
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