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James Bond: Choice of Weapons: Three 007 Novels [Paperback]

Raymond Benson
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Aug 2010
Three classic 007 novels by the acclaimed Raymond Benson, featuring literature’s most celebrated secret agent.

In this new collection of James Bond novels, published in trade paperback for the first time, we are once again treated to the thrilling adventures of Fleming’s classic hero, first in The Facts of Death, which pits Britain’s famed secret agent against a fanatic cult who has murdered M’s lover; then in Zero Minus Ten, where Bond finds himself in Hong Kong to investigate a series of deadly shipping explosions; and finally in The Man with the Red Tattoo, where Bond must stop a Japanese crime ring from attempting a mass assassination with a deadly strain of the West Nile virus.

As an added bonus for the fanatical Bond fan base, the collection includes two short stories never before published in book form, "Live at Five" and "Midsummer Night’s Doom."

Through it all, Raymond Benson masterfully evokes the classic Bond flair, romance, and elan that made Ian Fleming’s novels worldwide bestsellers.

Product details

  • Paperback: 847 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books; 1 edition (17 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605980994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605980997
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 16.3 x 5.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Between 1996 and 2002, Raymond Benson assumed the mantel of writing the 007 novels. He wrote six Bond novels during that time and three film novelizations. His James Bond Bedside Companion was nominated for an Edgar award. Pegasus Books has brought Benson's Bond books back into print in two collections: James Bond: The Union Trilogy and James Bond: Choice of Weapons.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Buy Bond 22 July 2011
Along with James Bond: The Union Trilogy: Three 007 Novels, this volume sees the republication of all Benson's original Bond fiction (ie. everything except the 3 film novelisations). In case you were wondering at the (seemingly random) punning title, it's drawn from Chapter 2 of Fleming's Dr. No where 007 is first armed with a certain Walther PPK.

By 1997, previous Bond author John Gardner had written more 007 novels than Fleming and some were great ones (eg. For Special Services, Nobody Lives For Ever (James Bond)). However, illness and a growing tiredness with Bond had led to some weaker entries in the series and a distinctly underpowered 007. Long time Bond fan (and author of the The James Bond Bedside Companion) Benson was given the job and set out to change that. Despite having never written a novel before (his 1st fiction was the 007 short story Blast From The Past (1997), included in the Union Trilogy), he went on to write some of the strongest Bond novels in years.

Zero Minus Ten(1997)-
Score:8/10. Having been prejudged by critics as being a novice writer and American (not sure which they thought was worse!) Benson proved them wrong instantly with this cracking tale and so clearly 'getting it'. Overseeing the UK's handover of Hong Kong, 007 of old is back: dark yet sensitive; dryly humorous rather than smug; sexually profligate but chivalrous; tough, resourceful and ruthless, but also a thinker who survives by his wits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bumper collection 24 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This collection definitely equals value for money.
Included are 3 full novels; "Zero Minus Ten", "The Facts Of Death", and "The Man With The Dragon Tattoo", plus two James Bond short stories "Live At Five" and "Midsummer's Night's Doom".
Over 800 pages of James Bond stories this a weighty doorstop of a book which will keep any Bond fan busy for quite some time.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Benson's,Bond novel's. 25 Sep 2012
I don't see the point of spending over 20 plus pound's on 2 omnibus's of Raymond Benson's James Bond serie's,just to read the previously unpublished short storie's,when I already have all the novel's in the serie's.It would have made more sense to publish all the short storie's as a collection,like Ian Fleming did with his.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to have Benson's Bond back. 10 Aug 2010
By Dan D. Duling - Published on
I am so pleased that Raymond Benson's Bond novels are being reprinted in this and the previous collection, "The Union Trilogy." It's also a treat to have his two short stories as an added bonus. For those of us who strongly feel that Benson was the best and most reverent Bond novelists to carry on Fleming's tradition, and who are still wincing with embarrassment over the limp and impoverished posturings of "Devil May Care," any chance to encourage others to revisit or discover the pleasures of Benson's sure-handed Bond novels is welcome. I especially like the claustrophobic and suspenseful action of The Facts of Death as a personal favorite of these three novels, but all three demonstrate Benson's attention to details whether it's exotic locales, cultural traditions or sophisticated weaponry. This collection is a must-have for all Bond completists, and I believe Benson's contributions to the Bond canon will not only withstand the test of time but with every passing year, will prove to be in a league all by themselves. Thank you to the publishers of this and the "Union Trilogy" reissues.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le jamesbonderie 15 Aug 2010
By Paul Baack - Published on
After John Gardner's tenure as the official James Bond novelist came limping to an undistinguished end, the Ian Fleming estate asked Raymond Benson to revivify the literary 007 series. Rather like Timothy Dalton inheriting the film role from Roger Moore, the new guy was tasked with returning the "real" James Bond to us, which he did in sparkling -- if, at times, underappreciated -- fashion.

It's a real treat to have these three stand-alone Bond adventures gathered into one volume; they represent the first, second, and sixth (and final) entries in Benson's contribution to the saga. Comparisons among the post-Fleming 007 authors is a rather pointless task, but Benson consistently -- and accurately -- NAILED the Bond character and the fantasy universe he inhabited. These three novels read and feel like the real thing: it's not Ian Fleming, of course, but it IS James Bond.

The French have a word for it: le jamesbonderie. Strictly speaking, James Bond stories aren't spy or espionage fiction, they're heroic fantasy disguised as contemporary thrillers. These three novels give the reader the amazing villains, the delicious heroines, the high-stakes gaming, the fabulous meals and luxurious travel which are part and parcel of Fleming's fictional world. Le jamesbonderie. James Bond is sent to exotic locations as England's single combat warrior to foil the apocalyptic schemes of just-this-short-of-lunatic bad guys; we have a ringside seat. He (and we) meet interesting people: stalwart allies, beautiful girls, brutish henchmen, and femmes fatales. You know, le jamesbonderie!

Newcomers to the literary James Bond will find this a welcome introduction to a character slightly different than his screen incarnation. Old 007 hands will be pleased to add this volume to their collection.

Terrific stuff!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a fan of the James Bond series, this fantastic book is a great buy. 12 Aug 2011
By Joseph J. Truncale - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read all of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, I did not find the other previous bond writers very compelling and I stopped reading James Bond novels. This all changed when I met the author of this giant volume and decided to invest some money, time and effort to read this text. This volume has three full length James Bond novels, Zero Minus Ten, The Facts of Death and The Man with the Red Tattoo. It also contains two short stories, Live at Five and Midsummer Night's Doom.

All of these novels and short stories were excellent. It is clear this author understands the Bond personality and 007's various interests and quirks. The first story, Zero Minus Ten has Bond in Hong Kong to investigate the takeover by China of that city. The second novel, Facts of Death pits Bond against a fanatical cult. The third book, The Man with the Red Tattoo has Bond dealing with a biological attack involving a variation of the West Nile virus. This is also the most action packed story.

The two short stories were also good reads, but I personally enjoyed the Midsummer Night's Doom the best. In this short story 007 solves a crime while at the famous Playboy mansion.

In conclusion, I personally loved reading these Bond novels so much that I intend to read more of Raymond Benson's books in the future. His writing is clear, concise and flows beautifully. In my opinion, other than Ian Fleming, who is the creator of the James Bond series, of all the other writers who also wrote James Bond novels, Benson is the best.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Predator Hunter: A Warrior's Memoir)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choice Bond! 10 Aug 2010
By John Cork - Published on
When Raymond Benson started writing continuation Bond novels in the 1990s, we were experiencing a true Bond renaissance. The end of the Cold War was still fresh, but the hunger for the West's greatest fictional icon of that era had not abated. James Bond roared back both to the movie screens (with Brosnan as Bond) and the printed page. New graphic novel adventures even appeared at comic book stores. These three Benson Bond thrillers made a good splash, but in some ways they were not given the time nor consideration they deserved. This trilogy (like The Union Trilogy which preceded it) provides the reader with great, sweeping adventures in the Fleming tradition. What Benson accomplishes in his Bond novels is to negotiate the never-never land between Ian Fleming's literary creation and the cinematic Bond. The results are three wonderfully entertaining thrillers. Benson, of course, knows his Bond. He never uses a turn of phrase that sounds like clanking pieces of tin when spoken by Bond. He successfully infuse Bond with Fleming's voice, Fleming's attitudes towards life, and Fleming's sense of adventure. Benson, though, does not let his love of Fleming trap him. He places 007 firmly in the present. He realizes that readers want not only the grand sweep of Fleming's novels, but the breath-taking scale of the Bond films. Benson is skilled at writing action. He knows how to take the time to set up a chase or fight so that the reader is invested in the outcome. Ian Fleming once stated that he was not in "the Shakespeare Stakes," and Benson understands this. These are page-turners. Solid works that are fun to read, but like Fleming's books, stay with the reader. To read them now is in many ways more satisfying than to have read them when they were originally published. At that time it was easy to place all one's expectations for Bond on these books. Now, it is easier to read these with more perspective and enjoy them for the thrills, smiles and pulse-quickening adventures they are. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Bond author since Flemming himself 2 Aug 2011
By Julian Blunt - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bravo Mr. Benson for recreating the hero avid Bond fans like myself all love. Excellent story telling, fantastic style and even better action. If it didn't say Raymond Benson on the cover, I would have thought Flemming came back from the grave. Please, write more Mr. Benson. Encore and some more.
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