By their very nature Bond books and films are to a large degree predictable, we know what to expect and we expect to get it. What matters is the way it's done and with this book Gardner pulled together his take on the Bond formula to it's neatest and most satisfying.
No deals Mr Bond, whilst not a classic title by any means, combines the sort of genuine espionage activities of the novels of John Le Carre and indeed John Gardner's own Herbie Kruger series, networks of agents, legends, tradecaft, betrayals, double-crosses and inter-agency rivalries. With the more Bond like car chases, gunfights, torture and of course sex.
The plot concerns the sudden and mysterious deaths of members of one of SIS's most successful cold war networks, long after they were disbanded and given new, safe identities. Bond is dispatched to try to find and protect the rest of them but is quickly plunged into an abyss of betrayal, unable to be certain of what is the truth and who can be trusted.
The twists of the plot and of fate that befall Bond in this novel seem more plausibly located in the real world than many of the other books by Gardner in the series. Here there are no larger than life psychotics trying to gas New York or nuke Westminster, just dark people playing a dark game because it's all they know and all they're good at.
A cracking read that makes you wish they'd make a film that was plot rather than stunt heavy. Enjoy.