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The Man with the Red Tattoo (James Bond) [Hardcover]

Raymond Benson , Ian Fleming
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 May 2002 James Bond

When a British businessman and his family are killed in Japan, James Bond suspects a mass assassination. Investigating with the help of beautiful Japanese agent Reiko Tamura and his old friend Tiger Tanaka, Bond discovers that two powerful factions controlled by the mysterious terrorist Goro Yoshida are playing God. Between them they have created the perfect weapon, one small and seemingly insignificant enough to strike anywhere, unnoticed.

With an emergency G7 summit meeting just days away, it's a race against time as Bond confronts both man and nature in a desperate bid to stop the release of a deadly virus that could destroy the Western world.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition, First Impression edition (2 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340819146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340819142
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,157,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The Man With The Red Tatoo is the latest of Raymond Benson's continuation of Fleming's James Bond series. Bond is back in Japan investigating mysterious deaths and elbowing his way into trouble. Like all of Benson's series, and indeed the recent Bond films, it tones down the high-octane sexism and snobbery of the original a little, in the name of making Bond contemporary; it is not just in terms of the actors playing him that Bond is no longer quite the man he once was.

Benson is a more thoughtful writer than Fleming, which leads, on the one hand, to some over-extended clumps of exposition in which he explains the right-wing politics of Japanese organized crime or the life-cycle of genetically-engineered mosquitos, but on the other hand to real conviction in his villains' motivations. Fleming created florid villains who were memorable because mythic; Benson's are credible because he makes us understand them--it's doubtful a Fleming villain would ever have quoted Mishima. Similarly, where the deaths of Fleming's heroines were a routine gesture, the fate of one of the "Bond Girls" here is genuinely upsetting. Where Benson most effectively follows Fleming's lead is in action sequences--Bond tied in the path of a bullet train and Bond dancing his way to safety in a burning lava-field. --Roz Kaveney


'Welcome back, Mr Bond. We've been waiting for you . . . Benson has gone back to Bondian basics in a fast-moving world of bedrooms, firm breasts, betting and bruises.' Independent on Sunday

'Spectacular chases, gory killings and a spot of sado-masochism . . addicts of the genre will love it.' The Times

"Spectacular chases, gory killings and a spot of sado-masochism . . . addicts of the genre will love it." The Times

"Will have Bond fans cheering." Publishers Weekly (Doubleshot)

The Man with the Red Tattoo has everything you would expect, such as hi-tech gadgets, beautiful women and gripping action...If you have seen all the Bond movies several times and wish there were more of them, then this book is the next best thing. (Newbury Weekly News)

Benson's best Bond tale...non-stop action from page one. (Yorkshire Evening Press on THE MAN WITH THE RED TA)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I have read every one of the Bond novels from Fleming to Benson from cover to cover. As much as I want to like Benson's, it's just an impossible task. While he has brought back the superficial connections to the Fleming character, each of his novels just reads like a mini-script, waiting for a movie to be filmed. They are the novels of Pierce Brosnan's movie-Bond, not Fleming's. I appreciate his wanting to re-inject the Fleming character's history to his novels, but it's just not enough. When will someone bring the character back to it's chronological roots in the 1950's? Really--back to where it belongs, with plots that are subtle and interesting and tie together well. With a book by book building of substance--well, as much as a fantasy spy figure can provide.
Firstly, the plots. I agree with an earlier review about Ray's inability to blend fact with the story line. It does read like a "wait, let me unfold the tourist brochure and tell you this...", then a refolding of the brochure to commence with the tale. The plot in general, as with the previous novels, are written as if they're movie scenes lashed together. Each one has a slap-stick chase scene which I find abhorent to the Bond character. In another novel, Bond's inexplicably shooting a villain in the face in an elevator and then running from the police through TV sets is painful. This one has a chase through a Kubuki playhouse simply to add some description of Kubuki. Bond finally finds a key character (the prosititute) in the latter third of the story, in Sapporo, and takes her with him on a dangerous investigation of the villain's HQ. Why didn't Tanaka pick her up and allow Bond to operate on his own? If she was so important to the case, she should have been in Tanaka's custody within an hour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Benson's Playstation Bond. 21 Sep 2003
I read Benson's latest Bond novel in a few days and was very happy with it. This is the first of the Benson novels I've looked at, and I think I will read more.
There is one frustrating element of the novel for those who have read Fleming's originals, and that is the timeframe. Benson has copied the movies habit of re-casting Bond in the modern era, whereas Fleming gave dates and contemporary events that put his stories firmly in the fifties and sixties. There's nothing wrong with Benson updating the character, but when he frequently refers to incidents from the Fleming novels- battles with Ernest Blofeld, for instance- he's referring to events from another, much earlier, 1960's timeline, which I find distracting. Perhaps Benson should have been allowed to set the literary character in the same era as Flemings.
That being so, this is a good read. All the familiar elements are there. Bond is cool, and the villains diabolical. There is a lot of action compared with Fleming, which is why I characterise it as being a 'Playstation' Bond. Which is probably what todays readers want.
Benson has also copied some of the techno-thriller habits of Tom Clancy and Dale Brown. The villains plot gets a thorough explanation, as does his political motivation. Benson handles this sort of thing well- which leads me to think he could, funnily enough, write an even better thriller if he wasn't writing a Bond story!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slight improvement.. 17 July 2003
I do struggle with Benson's version of Bond and after the previous book I was starting to lose hope. This is an improvement but still contains the flaws in Bensons writing, too much information added in for no reason and some very unsatisfying leaps into comic book action.
Bond goes back to Japan to follow up on a virus attack and to prepare for a G8 Summit. Can there possibly be a connection, well I hate to give away a very obvious plot connection, but yes of course they are. So Bond fights and shags his way accross Japan until he saves the day again.
I have the concern that we are seeing the end of the Bond novels, they are expensive, issued with no publicity and to be honest, lacking in their content. I'd love to know what the sales figures are like because I do sometimes wonder why I am buying these books and not re-reading the classic Flemming stories.
In summary, worth a read, but only just.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benson delivers another excellent Bond novel. 27 April 2002
In an era of contrived attempts to "personalize" Bond's missions or "peal back the layers" of Bond's psyche, it's refreshing to have a straightforward Bond-on-a-dangerous-assignment-in-an-exotic-locale adventure, and that's what Raymond Benson delivers in THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO, his best stand alone Bond thriller to date. This time, Mr. Bond, it ISN'T personal. Halleluiah! Even the return of the Walther PPK seems to be Benson's way of saying, "Let's just use what has always worked and enough with the self-conscious 'updating' of the character." In this way I think RED TATTOO is well ahead of the curve.
But this doesn't mean RED TATTOO is lacking in character depth. Just the opposite is true. Japan holds dark memories for Bond, and that aspect is not ignored. Whereas John Gardner might have given a passing reference to Bond's legendary ordeal in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, Benson uses the "ghosts" of Bond's past as a full-fledged complication. Fans will not be disappointed in how Benson weaves elements of the Fleming masterpiece into this current book. He makes Japan a character in this novel-in many ways, the main character-both ally and nemesis to 007. And, past associations aside, it's refreshing to have a Bond story set in one locale instead of globetrotting from one scenic set piece to the next. This gives Benson a chance to really flesh out the culture in detail. It's Benson's attention to these details and his ability to weave them into the plot in highly entertaining ways that make his books the best of all the post-Fleming adventures. It's where RED TATTOO excels.
Fans of action will not be disappointed as gunfights and fistfights abound in RED TATTOO.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok
Benson is a journeyman author. His take on Bond is serviceable but never really comes to life. He's no Fleming.
Published 19 days ago by mr stephen marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product, really quick delivery. Thank you
Published 2 months ago by Loiter7
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
If this had been the authors first outing with 007, I doubt that I would had read any more of his 007 novels

Not what you expect
Published 9 months ago by dennis mills
4.0 out of 5 stars 007 heaven.
I would highly recommend this 007 novel to all Fleming fans. A worthy successor along with John Gardner. I just wish he would write more novels about Bond San.
Published 18 months ago by jasper
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read but is it Bond?
The answer is yes. No one will ever replace Ian Fleming but Raymond Benson was a worthy successor. He captures the grittiness of Fleming's 007 but moves the character forward to... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Bob Dickson
5.0 out of 5 stars Benson: Bringing back a slick edge to 007
I have read EVERY james bond book there is, through the Fleming era, John Gardners stint and now Ray Benson. I would like to thank Benson for bringing back a true sense of Bondism. Read more
Published on 28 July 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a classic 007 novel
... The book starts with something we're all afraid of, a chemical attack. Not on a major city or country, but a major family who make a living finding cures for diseases. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2003 by Simon Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man with the Red Tatoo
A truly good James Bond thriller! The U.K. dust jacket art is, as always, decidedly better than the U.S. release. Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2002 by Tanji Skikmet
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cleverly Crafted Plot That May Disturb You
In his sixth James Bond novel Raymond Benson takes James Bond back to Japan, the first time Bond has been there since the events of You Only Live Twice. Read more
Published on 27 April 2002 by Daniel Dykes
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