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Win, Lose or Die (James Bond) Paperback – 2 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409135691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409135692
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Official, original James Bond from a writer described by Len Deighton as a 'master storyteller'

About the Author

After Colonel Sun (1968) by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner was the next writer to be asked to write further adventures of James Bond. He wrote, like Fleming, fourteen Bond books, plus novelisations of the films GoldenEye and Licence to Kill, from 1981 to 1996.

Before becoming an author of fiction in the early 1960s John Gardner was variously a stage magician, a Royal Marine officer, a journalist and, for a short time, a priest in the Church of England. 'Probably the biggest mistake I ever made,' he says. 'I confused the desire to please my father with a vocation which I soon found I did not have.'

In all, Gardner had fifty-five novels to his credit - many of them bestsellers. John Gardner died in 2007.

For more information about John Gardner and his non-Bond works, visit his website.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amon Avis on 27 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The 1980s Bond novels had seen the steady thawing of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Fleming plot gambit of 007 playing cat and mouse with a major supervillain. With the brick dust flying in Berlin, and the writer himself off to live in the USA, a palpable turning point was reached in the books both in narrative and context that would launch Gardner's Bond in a completely new direction for the 90s.

Score: 8/10. Bond returns to the Royal Navy for a joint UK, USA and USSR war game marking the USSR's "perestroika" (economic restructuring) and "glasnost" (cultural and political openness) policies. A new terrorist group BAST (Brotherhood of Anarchy & Secret Terror) has threatened to wreak havoc. But whom can 007 trust? Beautiful WREN officer Clover Pennington? Italian sex bomb Beatrice? Or enigmatic Russian Naval Attache Nicki?

It's a radical departure and takes a little getting used to, but it's a resounding success. The techno-thriller style (more Frederick Forsyth than Tom Clancy) really suits Gardner's knack with action and technical detail. The first few chapters alone are packed with exciting and immersive set pieces- you feel you could probably fly a sea harrier! Unlike other breaks from the format Bond remains at the forefront of the action, while intercutting the villains' machinations sets up the next threat without slowing things down. With SPECTRE dead and gone, the author anticipates the risk of BAST becoming a pale imitation: even Bond notes "it sounds like a poor man's SPECTRE." Although we don't get the meticulous background we got from Fleming (or Benson's Union Trilogy), there's a delightfully cynical reason for BAST's hollow heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amon Avis on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
In 1988, midway through his Bond output and still hitting them into the bestseller lists, Gardner produced his most original 007 story yet. Putting his version of Bond into an astonishingly un-Fleming like tale was an approach that deservedly won this novel many fans. Truly, it's a shame that he wasn't more daring as it's the more familiar elements that disappoint here when the story flags in the last third.

Score: 7/10. A creepy, secret society (Father Valentine's "The Meek Ones") is linked with international arms dealing, just as a wave of evangelically inspired terrorist attacks hit the UK. We have a gritty London death, SAS training, Bond implicated in a murder and establishment figures under threat. It's the most gripping, violent and disconcerting start to a 007 novel since Amis' Colonel Sun: A James Bond Adventure.

It's a great move, the plot unfolding far more like an episode of say "The Professionals" or "Spooks". Just as Bond's been given his task, the narrative drags 007 along so fast you fear he won't keep pace. It's both thrilling and frightening to see both him and M struggling to combat so convincing a threat so close to home. The dialogue as ever isn't the author's forte, but the pace is brilliant- the prose taught and immediate, the characters human and frail. Chapters tend to end on cliffhangers like old fashioned thriller serials. As you might expect with Gardner there's lots of violent action, the intelligence world feels authentic and Bond can't trust anyone, least of all the two 'partners' he's assigned.

It's such a shame that it unwinds. There are too many talky scenes, making Bond late for the action in the next chapter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim J-R on 8 Dec. 2013
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Scorpius is an interesting take on the James Bond novel. There are aspects that feel Fleming-esque, but on the whole it feels neither like something crafted by the character's creator, nor like the previous novels written by John Gardner. It's lost a lot of the more eighties aspects, and feels quite trimmed back and without extravagance.

The book is more of a secret-agent procedural novel, with a little bit of character towards the end that doesn't get followed up properly in this novel - but perhaps Gardner is taking a leaf from Fleming's book and leaving the repercussions to the next book in the series.

The plot itself feels filled with coincidence - Bond just tumbles into events by accident rather than actually going on a mission, and seems a fairly useless agent for a lot of the time. Overall, the whole novel feels like it could have been about any secret agent - it's missing the ingredient that means it could only be about James Bond.

I remember having this book as a teenager - I don't know whether I didn't read it or just completely forgot the plot, but I suspect that if you ask me again in another ten years I will have forgotten again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim J-R on 16 Mar. 2014
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Gardner's eighth Bond novel feels a bit like the point where he's taken things too far. Despite this, the plot is fairly strong and develops from a well formed foundation, however there's a lot that combines to spoil it.

The first problem was that the back-cover copy of my edition gives away one of the major events from the novel that really shouldn't be spoilt. I would have much preferred to have read it without this knowledge in advance.

Bond falling for a girl has become a cliché, despite the narrative's insistence that it's a rarity, but in many ways Gardner's Bond has lost much that Fleming provided the character. The narrative is punctuated by frequent asides and even a footnote which I felt broke the flow of the story and didn't fit with the character the reader is aligned with at all.

Finally there's a really weak climax that I won't spoil. Overall, a book with potential that was let down. I'd love to have read it written differently.
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