Customer Reviews


165 Reviews
5 star:
 (36)
4 star:
 (37)
3 star:
 (30)
2 star:
 (28)
1 star:
 (34)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bootleg Bond
I've only recently read the Ian Fleming novels and was pleased to see this book released - a chance to read another James Bond adventure and see Sebastian Faulks' take on the James Bond legend. The book makes a good first impression with a great title (hopefully a film will use it in future) and cover.

Faulks is credited as 'writing as Ian Fleming' and has done...
Published on 6 April 2009 by DAZ

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The style is there, but there's no substance
"Devil May Care" is a lightweight, enjoyable pot boiler that is highly reminiscent of the Ian Fleming novels and also the Sean Connery 007 movies. I definitely felt that Sebastian Faulks nailed Fleming's writing style. Unfortunately he has been less successful in constructing a compelling plot and characters.

I very much enjoyed the first half the book which...
Published on 8 July 2008 by Julia Flyte


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bootleg Bond, 6 April 2009
By 
DAZ (Manchester, Uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Devil May Care (Paperback)
I've only recently read the Ian Fleming novels and was pleased to see this book released - a chance to read another James Bond adventure and see Sebastian Faulks' take on the James Bond legend. The book makes a good first impression with a great title (hopefully a film will use it in future) and cover.

Faulks is credited as 'writing as Ian Fleming' and has done a very good job of imitating Fleming's writing style. The book definitely feels like one of the originals in style and follows on from the last Fleming story ('The Man With The Golden Gun'). Unfortunately this is the book's main weakness - it feels too much like a tribute and lacks any originality. In order to achieve such a likeness to the original novels, Faulks has lifted so much from them that it feels like 'Bond by Numbers' - all the usual suspects are here: a train ride, fight on a plane, underwater scene and a mad villain's secret plan to bring down Britain together with the expected girls, alcoholic drinks and foreign locations. The characters, plot and locations all have certain deja-vu feel to them that makes the story feel formulaic. Goldfinger and Moonraker are the books that spring to mind most often when reading this.

There are also far too many nods and references to the previous books - it's almost as if Faulks is trying to prove that he's read them all. It was nice to see Rene Mathis and Felix Leiter appear again, but their presence didn't seem to add much to the plot and I was left feeling that they were just there for the sake of nostalgia.

Having said all that, the story is enjoyable and it is nice to be able to read one more James Bond adventure. It could have been a lot worse, but it felt like an opportunity was lost. It's like going to watch a tribute band such as the Bootleg Beatles - they do a great job of impersonating a band that you can't see any more ... it just doesn't feel quite the same.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The style is there, but there's no substance, 8 July 2008
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
"Devil May Care" is a lightweight, enjoyable pot boiler that is highly reminiscent of the Ian Fleming novels and also the Sean Connery 007 movies. I definitely felt that Sebastian Faulks nailed Fleming's writing style. Unfortunately he has been less successful in constructing a compelling plot and characters.

I very much enjoyed the first half the book which vividly recreates the late 60s. Bond's initial confrontation with the villain is over a game of tennis that reads more like a duel and has all the tension of Casino Royale. The love interest, Scarlett, also makes a dramatic entry. However the second half of the book rapidly loses momentum and pace and the overly-complicated plot gets bogged down with lengthy explanations and the introduction of characters (like Felix Leiter) who add little to the story. The villain's motivations are clichés and the book concludes with a final twist that comes as less of a surprise than it seems it was intended to be.

Three stars, because it's still a quick and fun read that captures the essence of Fleming's writing. But it's not what it could have been.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Mr Bond, 29 May 2008
By 
M. W. Withnall (Shropshire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I purchased this at 11 yesterday morning and went to bed at 3 this morning. Forget Raymond Benson and John Gardner, this is vintage James Bond, you can feel Fleming's ghost over your shoulder, it reads like the best of his books with a fast moving plot bags,of gourmet food and drink with a cracking villain. I always liked the early Bond books never liked the films, the Bond in the books was toally different darker and more vulnerable, and if you are expecting the Bond of the movies you will be disappointed. Sebastian Faulks has captured this brilliantly. I hope he writes another, I think Bond does for the fifties and sixties what Sherlock Holmes has done for the Victorian and Edwardian age the early books are becoming classics (my old english teacher will role over in his grave)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Racy but ludicrous - just as good as Fleming!, 9 Jun 2008
By 
Nicholas J. R. Dougan "Nick Dougan" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
"Bond has lost his licence to thrill" proclaimed The Scotsman newspaper in a review in the edition the day after this book was published. A play on words dreamt up months if not years ago, I should think, and having now read the book, one week on, written on the basis of a less than complete reading of it.

I read "Devil May Care" while considering the question "if I did not know that was not written by Ian Fleming (say about1967, when it is set), would I have known?". In short, I think not. Faulks captures Flemings' style brilliantly.

Faulks does allow himself a few nods to the Bond films as well as to the earlier books (Flemings' ones only - even Kingsley Amis/Robert Markham's Colonel Sun appears to have been discounted, not to mention the 23 other Bond novels. (Fleming published 12 novels, plus two collections of short stories.)) The villain, one Dr Julius Gorner, has more than a passing resemblance to Drax ("Moonraker") and appears in one scene "in a tropical suit with a carnation" just as I remember Charles Gray playing Blofeld in one of the films. There are some topical references too: opium poppies are coming from Helmand province in Afghanisatan - which just happens to be where British troops are battling the drugs trade and international terrorism today. Bond is equipped with a gadget by "Q Section" (there was never a man called "Q" in the books, just the films); Bond, however, fails to use it or even mention it again.

The plot's formula follows Fleming's established pattern with only the requisite number of variations. Bond is on a sabbatical, because he is losing his touch and has not quite recovered after the snake bite poisoning from Scaramanga's bullet two years before. He is on the wagon on doctor's orders. We know that all is not well when a woman offers herself to him - but he turns her down. There is an early "social" encounter with the villain, after which Bond follows him to his lair, falls into his evil clutches, is set a test to challenge the very best, fails but subsequently escapes, kills the baddie, saves the world. Did I mention that Felix Leiter appears to help out (and boost sales in the US?). As ever Bond has a female accomplice, and here I think Faulks does achieve something new. I was kept guessing throughout the book as to whether she was really what she said she was, and, if she was not, whether that was good or bad. I guessed the wrong way.

Lest you think that I am seeking to belittle the Bond novels, far from it. They are brilliant - entertaining, informative in their way, racy - but the plots were always (if you thought them through) a bit ludicrous. That was the point - and not the point - a willing suspension of disbelief was all that was needed, but was essential. If you want (to pretend you are reading) something more credible try Le Carre or even, god knows, Gerald Seymour or Andy McNab.

If I have any bones to pick, then I point out one "continuity" mistake that made it through (even though Faulks re-read all of the Bond books before writing this one. Bond could not have "found himself at last in Russia" because he had travelled across Russia between the end of You Only Live Twice" and the beginning of "The Man with the Golden Gun". I am inclined to accept that Faulks did this intentionally, however, as Bond had, perhaps, not been entirely in his own mind on that journey - he was being brainwashed by the KGB. Perhaps more irritatingly, some "new" characters were really quite derivative - quite apart from Gorner, Bond's SIS contact in the Middle East is almost identical to Kerim Darko from "From Russia with Love" - it is one thing to tip the wink to the original book, quite another to copy characters!

A well-reconstructed blast from the past, I loved it. Whether I think Faulks or anyone else should write any more Bond novels I don't know - but, on the basis of this work, I'd be prepared to give it a shot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Devilled eggs, 20 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Devil May Care (James Bond) (Paperback)
Why is it that when writers (Charlie Higson excepted) get commissioned to continue the megabucks 007 franchise they invariably screw it up? Faulks' homage to Ian Fleming is no exception to this rule. In fact it ranks as one of the worst post-Fleming novels. To begin with, it is less respectful of its source material than it is plain derivative. The villain cheats at sport (Goldfinger), there's something wrong with one of his hands (Dr No), he has an emotionless Asian henchman with a penchant for anachronistic headwear (Goldfinger), Bond kills said henchman after a fight in a train compartment (From Russia With Love), Bond dispatches a guard by dropping on him from above his cell door (Goldfinger anyone?) and on it goes.

Arguably, this could be presented as part and parcel of the homage, but coupled with multiple plot absurdities and some astonishing oversights, that idea has no weight. We are told, for example, that Bond's mouth is badly slashed after crashing a jeep, yet in the next chapter he manages to hide broken glass sharp enough to cut a rope under his tongue. When Bond is captured and returned to his cell, his excuse is that he had gone to find Gorner to tell him someone had escaped. There is no reference to the dead guard he must have left in the cell. Then of course there's the description of Chagrin's agony at Bond's hands on the train, when we have been explicitly told earlier that Chagrin was incapable of feeling pain.

But does Faulks come anywhere near to capturing the essence of Bond as a character? Far from it. His tactic seems to be to try and understand the man through what he eats, which is eggs, eggs and more eggs, as well as what he drinks, copious amounts of liquor wherever he can get his (surely?) shaking hands on it. The reappearance of old friends Mathis and Leiter is another tactic, but they end up being largely superfluous to the plot, Mathis more interested in his affair, and Leiter finding it difficult to negotiate the Persian sands with his prosthetic leg.

It is surprising that Faulks claims to have written the book in six weeks. Most writers would have taken half the time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Devil May Care, 21 Aug 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Devil May Care (James Bond) (Paperback)
I've been a fan of the old Bond films for years, and am just as enthusiastic about the Daniel Craig `reboot', which thematically is much more in keeping with Fleming's novels. This came out around the same time as `Casino Royale' and I've been waiting to read it ever since.

Despite the tacky cover, everything about this is pure Fleming Bond. It's clear that Faulks has had a lot of fun writing this, and it reads like a love letter to everything that makes the franchise what it is: interesting villains, irresistible girls and plenty of action.

Amazingly Faulks stops all this just short of cheesy or cheap. There are some brilliant scenes that feel right out of the early stories: a gentleman's challenge over a tennis game; a girl who Bond can't trust; a big plot to be uncovered and prevented.

The dialogue is great - M is absolutely spot on and you can hear his voice hammering from the page. Bond himself doesn't seem to say and awful lot though, but the narrative is from his point of view and fills in the gaps. He drinks a lot, is never without a cigarette and eats a lot of scrambled eggs. I got a big chunk of Connery in this Bond, with the best bits of Moore without the smarminess, and a dollop of the Craig realism. You can imagine Faulks' Bond as whichever actor you prefer and I think this would work.

There's plenty of attention to detail, with Fleming could really overdo at times, but the pacing is fine and the action isn't overblown. It feels very down to earth and gritty, rather than the slickness of the Moore films which lost some of that charm.

It's a shame that the ending fizzles out a little, but the only real flaw with this is the complimentary interview with Faulks at the end (I don't think all copies have this). Unfortunately it reveals old Sebastian as a pompous elitist who apparently had his arm twisted into writing this kind of trite and unliterary stuff, and boasts at how busy he is whilst putting down Fleming unashamedly - you would think he would have a little more grace.

I don't let this affect my rating however, and if I did the essay on writing thrillers written by Fleming himself would more than make up for the sour taste left in my mouth - a frank insight into the writer's mind.

Great fun and fine fiction, well worth reading if you're even a casual fan of James Bond.

8.5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of `Half Discovered Wings'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More parody than pastiche, Mr Bond, 15 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. I. S. Fairholm "epilepticgibbon" (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As someone who has recently read all of the Fleming Bond novels I feel I have a fairly good grasp of their style and tone. It seems Faulks does too but unfortunately although he may technically be a better writer than Fleming (something which is apparent in the early sections of the book particularly) that doesn't mean he's entirely comfortable with this genre or the type of stories Fleming wrote for Bond. This is all too obvious throughout much of 'Devil May Care'. Fleming's Bond stories were often preposterous and towards the end the author started to copy his older material even to the point of parody. Here Faulks does much the same thing, often painfully aping older Fleming characters or story elements, or intentionally imitating Fleming's decidedly un-PC stance to women and homosexuals. But often what Faulks seems to regard as playful homage feels more like clumsy parody.

The plot is patchy but again that's nothing new for a Bond novel, but this does feel like one of Fleming's later (or less successful) plots. All the classic characters are there and feel about right but it's almost like Faulks is ticking them off a checklist rather than doing them justice.

At least one of the plot twists (about two thirds of the way through) is completely pointless and feels like padding (it covers a couple of chapters). It's inconsistent, makes little sense and serves little purpose to the story. Surely someone as smart as Faulks realised this so is he being purposefully ironic or has he been reduced to writing the equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster - adding pointless set pieces to the plot just because that's what is required.

And the final key twist that is 'revealed' right near the end of the book is extremely predictable. Faulks hammers it home nearly every time a particular character appears so I'm fairly sure it would be obvious to anyone over the age of twelve. This particular twist is also odd given M's knowledge of Bond's character and private life. Overall, a pointless attempt to do something different in a novel that is otherwise rather too safe.

I'll admit that at times I was very impressed and overall I did enjoy reading 'Devil May Care'. It was easy to read, it has some fine moments, and genuinely makes for a welcome addition to the list of Bond novels, but it's inferior to many of the Fleming originals (which it tries and often clumsily fails to be so loyal to) and hardly feels like the landmark event in publishing that it's been heralded as.

I'm currently reading the late John Gardner's 'Licence Renewed' from 1981, the first major attempt to relaunch the Bond book franchise and although it's not standard Fleming fare I have to admit that I'm enjoying it more than 'Devil May Care' which sadly runs close at times to being more parody than pastiche.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Bond may not be back but it's a pretty good repeat, 18 Aug 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Devil May Care (James Bond) (Paperback)
James Bond is physically and psychologically bruised from his previous adventures. His enforced, booze-free sabbatical in the Caribbean and Italy, however, is brought to a sudden conclusion when Great Britain faces an unexpected threat emanating from the poppy fields of the Middle East. A bored Bond gratefully picks up his Walther, pours a bourbon and heads for Paris.

Despite the very modern concern with the threat of recreational drugs, Devil May Care is a period piece firmly rooted in Bond's 1960s heyday. Behind the veneer of mechanized opium production is a typically cold-war threat, which makes interesting uses the hindsight created by the collapse of the iron curtain by employing real, subsequently declassified technological oddities in the plot.

Sebastian Faulks doesn't try to inject anything particularly new into the formula, rather he carefully apes Flemming's style and approach. Indeed, he is writing `as Ian Flemming'. If anything, the mimicry is too faithful; favourite supporting characters like Felix Lighter pop up with unnecessary frequency and Faulks' characterisation of Bond, written so many years after the original, almost falls into parody as he drinks, seduces and fights his way around the world. Even the prose, sticking so closely to the Flemming model, occasionally swerves into outright pastiche.

It's difficult not to think that Faulks felt he had to send up the casual misogyny and brutality of the original novels but in doing so he also loses some of the immediate vitality of them. Nevertheless, he's too good a writer not to find fun in a character like James Bond. For all of its problems, this is a pretty good spy thriller and it's difficult not to warm to a novel in which the main (very effective) action scene of the first half is a game of tennis.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good guy, Faulkes, 4 Aug 2008
By 
Bianca White "bianc93" (Gosport, Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love the Bond books and films. And I admit that I started this book cynically expecting to pull Faulkes' work apart, to be able to spot gaping anachronisms or true evidence that this was written with 40 years' hindsight of the 1960's.

But I must say that SF has largely captured the spirit of the Swinging decade. I was not around then but even espionage all those years ago was so much simpler, the rules so less blurred, the people of a more elegant breed. The Bond films of today, whilst enjoyable, never have that stunning visual feast provided by Fleming, a man who himself did not live beyond 1964. As far as I'm concerned, Fleming leaned down from his heavenly cloud and guided the hand of Faulkes and together they have created a novel worthy of the Bond affiliation.

My one gripe is minor. The Westernised Persia of the 1960's would become, in 1979, the theocracy of Iran. This was no doubt in SF's mind and I don't think he was quite able to prevent little hints of foreboding via short lessons in Persian history and contemporary politics. But then, there isn't a reader of this book who will have read it before 2007/2008 - we are all encumbered with historical hindsight.

Enjoy the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Does It Better ... Than Fleming, 5 July 2009
By 
David "AL" (North Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Devil May Care (James Bond) (Paperback)
"Devil May Care" either made Fleming aficionados leap from their chairs and gleefully skip down to the shops to pick up a copy, or make them sob uncontrollably into their first editions of the 1950s originals. I didn't do either, and this was the first Bond novel I read.

It's worth pointing out that despite what the PR company behind its publication will have you believe, "Devil May Care" is by no means the first James Bond novel since Fleming breathed his last. This misapprehension can't help but degrade the inspired efforts of Raymond Benson and John Gardner, the previous novelists who took on the License to Write Bond Books.

On beginning "Goldfinger" immediately after reading "Devil May Care", I was painted a coherent picture of what both books tried to bring to the table, and not least the differing writing styles from their respective authors. Although Sebastian Faulks attempted to write in the same style as Fleming did, I felt Faulks's style was less laid back and relaxed than the Bond creator's, although the mildly confused plot was faintly Flemingian.

This is definitely not Fleming at work; viewed from that angle, Faulks fails miserably. I felt such lines as "Bond went to the lift" lacked vision and colour, feeling numb, while in a later scene, Bond goes from a cell to an office on opposite sides of the building in less than three sentences. Another flaw is the title itself, bearing no relation whatsoever to the book.

At times, Devil May Care is shabbily written. Faulks has said that he attempted to emulate Ian Fleming's schedule by writing it in six weeks. In actuality, Fleming planned the book with considerable effort before writing the first draft in the allotted six weeks, before undertaking strenuous rewrites.

Despite the rather sharp title of this review, I did find the book enjoyable at least half the time, although the plot stuttered to a holt in places, wherein it was carried mainly by the "Bond girl", Scarlet, rather than Bond, who, strangely, seemed less complex here and his bullying, sexist indifference borders on the mundane.

The nemesis, Julius Gorner, is anti-English to the point of extreme, hating everything the British stand for and is unaccountably obsessed with the English stereotype, whether it is true to false. In this regard, he is almost exactly the same character as Hugo Drax in "Moonraker".

There is a tennis match between Bond and Gorner, which attempts to emulate the golf game in "Goldfinger" (which this reader found incredibly boring at twenty five pages, but then again I don't know anything about golf).

It takes a few chapters to really get into "Devil May Care"; the middle of the book is clearly the best, while the last third seems to struggle as the plot runs out. There's a minor twist in the end, while the final downfall of the villain is not in typical Bond tradition and is similar in tone to the fates of Le Chiffre and Dominic Greene in the film versions of the marvelous Casino Royale and the incredibly disappointing Quantum of Solace.

"Devil May Care" was a good read; not great by any means, and certainly lacking the dry wit and easy-going narrative of the Fleming novels, but it's mostly enjoyable, although I don't think another Bond novel by Faulks will be an exciting prospect.

Interviews with Sebastian Faulks reveal a man who evidently believes James Bond is beneath him; an egotistical "literary" novelist who looks down on Ian Fleming with little more than a narcissistic grimace. For a better taste of what an outstanding James Bond novel is like, check out Ian Fleming's "Goldfinger", and the three-books-in-one bargain "The Union Trilogy" by Raymond Benson. These are stunning works, and leave Sebastian Faulks out in the cold.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Devil May Care (James Bond)
Devil May Care (James Bond) by Sebastian Faulks (Paperback - 28 May 2009)
£6.39
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews