Top critical review
on 24 July 2014
Role of Honour sees Bond training as a computer programmer. No really it does. The story is basically farcical from the off. Bond has been left a substantial amount of money by a dead Australian uncle with the proviso that in true Brewster’s Millions style he spends a lot of it in the first X months. This spending does not go unnoticed by his superiors who suspect he has gone off the rails. This is used to MI6’s advantage as they want to use Bond as a dangle to infiltrate rival intelligence services who may want to hire the supposedly disgraced secret agent.
Bond meets the widow of a supposedly dead computer programmer guru called Jay Autem Holy who has faked his own death and now makes a mint writing training programs for terrorists and foreign secret services. SPECTRE are involved and a plot emerges to wipe out the nuclear arsenal of the US and Russia and therefore destabilise the world.
The computer technology, while maybe cutting edge when the book was written, now seems overly clunky and seemingly lengthy descriptions of how stuff works makes this a boring read at times. At other times Bond is as usual falling for any bit of fluff that happens to be around – it seems he will never learn his lesson when it comes to women.
The sighting of the General Zwingli who also faked his death in the plane crash with Holy, in a casino may have seemed like a good way of introducing the character, but is too much of a coincidence to stomach. The coincidence is never explained and in fact Zwingli seems superfluous in the story which already has its main maniac bad guy in the form of Holy and also the successor to Blofeld in the form of the new SPECTRE boss Tamil Rahani.
The relationship that starts at the top of the tale fizzles out in the last pages of the book – which will dispense with the usual need to explain away the non-appearance of the previous Bond girl in the next book.