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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which Benson Bond Book Should I Read First?
ZERO MINUS TEN is Benson's first Bond novel and it's quite good. I particularly enjoyed the lengthy description of the Mahjong game, Bond's ordeal in the Australian outback, and that fact that his villain is kind of a drunk. Having read and re-read all the Fleming and Gardner Bond books, and I can tell you Benson really knows his Bond! But if you're looking to just sample...
Published on 2 Jun 2001 by John Cox

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You had to be there...
I was lucky enough to be reading this as the Hong Kong handover to the Chinese was taking place, and that made it quite special. However, after reading it again, it is a very average, dare I say confused, James Bond story. I can't make up my mind as to whether Benson wishes to re-create the literary Bond, or the cinematic Bond, because they are similar but very...
Published on 6 Jun 1999


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which Benson Bond Book Should I Read First?, 2 Jun 2001
By 
John Cox (Studio City, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
ZERO MINUS TEN is Benson's first Bond novel and it's quite good. I particularly enjoyed the lengthy description of the Mahjong game, Bond's ordeal in the Australian outback, and that fact that his villain is kind of a drunk. Having read and re-read all the Fleming and Gardner Bond books, and I can tell you Benson really knows his Bond! But if you're looking to just sample a Benson/Bond, I recommend you leap right to his latest book, NEVER DREAM OF DYING, which is his best so far. Then, if you get hooked, read the first two books of his "Union Trilogy," HIGH TIME TO KILL and DOUBLESHOT which are both excellent (NDOD is the concluding chapter of that trilogy, but it's not critical to read the books in order -- unless you want to). Then come back and read ZERO MINUS TEN and THE FACTS OF DEATH which are equally good. Benson has also written novelizations of two Bond films, TOMORROW NEVER DIES and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, but I think his original work is far superior. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You had to be there..., 6 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
I was lucky enough to be reading this as the Hong Kong handover to the Chinese was taking place, and that made it quite special. However, after reading it again, it is a very average, dare I say confused, James Bond story. I can't make up my mind as to whether Benson wishes to re-create the literary Bond, or the cinematic Bond, because they are similar but very different characters. Benson captures the latter fairly well, giving the reader the expectations at every turn that Bond will get into trouble, get out of it, get the girl and get away with it. He doesn't let you down. Not so convinced about the Hong Kong setting - some of the research was not up to scratch. Looking forward to the new story in Gibraltar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book promised so much and delivered so little., 3 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
I have read most of the Bond novels available and after the first couple of chapters thought this was going to be special but it just started losing its way. A prime example is the two chapter(at least thats what it felt like) discription of a mahjong game. A poor substitute for Gardner never mind Fleming.AVOID!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOND BACK AT HIS ROOTS, 2 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
In a style of 007 story telling that finally allows Ian Fleming to rest in peace, Raymond Benson brings James Bond back to basics. The womanizing, smoking, drinking, and gambling secret agent that was born in the 50's and was altered terribly by Benson's predecessor, John Gardner. Bond's gun is back, the Double-0 section, and Q. Zero Minus Ten brings back the old Bond with a rebirth of modern times. Though some disagree with Benson adding a touch of the cinematic Bond, I believe mixing is a nice touch as long as the literary Bond is the larger amount. One of the most interesting aspect of this novel was the fact that the situation of Hong Kong's return to China in July of 1997 was an actual occurrence, with an interesting twist of fiction thrown in. The girl in this outing is one of the most interesting in Bond history and 007 seems like a real person unlike his cinematic counterpart and Gardner's characterization of him. Definitely an excellent read for anyone Bond fan or not. After a mediocre 14 novels by John Gardner, Raymond Benson gives us a well written and researched 007 yarn that's a page turner because he, unlike Gardner, is himself a Bond fan and knows what's good. His following novels are no exception.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Benson's onto a winner., 18 Oct 2005
By 
mclose (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
Anyone who's ever seen a James Bond movie may think they know what to expect from this book: guns, cars, gambling, exotic women and a predictable plot. Well, the literary Bond usually suffers a bit more hardship then his silver screen counterpart, and it shows here.
The plot is vaguely similar to that of some of the more recent Bond films. Three events, all in different locations around the globe: a nuclear bomb explosion in Australia; the murders of two policemen investigating a cargo in Portsmouth, England, and in Hong Kong, a floating restaurant blown up, killing the entire board of a shipping corporation.
With Hong Kong 10 days away from becoming part of China, this is where James Bond is sent to discover how these events are connected. Along the way he will meet some entertaining and diverse characters, and eventually meet an adversary hell-bent on destruction.
Hong Kong is an inspired choice for the setting of the book. It not only allows for a mix of exoticness and seediness intertwined with Chinese culture to be present, but also is central to the plot, but that only becomes apparent toward the end.
The setting also brings together the diverse mix of characters: a drunken Brit whose business empire is collapsing around him; a triad leader running underworld dealings through large corporations, a sadistic Chinese general with a penchant for money and torture and, of course, a woman with a ridiculous name (Sunni Pei) who is an exotic dancer.
I think the two main themes in the book are violence and revenge. There is a lot of violence throughout the book, and revenge is integral to the plot, just like the setting.
I think the strong points of the book include the location of the story, the way Benson drives the plot through twists and turns until the villain is eventually unmasked, and the way the story reflect everything we expect of Bond. My only fault with the book is the inclusion of the Mah-jong game. Whilst it fits the story, it can be confusing to follow, but that's just my opinion.
Although nobody will ever do a better job of chronicling the literary Bond's adventures than Ian Fleming, Benson's first outing is a worthwhile effort that all Bond fans should try.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the Benson series, 27 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
After John Gardner finally gave up the ghost of his Bond series, I begun this book with some apprehensions about its quality. But, however, I was impressed from the beginning and all the way through. The plot was original and imaginative and the characters were all three dimentional and exciting. Bond's alliance with the leader of the Chinese Triad is quite like the Zukovsky-Bond relationship in Goldeneye too. After reading this I was hooked on Raymond Benson novels and have read them all.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent continuation of Ian Fleming's legacy !, 9 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
Raymond Benson has admirably suceeded in following in Ian Fleming's footsteps. The Bond of this novel is completely credible and the story is superb. Give it a try !
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good Bond book, 8 Jan 2003
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
The normal storyline of any Bond book, Gadgets, girls, and of course, terrorism across the world that Bond resolves in his own way, usually by blowing stuff up. A typical Bond book, buts thats not neccaserilly a bad thing, is it?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and highly entertaining!, 4 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
It's great to have the old Bond back! Raymond Benson has successfully captured the essence of Ian Fleming's world. While reading, I could feel Fleming's approval and thoroughly enjoyed the yarn. The only drawback was, I thought Mr. Benson could have been a bit more accurate in his description of Perth and Kalgoorlie.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pastiche!, 30 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) (Paperback)
I had my doubts that an American could follow in Ian Fleming's footsteps (never mind John Gardner)... but Benson has done it. "Zero Minus Ten" is the best James Bond novel since "Colonel Sun" by Kingsley Amis. Benson captures Fleming's brooding Bond quite well, and the book has an excellent, timely plot. Bravo!
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Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007)
Zero Minus Ten (James Bond 007) by Raymond Benson (Paperback - 5 Mar 1998)
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