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5.0 out of 5 stars James Bond
I did not own a complete set of the John Gardner Bond books. All the titles are not available in the US, so a matched set from the UK was just what I needed.
Published 21 months ago by Paul Niedernhofer

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ice Spy
After the solid Licence Renewed and the cracking For Special Services proved bestsellers, an emboldened Gardner took a risk: he ditched the 'secret agent chases super villain across exotic locations' formula for a twisty spy whodunnit set largely in one location (Finland). Does it work? Honestly no, but it's a brave misfire and a surprisingly fun read.

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Published on 27 Jun 2011 by Amon Avis


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ice Spy, 27 Jun 2011
This review is from: Icebreaker (Hardcover)
After the solid Licence Renewed and the cracking For Special Services proved bestsellers, an emboldened Gardner took a risk: he ditched the 'secret agent chases super villain across exotic locations' formula for a twisty spy whodunnit set largely in one location (Finland). Does it work? Honestly no, but it's a brave misfire and a surprisingly fun read.

Score: 6/10. After a 'pre-credits' chapter with terrorists on a dry run in Libya, we find 007 looking up an old flame while away on winter training. Called back to London in barely one piece, he discovers his latest mission has already begun. It's pretty clear M's only telling him half the story: namely, that Bond provide the British contingent for a joint MI6, CIA, Mossad & KGB(!) operation against an army of neo-Nazi terrorists on the Finland/Russia border. No one can trust anyone and the mission starts to go badly wrong- elements that recur throughout Gardner's subsequent novels.

It was Gardner's favourite of his early Bonds: a neat idea that could have come off in the hands of Deighton, LeCarre or one of Gardner's own non-Bond thrillers. And that's the problem. Slow burn duplicitous spy stories need a gradual playout and a murky anti-hero to keep you guessing, teasing out the tragedy. Bond books (even more layered novels like From Russia With Love, say) thrive on mercilessly linear plotting and breakneck speed. 007 is a secret agent, a "blunt instrument", an outright hero: here he's redundant, a victim of everyone else's machinations.

To be fair, the various national agents are memorably characterised and there's plenty of fun guessing who's on whose side- a trademark in Gardner's 007 books. Bond himself is still the tougher, smoking and drinking, early 'Gardner version' (more like Fleming's man than we get later) and his best independent effort leads to the great snow plough set piece and the Saab's finest hour. He's still on the quest for the perfect sidearm (opting here for the neat H&K P7), the Arctic setting is compelling and the torture scene is painfully vivid.

Otherwise he gets nothing to do! 007 watches loyalties shift, confederates plot, enemies dine (honestly) and gets rescued when he falls for scheme after scheme. The "Speedline" chapter is an opportunity missed to get 007 skiing again. For a hardcore drinking game, try having a swig every time Bond checks into a hotel or taps a phone: I lost count. The biggest problem is the last 3rd: the villain and his well worn (even by 1983) scheme barely feature and the ending's a drawn out charade of double and triple agents. For once, Bond's presence really makes no difference.

While the flawed/circular plot and sporadic action mean that this is not a great Bond novel, it's an oddly compelling diversion thanks to the whodunnit at its heart and above average prose. Gardner's enjoying himself, so we do: producing a book that meets Fleming's criterion of passing the time in a plane, train or hotel bar. The next book played it more traditionally with much better results: Role of Honour (James Bond).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best of the Gardner James Bond books., 13 Oct 2012
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M. Crossman (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Icebreaker (James Bond 3) (Paperback)
But still entertaining enough.
Gardner clearly felt at this time that he was ready to make Bond his own. Consequently James Bond is absent for large parts of the book.
There are twists and turns as the CIA, KGB and Bond are all after the same thing and the whole plot gets tangled up but neatly untangled at the end.
A lovely re-issue by Orion books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle, 7 Mar 2013
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Bw Empson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Icebreaker (Kindle Edition)
Great read. Sent to kindle with no problem. east transaction, and with a registered account, a simple payment. many thanks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars James Bond, 29 Jan 2013
By 
Paul Niedernhofer (Springfield, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Icebreaker (James Bond 3) (Paperback)
I did not own a complete set of the John Gardner Bond books. All the titles are not available in the US, so a matched set from the UK was just what I needed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 16 Dec 2012
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David Flynn (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Icebreaker (Kindle Edition)
This is a gripping yarn, one you can't put down. However, I feel John Gardner uses too much description of rooms, clothing etc.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mix of cinematic, Flemingesque, confusing and bitty plot, 1 Nov 2012
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Icebreaker (James Bond 3) (Paperback)
John Gardner's third outing as Bond author brings us a novel that has a slightly more cinematic feel to it, in which Bond is invited to join with counterparts from foreign powers to counter a neo-nazi terrorist group.

While the plot does feel like a Roger Moore movie, there are moments, particularly at the beginning, where Gardner seems to start trying to emulate some of Ian Fleming's writing style. I'm not sure whether this comes across successfully or feels more like a parody.

For the most part the plot is plausible and the sequences in the snowy outdoors feel well written. It seems clear that the author knows here exactly what he's talking about. However there are other aspects, particularly regarding many of the guest characters, which (without spoilers) over-complicate things and make the book feel like it is taking the mickey out of the spy genre.

In many places I found the book hard going, my eyes would glaze over and my mind wander, and I would have to go back a page or two to find out what was going on. I'm afraid I still haven't found Gardner's writing up to the standard that I loved in Fleming's books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best of the Gardner Bond books, 28 July 2012
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JM Baxter (Oxford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Icebreaker (James Bond 3) (Paperback)
For me, this is probably the best of John Gardner's Bond novels. There's a few double and even triple crosses too many though, but I guess this is par for the course in spy stories.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ice Ice Baby, 4 May 2009
This review is from: Icebreaker (Hardcover)
Often billed as the strongest in John Gardner's series of official James Bond novels, Icebreaker is the third by Gardner, and has all the series' usual elements - fast cars, gorgeous women, criminal masterminds - plus Bond's allies, the crusty 'M' and the delectable Miss Moneypenny.

This time around, Bond is the target of a nefarious organisation that want his head - literally - and the story is full of twists and turns; deception and deceit. A decent read but somewhat lacking in originality; if you're looking for a way into the series try Sebastian Faulkes' awesome 2008 Bond novel 'Devil May Care' first.
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Icebreaker (James Bond 3)
Icebreaker (James Bond 3) by John Gardner (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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