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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Claws and Effect
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...
Published on 15 Aug. 2011 by Amon Avis

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be about any spy
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...
Published 15 months ago by Jim J-R


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Claws and Effect, 15 Aug. 2011
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. Scorpius is effectively built up but when he appears he's no Dr No, hiding on yet another exclusive island (Gardner's 3rd in a row!). M's a real pain: no longer Fleming's stern but debonair old-school admiral type, but a rather snide crotchety old snob. Once again Bond doesn't smoke and drinks only a little table wine. Worse, the really promising heroine (bright, tough, sexy) isn't in it nearly enough.

Moreover, the traditional showdown abroad with the villain is a mess. The setting is pleasingly bizarre and the threat sufficiently vast and plausible; but both Scorpius and novel lose the plot as the former fails to decide what he wants to achieve, arranges a wedding for no reason and claims all Gardner's loose plot threads as deliberate red herrings! Despite great stuff like the deadly marsh, the safe house raid and the 'real time' news coverage of the suicide assassinations (frighteningly prescient 20 years on), it's probably a couple of drafts away from being a classic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sting in the tale (oh c'mon it was obvious wasn't it?!), 14 May 2009
Back cover blurb:
'A young girl's body is fished out of the Thames. Very sad but not so extraordinary. That is, not until Special Branch discover two unusual items. The only telephone number in the late Emma Dupre's diary was Bond's; also a new kind of credit card. Apparently legitimate but unknown.
Emma, well-connected, ex-junkie, had also been involved with a new religious sect - The Society of the Meek Ones led by the charismatic Father Valentine. The society upholds traditional moral values and is harmless. Or is it? Why does Father Valentine have links with Vladimir Scorpius, the vanished international arms dealer?
James Bond is called in to unravel the threads with the help of the beautiful Harriet Horner, in a labyrinthine tale which brings him face to face with the most sadistic and evil opponent of his career.

Scorpio, first published in 1988, is one of John Gardner's better James Bond novels. The elusive Father Valentine makes a worthy adversary for our hero, and all the classic Ian Fleming traits are intact for the world's most famous spy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could be about any spy, 8 Dec. 2013
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scorpius (James Bond) (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Bond is back, 12 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Scorpius (James Bond) (Paperback)
We have heard the sentence before. Bond is back. Well, he is. John Gardner actually beat Ian Fleming in the end. He wrote more Bond stories than Fleming. Naturally he can never take credit for having invented the character, but nevertheless he wrote a series of great stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Scorpius (James Bond) (Paperback)
These series of Bond books aren't generally popular, but I love this book and so far the series in general. It's based in the 80's so is kind of a Roger Moore style Bond and I love it.
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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: Scorpius (James Bond) (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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have got 4 stars..., 13 Oct. 2012
By 
M. Crossman (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scorpius (James Bond) (Paperback)
If Mr Gardner would not have written that James Bond was wearing nylon socks!
Oh the sacrilege!
Other than that little faux par this standard James Bond fare from Gardner with a standard cardboard cut out villain in Scorpius trying to assassinate all the leaders of the Western World in the hope that the stock market could crash.
Still, it's fast paced and it is James Bond after all.
Again, a wonderful re-issue from Orion books with classy covers that match up to the rest in the series.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANDREW VIEW, 10 Aug. 2013
By 
Andrew C. Fraser (KENT ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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A GREAT STORY,THE OUTCOME IS ALWAYS GRISLY WHN A BLOFELD IS INVOLVD,I THINK ALL BOND FANS WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Win, Lose or Die (Paperback)
Excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Nov. 2014
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Very Good
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Scorpius (James Bond)
Scorpius (James Bond) by John Gardner (Paperback - 2 Aug. 2012)
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