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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Devil
An essential for Bond fans, by a Bond fan. Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) was a British writer of darkly comic novels (Lucky Jim, The Old Devils), essays on jazz & drinking, and what he called genre fiction (eg sci-fi, spy thrillers) both as writer and critic. A Bond book fan when it wasn't fashionable for 'literary types' to be, he met Fleming, liked him and was invited to...
Published 21 months ago by Amon Avis

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not too bad another one that's a quick read save the world, kill the baddies and get the girl well sort of
Published 13 months ago by weatherwax


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Devil, 23 Nov 2012
An essential for Bond fans, by a Bond fan. Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) was a British writer of darkly comic novels (Lucky Jim, The Old Devils), essays on jazz & drinking, and what he called genre fiction (eg sci-fi, spy thrillers) both as writer and critic. A Bond book fan when it wasn't fashionable for 'literary types' to be, he met Fleming, liked him and was invited to write a light hearted but thorough literary appraisal of the canon: The James Bond Dossier (1965) and a tongue in cheek companion piece, The Book of Bond or Every Man His Own 007 by "Lt.Col Bill Tanner"!

When Fleming died, it was natural that Amis was asked to ghost edit the complete but rough manuscript of The Man with the Golden Gun (1965) and then write its follow up, Colonel Sun (1968). [The gap was bridged by the final collection of short stories Octopussy (1966) and an attempted children's spin off, The Adventures of James Bond Junior: Double-O Three and a Half by "RD Mascott" (1967)- weird but surprisingly good!].

Score: 9/10. It's autumn 1965, six months after 007's duel with Scaramanga, and a recently healed Bond is worried he's in a rut. Then a casual visit to the home of his convalescing chief ends with a drugged Bond running for his life and M kidnapped. With the only clue an obvious trap, 007 has no choice but to head for Athens and an assignation with Ariadne: a beautiful communist agent working for Russia. However as the gunfire and double crosses begin beneath the Acropolis, a sadistic Chinese spymaster waits on an obscure Greek island plotting the downfall of both sides.

I'll admit frankly that it's one of my favourite Bond novels by anyone, perfectly judging tone and content. Whereas Faulks' Devil May Care (2008) was the work of a great writer first and a fan second, Amis has no loftier ambitions than keeping you immersed and enthralled. All the ingredients are here: golf at Sunningdale, roast beef and rose at Scott's, Quarterdeck (last seen in OHMSS), high life in luxury hotels, violent death in alleyways.

We have 360 degree characterisation of a beautiful, fascinating love interest in Ariadne; a tough ally in Litsas, sailor and onetime freedom fighter; and as well studied and vicious a villain in Sun as Fleming ever created (the torture scene is terrifying). Even minor henchman and allies are memorable. Bond's world is unchanged: section chiefs at home, station chiefs abroad, Q branch's gadgets ingenious (but not a get-out-of-jail-free) and above all the sardonic, stalwart staff. The latter are exemplified by Bill Tanner who gets a big part here, while M's kidnap is genuinely disturbing.

It's not a pastiche and I know some fans miss the 'Fleming sweep'- that uncanny narrative drive that held together the most incongruous scenes, and made the most wildly improbable plotting seem plausible. The plot's less outrageous and the writing's less eccentric, but we get the dry tone of old plus vivid and compelling prose (it's probably the best written Bond ever) and a noirish story reminiscent of Casino Royale, From Russia with Love & Dr No. As for the 'strong sensations' Fleming insisted on, the set pieces are less bizarre/ quirky, but the sex and violence are grittier than ever. A great shame the continuations were put on hiatus (until John Gardner's Licence Renewed (James Bond 1), 1981) as this is a class act.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rising Sun, 23 April 2009
By 
D. A. MCINTEE "Lonemagpie" (In the Field) - See all my reviews
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Robert Markham was actually Kingsley Amis, of course. A good attempt at Fleming, by someone who knew him well, and more importantly (Sebastian Faulks take note) someone who understood that the whole Bond Phenomenon was as much a wind-up as anything else. It's as good as a decent Fleming book, better than TMWTGG. It does have some weird 1960s sensibilities in it though - a reference to a cigarette having "life-giving smoke", and the suggestion that a dislike for tobacco is a sign of Psychosis! But then, the series is meant to be dryly funny, after all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Jimmy Bond, 27 July 2008
By 
Mr. S. J. Wade "thebardofb6" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A very polished continuation of the James Bond series, which is better than the worst of Fleming's offerings, but does not quite live up to the best. In some ways it is rather too good and lacks the cheesy charm of the real stuff, which is absolutely essential for the full Bond experience. Amis lacks that vague homo-erotic admiration of his hero, that is always apparent when Fleming describes James Bond between action sequences. Amis's aphorisms and humour (there is one very good joke) are rather too good, as well. The girl is rather too psychologically complicated for a Bond girl. But the main villain is very good - the torture scene excellent. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best of the 'continuation' Bond novels, 13 July 2012
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J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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Colonel Sun is the first James Bond novel written by someone other than Ian Fleming, and Kingsley Amis, writing under the pseudonym of Robert Markham, does a good job of it, though it is noticeably different.

The character of Bond is almost spot on. He's highly opinionated, has the right manner and knows the right things, but has taken up quite a lot more introspection.

The plot, which involves Bond's attempts to rescue a kidnapped M, is well constructed, and much more complex than any that Fleming composed. The guest characters are richly described and more realistic and deep than some of Bond's earlier adversaries. The violence is real and just as graphic as Fleming could have described.

This is probably the best of all the 'continuation' Bond novels, and I'm surprised there weren't more written in a similar vein. Once you've read the originals then this is defiantly a must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as Ian Fleming, 10 July 2010
There have been many poor imitators who wrote various James Bond books after Fleming. The only one who did a good job was Kingsley Amis (writing this book under the name of Robert Markham). He ought to know his stuff, having written "The James Bond Dossier" and probably most of "The Man With The Golden Gun".
"Colonel Sun" is comparable to Fleming's books and probably better than some of his. It has an original story except that Colonel Sun has elements of Dr No and perhaps Le Chiffre and his carpet beater. There is probably more sadism and bloodshed in this book than in most of the other Bond books. Still, if you like the original Bond books you should like this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 28 Oct 2013
For any James Bond book fan, this is a must read.

I only discovered this book after reading about it in the Sunday Times, but it is definitely a hidden gem.

007 goes on a mission to Greece to stop the evil Colonel Sun after M is kidnapped. A thrilling adventure that will have you gripped to the end.

Definitely recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 27 July 2013
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Not too bad another one that's a quick read save the world, kill the baddies and get the girl well sort of
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best Bond not written by Fleming, 17 Mar 2013
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Anyone looking for Bond beyond the Fleming books start here. The best of the non Fleming Bonds (and I have read all the Gardner / Benson Bonds as well as Devil May Care by Faulks and Carte Blanche by Deaver), although all the Charlie Higson Young Bond novels are excellent.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad...., 5 Nov 2012
A bit soft in terms of plot, but an enjoyable read despite that, with some nice little twists towards the end. Good holiday material!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fair., 28 July 2014
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A good read but Kingsley was no Fleming or even Benson. Enjoy it for what it is,a good attempt but only a silver star.
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Colonel Sun (James Bond)
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