Top critical review
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Bond - basic, bitter and brutal.
on 13 February 2007
The first Bond book will come as something of a shock if you have only watched the films. None of the film 'basics' are to be found - no Moneypenny, no Q, brief reference to a male 'M', and nothing by the way of gadgets. This is a new 00 and although he's a sophisticated, intelligent gambler he's new to the spy racket and somewhat uncertain. This makes a change from the buffoon as played by Moore for example, and is much closer to the Connery version. (Craig plays him as a thug, which he certainly isn't in this book.)
There are several shocking moments - when you realise that Bond has a scar down the right hand side of his face, his 70+ a day cigarette habit and a quite shocking reference to 'the sweet tang of rape'. This really is NOT the Bond we think we know - he's far harsher, more cruel and his dislike, even hatred of women, comes out very clearly.
This is Bond at his most basic, bitter and brutal, yet still compelling. The storyline is actually very dull, and the book is short, to be read in a couple of hours maximum. The secondary characters are quite poor, and if this was a 'one off' title it would have sunk without a trace. However, as an introduction to the whole Bond saga it is worth reading. If you have anything more than a passing interest in Bond, this should be right at the top of the list of books to read, but beware - you're in for some shocks, and not all of them nice ones.