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Showing 1-10 of 48 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on 24 July 2011
Sebastian Faulks's DEVIL MAY CARE in 2008 read, a tad ploddingly, like a "hommage" to Ian Fleming. Jeffrey Deaver's new contribution to the Bond canon reads, some of the time, more like a spoof. There are short but over-elaborate descriptions of organizations, brands, clothes. There are some ludicrous character names (Ophelia Maidenstone. Felicity Willing!) An air-hostess whom our hero doesn't get his leg over (why not?) has hair "as blue-black as crow feathers". Felicity (whom 007 does get his leg over) has eyes "like late summer leaves caught in the sun".

Rather boldly, Deaver has taken 'carte blanche' to reinvent a younger Bond, like the Daniel Craig onscreen Bond. He is desribed as being in his thirties (as is Moneypenny), although Bill Tanner at HQ is 50-something and M ('the Admiral') ancient and gruff as ever. Deaver relocates the skiing accident that killed James's parents to the 1990s.

CARTE BLANCHE has a distinctly 21st-century plot, with a villain whose cover is a global business in waste disposal and recycling. Felicity, in Capetown, is a major presence in famine relief. Severan Hydt, the bad guy, is a closet necrophile (not an area Ian Fleming would have ventured into), but the crime Bond has to thwart is on a less epic scale than we are used to from SPECTRE and the screenwriters. Echoes of Dr No: creepy but reined-in. This is a somewhat low-octane spy thriller, which gets off to a slow start and only picks up when the operation moves to South Africa. There are nasty glimpses of refuse-crunching machines which bring to mind Indiana Jones rather than 007.

Deaver does capture the elegance of Fleming's style (as did Faulks) and makes Bond a thoughtful, even sensitive human rather than a spruced-up super-hero. It's rumoured that Jeffery may be digging in for a longer haul as Bond-master, so we must hope that 007's next mission brings him up against a worthier, Blofeld-sized super-baddie.

[Reviewer is the author of SHAIKH-DOWN]
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on 3 September 2012

Review by Glover Wright

If you're looking for vintage James Bond of the Ian Fleming era this is not for you. However, if you want your Bond thoroughly shaken-up and most definitely stirred then Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver is very much your next, thrilling, read. The twist in the tail disappoints but only because Deaver's masterly build-up of the flesh-crawling villain Severan Hydt was so full of foreboding and so vital to the whole suspense-filled plot, that to lose him - peremptorily I thought - took away the edge of expectation for the ultimate, surely had-to-be, horrifying denouement. One expected Hydt's villainous demise to be far more original than it turns out to be (others in the book meet far worse, less-deserved ends) leaving you with the strangely let-down feeling of his not being as terrible as he was built-up to be. James Bond though, in Deaver's hands, is everything in this modern concept you expect him to be: cold, ruthless and without mercy when it comes to his duty. In other words, Ian Fleming's hero to a tee. There was though an unexpected sensitivity in Deaver's Bond's dealings with women - at one point it seems he might even be falling in love with the deliciously-described and provocatively-named Ophelia Maidenstone. Does Bond have his Carte Blanche way with her? Read Jeffrey Deaver's excellent novel and discover!
[...] [...] Glover Wright on Kindle
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on 19 February 2014
This book ticks all the boxes. Plot twists. Action. Love interest. Politics. Travel documentary. Etc. Deaver has gone to a lot of trouble to create an authentic James Bond thriller which is up to the minute. If I had to pick fault it would be that it was slightly too much 'on message' and a bit lacking in originality. I enjoyed it very much, as will many Bond fans.
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on 21 August 2012
As I'm a big fan of the original Bond books, I was unsure but keen to see what Britain's favourite spy had been up to. At times this read like an episode of Spooks, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing (mostly).

It was a great summer holiday read, although the constant and continued repetition of key phrases was irritating and felt like the author assumed I had an issue with my short-term memory. Also there were too many references to current events. We get it, it's in the present.
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on 13 November 2015
An easy reading addition to the Bond franchise. Adds some introspection about his relationships with women bringing some slightly better behaviour - but not too restrained. Also some new (?) ideas about Bond's family history - nice but irrelevant to the plot. Spy gadgets and tradecraft nicely updated to this century.

Plenty of action, quite well described, but no more credible or consistent than other Bond plots. There are several occasions where Bond outwits the villain and the reader is misled along with the bad guys. Personally I think this was one or two times too many, but it may not bother others.

Good value as a Kindle when I bought it.
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on 12 September 2013
I have enjoyed this book and it kept me wanting to know what happens next. A little slow in places though, that's why I have only given it 4 stars. A cracking exciting finale though with a good twist.
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on 21 September 2011
Not having read a James Bond book before I approached this new one without making comparisons from the previous Bond writer. All in all I enjoyed the character of Bond, the plot and was happy with the ending. I have become a recent fan of Stephen Leather - Dan Shepherd series (which by the way everyone should try!) and couldn't help compare certain aspects of the story with that of Leathers - for example the shooting scene where he has to take a life to show loyalty...seen this already in one of the leather books. I wondered who was copying who in many aspects of the book. But well worth a read I wasn't disappointed but do prefer Dan Shepherd!
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on 19 August 2011
"up-dated" would be the key word in summarising this James Bond. It is an Interesting play with the Bond formula but ultimately leaves you thinking this is not really a Bond novel. It strays too far from some important conventions of a Bond set up.
I get it that the formula needs to be up-dated to gain credibility by operating with an eye on how the world is now and thus leaving behind certain notions (notably Mr Bond now seems to operate with the local police dept when overseas and fall under their rules in a way that the Old Bond never even acknowledges.) but this break from the framework of how-a-Bond-Novel-works (i.e. free to get the job done how he sees fit and answerable only to M) is crucial in why this falls short of being a "Bond novel".

It is still tremendously good fun though and many of the boxes are definitely ticked. Cool gadgets (though this is only in the form of his many "apps") glamorous women, action , chases and Jeffery Deaver works a nice level of suspense into the set pieces, it's actually nicely unpredictable . or though the ending feels distinctly like an additional part screwed on.
I think if it falls flat anywhere is in areas like the villains set-up. or though characteristically both principal villains are threatening and well written, but The idea of being a "disposal tycoon" never quite scans and was an on-going problem throughout the book for me

Pay no attention to the reviewers who say this is not exciting stuff , or suggest it's not well written, it certainly is throughout, and on both counts; or though it has an ending that feels distinctly like a meeting was held by the writer and editor with an agenda called "clever-cloggs endings "? but the issue is it's based just a little too far from certain bond conventions to belong in that family anymore
Sebastian Faulks Devil May Care was a better Bond Book because it was true to Fleming (to an almost pastiche level) though it was largely forgettable but it was the sense you were firmly back on Fleming territory that gravitated it to a certain high regard. This is exciting stuff and good fun but if you substituted Bonds name for another throughout the book few readers would recognize this as being clearly and obviously part of a Bond franchise.
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on 12 June 2012
Must admit after finishing this book I was slightly underwhelmed with the ending. Saying that it had kept me gripped throughout the novel and flowed easily from page to page developing the characters in a typical Deaver manner and having his trademark twist at the end.

After reading many Deaver books, this was my first Bond novel and he seems to have captured a sense of mystery and complexity of the bond image which has left me now wanting to read the original Ian Fleming stories to complete the picture.

Overall a very worth while and enjoyable read.
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on 26 August 2011
Deaver is better than the other Bond continuation writers at capturing a good facsimile of Bond's character, but updated to the modern era. This is a good book, although there are some issues with the pacing and at least one too many ending. Indeed, probably there's a whole sub-plot that could have been lost, as could one of the female characters. The action is exemplary, the settings novel (for Bond) and the psychology of the main villain is right up there with Goldfinger or Dr No. Overall, a good read and I hope Deaver does another.
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