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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond on form
I've always been a James Bond nut and Fleming's original novels are the books I've read multiple times.I do read some books over and over but Fleming certainly more than most. I liked John Gardner's run of James Bond novels but when Raymond Benson took over I had stopped reading Bond, so I was keen to discover these books years later. Benson's Bond is as good as Gardner's...
Published on 8 Dec 2012 by G. M. Dobbs

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You had to be there...
I was lucky enough to be reading this as the Hong Kong handover to the Chinese was taking place, and that made it quite special. However, after reading it again, it is a very average, dare I say confused, James Bond story. I can't make up my mind as to whether Benson wishes to re-create the literary Bond, or the cinematic Bond, because they are similar but very...
Published on 6 Jun 1999


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond on form, 8 Dec 2012
By 
G. M. Dobbs "gmdobbs" (wales, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I've always been a James Bond nut and Fleming's original novels are the books I've read multiple times.I do read some books over and over but Fleming certainly more than most. I liked John Gardner's run of James Bond novels but when Raymond Benson took over I had stopped reading Bond, so I was keen to discover these books years later. Benson's Bond is as good as Gardner's Bond, though perhaps not quite as richly drawn.The story though, set around the British hand over of Hong Kong is pure Bond and I really enjoyed the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which Benson Bond Book Should I Read First?, 2 Jun 2001
By 
John Cox (Studio City, CA) - See all my reviews
ZERO MINUS TEN is Benson's first Bond novel and it's quite good. I particularly enjoyed the lengthy description of the Mahjong game, Bond's ordeal in the Australian outback, and that fact that his villain is kind of a drunk. Having read and re-read all the Fleming and Gardner Bond books, and I can tell you Benson really knows his Bond! But if you're looking to just sample a Benson/Bond, I recommend you leap right to his latest book, NEVER DREAM OF DYING, which is his best so far. Then, if you get hooked, read the first two books of his "Union Trilogy," HIGH TIME TO KILL and DOUBLESHOT which are both excellent (NDOD is the concluding chapter of that trilogy, but it's not critical to read the books in order -- unless you want to). Then come back and read ZERO MINUS TEN and THE FACTS OF DEATH which are equally good. Benson has also written novelizations of two Bond films, TOMORROW NEVER DIES and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, but I think his original work is far superior. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You had to be there..., 6 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I was lucky enough to be reading this as the Hong Kong handover to the Chinese was taking place, and that made it quite special. However, after reading it again, it is a very average, dare I say confused, James Bond story. I can't make up my mind as to whether Benson wishes to re-create the literary Bond, or the cinematic Bond, because they are similar but very different characters. Benson captures the latter fairly well, giving the reader the expectations at every turn that Bond will get into trouble, get out of it, get the girl and get away with it. He doesn't let you down. Not so convinced about the Hong Kong setting - some of the research was not up to scratch. Looking forward to the new story in Gibraltar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book promised so much and delivered so little., 3 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I have read most of the Bond novels available and after the first couple of chapters thought this was going to be special but it just started losing its way. A prime example is the two chapter(at least thats what it felt like) discription of a mahjong game. A poor substitute for Gardner never mind Fleming.AVOID!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOND BACK AT HIS ROOTS, 2 April 2000
By A Customer
In a style of 007 story telling that finally allows Ian Fleming to rest in peace, Raymond Benson brings James Bond back to basics. The womanizing, smoking, drinking, and gambling secret agent that was born in the 50's and was altered terribly by Benson's predecessor, John Gardner. Bond's gun is back, the Double-0 section, and Q. Zero Minus Ten brings back the old Bond with a rebirth of modern times. Though some disagree with Benson adding a touch of the cinematic Bond, I believe mixing is a nice touch as long as the literary Bond is the larger amount. One of the most interesting aspect of this novel was the fact that the situation of Hong Kong's return to China in July of 1997 was an actual occurrence, with an interesting twist of fiction thrown in. The girl in this outing is one of the most interesting in Bond history and 007 seems like a real person unlike his cinematic counterpart and Gardner's characterization of him. Definitely an excellent read for anyone Bond fan or not. After a mediocre 14 novels by John Gardner, Raymond Benson gives us a well written and researched 007 yarn that's a page turner because he, unlike Gardner, is himself a Bond fan and knows what's good. His following novels are no exception.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A very good book kept me gripped. While never as good as Fleming I would say a very good second
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Great story, well written. Very easy to read and a book you will look forward to picking back up. Would recommend to a friend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic James Bond, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Classic James Bond, good story line but too much unnecessary detail ( how to play mahjong was far to descriptive).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back, Mr Bond, 6 Feb 2013
This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
John Gardner retired from the post of official 007 author (1981-1996) after 14 novels and 2 novelizations. Many were great (eg James Bond Boxed Set 5) but illness and a tiredness with the character led to some weaker books and a changed Bond. The holders of the 007 literary copyright hired American long term 'professional Bond fan' Raymond Benson (composer, stage director and author of The James Bond Bedside Companion). Benson/ Glidrose wanted 007 to be much closer to Fleming's vision (politically incorrect vices and all) but in more overtly filmic plots, especially in the style of the Brosnan movies. A practice run short story 'Blast From The Past' (Jan 1997) -originally published in Playboy, now available in James Bond: The Union Trilogy: Three 007 Novels- was well received and Benson went on to write some of the most enjoyable Bond novels in years.

Score: 8/10. As the UK hands Hong Kong back to China in 1997, Bond investigates a wave of attacks against EurAsia Enterprises. Its drunken CEO Guy Thackeray is implicated, as well as a deadly triad leader & a maverick Chinese general who all stand to lose or gain in 10 days' time...

It's very much a product of its time: a reaction against the more sombre and satirical 'real world' tone of Gardner's later depiction of 007 and his world. Microglobe One and Q'ute vanish, while SIS is the Brosnan films' take on Fleming's wartime model: well-resourced, well-disciplined and policing super villainy in the colonies. We get SOE style gadgets from Major Boothroyd (melded with Q of the films for the first time outside of novelizations- ditto the female M and SIS's real life HQ) and the overdue return of the Double-0 Section, licence to kill and 007's rank of Commander.

The treat is the return of Fleming's depiction of Bond. Perhaps mid-50s by Gardner's final books, here reset to his early 40s. He's smoking again (H Simmons, as in the early Gardner books) and drinking more (oddly straight vodka, which was less usual for 007 than bourbon or martinis). There's a joy once more in action and toys: gambling, comradeship, travel, food, boats. The Mah-jong scene is a tribute to Moonraker's bridge game; the Walther PPK returns; TY Woo joins a proud line of eccentric colonial allies, while chapters 15-16 invoke OHMSS and numerous torture scenes.

The only major flaw is the piecemeal narrative. It's more like a novelisation: rapid rather than immersive, full of car chases and shoot outs but with little cohesion. The characters are a shade thin: the lap dancing girl (Soon-y Pay, geddit?) is forgettable, while the villains have to compete for page time. The action and dialogue verge on the TV movie-esque but it's great that Benson attempts Fleming's style and voice.

It's the innovations that shine through. The fantastic Walkabout chapter is both imaginative and well written, while Bond buying Fleming's Jamaican home Goldeneye is a lovely touch (Shamelady was the name Fleming's wife suggested). Benson was never going to be able to match master story tellers like Fleming (even he would've struggled to explain Mah-jong to a novice!), Amis or even Gardner, but he's eager to please and it romps along at a great pace. The writing improved with each novel but above all the books were going to be fun again!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Bond read !, 3 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Raymond Benson continues to write James Bond in the gritty style of Ian Flemming. A very good read for 007 fans.
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