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The Facts of Death (James Bond 007) Hardcover – 7 May 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 7 May 1998
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition, First Impression edition (7 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340696419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340696415
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,608,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Raymond Benson has now several James Bond novels, all Coronet paperbacks. He is also the author of The James Bond Bedside Companion, which was shortlisted for an Edgar Allan Poe Award for best biographical/critical work and is considered by 007 fans to be the definitive book on the world of James Bond. He is a director of the Ian Fleming Foundation and served as vice-president of the American James Bond 007 Fan Club for several years. Mr Benson is married, has one son and lives in the Chicago area.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
After slogging through a few of John Gardner’s Bond books and feeling a bit let down by the efforts of Faulks and Waugh, I didn’t have high expectations when I picked up Raymond Benson’s THE FACTS OF DEATH. One reader described the writing in this book as horrendous. Thankfully, that’s not the case (quite the reverse, in fact). The positive Kirkus review of the book is much closer to the truth. The writing really is exceptional (throughout the novel you can clearly see the extensive research that went into the book), and I thought the plot was in keeping with how Bond storylines should play out. In point of fact, Benson admitted he deliberately set out to make it feel like a Bond movie. The novel is also never boring and Benson keeps up a solid, measured pace, with just the right amount of humor and action. There are even some fun scenes featuring ex-CIA agent Felix Leiter (now zipping along in a motorized wheelchair).

This was my first Benson novel and it won’t be my last. He knows how to write well – check out his article for The Writer (“The 007 way to write a thriller”). Just like this novel, that article is well worth reading too.
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Format: Paperback
All right, I did enjoy Benson's first, ZERO MINUS TEN and I hoped the second one would be even better. How wrong I was! If Glidrose is up to hiring any James Bond freak to write the novels I might as well give it a try myself. Benson cannot distinguish between writing a Bond novel and a Bond movie and consistently does the latter: Jaguar with ludicrous gadgets, Mayor Boothroyd demoted to Desmond Llewelyn parody (incidentally, has anybody out there noticed the wrong assumption that, in the novels, Boothroyd is head of Q Branch? Check the originals) , Bond hopping across the globe and bedding the babes ten minutes after they've met. There's nothing left of the Fleming formula but the parody in which the movies degenerated. Worst, Benson's writing is so poor and "American" that you get the feeling you're being cheated. If you need any further proof of what a fatal mistake hiring Benson has been, check his short story "Midsummer Night's Doom" in Playboy. Probably the worst piece of crap ever to have been associated with 007. Even Christopher Wood did better than this. It took me longer to finish this one than any other book ever!
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed every single one of Ian Flemings, and then John Gardners versions of Bond. But Raymond Benson's version is not the literary one. If you like comic book heros, that is what he has tried to make Bond in this book, he even has the utility belt and a car that Batman would be proud to own.
Bond has always had a fantasy element, but the books have also been based on hard fact and been more about good writing than cheap stunts on every page.
This book may do very well in America because the writer is american, but that has meant JB has lost the essential britishness that was a large part of his character. SOme of the things he thinks or says just ruin parts of the book for anyone who has read the the previous ones, imho.
High Time to Kill by the same author is a better book, so I would recommend trying that if you have read all the earlier books, but if you like a (fairly)believable spy thriller, which is what the Bond BOOKS have always been, try John Gardners, which I personally think are far superior to this americanised comic book attempt.
That said, I did finish it which I haven't done for some books. But I have re-read the original and John Garner's novels at least 3 or 4 times. I very much doubt I will struggle through this again.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Zero Minus Ten (1997) was the 1st 007 novel I read in the year of publication, so I'm fond of Benson's work. Though full of adolescent excitement (good enough for Fleming!) I'd worried they wouldn't have worn as well as Amis' or Gardner's contribution. In fact, they remain quite fresh.

Score: 7/10. The fragile peace between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus is threatened, as a Pythagoras inspired terrorist organisation (Decada) begins a wave of chemical and biological attacks. With UK peacekeepers caught in the middle James Bond is astonished to discover a link to M's love life. Benson freely admitted his 2nd novel was a Bond film in print and it shows, bursting with gadgets and endless Brosnan quips.

From the contrived 'pre-credits' chapter (007 leaping in and out of helicopters for little reason) to the big set pieces, it's fun: the baccarat game, helicopter stunts, cable car acrobatics & car chases (the XK8 no more outrageous than the DB III was in its day). It's reminiscent of the action oriented Thunderball (Decada obviously modelled on SPECTRE & a dry run for Benson's Union Trilogy) or Gardner's For Special Services. Once more the innovations prove stronger than the (nevertheless welcome) nods to the past. 007's relationship with the new (ie Judi Dench) M neatly anticipates the Daniel Craig films, while Bond, Helena Marksbury (his new secretary), Sir Miles and M's lover are particularly well drawn in the UK chapters.

Once into the USA, though, it's the wandering storytelling that lets it down. Overlong and ambitiously plotted, it tries too hard to cast 007 in the role of investigator at too many taped off crime scenes.
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