Licence Renewed (Coronet Books) Paperback – 4 May 1995
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Official, original James Bond from a writer described by Len Deighton as a 'master storyteller'. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
John Gardner was educated in Berkshire and at St John's College, Cambridge. He has had many fascinating occupations and was, variously, a Royal Marine officer, a stage magician, theatre critic, reviewer and journalist. As well as his James Bond novels, Gardner's other fiction includes the acclaimed Herbie Kruger novels.
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1981, Ian Fleming's estate decided Bond needed a big literary return. Gardner was a man with as fascinating a background as Fleming: theatre critic, stage magician and WW2 service as a Royal Marines officer specialising in explosives. He'd started writing swinging 60s Bond parodies but moved towards LeCarre-esque Cold War thrillers. If you think Faulks and Deaver were given big publicity, Gardner seemed to be everywhere: articles in The TLS and photoshoots with guns and cars apparently paid off, as the book spent months atop bestseller lists. Did it deserve it?
Score: 8/10. It's solid: think Moonraker or Goldfinger for the 1980s, with Bond insinuating himself into the plans of UK based supervillain Anton Murik. The strong plot (governments held to ransom when terrorists capture Nuclear power plants) stands up well, the execution as terrifyingly plausible as Thunderball. The Saab 900 (replacing the Bentley Mark II Continental) wins you over as a serious driver's car, the gadgets making the battles interesting without being a get-out-of-jail-free.Read more ›
Penning a continuation 007 novel must be just as daunting as any mission the world's least secret agent tackles himself, but Gardner wasn't completely without experience when he was asked to write the second Bond continuation novel (after "Colonel Sun", by Kingsley Amis a.k.a Robert Markham in 1969). He was into middle-age and a had wealth of published and acclaimed novels in his own right, most notably the Moriarty books, a trilogy of novels composed from the perspective of Sherlock Holmes's formidable nemesis.
On a strictly aesthetic level, Gardner had a much more relaxed style of writing. His Bond novels are still brimming with action, but there is a richer vocabulary there, a greater understanding of how language works, and a reader can languorously unwind in the certainty that they are in the company of a master storyteller.
"Licence Renewed" brings James Bond firmly into the 80s, but as per Gardner's original vision, the character hasn't aged much - despite a few grey hairs, perhaps placing him in his early forties - but has lived through the seventies and is a subject of the sociological advancements of that tumultuous decade.
Bond is faced with a worthy adversary in the shape of Scottish laird Dr Anton Murik, and his love interest is Lavender Peacock, but I will not give too much away. Needless to say, it sees Bond in Scotland, away from the more exotic nirvana of, say, the Bahamas, and the action is mostly set at Murik's castle, a menacing tower of bleakness. It's a terrific start to Gardner's series, a fine novel in its own right, and a thoroughly entertaining read.
Glidrose (the company that owns the rights to the Character James Bond) finally got round to seeking out authors to continue the series, one of the reasons being that it was a good way to hold onto the copyright of the character.
John Gardner was chosen and this is the first book in the 'new' series of James Bond novels.
You have to remember that this book was published in 1981 and just as Fleming's original novels reflected the life and times of the 1950's Gardner's books reflect the 1980's.
The plot is a fairly straight forward one with the books villain Anton Murik threatening the World by planning to cause meltdowns in nuclear power plants around the globe.
Whilst not as fanciful as some of Fleming's books this is a decent thriller.
A word too on Orion Books Ltd's re-issues of these novels. I think they are particularly classy and when complete the set will love splendid upon the shelves of any James Bond fan.
This is a very good attempt by Gardner on a Bond novel, it was hard to take over from Fleming. The basic plot is that Bond is sent to investigate a certain Dr Anton Murik whoose project is to Blackmail major foreign powers with the threat of nuclear meltdown in six nuclear power plants around the world.
This novel is more like the films than Fleming's Bond novels, but it moves at a fast pace and is a good attempt at updating the series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
And interesting plot a good read nearly as good as Flemings bond looking forward to reading looking forward to reading morePublished 2 months ago by steve stagg
Top notch story, loved every page, I will be buying more John Gardner Bond books!Published 9 months ago by Louis
Excellent book ok really enjoyed it could even have been better than a Fleming novel Gardener is certainly in the same mold.Published 16 months ago by MR R MEALOR
After a long absence Bond is Back. John Gardner delivers a real page turner. With Bond updated from the 60s for the 80s.Published 18 months ago by Mr Blofeld
Going to read the john Gardner bonds in order, really enjoyed this start to his series. Hoping for more good this to come !!Published on 16 Aug. 2014 by rich james