Role of Honour (James Bond) Paperback – 10 May 2012
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Official, original James Bond from a writer described by Len Deighton as a 'master storyteller'.
About the Author
After Colonel Sun (1968) by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner was the next writer to be asked to write further adventures of James Bond. He wrote, like Fleming, fourteen Bond books, plus novelisations of the films GoldenEye and Licence to Kill, from 1981 to 1996.
Before becoming an author of fiction in the early 1960s John Gardner was variously a stage magician, a Royal Marine officer, a journalist and, for a short time, a priest in the Church of England. 'Probably the biggest mistake I ever made,' he says. 'I confused the desire to please my father with a vocation which I soon found I did not have.'
In all, Gardner had fifty-five novels to his credit - many of them bestsellers. John Gardner died in 2007.
For more information about John Gardner and his non-Bond works, visit his website.
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Top Customer Reviews
Score: 8/10. The villain (Jay Autem Holy) is from the world of early computing with which the writer was familiar (before anyone had heard of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates). This one's a rogue genius in war games, hiding from the Pentagon behind a private front in Oxfordshire. With a grudge against the West, he plans to bring the Cold War to a stalemate. Could hiring an ex-007 prove a mistake?
After the valiant misfire of Icebreaker, it's natural (and welcome) that Gardner throws so many Fleming nods into the mix. His contact at Saab had moved to Bentley, so the Mulsanne Turbo makes its debut. Having answered its critics the Silver Beast and its realistic gadgets are a miss, but Bond in a Bentley in Monte Carlo is an irresistable lure. Though you suspect it's not Gardner's first love, the casino stuff is classily handled; there's another twist in SPECTRE's story and for the first time the author really gets a handle on Bond's character- far less glib and pompous.
Gardner's own innovations are great: the mature plot gambit of putting Bond out in the cold and having him recruited by the enemy to commit cyber terrorism really works. The ASP is an inspired choice of firearm for Bond: he sticks with it for the rest of the Gardner books and you feel Fleming would've loved its detailed idiosyncracies.Read more ›
Bond meets the widow of a supposedly dead computer programmer guru called Jay Autem Holy who has faked his own death and now makes a mint writing training programs for terrorists and foreign secret services. SPECTRE are involved and a plot emerges to wipe out the nuclear arsenal of the US and Russia and therefore destabilise the world.
The computer technology, while maybe cutting edge when the book was written, now seems overly clunky and seemingly lengthy descriptions of how stuff works makes this a boring read at times. At other times Bond is as usual falling for any bit of fluff that happens to be around – it seems he will never learn his lesson when it comes to women.
The sighting of the General Zwingli who also faked his death in the plane crash with Holy, in a casino may have seemed like a good way of introducing the character, but is too much of a coincidence to stomach. The coincidence is never explained and in fact Zwingli seems superfluous in the story which already has its main maniac bad guy in the form of Holy and also the successor to Blofeld in the form of the new SPECTRE boss Tamil Rahani.
The relationship that starts at the top of the tale fizzles out in the last pages of the book – which will dispense with the usual need to explain away the non-appearance of the previous Bond girl in the next book.
Some of Gardner's writing is, quite frankly, awful and you feel that he is treating the Bond books as pulp books but that does not mean they are not entertaining.
This book is a rattling good read as long as you don't take it too seriously.
That said, there are a number of aspects that don't work - Gardner borrows Fleming's technique of describing his characters playing a game - however Bond facing his enemy head to head over a game of (essentially) Warhammer doesn't quite have the gravitas that Fleming managed to put into a round of golf or a game of cards. Gardner's descriptions aren't as gripping either - whereas Fleming could write the most entertaining hand of cards ever played.
The book is tied very much to eighties technology, and suffers for a modern reader because of this, much more so than the original series, much of which maintains a timeless quality. Bond spends a considerable period learning about computers, and it seems implausible that he could become an expert so quickly, and though the tech seems particularly accurate it is hard to relate to now.
However the action is good, the storyline moves along at a good pace and explores areas that suit the character well. There is a lack of exotic locales, but this almost helps to ground things a little more in reality than in some of Gardner's earlier episodes. The character of Bond is explored a touch more deeply, though he still doesn't seem as detailed as under Fleming's penmanship - his feelings aren't focussed on, and his emotions come across a little strangely.
Overall though, probably the best of Gardner's first four, and I hope that this bodes well for the rest of his contribution to the series as I continue reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. John Gardner really captures the style of Ian Fleming. A must for any 007 fanPublished 5 months ago by Scaramanga
Almost "Licence Renewed" rewritten ! An entertaining thriller, fast paced with some interesting sequences, but not as good as his first three novels.Published 16 months ago by Mr Blofeld
terrible boring poorly written drab twaddle. do not waste your money or time on rubbish like this. ghastly offensive nonsensePublished on 18 Nov. 2013 by Stephen Wall
Great read. Sent to kindle with no problem. east transaction, and with a registered account, a simple payment. many thanks.Published on 7 Mar. 2013 by Bw Empson
I did not own a complete set of the John Gardner Bond books. All the titles are not available in the US, so a matched set from the UK was just what I needed.Published on 29 Jan. 2013 by Paul Niedernhofer
bought one of every colour of these albums and will be coming back for five more soon. that says everything surely?!Published on 15 May 2012 by Mrs. Christine A. Morgan