- Audio CD
- Publisher: Audiobooks; Unabridged edition edition (26 Sept. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846573777
- ISBN-13: 978-1846573774
- Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.5 x 14.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 399 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Solo: A James Bond Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"This is well-plotted, exciting stuff and Boyd has a great sense of time and place. His boozy, maturer, more fallible Bond is totally believable. Mission accomplished, Mr Boyd." (Natasha Harding Sun)
"Boyd was a smart choice for a Bond thriller. The action clips along. There are welcome literary flourishes and a dense plot." (Richard Fitzpatrick Irish Examiner)
"Written with aplomb, Boyd’s Bond novel is a terrific twisting thriller." (Sunday Times)
"Anyone wishing this autumn to enjoy the Cold War with the assurance of a happy ending should seek out William Boyd’s new James Bond novel, Solo, in which 007 is dispatched to West Africa and the fictitious country of Zanzarim, where he finds himself in the midst of a civil war." (Stephen McGinty Scotsman)
"A fantastic read, which I ripped through in the time it would take to watch Skyfall, as it happens, and I found it significantly more enjoyable." (The Times)
A new James Bond novel written by William Boyd.See all Product description
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It has to be said that "Solo" is probably amongst the very best of the Bond novels. Boyd has done his homework and the references to the food he eats, the clothes he wears and even his fear of flying demonstrate familiarity with the Bond novels. Fleming's last full novel, "The man with the golden gun" seemed to suggest a changing point with Fleming realising society was changing as the second half of the 1960's started. In my opinion "Solo" is strongly suggestive of the direction he would have gone in. Bond is now 45 and employed on an ill-defined missions to terminate a rebel leader who has staged a coup in the African country of Zanzarim. This is territory Boyd knows well but one totally unfamiliar to James Bond. The mission seems half-baked and Bond is out of his depth. Even when it looks like he is about to succeed, events take a sinister turn.
The first half of the book concerns the African operation and the story then shifts up a gear as Bond goes on a solo mission instead of convalescing in order to track down and kill his adversaries who have now relocated to Washington DC. This is more familiar Bond territory and some elements resemble "For your eyes only" - one of the best short stories by Fleming. By this point, the book goes in to overdrive with a rather unlikely twist and the involvement of a familiar face. The story rattles along with a terrific pace and the action would seem to conclude with Bond storming the mansion owned by the protagonists. Thankfully , Boyd eschews a more theatrically villain and the encounter with the repellent and cruel Kobus Breed appears to be the highpoint.
For my money, there are several reasons why this book is so good. I think Boyd is a much better writer than Fleming and his use of dialogue lacks the pantomime element that can mar some of Fleming's books. The scale of the adventure is also more modest and this makes the story more credible. I would also have to say that Boyd has thought through the development of Bond well, giving the character some back history and realising that a Jensen Interceptor would be a more appropriate car for the character to drive in 1969. However, the best bit of the book is that Boyd does something that Fleming never did and leaves one element of the story unresolved so that the final chapter has a rather understated element of menace about it.
As a fan of William Boyd, I felt that this might have been something of a lightweight effort and inferior to his own efforts even though I was very intrigued to read this book. Ultimately, what Boyd has produced is probably one of the best Bond stories and one that is only matched by "OHMSS" and "FRWL." Boyd not only nails Fleming's oeuvre spot on but offers a tantalising clue as to how the series could have developed. This is classic Bond.
It's a "sort of" Bond, as he's now in his forties, wants to replace his Bentley with a Jensen, and looks like he wants to settle down. Nevertheless, the author his done his homework and has produced a decent follow up to the series.
Anyway, I enjoyed the story, which was evident by the speed I read it.
Nothing really happens until half way through and even then the rest is distinctly lacking in action or interest. It's not even particularly well written. I'd rather read a Jack Reacher book, as a 007 book it's 5/10.
Don't bother. I've started reading Amis's Colonel Sun which despite being written in 1968 is twice as good from the start.
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