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3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 3 July 2017
A reasonable Bond. Not as good as I thought it would be though. The action conclusion was a bit light and the final confrontation was protracted, with all the ludicrous, detailed travelling Bond had to do.
Very much a '60s Bond though.
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on 6 June 2013
My son has to read this for his English GCSE course. A good, typical Bond read, no surprises but entertaining as always.
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Whilst I think Faulks has written a good novel in the Fleming style of Bond I cannot wonder about the story line. I finished the book thinking that more could have been done with the story. Overall though I liked it and look forward to more. Anyone any ideas who would play Gorner when (and let's face it is likely)the movie is made ?
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This is my first James Bond book, probably like most people I have only seen the films which are excellent, my review there for can not compare Ian Flemings writing style, which at the time I`m sure was cutting edge stuff for boys and men.

My expectations were high as I am familiar with Sebastian Faulks writing and his Birdsong novel is a personnel favourite.

I started the novel and was first disappointed to find the novel was early Bond and not up to date Bond, It would have been good to see a modern edge to the book.

It took me a good few pages to remove the image of Sean Connery from my head, once I had got rid of his Bond character I started to enjoy the box, as the book progressed I couldn`t put it down and finished it in only two sittings.

Sebastian Faulks is an excellent writer, I don't think Ian Flemings style did his writing justice I believe he is a better writer than the book, in saying that the book is excellent, and can wait to see it produced as a film as I'm sure it will.
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on 21 August 2012
I've been a fan of the old Bond films for years, and am just as enthusiastic about the Daniel Craig `reboot', which thematically is much more in keeping with Fleming's novels. This came out around the same time as `Casino Royale' and I've been waiting to read it ever since.

Despite the tacky cover, everything about this is pure Fleming Bond. It's clear that Faulks has had a lot of fun writing this, and it reads like a love letter to everything that makes the franchise what it is: interesting villains, irresistible girls and plenty of action.

Amazingly Faulks stops all this just short of cheesy or cheap. There are some brilliant scenes that feel right out of the early stories: a gentleman's challenge over a tennis game; a girl who Bond can't trust; a big plot to be uncovered and prevented.

The dialogue is great - M is absolutely spot on and you can hear his voice hammering from the page. Bond himself doesn't seem to say and awful lot though, but the narrative is from his point of view and fills in the gaps. He drinks a lot, is never without a cigarette and eats a lot of scrambled eggs. I got a big chunk of Connery in this Bond, with the best bits of Moore without the smarminess, and a dollop of the Craig realism. You can imagine Faulks' Bond as whichever actor you prefer and I think this would work.

There's plenty of attention to detail, with Fleming could really overdo at times, but the pacing is fine and the action isn't overblown. It feels very down to earth and gritty, rather than the slickness of the Moore films which lost some of that charm.

It's a shame that the ending fizzles out a little, but the only real flaw with this is the complimentary interview with Faulks at the end (I don't think all copies have this). Unfortunately it reveals old Sebastian as a pompous elitist who apparently had his arm twisted into writing this kind of trite and unliterary stuff, and boasts at how busy he is whilst putting down Fleming unashamedly - you would think he would have a little more grace.

I don't let this affect my rating however, and if I did the essay on writing thrillers written by Fleming himself would more than make up for the sour taste left in my mouth - a frank insight into the writer's mind.

Great fun and fine fiction, well worth reading if you're even a casual fan of James Bond.

8.5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of `Half Discovered Wings'
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on 30 October 2015
Being a fan of both the movies and the books I can say that Sebastian Faulks has done a great job with Devil May Care. He has managed to capture the essence of Fleming's Bond. The story is a typical "Death to the West" plot. Cheap drugs turning people into addicts. A similar tale to Live and Let Die, if I recall correctly? As the book points out this ironically mirrors the British who introduced Indian Opium to China in the 19th century. Faulks is particularly skilled at weaving in items which must have been of concern to society at the time. This is something Fleming used to do in his books.

It follows the timeline of the original Fleming series, taking place in 1967. Bond is taking a sabbatical then Cold War action kicks in. It rattles along at a fair pace and has all the elements that make Bond, well ... Bond. In no particular order:

- exotic locations,
- beautiful ladies,
- fights and car chases
- henchmen,
- booze, food, cigarettes and clothes,
- guns and torture scenes
- a friendly local ally (Darko Karim),
- supporting characters from previous books, Felix Leiter and Rene Mathis, and not forgetting
- a deformed villain with a mad, grand plan

What is thankfully missing is the racism.

Devil May Care is a great imitation of the original Fleming series of Bond novels. The structure of the book mirrors the way Fleming constructed a plot. We also get a few puns thrown in for good measure. The villain gives us the obligatory monologue explaining his fiendish scheme, useful for Bond who then knows how best to stop it. We also get a plot twist at the end which dosen't comes as too much of a surprise, but it's a nice way to round off the novel.

And who would have thought a game of tennis, which I don't particularly like, could have been written so well that I actually cared about the outcome.

A fantastic return to the best Bond period, the fairly gadget free 1960s. I recommend this book to not only fans but people with a passing interest in Bond too. Yes, its implausible. Yes, its far-fetched. And yes, its enjoyable undemanding stuff: a classic Bond adventure!
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on 20 November 2012
Why is it that when writers (Charlie Higson excepted) get commissioned to continue the megabucks 007 franchise they invariably screw it up? Faulks' homage to Ian Fleming is no exception to this rule. In fact it ranks as one of the worst post-Fleming novels. To begin with, it is less respectful of its source material than it is plain derivative. The villain cheats at sport (Goldfinger), there's something wrong with one of his hands (Dr No), he has an emotionless Asian henchman with a penchant for anachronistic headwear (Goldfinger), Bond kills said henchman after a fight in a train compartment (From Russia With Love), Bond dispatches a guard by dropping on him from above his cell door (Goldfinger anyone?) and on it goes.

Arguably, this could be presented as part and parcel of the homage, but coupled with multiple plot absurdities and some astonishing oversights, that idea has no weight. We are told, for example, that Bond's mouth is badly slashed after crashing a jeep, yet in the next chapter he manages to hide broken glass sharp enough to cut a rope under his tongue. When Bond is captured and returned to his cell, his excuse is that he had gone to find Gorner to tell him someone had escaped. There is no reference to the dead guard he must have left in the cell. Then of course there's the description of Chagrin's agony at Bond's hands on the train, when we have been explicitly told earlier that Chagrin was incapable of feeling pain.

But does Faulks come anywhere near to capturing the essence of Bond as a character? Far from it. His tactic seems to be to try and understand the man through what he eats, which is eggs, eggs and more eggs, as well as what he drinks, copious amounts of liquor wherever he can get his (surely?) shaking hands on it. The reappearance of old friends Mathis and Leiter is another tactic, but they end up being largely superfluous to the plot, Mathis more interested in his affair, and Leiter finding it difficult to negotiate the Persian sands with his prosthetic leg.

It is surprising that Faulks claims to have written the book in six weeks. Most writers would have taken half the time.
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on 20 December 2013
Pretty much a waste of time and money, entirely predictable plot, hackneyed dialogue. Faulks should stick to what he does best, original characters and interesting situations. He will never make it as an author of children's stories such as this.
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VINE VOICEon 6 April 2009
I've only recently read the Ian Fleming novels and was pleased to see this book released - a chance to read another James Bond adventure and see Sebastian Faulks' take on the James Bond legend. The book makes a good first impression with a great title (hopefully a film will use it in future) and cover.

Faulks is credited as 'writing as Ian Fleming' and has done a very good job of imitating Fleming's writing style. The book definitely feels like one of the originals in style and follows on from the last Fleming story ('The Man With The Golden Gun'). Unfortunately this is the book's main weakness - it feels too much like a tribute and lacks any originality. In order to achieve such a likeness to the original novels, Faulks has lifted so much from them that it feels like 'Bond by Numbers' - all the usual suspects are here: a train ride, fight on a plane, underwater scene and a mad villain's secret plan to bring down Britain together with the expected girls, alcoholic drinks and foreign locations. The characters, plot and locations all have certain deja-vu feel to them that makes the story feel formulaic. Goldfinger and Moonraker are the books that spring to mind most often when reading this.

There are also far too many nods and references to the previous books - it's almost as if Faulks is trying to prove that he's read them all. It was nice to see Rene Mathis and Felix Leiter appear again, but their presence didn't seem to add much to the plot and I was left feeling that they were just there for the sake of nostalgia.

Having said all that, the story is enjoyable and it is nice to be able to read one more James Bond adventure. It could have been a lot worse, but it felt like an opportunity was lost. It's like going to watch a tribute band such as the Bootleg Beatles - they do a great job of impersonating a band that you can't see any more ... it just doesn't feel quite the same.
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on 15 November 2014
I love the bond books and I have no problem with the people writing in the style, but this is not a good one.
It feels like it has been knocked out in a weekend and is to me a bit lazy. I thought the book was okish and frankly slow, but not worth reading again, something I have done in multiple times to all of the others.
An poor attempt, but then hearing an interview where Faulks said it was so easy just proved that he had not bothered and his heart was not in it. Hence the one star.
Save your money and read one of the others, or better still, revisit the originals.
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