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I had to check it wasn't a pastiche or mickey-take...
on 5 October 2014
Possibly one of the most poorly-written books I have ever read. I made it to 40% of the way through before I had to stop reading. It's like the author is so conscious that he's writing a "Bond" book, that he has to get absolutely every single reference and Bond cliche in there.
For example, at one point meets his mission partner in a canteen on an Army barracks at 10am. While he's waiting, he is asked if he wants a drink. What does he order? Yep, a vodka martini. In an Army canteen. Of course they have the requisite ingredients just to hand, and whip him up his morning cocktail.
After the first couple of chapters I started highlighting parts that were really poorly written (Benson seems to be the master of tautology for a few chapters, then drops it) but there are far too many to put into this review. For a start, Bond keeps referring to a colleague as "Dave". Would he ever really do that?
Someone checks into a hotel: "Yes, Mr Peters your room has already been paid for. How many nights will you be staying?" How can the room have been paid for if they don't know how long he's going to be there?
He meets a Belgian contact: "Her English was good, but Bond could tell she wasn't terribly comfortable with it." Then in the next paragraph she suggests "Let's stick to English, I need the practice."
Then there's the glaringly inaccurate "facts" that Benson includes, I can only think in an effort to make himself seem smart. Sadly it would be too much of a plot spoiler to reveal a lot of these, but suffice to say when a plane crashes into a mountain, it's not going to be change from cabin pressure to air pressure at 26 thousand feet that kills you...
I urge you, stay away from this one. I've read some great "follow-on" Bond novels by Faulks, Boyd and even Jeffrey Deaver's one was pretty good. This is not. Oh dear.