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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 May 2001
Having read most of the Fleming Bonds and a few of the Gardner's I was prepared for a good solid spy story. What I found was a fantastic Mountain climbing adventure that I started at Ten at night and could not put down till Six in the morning when I had read it to the end!!!! I've always enjoyed 007's adventures and this one had me enthralled his illicit affair with yet another MI6 assistant, his long time rivalry with Roland Marquis, and his remarkable skill in yet a whole new field, mountain climbing!! i'd reccomend this book to any Bond fan instantly.
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on 25 November 2003
HIGH TIME TO KILL is a unique James Bond adventure. It's very experimental in its use of a single setting in the second half of the book, while still deftly adhering to the classic James Bond formula. No "continuation novel" demonstrates a better understanding of what makes a classic Bond story (and HIGH TIME TO KILL surpasses even some of Fleming books in this regard). Most of my feelings come from the second half of the book when Bond is in the Himalayas. This is unlike anything we’ve ever seen Bond participate in before – yet all the Bondian ingredients are in firmly in place: Villain, sidekick, Bond girl, contest, breathtaking (literally this time) locales, exotic culture, set-piece showdown and coda. But every one of these "classic" elements (which in the movies have drifted toward clichés) feels 100% fresh because it’s all set within the context of a reality-based high concept idea: Mountain climbing. The overlaying believaility of the concept elevates the characters and makes the book truly suspenseful in a FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE sort of way. Even the almost always fumbled "this time it’s personal" element works perfectly here. We understand that the villain is driven by his competitive masculine/sexual ego (a subtext of almost all Bond villains), but the possibility of altitude sickness motivates his classic Bond Villain megalomania in a completely believable way. The ice axe throwing competition between Bond and the villain is as gripping as any casino face off. Bond catching a glimpse of Bond Girl Hope Kendell undressing in her small tent is much sexier, IMO, than a Halle Berry bursting from the sea like a Bond Girl Jack in the Box. Bond's sidekick, a Sherpa, is indispensable in a way most of the Bondman sidekicks are not. The "gadgets" this time are all real, but still exotic (cutting edge climbing equipment, the oxygen tent), and what better test of 007's stamina than a savage mountain climbing expedition? There is a return to the idea of 007 as a master of the extreme sport in this book that is very much a part to the world of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. In fact, I think Fleming would have eventually written a book just like HIGH TIME TO KILL.
There's more, but suffice to say HIGH TIME TO KILL is the perfect fusion of the high-concept Bond formula and the completely believable and fascinating world of high-altitude mountain climbing. If you're looking to sample a non-Fleming James Bond novel, THIS is the one to get.
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on 15 March 2003
This was the seconds novel of Benson's I read, and I have to say, I was most impressed with it. After finishing the very good Zero Minus Ten, I chose this to read, basically, because I liked the look of the cover, it also had a nice feel. Now if you like this cover, like myself, then you'll find you should judge a book by it's cover.
Now to the serious past, the story. High Time to Kill introduces the criminal organisation known at 'The Union', which feature heavily in the rest of Benson's work. The story line is simple, in a way. Bond needs to get back some plans which are printed on a microdot, which is on someone's pacemaker, who was on a plane that crashed into the Himilayas. Simple enough right? Well it is a wee bit more complicated. There are a few traitors about, and all hamper 007's attempt to climb the mountain and attain his goal. The majority of the story is, of course, the treck up the mountain and the search for the frozen body.
Bond is accompanied by many people, but notibly, Hope Kendall, a Kiwi doctor, Roland Marquis, Bond's old rival at school and Chandra, in my opinion, a class bloke, who is a Gurkha. They all contribute heavily to the book.
This really is a facinating book, with a story line and characters to match. I urge you buy this book, I promise you be dissapointed.
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on 14 June 1999
After writing not so kind words about his previous outings as James Bond author, I was impressed. This is certainly better researched, much more cleanly written and actually captures the essence of Fleming. Dare I say the storyline is a little predictable. I look forward to the alledged new book set in Gibraltar. I will be VERY interested in the details there...
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on 15 February 2013
In many ways Raymond Benson is a worthy successor to Ian Fleming.He has a flair for detail but also the knack of writing energetic,involving stories.

This novel is worthy of inclusion in any Bond collection & would make an astonishingly good movie.I strongly recommend it to any 007 fan.

Thank you Mr Benson for keeping the essential spy so vital.
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on 16 January 2013
Having read and enjoyed all of Flemming's Bond books I didn't know what to expect from this. I was very pleasantly surprised. I loved reading this book. I couldn't get enough of it and found it hard to put down. I'll definitely be reading the rest of Benson's Bond books. I'd highly recomend it.
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on 16 December 2012
I wanted, so much, to enjoy this book. Having read Colonel Sun more years ago than I care to remember, I had expected that this book might please me as much. Sadly, no.
It reads as though the author has been dictating the story to a machine and the pace takes you at whirlwind speed beyond character development and plot subtleties. And why oh why did he insist on using American spelling throughout. Check for cheque. Favor for favour. For heavens sake, Bond is British !.
I had saved the remainder of this collection to my wish list but I guess I can delete those now. I'm not even sure that I can bring myself to finish this one.
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on 14 November 2002
A book is almost always better than the filmed version because it allows your own imagination to envisage situations and characters. This latest James Bond adventure is an exception to the rule. I wish I could view the story’s exciting action sequences on the big screen instead of plodding through the book’s numerous stilted descriptions of politics, sex, food, clothes and equipment. Benson does get some credit for being unafraid to make 007 a fairly disagreeable character, still unwilling to form a meaningful relationship with the opposite sex, and forever whining about physical discomforts of mountaineering in Nepal. Strictly for enthusiasts only.
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on 9 July 2001
This was my first Bond novel. Perhaps I've been spoilt by the screen versions, but I thought this to be very poor. I did read it through, but I won't be buying any others.
The writing had little depth, there was no suspense (you want climbing suspense... read "The Eiger Sanction"), and there were holes in the plot you could drive a bus through. Perhaps Flemming's work is better, I don't know, but I didn't find myself reading this out of pleasure, only to see if it got any better. It didn't.
One for the car boot sale I think.
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on 28 October 1999
Being a fan of 007 myself, this is Raymond Benson's Bond novel since he wrote Zero Minus Ten. It is full of action and the locations are sesational in every way, from the warehouse in Aldershot to the peak of Kangchenjunga, I especially like the return of his colour changing Jaguar, with all of it's gadgets. I just hope that one day this novel will become a successful film as well as Zero Minus Ten and The Facts of Death.
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