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Not bad... but not Bond.
on 27 July 2011
It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I approached Carte Blanche, for two obvious reasons:
1) It was an American author's take on the most British of iconic characters
2) It was advertised as being an 'update' rather than a 'continuation' of the series
Perhaps the first thing worth noting is that it is not a terrible book. It has a certain sense of urgency which motivates the reader to keep turning the page, and a storyline which, it has to be said, is more memorable than the recent Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks.
The flaw is really one of the character of Bond himself. It would appear that Deaver takes his cue from the more recent film adaptations of the character rather than from the source novels themselves. Fleming's Bond was very much a man on the edge - one who cared little about his own life and who often cared little for those around him. Often relying solely on his stubborn determination and courage rather than on gadgets and gizmos, this Bond made mistakes and suffered the consequences accordingly.
In 'updating' the original character, we are left with a fairly bland Bond who seems to use his smartphone every other page to solve a problem and makes very few mistakes in pursuit of his target. This is not the Bond that 'women want and men want to be', but a watered-down version of what should be a gritty character used to killing without regret.
Perhaps my Bond is one that should always exist in the 1950s/1960s, in the same way that my Sherlock Holmes will always exist under the murky, gaslight illumination of late 19th Century... Worth a read to find out what you think though.