i rarely read fiction these days, so the new james bond book, "devil may care," by sebastian faulks was a interesting change of pace for me. when i do read fiction, it's generally along the lines of tom clancy and similar espionage thrillers. so i looked forward to checking back in with bond to see what evil forces he would save the world from in this new installment.
the book itself was a quick, easy read and i finished it in two nights. but the story was a major disappointment. this james bond was unrecognizable! the subtitle could have been "invasion of the 'bond' snatcher" because this fellow was 007 in name only! right up front, a tennis-playing bond? even worse, a bond who played tennis with a one-handed, monkey-pawed, villain - and had a rough go of it! creepy!
even more shocking - a james bond who was not interested in sex with a beautiful woman?! he admits to himself that the bond of old would have skipped dessert and taken her back to his room. while this "more mature" (a polite way of saying over the hill?) bond was suddenly beyond all that?! his saving grace, if there is one in these circumstances, is he still hankered after a good stiff drink. but solace in a bottle?
and then we had this monkey-pawed villain!? are we really supposed to believe a man with a hairy monkey paw (a biological condition where the thumb protrudes at such a angle as to make gripping impossible) is so psychologically stricken by the prep school lads he grew up with that it led him to hate all things british. so he hatched that classic hackneyed plan to lure a couple of superpowers into global war by attacking the soviet union with planes bearing the union jack. is this the best there is?
this because the mad villain's primary plan, to flood britain with an ocean of cheap heroin he manufactures with slave labor (with drug addicts he pays in heroin) worked until they die on the factory floor, would take to long to achieve. when he's soundly thrashed by the brits, with a big assist from the folks at langley, he still found the time to track down bond so he can personally kill him for ruining plan to set the world at war and create a britain full of drug addicts!
i know it takes a certain amount of suspended disbelief to fall into a good spy thriller - but this was a totally lame plot. even worse, i could have left it well enough alone right there, was to have bond look forward to a day of SHOPPING with unrestrained glee as his reward for saving the world! that was so out of character it left me wondering "who was that guy?"
skip this book! instead, wait for the newest bond movie, "quantum of solace," coming out this fall! now that looks like the real bond!
check out my review of quantum of solace!