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How old were you when you first read 'Win, Lose or Die'?

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#1 Qwerty


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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:32 PM

As with past threads...

How old were you when you first read John Gardner's Win, Lose Or Die?

Although I was able to read nearly all of Gardner's James Bond novels in chronological order the first time through, Win, Lose Or Die was one of the two I never seemed to be able to track down in any of the used bookstores I checked (I believe Never Send Flowers was the other) and ultimately had to skip over it.

Finally, I came by a copy on half.com sometime in 2004 (which would have made me about 16 or 17 years old) most likely and ordered that. It was and still is one of Gardner's best Bond novels from the latter half of his 16 year run. A memorable Bond girl and a mix of mystery and the typical action in the plot. Perfect climax as well. Recommended. :D

#2 Sbott


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Posted 22 October 2007 - 05:02 AM

Managed to get a signed first edition copy which i'm reading for the first time now aged 39.

Looking at the reviews and ratings section for this book it looks as if views will differ widely on it, looking forward to it!

#3 Righty007



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Posted 22 October 2007 - 05:07 AM

I was born in '89. :D

#4 AgentPB



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Posted 22 October 2007 - 05:15 AM

I read it about two months ago so i was still seventeen, and i must say it is not one of my favorites i think Gardner did much better work earlier. I do believe that it was one of the better novels of the second half of his career. I will also be seventeen when I read Faukes Devil May Care so this should be a good year.

#5 ACE



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Posted 22 October 2007 - 11:56 PM

No-one reads these threads but they are therapy for me! Sorry to ramble on but I'm trying to capture that era. I associate the Continuation novels with the time I read them in.

Ian Fleming's masterspy returned in John Gardner's 007 series for me here...

Win, Lose Or Die came out in summer 1989 and I purchased a copy of the hardback from Maxim Jakubowski's terrific Murder One. It was London's best crime bookshop which might then have been in Denmark Street, site of the old Forbidden Planet. Murder One subsequently moved to Charing Cross Road - the venue for all my future Gardner purchases.

The cover was different again - gone was the visual continuity. The emphasis was on John Gardner and 007 was discreetly placed on the cufflinks. This 007 cufflink imagery was the basis for a newspaper advert for the book - the first Bond book advert I'd seen! I loved the title!

The book itself really shook things up. Gardner taken a leap with the character: promoting Bond to Captain and having him rejoin the Royal Navy was a big step. However, Gardner seemed to have dispensed with the accoutrements he had given his Bond: No Bentley, no ASP 9mm or COB, no Q'ute - just when Gardner had been developing his own Bond, the rug was pulled from under him. In other ways, things were the same: a fun, not-fully joined up plot, with huge twists, double and treble crosses with characters given several names and codewords (all only used once). The locations were well drawn and Gardner's love of classical literature is apparent. Beatrice is a great girl although BAST is a bit silly. The topical ending is similar to Scorpius and dates the book. There are some nice moments such as Bond remembering his last Christmas with his parents but somehow it didn't gel for me. A mixed bag - I liked what Gardner was trying to do rather than his actual execution of it. One was forced to accentuate the positive in the reading experience - the only fix of literary Bond. Perhaps the pressure of having to also churn out a novelization impacted on the book.

That hot, hot summer of 1989 was heady. After the huge boost of Dalton's debut, Licence To Kill at the time was the biggest upheaval to Bond for many years. If computers had been more prevalent in that Amstrad age, they would have called it a reboot: the darker tone and the preposterous higher UK rating! Expectations were at an all time high. We also got to see Charles Dance's excellent portrayal of Ian Fleming in the resourceful, underrated TV biopic, Goldeneye. But it became a cruel summer with the subsequent relative financial disappointment of LTK. It was a bitter pill. The outer darkness of 6 years, unimaginable: especially as I read a Hollywood Reporter piece announcing Dalton Bonds for 1991 and 1993. I got to meet Cubby and Dana Broccoli at the taping of the Wogan chat show (and saw Dalton, Davi, Soto live).

I attended the hoopla outside the premiere and got reacquainted with someone I had met at the TLD premiere. However, I watched the proceedings in the painful knowledge that I had had a premiere ticket which, after much deliberation, I had to give away as I had an important exam the next day. The person I gave it to much later made me his best man at his wedding - were the two events related? He was underwhelmed by the new Gardner too, dubbing it "Win, Lose or Have a Cup Of Tea" - which is how I now think of it! Also, the founder of an early Bond website stayed with me that summer and later sent me an inscribed airport paperback of WLOD (which I still have). I'm still friends with these three people today.

It was the summer of the opening weekend with Batman 1, Lethal Weapon 2, Ghostbusters 2, Indy 3, et al, busting records and Star Trek 5 and James Bond 16, sadly not. It was the summer of movie magazines: the first issue of Empire (which had a great Bond music article) and the superior Premiere. It was the summer that galvanized my future career path. I worked as in intern with some movie industry legends. Here I met Mel Gibson, made tea for Ridley Scott and joked with the founders of Working Title. I started reading the Trades - my future may yet be in them...

#6 Jim


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Posted 23 October 2007 - 07:11 AM

I was 16.

Do I win