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'Devil May Care' After Action Reports


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Poll: 'Devil May Care' After Action Reports

How do you rate Sebastian Faulks' centenary novel?

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#421 Genrewriter

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 02:35 AM

Just finished reading it. Not bad at all, though the story lags a bit after the fight on the plane. Apart from that, it moves very nicely and and feels like a Bond novel. Good stuff.

#422 Ducki

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 12:42 PM

I must confess I am a fan of the films. Devil May Care was the first Bond novel i read and I LOVED it. The literary Bond is so much better than the film Bond. The book kept me enthralled and I quite enjoyed the idea of an aged Bond. I must say though, Bond in his forties (or thereabouts in the novel) and Scarlett round 30ish is a little uncomfortable. Great book though, 5 stars B)

#423 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 03:49 PM

I can remember 2006 well. I was 29 and it was the first time I read Casino Royale and the subsequent books due to the frenzy of Daniel Craig playing Bond. I had been a fan for many years, just not very hardcore until I read Ian Fleming’s books. I remember being fascinated in him and loved every single word he wrote in every book. There was not one I could pick fault with. When I first learned that there had been continuation novels I was, at that time, amazed. It was all new to me. Amis did a brilliant job with Colonel Sun but I struggled with Gardner (Eventually got through the first one, enjoyed it, but didn’t fancy the rest). It was a little while after I read Flemings books I joined these forums to find out more and rub shoulders with other fans. Most of them being commando hardcore. I mean really really hardcore. Bite your head off and spit it out sort of hardcore. So hardcore in fact that I question the fact I have any balls hardcore. You get my point.

James Bond To Return In 'Devil May Care' By Sebastian Faulks, I can recall the headline and countdown timer on Commanderbond.net for the release of Devil May Care. Everyday I would look at that timer. I was very excited as this was going to be the first continuation novel for me as a new literary Bond fan. More pleasing to me was the prospect of it being set in the original time frame. The countdown timer ticking along with my ever clicking mouse on CBN. I tried to find out about signed copies, imagine a personal signed copy! I got information back from Ian Fleming Publications politely telling me 1000 copies have gone to independent bookshops but provided me with no actual names. And also would I mind kindly leaving them alone. I got lucky in the end only due to my searching the internet. But at the time I did think they are not really interested in fans of Bond. Or at least me. I eventually got the message in the end and packed up my sleeping bag from the doorway of there offices and made my way home.

Release day came and I read my copy of Devil May Care and I loved it. Really loved it, and thought a good job was done by Faulks. Then the reviews started to come in on CBN and I thought “bugger”. It seemed generally to have gone down as well as syphilis in a brothel. No one seemed to like it much here. Or at least the ones that did like it were mostly keeping silent. Some were out raged and others just cheesed off. I started to question myself. Can I actually read? Christ, I even thought I had read the wrong book so checked. No, it was by Faulks. So what did he do that was so wrong? We all know James Bond has a formula and with the books a continuation author is working with very tight shackles on. But let’s not forget there was even outcry when Ian Fleming wrote The Spy Who Loved Me back in the day. If the creator of Bond can’t experiment with him then how can a continuation author ever dream of attempting it with out being hung, drawn and quartered? You’re best to stick to the formula which in itself is very restricting. Ian Fleming Publications wanted Faulks far more than he wanted them. I had never read his other books but when it was reported that it took six weeks to write I did wonder if he was taking it seriously? Did it really just take him six weeks or was it bravado on the talented writer’s side as this was just beneath him? Faulks is an accomplished writer and some say the finest of our time. But I couldn’t help seeing him standing with the ghosts of Ann Fleming and her snobby literally friends laughing at Fleming on that demoralizing night when Fleming returned home to find them picking his work to pieces. And this looking back and reflection is just me trying to understand it all. Trying to make some sense of it in my own mind and be at peace with the reasons why Faulks wrote Devil May Care. He selected Moonraker as one of his top 40 books of all time. When I told my Dad it took Faulks six weeks to write Devil May Care he just said “He knew what he wanted to write” Most authors make the odd mistake so any that were in Devil May Care can be forgiven. Faulks never said he was going to “write a spy novel to end all spy novels”. In fact he made no promises. Maybe the anger that so many have for Faulks should be directed at the Directors of Ian Fleming Publications. It was them after all who wined and dined Mr. Faulks begging him to write the book. And his name certainly helped them shift books.

I urge you to read Birdsong. After reading Birdsong I can honestly say it’s the finest, most accomplished novel I have ever read. Faulks is one of the greatest writers of our time. Birdsong is a breathtaking, thought provoking novel that brings the horrors of war to life. And it only took him around six months to write this masterpiece because he knew what he wanted to write. I finished the book being grateful I have not had to live through a world war. Grateful for the life I have around me and grateful to my ancestors for what they endured and fought for during the Great War. My Great Great Uncle lost his life to this war and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial. In reading Birdsong I have a more graphic idea of the unnatural war he had to endure for which I am very grateful. Reading Birdsong helps put life in to perspective for me and maybe Devil May Care really, just really isn’t that bad, from my point of view anyway

#424 Gobi-1

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 08:14 AM

I had bought DMC back in 2008 when it came out and had read the first 100 pages or so when I set it down to do other things and never got around to picking it back up. Well I just finished reading the book this weekend and I agree with the majority who found it decent and gave it a 3/5.

Spoiler


Devil May Care has A LOT of missed opportunities but for some reason I didn't care. It was a new James Bond adventure and that was more then enough for me.

#425 terminus

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:17 PM

Began reading last night when I was sat up with an upset tummy and it was the closest book at hand. Skimming this thread, am rather surprised to see the dislike directed at the novel and Faulks - it really isn't as bad a novel as people have made out. I'm rather enjoying it.

#426 zencat

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:41 PM

Terminus, I am with you. I really don't understand amount of vitriol directed at DMC. It is NOT a bad Bond book. Now, I'm not saying it's great. I think it needed more thought and work and I'm not sure the mimicking of Fleming was the way to go. I don't think Faulks took it seriously and it shows. But, considering that he didn't take it seriously, admitted that he dashed it off in 6 weeks, and clearly feels he's above the genre (and he is), I'm rather amazed at how much he got right. I love the locations, the villain's monkey paw, the tennis match, the Caspian Sea Monster, the trek across Russia, the paddle boat, the underwater action...hey, it's a solid continuation novel and a very fast and breezy read. Could have been better with another pass. Could have been excellent with a year's worth of work. But I'm not dwelling on the what could have been. I'm accepting what there is, and what there is works just fine.

#427 terminus

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 06:15 PM

Yup. Part of picking it up was to get myself back in the mood for Project X. Got Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command to traverse next.

#428 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 07:44 PM

I still think that the wrote it in 6 weeks comment was bravado on Faulk's part. But he didn't seem to take it very serious. Ok we haven't even got a sniff of what Deaver has done yet, but he seems respectful and very serious in his approach. I get that just from the video clips.

#429 Double-Oh Agent

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:36 PM

Terminus, I am with you. I really don't understand amount of vitriol directed at DMC. It is NOT a bad Bond book. Now, I'm not saying it's great. I think it needed more thought and work and I'm not sure the mimicking of Fleming was the way to go. I don't think Faulks took it seriously and it shows. But, considering that he didn't take it seriously, admitted that he dashed it off in 6 weeks, and clearly feels he's above the genre (and he is), I'm rather amazed at how much he got right. I love the locations, the villain's monkey paw, the tennis match, the Caspian Sea Monster, the trek across Russia, the paddle boat, the underwater action...hey, it's a solid continuation novel and a very fast and breezy read. Could have been better with another pass. Could have been excellent with a year's worth of work. But I'm not dwelling on the what could have been. I'm accepting what there is, and what there is works just fine.

Zen, I don't hate Devil May Care (for the record I gave it a 3 out of 5) but the whole does not equal the sum of its parts. There are some really good ideas in it and some good characters which you point out, but there are also some poor decisions and execution from Sebastian Faulks that ultimately take away from the good stuff--all of which really become apparent after one has read the book and reflected upon it.

While reading DMC, I did enjoy the experience, particularly the first two-thirds of the book, although I really didn't like how Faulks portrayed Rene Mathis and Felix Leiter and basically showed an anti-American slant. The other really big negative is the villain's back story and motives for doing what he did. What we're led to believe for the first two-thirds of the story is very believable and good but when we're eventually told that those were not really the case it all falls down like a house of cards and is like a slap in the face to Bond fans. These are the two or three major things that bring DMC down for me and leave a bad aftertaste in my mouth. While I think the Ekranoplan and some other things were underused/underdeveloped and would have loved to have read more of them and seen them highlighted further, they aren't deal breakers for me, not like the Mathis, Leiter, anti-Americanism, and villain's motives were.

Consequently, all of these nagging little things has Faulks giving the impression that he didn't take the gig seriously and that Bond is beneath him, which undoubtedly and understandably sours fans and, if one is on the fence regarding DMC, tips the scales against both him and the book.

I agree with a lot of what you said zen, but DMC is largely a missed opportunity. The Devil May Care but Faulks apparently didn't--at least not enough.

#430 terminus

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:29 AM

I've not noticed any anti-Americanism? Care to give me some examples to look out for?!

#431 Double-Oh Agent

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:00 AM

Primarily by making the U.S. government so pro-war that they are willing (through a key player) to do unscrupulous things and allow unscrupulous things that will further their ends while at the same time luring the British into joining them in Vietnam. Basically, it seems to serve as an outlet for Faulks' personal view regarding the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

#432 terminus

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:10 PM

Hmmmm. I haven't picked up on that, so will keep an eye out for it here on in.

#433 Double-Oh Agent

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 10:50 PM

Well, it really comes out toward the end and the stupid thing is it is completely superfluous to the plot. It could have been completely excised from the novel and it wouldn't have affected the storyline one iota.

#434 Capt. Sticky

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 03:29 AM

OK, I went through all 14 Fleming books, then this, then Gardner's _Coldfalll_.

I loved Devil May Care. I thought it followed the Bond formula quite well, and more importantly it executed the formula in such a manner that I really felt like I was reading the 15th Bond book (Colonel Sun is waiting for me).

-Loved that it took place in the 60's
-Loved the Persian Location
-Thought the villain was good; the deformity with the bad guys is a theme, and it didn't seem silly to me. Gorner did seem a bit too much like Hugo Drax to me though, and Drax is a villain I didn't care for. Still, not bad.
-Thought the goon was awesome! Creeeeeepy! A+
-The the Bond girl(s) were pretty good. I could have used a little more characterization and I saw some problems with their story, but could have been much worse.
-I think it missed out on the ending. The spectacular ending happened about 50 pages before the end of the book, but we still hadn't wrapped up all the loose ends. As he wrapped them up, it seemed to drag just a bit.

Reading the Gardner book afterwards really make me appreciate "the Fleming Sweep" and the choice not to keep Bond in contemporary times. To his credit, Faulk's writing was so well done that I felt like I was reading a novel written in the 60's, rather than a 21st century novel written about the 60's.

#435 zencat

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 03:08 PM

Nice report, Capt. Sticky. I also enjoyed DMC. :tup:

#436 OmarB

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 04:11 PM

Terminus, I am with you. I really don't understand amount of vitriol directed at DMC. It is NOT a bad Bond book. Now, I'm not saying it's great. I think it needed more thought and work and I'm not sure the mimicking of Fleming was the way to go. I don't think Faulks took it seriously and it shows. But, considering that he didn't take it seriously, admitted that he dashed it off in 6 weeks, and clearly feels he's above the genre (and he is), I'm rather amazed at how much he got right. I love the locations, the villain's monkey paw, the tennis match, the Caspian Sea Monster, the trek across Russia, the paddle boat, the underwater action...hey, it's a solid continuation novel and a very fast and breezy read. Could have been better with another pass. Could have been excellent with a year's worth of work. But I'm not dwelling on the what could have been. I'm accepting what there is, and what there is works just fine.


I understand what you are getting at. My problem with the book is this constant literary bravado by Sabastian that he dashed it off in 6 weeks. Because it reads just like that, a hurry job. It is not of the quality anyone expected frankly and for his illustrious resume and the way he talks about it is as if it was less important and less worthy of his time.

He may have seen the project as beneath him from a writing standpoint, but he surely loved it from a prestige standpoint ... yet he made effort to let the readers know how little he cared for the project.

A writer talking like he did on serial novels like a Mack Bolan or Remo Williams or tie-in novel would not bother me as much as it did from Sabastian.

The book was not bad, but it was not great and could have been great if the author cared.

#437 seawolfnyy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:30 AM

Eh the book was good, not great. Nothing memorable about it, but a fun read while it lasted. I may read it again after I've finished re-reading all of the Fleming novels.



#438 S K Y F A L L

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:29 AM

Just picked up a copy the other day but probably wont get to it for a while...






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