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Do you think Jeffrey Deaver did Bond justice?


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#1 chileanoperative

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 06:18 PM

When it comes to Deavers Bond, the reboot to Flemings character is well done, and the existence of the ODG could

very well be something that exists in the modern world. His professionalism and his love for automobiles comes

through as well, but soemthing about Bond seemed quite off. I think Deaver became a little too concerned with

political correctness when it came to Bonds treating of women. James Bond is a tad misogenist, which can work in

this world,and gives him part of his charm, and he wouldnt take that much crap unnecessarily from Jordaan in

Cape town. Bond is a professional, and it is not sexist to consider the fact that men are better at certain jobs

than women. Now before having the feminist brigade thrown on me, I consider Bonds treatment towards Ophelia

Maidenstone to have been correct, respecting her as a professional and also as a woman. In Flemings novels, Bond

was very protective and sensitive with the women he was with, and this was portrayed well by Deaver (although a

little to excess at some points, Bonds pining sometimes reminded me of the modern sensitive male). I personally

think that James Bond of 2011 was well done, but could improve in some points. But considering the reviews of

Carte Blanche and the particularly enjoyable read this book has been, I say James Bond has successfully

returned, my hero rebooted to 2011. (Im 19 bytheway lol). What do you guys think?

#2 MuppetFeet

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 07:30 PM

I think Deaver’s interpretation of Bond in the modern era was exactly what the series needed. I think you hit the high points. I liked seeing that Bond was again Commander Bond, RN Reserve and the inclusion of the Global War on Terrorism in the other character’s backgrounds. I also thought the use of the iQPhone was genius, especially when you read about the US Army moving forward with a similar idea.

#3 Loomis

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:01 PM

Did Deaver do Bond justice? Definitely not. His 007 is too bland and too, well, nice. There are no echoes of the character Fleming created (in spite of all the embarrassing shoehorning-in of Fleming characters like Leiter, Mathis and Ronnie Vallance).

Now, Deaver's Bond is probably more realistic than that of any of the other continuation novelists (the best thing about CARTE BLANCHE is its wealth of convincing espionage tradecraft detail), but that doesn't make him interesting. He still needs to be brought to life with deft characterisation, but Deaver gives us none of this. The character has no charisma, no edge, and nothing to make us care about him or want to read about his adventures. He's Bond in name only.

#4 Jim

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 05:16 AM

Agreed - he's all a bit bright and shiny and keen and super and clever and clean.

Accordingly, dull.

Although he may have been set up that way to be torn apart or down in any subsequent books, I suppose.

#5 Jump James

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 06:03 AM

No I didn't feel he did Bond justice. It's the first Bond that didn't feel like Bond. More Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Edited due to typo with iQute phone.

Edited by Jump James, 24 June 2011 - 08:42 AM.


#6 David Schofield

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:54 AM

No, Deaver didn't. For all the reasons so eruditely stated above.

Deaver has turned James Bond into James Bland, and doesn't even seem to have noticed.

Unfortunately, I can't really blame him, and its part of the reason I am not as hard on CARTE BLANCHE as some others - after all, what were we really expecting from Deaver, could we have expected any better than what we got? No.

#7 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:35 AM

I don't agree that we couldn't have expected any more from Deaver. The man is obviously a fairly hardcore literary Bond fan and really knows his stuff about the character and about Fleming. Going by his intro to the recent CASINO ROYALE reprint, and also by other things he's written about Bond, I'd say that his knowledge and enthusiasm even rivals that of Benson. Indeed, I was quite surprised by just how clued-up about Bond and well-versed in Fleming he seems. He certainly never came across to me as just another American mainstream thriller writer who'd barely even heard of Bond - quite the reverse.

So his handling of the character came as a great disappointment to me, for I was expecting much, much better. Similarly, Deaver's reputation (and sales) in the thriller game had led me to expect that CARTE BLANCHE would be an unputdownably gripping rollercoaster ride plotted with fiendish cleverness. I was expecting it to have by far the most exciting story of any of the Bond novels (the Flemings included). Again, though, I was disappointed.

#8 David Schofield

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:42 AM

I don't agree that we couldn't have expected any more from Deaver. The man is obviously a fairly hardcore literary Bond fan and really knows his stuff about the character and about Fleming. Going by his intro to the recent CASINO ROYALE reprint, and also by other things he's written about Bond, I'd say that his knowledge and enthusiasm even rivals that of Benson. Indeed, I was quite surprised by just how clued-up about Bond and well-versed in Fleming he seems. He certainly never came across to me as just another American mainstream thriller writer who'd barely even heard of Bond - quite the reverse.

So his handling of the character came as a great disappointment to me, for I was expecting much, much better. Similarly, Deaver's reputation (and sales) in the thriller game had led me to expect that CARTE BLANCHE would be an unputdownably gripping rollercoaster ride plotted with fiendish cleverness. I was expecting it to have by far the most exciting story of any of the Bond novels (the Flemings included). Again, though, I was disappointed.


Not sure what Deaver's knowledge and appreciation of Fleming really counts for when I never expected Deaver to have the courage to lift Fleming's Bond straight from 50s, minus the obvious things like smoking, etc.

Deaver's intention was always clearly to re-invent Bond as a 2011 new man. The fact that that neutered Bond doesn't seem to have occured to Deaver, rendered him - as you say - Bond in name only. But at least Deaver made it clear well in advance what he was going to give us, however disappointing that may have been.

Indeed, I suspect it was part of Deaver's Ts & Cs that he was allowed to remodel Bond and didn't have to work with Fleming's creation, for all his apparent love of Fleming. Obviously, that didn't preclude a totally rebooted Bond story including an endless checklist of Fleming characters, curiously.

Simply, Deaver (or IFP) didn't have the courage to use Fleming's model, but I never expected otherwise, sadly.

#9 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:01 AM

But I don't think he needed to lift Bond straight from the 1950s. I think you can have a new spin on the character, a young man in 2011 (and even a nonsmoker), that still carries strong echoes of Fleming's creation. A "James Bond" that still has the spirit of Fleming. And I wanted Deaver to reboot 007 and make him his own, but also to (somehow) carry that FlemingBond DNA.

Of course, such a blend would hardly be easy. Indeed, it would be an extremely tall order. But that's what I expected from a well-paid pro like Deaver.

#10 Jim

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:07 AM

I wonder if he could have made more of the "having served in Afghanistan" thing to give his Bond a bit more of a melancholy edge.

Reading that back it looks a bit tasteless, given that it's all too real and tragic, sorry. Perhaps he didn't, deliberately (but then why suggest this background at all?)

#11 David Schofield

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:09 AM

But I don't think he needed to lift Bond straight from the 1950s. I think you can have a new spin on the character, a young man in 2011 (and even a nonsmoker), that still carries strong echoes of Fleming's creation. A "James Bond" that still has the spirit of Fleming. And I wanted Deaver to reboot 007 and make him his own, but also to (somehow) carry that FlemingBond DNA.

Of course, such a blend would hardly be easy. Indeed, it would be an extremely tall order. But that's what I expected from a well-paid pro like Deaver.


Agree on all that but the final bit about Deaver, though I think you must at least take inspiration from the 50s Bond even if you are not lifting him lock-stock.

But I'm sorry, well-paid pro or otherwise, huge Fleming fan or not, at no time did Deaver's oeuvre or writing convince me he had the balls to do what you describe. Though I conceed what you hoped for is what you and I and most Fleming fans had at least expected to be attempted.

#12 Jim

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:14 AM

Selling by the bucketload, though.

Is a character "like" the Fleming Bond too extreme now? Not so much the external traits such as the deathly smoking debate, but the tendency towards lethargy and boredom and capcity for mucking up and just fighting his way out etc etc

Maybe 2011 gets the Bond it deserves.

#13 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:22 AM

I think you must at least take inspiration from the 50s Bond even if you are not lifting him lock-stock.


No, I do fully agree with you there. What I wanted from Deaver was a young Afghanistan veteran who didn't know one end of a cigarette from the other and would give a puzzled frown if you mentioned the word "Benzedrine", but who would nonetheless have the same personality and "damaged goods" [©Quantum of Solace, 2008] quality of the man from the Fleming novels. The same man-of-the-worldness, the same rigid and often highly questionable views, the same snobbery, the same dark edge, etc.

I know, I know, this is a hugely tall order, but it's what I'd expect of someone like Deaver, a well-rewarded novelist who's been around the block a few times (and not only that but also someone who seems to present himself as a Fleming fiend). Heck, there are some CBners who've managed to get a heck of a lot closer than Deaver with their Bond fanfics set in the modern world - clinkeroo springs to mind.

Is a character "like" the Fleming Bond too extreme now? Not so much the external traits such as the deathly smoking debate, but the tendency towards lethargy and boredom and capcity for mucking up and just fighting his way out etc etc


Why would it be? After all, that's precisely the Bond that Eon and Daniel Craig are currently serving up. It's funny, perhaps, to consider that Bond With An Edge™ is currently to be found in "the movies", whereas the literary series can only offer James Bland.

#14 ACE

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:24 AM

I think Carte Blanche is up to the standards of previous, contemporary Continuation Bond novelists, John Gardner and Raymond Benson. And I agree, Loomis, there may well be some promising novelists on these boards.

#15 David Schofield

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:26 AM

Selling by the bucketload, though.

Is a character "like" the Fleming Bond too extreme now? Not so much the external traits such as the deathly smoking debate, but the tendency towards lethargy and boredom and capcity for mucking up and just fighting his way out etc etc

Maybe 2011 gets the Bond it deserves.


Yes on all counts, I guess. But that's the problem with the free market economy.

#16 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:38 AM

I think Carte Blanche is up to the standards of previous, contemporary Continuation Bond novelists, John Gardner and Raymond Benson.


Well, I think Benson bettered CARTE BLANCHE by miles on at least a couple of occasions, both in terms of his handling of Bond and in terms of crafting a good story - and I may well end up saying the same of Gardner once I've waded through more of his works (to date I've read only his first three, but I'm looking forward to tucking into the forthcoming reissues).

But in any case, to quote Blofeld in THUNDERBALL (Eon): my expectations of Deaver were considerably higher.

#17 ACE

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:49 AM

But in any case, to quote Blofeld in THUNDERBALL (Eon): my expectations of Deaver were considerably higher.

LOL. But there lies the rub.

Wasn't that the case with Devil May Care?

We all got fooled into thinking we were going to get writing like Amis, Pearson and Wood (who all could have had "writing as Ian Fleming" daubed onto their Richard Chopping* covers).

"Writing as Ian Fleming" could never have meant, literally, that. All it was was billing matter, marketing hype. Bond books sold, in large quantities (at least in the UK). The Bond literary brand was restored and, hopefully, Deaver will do for 007 in the US what Faulks failed to do.

It was a thrill for me to see LitBond take centre stage for a bit. It's thrill for me to see people - "civilians" - reading Bond. It means people will revert to Fleming at some point and that we may have a chance of another truly great Bond novel in the future, provided the literary brand is kept alive. It's about hope, not hype.

I just think modern publishing and the need to sell books outside a hardcore of LitBond fans means those in their Fleming foxholes will ALWAYS be unsatisfied. I suppose some are doomed to keep bumping their head on the goldfish bowl of disappointment.

BTW, in my experience, a surprisingly large number of critics and the literati (and Bond fans!) have never actually read a single Fleming book - let alone any, if ALL, the continuation books. A surprisingly large number rely on the inaccurate Wikipedia digests which can pollute opinions and arguments.

However, if one just accepts that from 1981 onwards, LitBond is a different thing, disappointment can be tempered. As difficult as it is to accept, the cod Fleming on these boards (good as it is) is perceived to unpublishable in today's market. The bottom is falling out of the publishing world which, like all entertainment industries, remains a precarious profession where, for all the focus groups, research and bribing of buyers, NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING. Not fair, I know, but just the way it is.

If more realistic expectations would be brought to bear on any LitBond endeavour, we may be less disappointed. We'd read Lee Child writing as John Gardner writing as Ian Fleming writing as Sapper, expecting enjoyment and finding it. If one goes into new LitBond with arms folded, harumpfing the demise of Ian Fleming, yet again, it will always lead to the same, rather redundant conclusion.



*(yes, I know they did not have Chopping covers! But in my mind, every Bond book would have!)

#18 Jump James

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 11:15 AM

Nice sum up ACE. You hit the nail on the head.

#19 OmarB

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 11:43 AM

I certainly think he did a great job in his portrayal of Bond. But then again, Deaver's works have never been that deep on hero-development. He writes for the most part in 3rd person and I'm a huge 3rd person fan, his villains are usually better fleshed out, his main series characters get more real as the books pile up. So in effect, a little like Fleming.

But as I said in the other thread, this is like a pilot for a series. Now that the foundation has been put down, the series bible as it were has been created, I'm sure they can get an author more adept at filling out a hero's personal life. Like Gayle Lynds.

#20 Jump James

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:08 PM

The time scale he was given to write must play a factor. He pops two books out a year. Last year it was The Burning Wire and Edge. Might be three this year including Carte Blanche.

#21 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 01:30 PM

hopefully, Deaver will do for 007 in the US what Faulks failed to do.


Is there any sign of this? Do you have any idea of the Stateside sales figures?

It's thrill for me to see people - "civilians" - reading Bond.


I've yet to see any civilians reading Bond, even Fleming. *sigh* Perhaps I move in the wrong circles.

I just think modern publishing and the need to sell books outside a hardcore of LitBond fans means those in their Fleming foxholes will ALWAYS be unsatisfied. I suppose some are doomed to keep bumping their head on the goldfish bowl of disappointment.


No one's calling for Fleming-foxhole dwellers to be pandered to, though. Indeed, probably the biggest criticism of CARTE BLANCHE on CBn has been its inelegant and gratuitious shoehorning-in of box-ticking Fleming elements and characters (Leiter, May the housekeeper and so forth).

Most people's gripes with CARTE BLANCHE don't seem to revolve around Deaver's handling of Bond (poor though it is) or the book's lack of Flemingian flavour. Most people who are disappointed with it are disappointed because they don't consider it to be a good read on its own terms.

Unless one merely demands a novel with James Bond in it (and there are fans who are satisfied with just that, and there's nothing wrong with that), it's on things like story, characterisation, originality, surprises and excitement that a book like CARTE BLANCHE stands or falls, and for The Haters™ it just doesn't cut it in those departments. Ultimately, that's why it's a letdown (for those of us who view it as a letdown, that is).

If one goes into new LitBond with arms folded, harumpfing the demise of Ian Fleming, yet again, it will always lead to the same, rather redundant conclusion.


You're absolutely right, but I don't think anyone on CBn was doing that prior to the release of CARTE BLANCHE. There was a lot of optimism and openmindedness on this forum. No one was saying "Well, it won't approach Fleming, of course", or "You can't have an American writing Bond", etc. Not as far as I can remember, anyway.

I do know where you're coming from re: how nice it is to see LitBond back in the spotlight, a new novel in bookshops, etc., but surely quality must come before quantity? I mean, I often wish that The Stone Roses had stayed together, but I guess that if they'd done so they'd merely have released a string of increasingly unremarkable albums and would today have about as much magic as U2. As things stand, their legacy remains untarnished (well, mostly). ;)

#22 ACE

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 01:49 PM

I do know where you're coming from re: how nice it is to see LitBond back in the spotlight, a new novel in bookshops, etc., but surely quality must come before quantity? I mean, I often wish that The Stone Roses had stayed together, but I guess that if they'd done so they'd merely have released a string of increasingly unremarkable albums and would today have about as much magic as U2. As things stand, their legacy remains untarnished (well, mostly). ;)

This is the point, of course.
Is one accepting of long term, median standard of a slew of Oasis reccuds or does want the bright, nova-flame of Squire, Brown, Reni and Mani trading as The Stone Roses* (where John Squire = Richard Chopping)?
Well, I never cared for TSR and, by comparison, Oasis were my cup of tea any day.
Let's face it, we can mourn until Equator crawls to Capricorn but there'll never be another Beatles.
So, until that day, Oasis Beady Eye will have to fookin' do, awright our lad.
"Amateurs, amateurs..."



* I love your line in The Stone Roo7ses analogies, Loomis!

#23 Dustin

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 03:12 PM


I think you must at least take inspiration from the 50s Bond even if you are not lifting him lock-stock.


No, I do fully agree with you there. What I wanted from Deaver was a young Afghanistan veteran who didn't know one end of a cigarette from the other and would give a puzzled frown if you mentioned the word "Benzedrine", but who would nonetheless have the same personality and "damaged goods" [©Quantum of Solace, 2008] quality of the man from the Fleming novels. The same man-of-the-worldness, the same rigid and often highly questionable views, the same snobbery, the same dark edge, etc.

I know, I know, this is a hugely tall order, but it's what I'd expect of someone like Deaver, a well-rewarded novelist who's been around the block a few times (and not only that but also someone who seems to present himself as a Fleming fiend). Heck, there are some CBners who've managed to get a heck of a lot closer than Deaver with their Bond fanfics set in the modern world - clinkeroo springs to mind.



Gradually I'm arriving at the suspicion that it's equally important for a writer taking on a continuation to be familiar with Kingsley Amis's James Bond Dossier. Amis analyses several elements of the literary Bond and gives a number of clues as to why Fleming and his creation are so hugely attractive to readers and how Fleming played this trick. His main thesis is that Bond, while undoubtedly a heroic character, on each page and within each seperate chapter basically stays not too far removed from the average. Fleming uses a careful balance in the originals that makes Bond never seem larger-than-life or a superhero. Numerous examples illustrate this:

-Bond is the best shot in the Secret Service but he can't beat the arms instructor
-Bond is a tough and relentless fighter in close-quarters, yet he's not looking forward to being thrown around by the commando type who does the training session on Tuesdays
-Bond is a seasoned driver who enjoys driving fast, but he's entirely an amateur (albeit once having 'dabbled on the fringe of the racing world')

And so on. There's a wealth of talents mentioned in the books but each single one is presented in a way that keeps Bond just this side of the fantastic and superhuman. In my opinion Carte Blanche here makes the mistake to present us with an operator who is in each respect so perfect that the ingenius way of describing the ubermensch Bond as if he were average never comes into play. Given some of the more glowing reviews I suspect many readers want just this from their Bond experience, so it's probably exactly what the market expected. It's just not possible for me to enjoy this kind of Bond writing the same way I enjoy the originals.



Is a character "like" the Fleming Bond too extreme now? Not so much the external traits such as the deathly smoking debate, but the tendency towards lethargy and boredom and capcity for mucking up and just fighting his way out etc etc


Why would it be? After all, that's precisely the Bond that Eon and Daniel Craig are currently serving up. It's funny, perhaps, to consider that Bond With An Edge™ is currently to be found in "the movies", whereas the literary series can only offer James Bland.



One crucial question I miss here is Bond's motivation. We've had a discussion recently here about the motivation of the modern film-Bond and I feel that is a thing Carte Blanche - surprisingly - doesn't touch at all.

First of all I think the Bond of Casino Royale may not have had the same background as the one mentioned in YOLT. Despite being the same Bond I suspect Fleming as much grew into Bond as Bond grew into him over the years. In this way Bond's background became ever more detailed with the passage of time until the fictional YOLT-obituary in The Times took shape. Nonetheless it seems a fair assumption that Bond's basic incentive and motives haven't changed as such but merely adjusted to the time Fleming envisaged him.

This obituary states that Bond volunteered at 1941 (let's forget about FRWL's obviously false SMERSH intelligence claiming Bond entered the Service in 1938) and I think this is a crucial detail that reflects more of Bond's character than the bare facts suggest. 1941 was the height of World War II and the fate of countless nations depended on the way that war would turn out. Practically nobody in Europe was unaffected by this war, nearly everybody saw its effects in one form or other, nearly everybody was connected to the war effort, either in the services in the field or at the home front. And sadly almost everybody had lost some relative, lover or friend in the war already, or would soon lose. On top of millions without shelter or home.

Bond volunteering in this situation does not in fact implicate he was a 'natural' soldier or military character (he'd have been drafted a bit later anyway). Thousands of young lads did the same, they just didn't end up with the commandos, SOE or MI6 (it's not given in the obituary where exactly Bond did end up, but a reasonable guess would be one of the above, based on his talents and languages). Throughout the Fleming books Bond always is depicted as being familiar with certain military/commando tactics, yet he never has a military - or more specific naval - air himself. Bond is a civilian who happened to serve during the war, that's it. Fleming mentioned the rank only with his third book (the original manuscript supposedly even mentions a 'Colonel Bond' instead of the 'Commander' so Fleming wasn't sure about giving Bond his own background at the start) and I believe in most of his books it's only used when Bond is introduced by M to an outsider. Bond never uses it himself if I'm not mistaken.

[Given this I'm somewhat surprised how some of the reviews of Carte Blanche praise the inflationary usage of 'Commander Bond' in the tale. It's one of the things that ring the most hollow and wrong to me. Even a modern Bond should not mutate to a twit who bothers with his rank.]

Carte Blanche now makes Bond an Afghan War veteran, thereby putting that war on a level with World War II. I think here is something missing, a vital piece of evidence as to why Bond joined and how he came to be with the Royal Naval Reserve. For evidently this time (this Bond) isn't one of thousands, but apparently a career soldier and it's not comprehensible what made him pick up this career and why he didn't stick with it. This Bond's motivation is a mystery and I would actually have preferred if he had been just recruited by the ODG from college.

One other aspect of the original Bond is his solitary character. Bond is a loner with few frieds we never see and don't believe in. If they exist they probably are Jim, Jack and Johnnie. Well, Deaver's version is surely on first name terms with them too, but he also seems to be fairly well connected and has a few buddies outside the bottle. This is something I can't believe in, a sociable Bond busily networking his way to the top of the City and chatting with some yuppie/scuppie/winder-twit about their sexual conquests or escapades.

All in all I'm afraid Deaver doesn't get top marks from me for his version of Bond as yet. I wish there was any kind of potential I could see in the character from the end of Carte Blanche onwards and Jim's suggestion that the infallible Bond could see a major and violent transformation soon seems tempting. But I'm far from convinced that the next book in the series will deliver such titbits.




No one's calling for Fleming-foxhole dwellers to be pandered to, though. Indeed, probably the biggest criticism of CARTE BLANCHE on CBn has been its inelegant and gratuitious shoehorning-in of box-ticking Fleming elements and characters (Leiter, May the housekeeper and so forth).

Most people's gripes with CARTE BLANCHE don't seem to revolve around Deaver's handling of Bond (poor though it is) or the book's lack of Flemingian flavour. Most people who are disappointed with it are disappointed because they don't consider it to be a good read on its own terms.

Unless one merely demands a novel with James Bond in it (and there are fans who are satisfied with just that, and there's nothing wrong with that), it's on things like story, characterisation, originality, surprises and excitement that a book like CARTE BLANCHE stands or falls, and for The Haters™ it just doesn't cut it in those departments. Ultimately, that's why it's a letdown (for those of us who view it as a letdown, that is).


I for one wonder why Carte Blanche absolutely had to pick up that cinema pattern of Bond with several different locales. Why not a Bond book sticking with one setting, maybe even a confined one, a Shining-like hotel in the mountains cut from the ouside by a blizzard or some such? An Antarctic island? A British submarine? A quiet Brazilian fishermen's village? An old salt mine?

Edited by Dustin, 24 June 2011 - 03:37 PM.


#24 Dustin

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 03:37 PM

EDITED

Edited by Dustin, 24 June 2011 - 03:38 PM.


#25 ACE

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:03 PM

I for one wonder why Carte Blanche absolutely had to pick up that cinema pattern of Bond with several different locales. Why not a Bond book sticking with one setting, maybe even a confined one, a Shining-like hotel in the mountains cut from the ouside by a blizzard or some such? An Antarctic island? A British submarine? A quiet Brazilian fishermen's village? An old salt mine?

Good observation, Dustin.

#26 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:34 PM

Is one accepting of long term, median standard of a slew of Oasis reccuds or does want the bright, nova-flame of Squire, Brown, Reni and Mani trading as The Stone Roses* (where John Squire = Richard Chopping)?


Give me the latter, although I do wonder whether I'm being a bit of a killjoy re: CARTE BLANCHE. For all I know, in five years, I may be looking back with nostalgia on the days when the likes of Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver gave us their lighthearted, unpretentious takes on Bond.

But there's nowt as super-critical as a Bond fanboy in the weeks following the release of new Bond product. :P

Let's face it, we can mourn until Equator crawls to Capricorn but there'll never be another Beatles.


Thank goodness for that. ;) Although who knows? JLS may yet give us their REVOLVER.

#27 Loomis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 11:38 PM

I for one wonder why Carte Blanche absolutely had to pick up that cinema pattern of Bond with several different locales. Why not a Bond book sticking with one setting, maybe even a confined one, a Shining-like hotel in the mountains cut from the ouside by a blizzard or some such? An Antarctic island? A British submarine? A quiet Brazilian fishermen's village? An old salt mine?


Unthinkable, old boy, unthinkable.

The reason, I believe, is that since the start of the Gardner era the continuation novels have been largely based on the cinematic Bond template, the idea being (presumably) to entice readers unfamiliar with Fleming (i.e. practically everybody) who came to Bond via the films as opposed to via the Fleming novels.

The thinking seems to have been: there's a huge and so far untapped market out there full of people who love the Bond films (again, i.e. practically everybody), so instead of taking them back to fusty old Fleming and his small-scale and dated so-called adventures let's give 'em - essentially - the Bond films in book form. Outrageous, globe-hopping, gadget-ridden, action-packed extravaganzas. (Credit to Deaver where it's due: he doesn't overdo the action in CARTE BLANCHE.)

The problem with this approach is that films are not novels and novels are not films. A film tickles the parts a novel can't reach, and vice-versa. Also, people who are fond of reading novels generally don't want novels to be little more than films rendered in prose. But with the Bond continuation novels, it appears that the marketing tail has been wagging the artistic dog, to an extent that one might initially assume to be even more true for the film series, but it's actually Eon Productions that has had a much better record of creative high standards and risk-taking than IFP.

I recall a wonderful book of a few years ago called THE BOND FILES, in which the authors make an observation along the lines that the continuation novels have not been fashioned to the same high standard as the films since COLONEL SUN, and it's certainly a point I'd agree with.

#28 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 06:43 AM

Did Deaver do Bond justice? Definitely not. His 007 is too bland and too, well, nice.

I think there's a bigger problem with Deaver-Bond: his success is only ever a direct result of someone else's incompetence.

#29 MkB

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 10:43 AM


Did Deaver do Bond justice? Definitely not. His 007 is too bland and too, well, nice.

I think there's a bigger problem with Deaver-Bond: his success is only ever a direct result of someone else's incompetence.


Not that I'm a defender of Carte Blanche, but isn't it a bit unfair?
Granted, DeaverBond sometimes acts in a silly way, but if memory serves, he does figure out by himself the Boots riddle, and bluffs/outwits Dunn, does some real undercover work to infiltrate Hydt's entourage, and uses cleverly Hydt's assistant to get something in that allows him to finally save the day, etc.
If anything, I'd say DeaverBond is probably cleverer than FlemingBond.

#30 ACE

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 11:17 AM


I for one wonder why Carte Blanche absolutely had to pick up that cinema pattern of Bond with several different locales. Why not a Bond book sticking with one setting, maybe even a confined one, a Shining-like hotel in the mountains cut from the ouside by a blizzard or some such? An Antarctic island? A British submarine? A quiet Brazilian fishermen's village? An old salt mine?


Unthinkable, old boy, unthinkable.

The reason, I believe, is that since the start of the Gardner era the continuation novels have been largely based on the cinematic Bond template, the idea being (presumably) to entice readers unfamiliar with Fleming (i.e. practically everybody) who came to Bond via the films as opposed to via the Fleming novels.

The thinking seems to have been: there's a huge and so far untapped market out there full of people who love the Bond films (again, i.e. practically everybody), so instead of taking them back to fusty old Fleming and his small-scale and dated so-called adventures let's give 'em - essentially - the Bond films in book form. Outrageous, globe-hopping, gadget-ridden, action-packed extravaganzas. (Credit to Deaver where it's due: he doesn't overdo the action in CARTE BLANCHE.)

The problem with this approach is that films are not novels and novels are not films. A film tickles the parts a novel can't reach, and vice-versa. Also, people who are fond of reading novels generally don't want novels to be little more than films rendered in prose. But with the Bond continuation novels, it appears that the marketing tail has been wagging the artistic dog, to an extent that one might initially assume to be even more true for the film series, but it's actually Eon Productions that has had a much better record of creative high standards and risk-taking than IFP.

I recall a wonderful book of a few years ago called THE BOND FILES, in which the authors make an observation along the lines that the continuation novels have not been fashioned to the same high standard as the films since COLONEL SUN, and it's certainly a point I'd agree with.

Fair point, Loomis. :tup:
Well you certainly are doing your best to grind out any enjoyment the casual Bond fan and reader would have of the entertaining Carte Blanche. You're like John Squire on "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!"




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