Not too bad. Quite entertaining. Although I get the vibe from the book that it's more of a "Bond Greatest Hits" than a straightforward Bond novel if you follow me. The overall story was good enough - but felt more of an excuse to shoehorn classic Bondian moments in than to try and tell a story. I guess the same could be said for a lot of the continuation novels.
The characters of Mathis and Leiter were used well in their capacity - but back to the "Greatest Hits" analogy - they were more traditional representations of the character rather than flesh and blood incarnations. Same with M, Moneypenny and Bond himself for that matter.
Gorner was too much of a bug eyed loon to really take seriously as a villain but I'll give him this: he sure was fun! Although one particular passage where he explains how he "entertains" his workforce I found a little distasteful. I did enjoy the sequence where he had Our Man and Scarlett hostage. Also - the penultimate action sequence on the plane was also enjoyable.
Chagrin was a fun henchman although more could have been done with him I feel.
The good thing is - this being a "Bond Greatest Hits" and everything - Faulks wisely chose from the best. There were throwbacks to From Russia With Love (the business on the train), Casino Royale and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (the way Our Man lets his guard down and allows himself to have feelings for his leading lady), Goldfinger and - somewhat surprisingly John Gardner's Licence Renewed (the aforementioned business on the plane).
I didn't like the twist behind the Scarlett and Poppy characters. Too underwritten for a start - and when the big twist came - it made no difference to the overall story whatsoever. It was kind of dumb - and it's difficult to believe Our Man would not see through it.
The front cover of the book proudly states that Sebastian Faulks is "Writing as Ian Fleming". A tad over optimistic I feel. I should say that "Sebastian Faulks is writing as any other Bond continuation author". He obviously is very very talented -but one gets the feeling that all the continuation authors are reigned in by a set of unwieldy guidelines and blocked dams that they may not traverse.
Until the powers that be at IFP lift certain restrictions - and allow an author to take the "next step" the Fleming would have done had he lived... these books will be no more than "above average holiday pool-side reads".
Thanks for reading.
Edited by ChickenStu, 14 July 2014 - 06:53 PM.