Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Carte Blanche", by Jeffery Deaver

The 37th original James Bond novel

“Carte Blanche” updates James Bond’s backstory to fit the 21st century setting and to appeal to a new generation. In Mr. Deaver’s version, James Bond was born in 1979 and is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan instead of WW11 and the Cold War as originally penned by Ian Fleming.

The story is set in mid-2011 and takes place over the course of a week. James Bond, a former Royal Naval Reserve officer, is employed within the 00 section of the Operations Branch of the Overseas Development Group, a covert operational unit of British Security.

The main plot brings the intrepid Spy to Serbia where an enforcer named Dunne is planning to derail a train carrying 300kg of methyl isocyanate with the ultimate purpose of contaminating the Danube. Of course Bond is there to save the day and at the same time the intelligence gathered leads him to a connection with Green Way International, a waste disposal consortium. Given the green light by his handlers, Bond investigates the inner workings of the company and its enigmatic leader, Severan Hydt, a man with an intense morbid fascination. Bond poses as a Durban based mercenary in order to infiltrate the company’s South Africa holdings and get close to the head man himself, Hydt. From this point on the action develops into your typical James Bond flavour, fiction on steroids, peppered with excitement and suspense. 

As in any version Bond will be Bond, while in Africa, he meets Bheka Jordaan, a colourful female police operative, who will become his strongest ally and Felicity Willing, a charity spoke person, who will charm the pants off of him. He soon finds out the alluring Felicity is a master at deception and uses her assets to benefit her own agenda……

In a sub-plot Bond looks into a KGB operation code named “Steel Cartridge”. He suspects his father was a former Cold War spy and was silenced by the Russians in a clean-up operation. He learns his mother was also linked to the trade and may have been a Soviet mole….

This novel has all the attributes of a modern fiction, short chapters, gripping action and an underlying message. The story progresses with a slow tempo, however towards the end, the writer deploys a few twists with dazzling results and I was in a nail biting mode from then on, unfortunately this was short lived. Early on the action is predictable but nevertheless entertaining. 

I like the new James Bond but prefer the satirical, dry wit operative of the Cold War version. The new Bond lacks the flamboyant panache of his predecessor. In this book, the villains have a tendency to overshadow the protagonist. They are the binding force that hold the story together.

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