Yes, it certainly has its advantages. I came along in the same year as John Gardner's Role of Honour was published. I started collecting Bond books in 1995 when I found my first Fleming novels (DN and YOLT) and the first two Gardner novels secondhand. In fact the only Gardner Bond novel I ever found new was the Coronet paperback of Never Send Flowers in 1998. It remains one of my favourites from the continuation novels and I've been lucky enough to pick up the last three Fleming Bonds in first edition thus far.
Nice set indeed…and GoldenEye & Cold have appreciated somewhat in value 😏
I’m still waiting for my copy of With A Mind To Kill yet…I’ve two different copies on order, but I’m in no rush 🙂
I am at a serious disadvantage there, as I only started buying new Bond books with Devil May Care.
However, I've managed to acquire very nice Jonathan Cape hardbacks of the first 5 Gardner novels. Still hoping to stumble across the later ones on my travels through used book shops. My local library had Seafire and Cold in hardback when I was a kid. I wish I'd pinched them! I've never come across any of the Bensons in hardback in South Africa.
As for the new book, I've got it on order but it will probably be 3 weeks or so before I get it. Unfortunately new books rarely come out in hardback form here, so I'm always having to order new books from abroad because I do try and stick to hardcovers when buying new fiction by my favourite authors.
can folks with the Special Edition tell us anything about Bond Goes To Jail? plot or format? how many pages?
I hope this rarity "circulates" online, I still havent seen the Fleming bonus content from the last book. These Editions do not show up in Canadian bookstores, its annoying theres actual newly released Fleming materiel but most of the word does not have a chance to see it.
Finished With a Mind to Kill. Really enjoyed it. Probably my favorite of the Horowitz Bonds. It felt to me like an ending to the series that Fleming might’ve written.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I would like to see IFP return to a contemporary setting for the next book. I think this book gives them a nice opening to do that. Not sure what more can be said for vintage Bond.
I’ve just finished reading With a Mind to Kill, and I found it a really enjoyable, fast-paced read. My thoughts below...I don't think there's really anything that I'd call a spoiler in my review, but I suppose it's worth cautioning all the same in case you don't want to know anything about the plot.
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Following on from the events of TMWTGG, M’s death is faked and Bond is sent back to the USSR in a ruse where British intelligence hope to use Bond - supposedly still brainwashed - to uncover and foil the plans of a new Russian organisation known as Stalnaya Ruka. Bond being sent over to the other side had slight echoes of The Spy Who Came in From The Cold to me - even reinforced by the presence of a Stasi character called Mundt in the book. There are also some returning characters from the Fleming works, such as General Grubozaboyshikov, whose mouthful of a name I have always loved. I think Horowitz does quite a good job of capturing some of Fleming's knack for vivid description, especially with short, but very visual sentences…such as early on where he describes the way that a Russian spy speaks with bulbous lips and words spat out like grape pips. There was also a description of dawn in London that I found particularly evocative.
The novel is structured in 3 parts, named for the locations where each of these is set. London, Moscow and Berlin. The London section has quite an action scene that takes place around Tower Bridge, and on the Thames. I found this an exciting way to lead us into the next section of the novel, where things move behind the iron curtain. And Horowitz uses the transition between the parts to quickly move us from point A to point B.
The main antagonist is Colonel Boris, the same person who brainwashed Bond previously. I found him quite an interesting character to explore in this novel. One of his quirks is he uses a scented inhaler quite frequently. I liked the descriptions of this, like the very breath coming from his mouth needs to have its foulness hidden by a fragrance. I think it was Roger Moore who said that he always imagined the Bond villains having halitosis and that influenced the way he responded to them in scenes. I thought that was a nice touch.
Horowitz also does quite a nice job of building suspense at times, and pulling the rug out from under your feet with an unexpected twist. He has written a lot in the whodunit genre, so he is quite adept at that type of misdirection and surprise.There’s a scene on a Russian railway station that was particularly effective at this.
And then the final act, Bond is involved in a climax which, if you know Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, might sound a little bit familiar. The setting of East Berlin and the way the novel culminates also brings to mind classic Cold War stories, including as I mentioned earlier, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. And I noticed in the author’s notes, Horowitz acknowledges that he reread that novel as preparation for writing this.
And I think it’s nice that the novel ends as many a great cold War spy story does, around the margin between East and West. Hopefully those who were unhappy with the ending that Daniel Craig's cinematic Bond was given in No Time To Die may be more approving of the ending Horowitz comes up with here. I think that Horowitz delivers an effective way tending to his Bond trilogy, although I felt like the last few chapters really did rush by - almost in a bit of a blur.
A couple of things which I wasn’t quite as pleased with…there’s an aspect which I often find a bit tiresome in Bond continuation novels is frequent references to happenings in Fleming Bond novels. This always strikes me as a sort of fan-fictiony sort of technique. I realise that Horowitz has done a lot of work in his Bond books to tie them in closely with the Fleming timeline, but all the references do get a bit much for me. This book even has footnotes referring to specific Fleming novels which seems unnecessary to me and I would have been happier with far fewer specific mentions of Fleming events and characters. I'm also not sure that I fully bought into Bond's relationship with Katya, the main female character, and her motivations and character journey during the story, although I think that Horowitz probably does do a better job with his female characters than the likes of John Gardner managed to do. As much as I have a soft spot for the Gardner books, I never found any of which female characters particularly memorable.
In the end, I think Horowitz finishes his run as the official Bond author with a set of three novels that stand as some of the strongest continuation novels. I'm not sure right now how I'd rank With a Mind to Kill alongside the two others. My gut feeling is that it is second best behind Trigger Mortis, and ahead of Forever and a Day. I plan to reread those two books sometime soon though, and I'll be interested to see how my opinion settles with time.
Thanks for that review @Golrush007 You make it sound more interesting than Horowitz's other two efforts. I don't do hardbacks so I'm waiting for the softback edition.
Just finish the book and the audiobook. I enjoyed both very much.
There is only one minor detail that I didn’t understand. And that is Hal Garfinkel.
How could he be part of the story? I thought he died in »The Man with the Golden Gun«.
In that book he is on a train together with Louie Paradise and Sam Binion (both were mentioned in With A Mind To Kill« to be in Sing Sing) when the bridge under them is exploded and the train crash into the river below.
And later on The Police Commissioner of Jamaica explains that some »enemy agents were killed by the destruction by Mr Leiter’s ingenious use of explosive of the Orange River Bridge«.
So how did he survive to be in this book?
The only non Fleming Bond novel I've read so far is Trigger Mortis, which I thought was an excellent fast paced thriller. Horowitz is a great writer anyway, but he did seem to capture the style of Fleming. I've got the second one to read next, but I was wondering if there are any non Fleming Bond novels you'd all recommend.
Sure: Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis; Icebreaker by John Gardner; and James Bond and the Spy Who Loved Me by Christopher Wood (you’ll have to buy an old copy second-hand) are my personal favorites. I like Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver as well, but a lot of people do not care for it. The other three I mention, though, are well-liked by most people here, I think.
I've added those to my list. Many thanks Miles!
I agree with Miles Messervy's suggestions. That gives you a pretty good representation of different styles of continuation novel. The first three suggestions are all excellent books in my opinion. I fall into the group that doesn't like Carte Blanche, but I'd still suggest you give it a try @richbond because it may appeal to you.
John Pearson's biography of James Bond is well worth reading too.
This one is still in my to read pile, along with Benson's last two novels.
Just got this text message: "Your copy of Antony Horowitz' 'With a mind to kill' has arrived at the library". Oh joy! 😀