Wednesday, October 16, 2013



In 1982, John Gardner's first James Bond continuation novel was published in paperback in the US.  I was (and still am) a huge Bond fan so I anxiously picked up the book and was thrilled to have the literary James Bond back (this was the first Bond continuation novel since Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun of 1968).
Recently the novel has been republished in oversize glossy paperback and I've decided to pick up all the Gardner books again and read them again.
Now basically, the character of James Bond has been lifted from the late 60s to the early 80s without any real alterations or addressing of his increased age (sorta like the 70s never happened).  Bond was back and in full throttle.
In License Renewed he is up against Anton Murik, the Scottish Laird of Murcaldy (or is he?) as he plans on infiltrating 6 nuclear reactors in Europe and the U.S. and blackmails the world for 50 billion dollars or he will order his suicidal terrorist squads to initiate meltdowns in all the reactors.
The book plays out almost exactly like Ian Fleming would have written it (in fact LR is very similar in structure to On Her Majesty's Secret Service) in terms of the Bond formula - Bond insinuates himself into the inner circle of the villain, discovers the plot, tries to escape, gets caught, is tortured but not killed, gets a ringside seat of the caper, somehow stops the plot and kills the villain, and then ends up with the girl.
The girl in LR is Lavender "Dilly" Peacock, a Lauren Bacall-lookalike model who is a true damsel in distress and the target of some of the Laird's dastardly plans.
License Renewed is an easy and great read and carries on the great legacy of Fleming's Bond to a new generation and time.

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