Tuesday, December 16, 2014


So last year, I posted an entry here on the blog that I had bought and was going to re-read the John Gardner authored James Bond continuation novels as they had just been newly republished in high-glossy over sized paperbacks.  I did read a few of them but then got sidetracked into a bunch of non-fiction.
However, when I first read the Gardner books many years ago, I made a table document that included notes and comments about the books so if you have any interest in these books, and I highly recommend them to any literary Bond fan, here is the table (the pics below are the original paperback covers to the Gardner novels):

Villian’s Employer
Villian’s Project
Minor Villians
License Renewed (1981)
Dublin; London; Scotland; Paris; Perpignan
Lavender Peacock
Anton Murik
Blackmailing major powers with threat to cause nuclear meltdown in 6 nuclear power plants around the world
Mary Jane Mashkin; Franco; Caber
Fight with Caber; high frequency torture; fashion show sequence; fight on plane
More like the films than the novels, but moves quickly and is suspenseful; updating a little disconcerting; good Bond villain and girl; one of the best Bond books and probably Gardner’s best
For Special Services (1982)
London; New York; Washington DC; Amarillo, Texas; Cheyenne Mountain; Louisiana
Cedar Leiter; Nena Bismaquer
Blofeld's Heir (Nena Blofeld)
Gaining control of the Space Wolf Satellites
Markus Bismaquer; Walter Luxor; Mike Mazzard
Felix Leiter
Plane hijack; elevator incident; Grand Prix; raid on Cheyenne Mountain; encounter with Blofeld
New SPECTRE plot interesting and involving but Blofeld twist not very effective; great use of irony

Icebreaker (1983)
Libya; Finland; USSR
Paula Vacker; Rivke Ingber
Konrad von Glöda (Aarne Tudeer)
National Socialist Action Army (NSAA)
Bringing about a "Fourth Reich" with a new fascist army
Kolya Mosolov
Brad Tirpitz
Snow plow battle; ice water torture; Fencer attack on Ice Palace
Fun but has no real depth; good locations and plot twists; Nazi plot a little trite
Role of Honour (1984)
London; Monte Carlo; Oxfordshire; "Erewhon"; Switzerland
Persephone (Percy) Proud; Cindy Chalmer; Freddie Fortune
Tamil Rahani; Jay Autem Holy
Knocking out U.S. nuclear power by using a computerized scheme and the "help" of Bond
Simon; General "Rolling Joe" Zwingli; Dazzle; the Arab boy
Peter Amadeus
Erewhon training camp sequence; airship climax
Better than average; good characterizations but plot a bit farfetched; good Bond girl but absent through middle of book; a bit choppy and segmented hindering flow of narrative
Nobody Lives Forever (1986)
France; Switzerland; Austria; Florida Keys
Sukie Tempesta; Nannie Norrich
Tamil Rahani
Sponsoring a competition to bring James Bond's head to Rahani
Der Haken; Steve Quinn
Highway gun battle; assault on Klinik; climax on Shark Island
Excellent personal plot for Bond; action scenes well done; no adequate Bond girl with double cross at end very unsatisfying
No Deals, Mr. Bond (1987)

Bad Title; Originally to be titled: Tomorrow Always Comes
The Baltic; England; Ireland; Paris; Hong Kong; Cheung Chau Island
Ebbie Heritage; Heather Dare
General Konstantin (Kolya) Chernov
Department 8 of Directorate S, KGB (formerly SMERSH)
Eliminating all participants in a defunct espionage operation (Cream Cake)
Mischa; Norman Murray
Maxim Smolin; Swift
Shootout at Three Sisters Castle; "hunt" on Cheung Chau Island
Complex and involving up until cliched "most dangerous game" finale; plot a little far-fetched; better on detail; very sexy Bond girl, location of finale a bit dubious (perhaps Berlin would have been better); a lot of extraneous characters and appearance of Murray at finale does not work; brutal extermination of traitor at conclusion very effective
Scorpius (1987)
London and environs; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Washington DC
Harriett Horner
Father Valentine, aka Vladimir Scorpius
Assassinating major political figures, using "brainwashed" religious followers to do his bidding
Hathaway; Bailey
"Pearly" Pearlman; David Wolkovsky
Fight at Avant Carte HQ; massacre at Puttenham clinic; climactic assault on Ten Pines Plantation
Gripping and violent; Scorpius persona unnecessary; fate of one of the better Bond girls a surprise
Win, Lose or Die (1988)
Gulf of Oman; England; Italy (Ischia); Spain; The Atlantic; Gibraltar
Beatrice Maria da Ricci; Nikola (Nikki) Ratnikov
Bassam Baradj, aka Robert Besavitsky
BAST (Brotherhood of Anarchy and Secret Terror)
Holding U.S., Britain, and Russia for ransom by kidnapping the President, PM, and Soviet Head of State during an international summit meeting
Abou Hamarik (The Man); Ali Al Adwan (The Snake); Saphii Boudai (The Cat) (Clover Pennington); Felipe Pantano; Sarah Deeley; Donald Speaker
Villa Capricciani sequence; investigative work aboard Invincible; Bond's meeting with Bush, Thatcher and Gorbachev; Sea Harrier battle; assault on Invincible
Good plot; Bond's return to Naval duty interesting; most engaging love affair yet in Gardner books but does break the flow of the narrative a bit with the excursion; one of the better ones with Bond falling hard for girl
Brokenclaw (1990)
British Columbia; San Francisco and environs; New York; Washington State
Sue Chi-Ho (Chi-Chi)
Brokenclaw Lee Fu-Chu
Self-employed, but is agent of CELD and CCI (Red China's CIA, SIS, and NSA)
Stealing and selling plans of a submarine tracking device and its "antidote" to Red China; breaking into Wall Street's computer system and wreaking financial havoc
Bone Bender Ding; Gory Fox; Fozen Stalk Pu; Wood; Nolan; General Hung Chow H'ang
Ed Ruisha; John Grant
Assault on Brokenclaw's burrow; O-kee-pa ritual
Secondary project of villian concerning Wall Street completely unnecessary;
Fun, fast read, but seems too unreal for a Bond story with very quick conclusion; some events are too fantastic; some character inconsistency; good villain and good ally
The Man From Barbarossa (1991)
New Jersey; London; Florida; Moscow and environs; Stockholm; Arctic Circle; Baku, Azerbaidzhan
Nina Bibikova; Stéphanie Adoré
General Yevgeny Yuskovich
Self-employed/"The Scales of Justice" (Chushi Pravosudia)
Overthrowing Russia's central government and reinstating communism; aiding the Iraqis in the Gulf War; embarrassing Britain and France; destroying Washington with nuclear strike (a bit dubious addition to plot)
General Gleb Berzin
Pete Natkowitz; Bory Stepakov; Nigsy Meadows; Michael Brooks; Emerald Lacy; Henri Rampart
Camera team's abduction to the "Lost Horizon"; Bond's masquerade as a Russian officer; final skirmish in Baku
Complex and more political than most; not much action, more intrigue; a bit slow moving with Bond more as an observer than participant; good scene with M reacting to Bond's "death"; no adequate Bond-girl
Death is Forever (1992)
Frankfurt; Berlin; Ost-West Express; Paris; Venice; Calais; London
Elizabeth "Easy" St. John
Wolfgang Weisen ("The Poison Dwarf")
Self-employed, but formerly of the HVA (East Germany's old intelligence agency)
Performing terrorist act in the Eurotunnel, thereby wiping out major EC political figures; seeking revenge against Cabal spy group
Monika Haardt; Harry Spraker (Tester); Alex Ritter; Felix & Hexie; Michelle Gris; Claude Gaspard; Dominic & Dorian
Praxi Simeon (Sulphur); Bruin (Ariel); August Wimper (Orphan)
"Spider sandwich" ploy; dispatch of Felix & Hexie on train; takeover of Weisen's villa; battle inside Eurotunnel
Gardner's most violent and action-filled story yet; complex but excellent Post-Cold-War plot; over-abundance of characters not being what they seem; reminiscent of Icebreaker; after sacrificial lamb of Bond girl whom Bond falls in love with no satisfying replacement; ending is a bit quick and depressing
Cold Fall (1996)
England; Washington DC; Italy; Idaho; Geneva; Lake Massaciuccoli
Beatrice Maria da Ricci; Toni Nicoletti
General Brutus Clay
COLD (Children of the Last Days)
Instigating a right-wing, fascist coup on the U.S.
Luigi Tempesta; Angelo Tempesta; Clay's bride (Sukie Tempesta)
Eddie Rhabb; MacRoberts; Fliss
Investigation of airline disaster; jet ski chase; Cobra battle; M's retirement
Interesting plot structure -- half in the past, half in the present; good use of returning characters but Sukie’s turn is not very satisfying; Flicka’s demise handled well; nice scenes with M; one of the better ones

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