Book Reviews

DEVIL MAY CARE

By • Jul 16th, 2008 •

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Quantum of Solace. With the 22nd James Bond film opening in November and with the devastating Daniel Craig returning in his second outing as the iconic spy, I thought I’d take a look at the newest James Bond book. The 22nd film, Quantum of Solace, is named after one of the short stories published by 007 creator Ian Fleming in 1960.

The newest Bond girl is Olga Kurylenko, a Ukrainian-born actress and model. The Internet has lots of nude Olga fashion photos! She appeared with full frontal nudity and a bondage scene in the 2006 film Le Serpent! The producers of the forthcoming James Bond movie say of Olga’s role:

“Olga Kurylenko will play the dangerously alluring Camille, who challenges Bond and helps him to come to terms with the emotional consequences of Vesper’s betrayal.”

Devil May Care. The New James Bond Novel by Sebastian Faulks (writing as Ian Fleming). Hardcover: 304 pages. Publisher: Doubleday. $24.95

Devil May Care is a one-off James Bond novel written by Sebastian Faulks (pictured), commissioned by the estate of original Bond scribe Ian Fleming to celebrate his 100th birthday. The cover of the book refers to Faulks’ “writing as Ian Fleming,” adopting Fleming’s style, meticulous description of details and events, and borrowing scenarios from other Bond novels.

The best touch, however, of Devil May Care is that it takes place in the sixties and picks up where Fleming’s final two Bond books (You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun) left off. Here’s an improvement from what other Bond novelists were doing to 007 in the last three decades: keeping the Literary James Bond in his natural environment. James Bond would be about 90 years old now, and would his assignments be sent through text messages? Would ‘the stolen microfilm’ be replaced by a Blu-Ray disc? Would he have his own MySpace account? How about his own reality TV show?

The book opens with the brutal murder of a drug courier in Paris – I’m unclear if it really has anything to do with the movement of the story – to a half-burned out James Bond on sabbatical, who’s called back to duty to investigate pharmaceutical kingpin Julius Gorner, whom Bond’s boss M suspects is pumping drugs into London.

Faulks, channeling Fleming, likes to describe in detail the cigarettes Bond smokes and the alcohol he drinks, his showering habits (“as hot as he could bear it, then freezing cold”), and the many fine meals (“sauteed shrimps with herbs and tamarind. Then came a flat earthenware dish piled up with concentric layers – like a multi-colored volcano on the point of erupting.”) Faulks injects all the Fleming touches, too: a formidable villain – Gorner and his ‘Monkey’s Hand,’ the henchman Chagrin, who uses chopsticks as a weapon and pliers (I’ll leave out what they’re used for), taking the golf match in Goldfinger, the card game in Moonraker, and having Bond playing tennis (!) with Gorner, who, like the villains in the other Bond books, loses to Bond even though he cheats at the game.

Naturally there’s a beautiful heroine around to assist Bond, Scarlet Papava, and they get captured, of course, where Bond is “starved, beaten and tortured.” The menacing Gorner ‘reveals’ his master plan to Bond a la Dr. No which involves drowning the London market with heroin and a 911-type aerial attack on the Soviet Union.

You can tell I’m a James Bond fan. Devil May Care has a lot of action: car chases, fights, killings, a stolen warcraft, and Bond falling from a plane without a parachute. It’s a great read from start to finish and a worthy addition to my collection.

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