“It was a wet evening in Paris. On the slate roofs of the big boulevards and on the small mansards of the Latin quarter, the rain kept up a ceaseless patter. outside the Crillon and the George V, the doormen were whistling taxis out of the darkness, then running with umbrellas to hold over the fur-clad guests as they climbed in. The huge open space of the place de la Concorde was glimmering black and silver in the downpour.”
This is one of the newest books in the James Bond series – written by Sebastian Faulks, who is a famous modern novelist. I am not an enormous Bond fan, but I do enjoy reading the books about him every once in a while. Kind of like I enjoy a big cup of cider sometimes. Not all the time, and just because at the time it sounds enjoyable.
This Bond novel finds 007 on a mandatory sabbatical after a rough assignment. He is lounging around in Paris, trying not to work and very nearly failing. When M calls him back after MI6 is alerted to a frightening new player in the illicit drug market. Julius Gorner is a man with a passion for opium and all of its derivatives, not for personal pleasure but as a business investment. Bond is assigned to learn as much about him as possible. Along the way, 007 picks up a woman (of course) whose sister has been taken captive by Gorner – the lovely Scarlett Papava. Unsurprisingly, what Bond learns about Gorner shows there is much more to be concerned about than simply the increase in opium sales. Gorner has plans to change the face of the planet forever, and will kill anyone who gets in his way. Which is precisely where 007 is standing.
It’s definitely not to be disputed that the 007 novels are cheesy in the best sense of the word; elaborate plots, cool gadget weaponry, beautiful and willing women, and a main character that oozes cool. They are novels written for men and play to every weakness of the male gender. This book is no different. However, it was a bit rough for me to grasp that this was still taking place in the 1970’s. I’m not sure if it was balancing between the new Bond movies set in the present and the book, or if it was the writing style of Faulks. Something kept making me feel it was set in present day. Other than this, Faulks’s homage to Fleming is flawless. He completely understands Bond and can tell a dramatic suspenseful spy story with the best of them. It’s slightly less tongue-in-cheek, with action every other page and a willingness to harm any and every character. If you enjoy the rest of the novels about 007, you’ll enjoy this one.
“Devil May Care” was written by Sebastian Faulks and published in 2008.