Thursday, January 7, 2010
Shaken not stirred
A fun, fast read, and a definite treat for fans of James Bond, Sebastian Faulks' 2008 Bond thriller Devil May Care (on Kindle for $7.99) nails Ian Fleming's unique, entertaining combination of sex, sadism, and civility. This one really feels like Fleming himself sat down to write one more Bond novel after "The Man With The Golden Gun", the original series' swan song (not counting a short-story compilation or two that appeared shortly after that final book). It's even the right length: not too short and not too long. Like Fleming's entries in the Bond series, it's the perfect quick-fix thriller read.
The main plot, involving an eccentric villain seeking to trick Western and Communist powers into starting a war with each other, will be either satisfyingly familiar or disappointingly familiar to Bond fans (myself, I felt a little of both sentiments), but everything moves along at a nice clip, with lots of danger, action, and women. And it's all laced with Bond's cynical yet ultimately optimistic take on things.
I will say that the long chapter featuring Bond playing tennis with the villain was a bit of a haul to get through. But then again, so was Fleming's chapter in Goldfinger featuring Bond's golf match with that villain. So, author Faulks was even good at emulating Fleming's occasional dry indulgences!
My favorite moment of Devil May Care was a passage involving Bond, a prisoner aboard an airliner at the time, reminiscing about how he usually enjoyed air travel: the quiet time to relax it afforded, the peaceful cloudscapes going by, how he would usually sip a Bloody Mary and eventually open an engaging adventure novel to pass the time, that sort of thing. It was a favorite moment because, as I read that passage- no lie- I was sitting on a plane, reading my Bond adventure on my Kindle, and sipping a Bloody Mary. I had to smile. I guess we all have a little bit of James Bond in us!