Now a veteran of the most recent war in Afghanistan, James Bond has been brought into the 21st century. Although this book does not describe Bond’s first official assignment as a double-0 agent, it still functions pretty much as a re-boot of the world’s most famous spy. Jeffery Deaver has stayed as true as possible to the original Bond mythos while updating the events that shaped the character’s personality to the modern world. There are also some extra tidbits of intrigue peppered into the backstory that motivate Commander Bond to ponder his past more than was ever detailed in the original Ian Fleming works.
Honestly, though, this modernization of a Cold War character leaves much to be desired. The story and its international settings are sound, the villain and his peculiarities are fascinating, and the plot twists do not disappoint. But James Bond is now a bureaucrat? Really? He actively seeks advice from his peers? Seriously? He maintains communication with his superiors and obeys international law? Are you kidding? This is definitely not Ian Fleming’s work here; the cold, hard, blunt object (who is essentially good) has been replaced by a warm, thoughtful, technologically equipped (but ultimately average) operator.
Following a trail of minimal clues, Bond pursues an eccentric ragman across two continents, attempting to discover the details of (and prevent) a suspected international disaster. He finds himself trapped in a number of impossible jams along the way and magically finds his way out of each one, with unbelievably minimal injury. He is hunted at least twice by exceedingly stealthy opponents but always manages to outwit his adversary at just the right moment. It was fun to read the first incident, maybe even the second, but after a dozen such events, it was just plain boring. This Bond is too perfect, too smart, and even more unbelievable than the film Bond(s).
Rated: Moderate. The usual gang of moderately profane terms, no descriptive intimacy.