!!> Reading ➺ Solo ➲ Author William Boyd – Writerscompany.co.uk

Solo As some who has never read a 007 novel or spy novels in general This was my first book that I read, about the famous double agent Before that, I only knew him through movies, played by 6 different actors in the main role Before i share my thoughts on the book.I would like to mention that this book is set in the 60s, the Connery era.Where it sa tactical spy story with some actions here and there.So if you were expecting something like, Brosnan or Craig 007 movies then, this book is not f As some who has never read a 007 novel or spy novels in general This was my first book that I read, about the famous double agent Before that, I only knew him through movies, played by 6 different actors in the main role Before i share my thoughts on the book.I would like to mention that this book is set in the 60s, the Connery era.Where it sa tactical spy story with some actions here and there.So if you were expecting something like, Brosnan or Craig 007 movies then, this book is not for you.That being said, what did I think about the book Positives I thought it was a very enjoyable, engaging, and interesting novel to read With surprising twists and turns that you may or may not see it coming.Negatives Bond did 2 things during the first 30 pages that I thought were really stupid When it s all wrapped up, there is one character that left me wondering, what was his her role in all of this.Overall despite it s flaws I really enjoyed it, and if you are a fan of Sean Connery s 007 movies, you are going to enjoy reading this book as well I think it s important to remember when a new Bond book comes out that this isn t, and never will be, an Ian Fleming Bond book What Faulks did with his writing as Ian Fleming was a nice gimmick for want of a better phrase, but i ve always felt that the continuation of the Bond franchise in book form always works best when authors put their own spin on the writing style If anything, it s a little bit like a comic book series, writers, artists and inkers all come and go, but the comic book cha I think it s important to remember when a new Bond book comes out that this isn t, and never will be, an Ian Fleming Bond book What Faulks did with his writing as Ian Fleming was a nice gimmick for want of a better phrase, but i ve always felt that the continuation of the Bond franchise in book form always works best when authors put their own spin on the writing style If anything, it s a little bit like a comic book series, writers, artists and inkers all come and go, but the comic book character lives on, is instantly recognisable, but is always slightly different in each run.Following Amis, Gardner, Christopher Wood, Benson, Higson, Faulks and Deaver, Boyd takes on the new story for James Bond and manages to achieve only what few of the authors preceding him have done, created a brand new Bond story which is undoubtedly the character that Fleming created, but in an original story which is a real page turner.From the first chapter right through to the story s conclusion, I found this to be a really enjoyable book and a magnificent example of a Bond story Sure 5 stars is completely over the top when comparing it to other books even Boyd s own , but in the context of the Bond franchise, this is as good a book as you could hope for Bond in Africa really does come across as completely original, and filling in onof his backstory from the World War 2 years is a brilliant idea, ensuring that his acts in the 1969 African civil warzone come across as realistic considering his history Shoving Bond into the middle of a war zone is a great way of exploring different sides of Bond s character and abilities without reverting back to the evil henchman on an exotic island that Gardner absolutely loved to do.Once the story moves away from Africa it inevitably loses some of that really enjoyable originality that Boyd did so well to tap into However, once back in familiar territory Washington DC , Boyd keeps the twists coming and the story continues to engage A twist is sown into a double twist into a feasible yet completely surprising third twist It s all managed muchfeasibly than Deaver s somewhat forced efforts in Carte Blanche and ensures that the action and characters within the story continue to entertain.For Bond literary fans that are willing to conceed that Fleming is never going to return and this is the best that they can hope for, they will absolutely enjoy this new Bond adventure I m uncertain as to what Boyd fans or just general thriller fans would think, however, it can t be less than a 3 star thriller story for a non Bond fan.Absolutely recommended, 007 is back and I d welcome another Boyd story continuing on from 1969 It Is And James Bond Is About To Go Solo, Recklessly Motivated By RevengeA Seasoned Veteran Of The Service, Is Sent To Single Handedly Stop A Civil War In The Small West African Nation Of Zanzarim Aided By A Beautiful Accomplice And Hindered By The Local Militia, He Undergoes A Scarring Experience Which Compels Him To Ignore M S Orders In Pursuit Of His Own Brand Of Justice Bond S Renegade Action Leads Him To Washington, DC Where He Discovers A Web Of Intrigue And Witnesses Fresh HorrorsEven If Bond Succeeds In Exacting His Revenge, A Man With Two Faces Will Come To Stalk His Every Waking Moment The book opens with a chapter where Bond looks back on the first time where he as a young soldier in the aftermath of the invasion in Normandy 1944 for the first time faces death And is actually fine reading and shows a promise for the book.Then 007 gets shipped of the Africa where he is supposed to end a civil war by taking out the leader of one of the parties involved It all goes of course horrible wrong and Bond ends up being terrible hurt The 2nd part of the book is Bond going solo on The book opens with a chapter where Bond looks back on the first time where he as a young soldier in the aftermath of the invasion in Normandy 1944 for the first time faces death And is actually fine reading and shows a promise for the book.Then 007 gets shipped of the Africa where he is supposed to end a civil war by taking out the leader of one of the parties involved It all goes of course horrible wrong and Bond ends up being terrible hurt The 2nd part of the book is Bond going solo on a one man mission to avenge his wounds and the awefull behaviour of a mercenary and his boss.I really wanted to like this book due to some of the extreme critism I did read on some Bondfora, and re adress the attitude that Fleming never did write as bad as Boyd did And perhaps it would be honest to admit that while Boyd is a good writer he has shown with this novel that he lacks the writing skills to write a convincing 007 novel.Knowing that mr Boyds roots were in Africa I expected some of the brutality that would reign there in a civil conflict in an oil rich country We get a rather boring travel through an African country in conflict Having read the writings of the French novelist G rard de Villiers I always admired his skill of writing about the geopolitical authenticity of conflicted and exotic places And the post colonial Africa would be the place to show us some insight And while his stories of a Austrian prince hired by the CIA does often showcase ond dimensional characters and gratious sexscenes they offer a lot of excitement as well With Boyds vision of Africa we get some polished in my view political correct version of the place It never gets very authentic or even exciting, and even the plot does not offer any clarity.The villain is some former Rhodesian mercenary that has some nasty way of hanging dead soldiers on tree branches like dead fish ANd of course he has his facial handicap So far Boyd ticks all the Fleming boxes, but he never gives the man any feeling of threathening menace Jakobus Breed feels like a man who enjoys his sadist kicks but is a mer man that can be easily taken out And Bond does eventually do just that The big financier is a one dimensional character that comes nowhere to his right.The Bond women are fine in this novel but fail to impress at any level, and nowhere you feel that Bond has any attachment with them Even if the voyeuristic episode concerning one of them is easily the most exciting part written in the book.This book is about Bond doing a job in post colonial Africa where the big cooperations after all those declarations of independencies were scrambling like mad to get some lucreative contracts And James Bond goes into that situation without any idea of view it is only in the aftermath you get an opinion on that matter in a talk between Leiter Bond For me Bond never walked so shallow into any affair mission written by Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson, Faulks or Deaver And in the aftermath it felt out of place and as some conservative fans said that it was amazing that the British paper the Guardian had a positive review so something must be wrong The only questions Bond asked himself were not so much about the situation he was placed in and what his purpose might be, but about the attractiveness of his female companions And untill the end of the book where Leiter pops us I kind of missed the male bonding Bond seems to have with male characters these last Bondbooks written and are already called the celebrity trilogy areinterested in placing women in important roles based upon a certain equality WHich is something that would be frowned upon by most in 1969 where this tale does plays, and it annoyed me for some time in thsi book.William Boyd commented on Fleming that he has written some sexist and racist aspects in his books Which is a fair thing to say if one is fameliar with Flemings books But perhaps Boyd should have used someedgier approuch to actually spice up this 007 story It falls kind of flat and is sometimes a boring story that makes the reader frustrated with the lack of action Instead we get another foodpornish episode which Boyd writes very well but are to much put in the novel instead of some straitgh action with some sadistic overtones.As Bondnovel a failure for me, although it is quite an easy read But of the celebrity trilogy it is sadly the worst of the three.Perhaps the inhertors of the 007 literary could look into mr G rard de Villiers service to write a perhaps less PC version of 007 And the man has the skills and knowledge to make itfun and real.And don t get me started on the recipe for Bonds saladdressing, foodporn taken one step too far.This novel has 007 enjoying the good things in live and while he does so the adventure passes by and he isa spectator than a participant He is kind like an elderly English gentleman that sits around waiting which might be possible the idea Boyd wanted to give in this post colonial Africa It s 1968, and James bond, turning 45 years old, is sent into a dirty war in Africa.This is not the James Bond that Fleming wrote about Rather, it s boring guy having a mid life crisis The villain isn t strong enough to hold any sort of interest It s like a 1970 s moral equivalence type novel. Published 08 10 2013Author William BoydRecommended for fans of action booksWilliam Boyd is a very good and talented author and I think he did a brilliant job with this book It was compeling, keeps your attention, the storyline is also very good I think that people who enjoy the original Ian Fleming James Bond books will enjoy this book as well As I love James Bond I was abit sceptical about reading a James Bond book not written by Iam Fleming, but I must admit I really really enjoyed rea Published 08 10 2013Author William BoydRecommended for fans of action booksWilliam Boyd is a very good and talented author and I think he did a brilliant job with this book It was compeling, keeps your attention, the storyline is also very good I think that people who enjoy the original Ian Fleming James Bond books will enjoy this book as well As I love James Bond I was abit sceptical about reading a James Bond book not written by Iam Fleming, but I must admit I really really enjoyed reading this book It was packed full of action that was described in amazing detail it felt like you were actually there with them It is a seriously good read and a refreshing one, with the writing style of William Boyd coming through as a unique writer who isn t trying to be Ian Fleming So, James Bond heads to a small war torn African republic Fair enough What s the point in William Boyd writing a Bond novel if he doesn t do the stuff which interests him It s 1969 and Bond is sent to Zanzarim, a fictional country caught up in a drawn out civil war Oil has been discovered and it s up to Bond to bring this conflict to a swift conclusion From there we have double agents, triple agents, psychotic South African mercenaries, mistaken identity, drugs, torture and some good old fas So, James Bond heads to a small war torn African republic Fair enough What s the point in William Boyd writing a Bond novel if he doesn t do the stuff which interests him It s 1969 and Bond is sent to Zanzarim, a fictional country caught up in a drawn out civil war Oil has been discovered and it s up to Bond to bring this conflict to a swift conclusion From there we have double agents, triple agents, psychotic South African mercenaries, mistaken identity, drugs, torture and some good old fashioned James Bond brutality This is the tired Bond of The Man with the Golden Gun , the same version that Sebastian Faulks explored in Devil May Care I really must read Colonel Sun , Devil May Care and Solo back to back one quiet fortnight, just to see if there are any allusions and jokes which link them all It opens with Bond s 45th birthday and from there it s a late sixties spectacular but one experienced by a middle aged man So Bond is happy with the latest fashions if it means the women don t wear bras, but he s a little befuddled by the new cars and sounds and you get the impression of a man who would be happy if the world hadn t changed since 1958 There is though a Hammer Horror scream princess to keep his bed warm, and, really, you can t get1960s than that.Whether this is Fleming s voice or Fleming s vision is up for debate the Bond of the later books is far angrier and prone to ranting about the modern world and that doesn t really come through these pages while if Fleming was going to write about Bond in an African republic then one can t help thinking that there d bethan one unfortunately racist remark which would make the modern reader wince So it sBoyd than Fleming, and that s fine as it s a swift paced and entertaining read, although with perhaps an unexpectedly abrupt ending Next up is Anthony Horowitz, and from what I ve heard of it I m a little disappointed Not that Horowitz isn t a good writer, but because he s using some mouldy old flea bitten idea that Fleming himself couldn t be bothered to turn into a book It seems like the stifling of originality Come on, Ian Fleming Estate, if we re going to hire literary authors then let s really go for it If you want someone who s already a genre specialist, then let s get James Ellroy to explore what that Felix Leiter is really up to By why stop at genre specialists Let s see what Hilary Mantel makes of this imperialistic secret agent, or discover how expansive James Bond s vocabulary gets when Will Self has a turn Boyd is in many ways a natural choice to produce a new instalment in the Bond series He has written good quality spy stories of his own, and also has a track record of novels set in exotic locales He doesn t disappoint here In fact, this was a great deal better than I d expected.Saying that, the main problem is not so much the plot but the storytelling This isn t a thriller by any means as it lacks urgency Not uneventful, but with little incident and almost no action until the halfway mark Boyd is in many ways a natural choice to produce a new instalment in the Bond series He has written good quality spy stories of his own, and also has a track record of novels set in exotic locales He doesn t disappoint here In fact, this was a great deal better than I d expected.Saying that, the main problem is not so much the plot but the storytelling This isn t a thriller by any means as it lacks urgency Not uneventful, but with little incident and almost no action until the halfway mark Scenes occur so we can revisit them once something happens Without a proper mission or megalomaniac to hunt the pace flags.Fleming s cardinal rule borrowed from pulp fiction was keep the plot flying and they won t see the plot holes Here they appear cavernous, as chapters end with little coercing you to start the next Without head to head showdowns over cards cars golf, 007 wilts amid a conspiracy The girls and henchmen are well characterised but fail to loom large.In fairness the twists are good and it s an easy read I enjoyed it as a romance in the same old fashioned sense that applied to Fleming s work view spoiler The story has all the elements that are compulsory for a Bond novel Martinis, fast cars, a sinister villain, beautiful and intriguing women falling at the hero s feet But the style is definitely recognisable as Boyd s, and it s better for it It doesn t seem lightweight or overly improbable Boyd sends Bond off to Africa, with a mission to speed the ending of a civil war in a fictitious oil rich African state This is a good move Boyd knows Africa and many of his best novels are set there The wartime setting and political nature feelbelievable than a closer to home mad villain bent on world domination style plot After celebrating his 45th birthday alone at The Dorchester, Bond is sent to Zanzarim to bring a speedy end to the civil war in the country which has seen the delta region of the country split to form the Democratic Republic of Dahum Before leaving for Africa, Bond visits Gabriel Adeka the rebel leader s brother who runs AfriKIN, a London based charity who send aid to Dahumni children Gabriel tells Bond that he is not in contact with his brother Solomon, as the pair have fallen out.On his arrival in Zanzarim, Bond is aided by a local agent who introduces herself as Efua Blessing Ogilvy Grant The two travel from the capital city to the rebel enclave, but are attacked shortly before reaching their destination and taken captive by Kobus Breed, a mercenary assisting the rebels The group are attacked on their return journey and Ogilvy Grant goes missing in the confusion, while Bond escapes.Bond proceeds to the enclave, where he is met by Breed, who accepts Bond s cover as a journalist Bond meets Solomon Adeka and realises that the leader will shortly die of cancer his mission to kill Adeka is needless Bond sees supply flights of arms and equipment coming into the country, all funded by billionaire Hulbert Linck the aeroplanes all show the AfriKIN name on the fuselage When Adeka dies a few days later, Bond tries to leave the country on one of the supply flights, but is confronted by Breed and Blessing, who both shoot him and leave him to die.Bond is saved by a journalist he befriended and returns to the UK, where he spends time in a military hospital After discharging himself, he decides to go on a revenge mission against Breed and Ogilvy Grant Discovering AfriKIN has relocated to Washington DC, Bond travels to the US and tracks down both of them at the AfriKIN offices While conducting surveillance against the company, Bond is briefly detained by Brigham Leiter nephew of Felix of the CIA, who explains Ogilvy Grant also works for the CIA.Bond meets Ogilvy Grant, who assures him that she shot to wound him in order that Breed would not shoot them both The following day Bond watches a mercy flight bringing in maimed and injured Zanzarimi children he dines alone and returns to his hotel to find that Breed has killed Ogilvy Grant.Bond attacks the house where Breed is staying with the children, and incapacitates the mercenary, leaving him for dead He establishes that the children are being used as drug mules to smuggle raw heroin into the country and locates Solomon Adeka, who had not been killed in Africa, but been turned into a heroin addict in order to control him Adeka s older brother had been killed in London, ensuring Solomon became chief of the tribe whose lands held massive amounts of oil as he was an addict, these rights were signed away in favour of Hulbert Linck Linck was killed by the CIA during the raid on the house hide spoiler A good and interesting period companion piece about 007, but not an A 1 Bond adventure Hmm.It s not that I didn t like this book it s well plotted and the writing is perfectly competent it s that it turns out I really don t like James Bond.This came as something of a shock I ve always enjoyed the films, especially Skyfall, starring the immensely talented Daniel Craig Bond is glamorous, witty, strong, loyal, balletically violent, looks great in a tux everything I could want in an action hero The thing is, though, is that, with a movie, you re carried along by the spectacle Hmm.It s not that I didn t like this book it s well plotted and the writing is perfectly competent it s that it turns out I really don t like James Bond.This came as something of a shock I ve always enjoyed the films, especially Skyfall, starring the immensely talented Daniel Craig Bond is glamorous, witty, strong, loyal, balletically violent, looks great in a tux everything I could want in an action hero The thing is, though, is that, with a movie, you re carried along by the spectacle You are invited to enjoy, and then, a couple of hours later, to basically forget all about it Action flicks don t invite you to reflect on the psychological realities of a life of sustained violence They don t bring you inside the protagonist s head, or confront you with the effects of a life devoid of meaningful personal relationships Solo does all of these things It s not pleasant James Bond is basically a humourless, misogynist, substance abusing psychopath I did not enjoy being in his head or seeing the world through his eyes I did not find him attractive or admirable in any way His disassociation from humanity is chilling, and the paranoid lies he tells himself to justify his self induced isolation are creepy The title is well chosen Bond is utterly alone.The really disturbing thing is that the Bond of the movies and the Bond of this book are actually one and the same at no point does William Boyd deviate from canon And, since I always found movie Bond pretty attractive, I have to ask myself what does this say about me I fear my days of drooling over Daniel Craig may be over Bond is sent to Zanzarin to help end the civil war in the Africa country.Boyd really captures the essence of Flemings original novels, both in Bond s character and the tone of the writing.Both London and the fictional African country is brilliantly brought to life.It s a great fun ready, an enjoyable addition to the cannon.

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