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The John Gardner James Bond Novels

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Ian Fleming famously wrote a series of 12 James Bond novels between 1953 and 19651 as well as nine short stories2. Yet he is not the person to have written the most James Bond novels. That honour belongs to James Gardner, who wrote 14 (plus two novelisations of James Bond films) between 1983 and 1996. His novels, though action-packed, differ from Fleming's approach in significant ways. A trip through the Gardner oeuvre shows the iconic master spy in a new, often perplexing light.

John Gardner

Author John Gardner (1926-2007) was a former magician and clergyman, and an ex-Royal Marine Commando. His first novel, Spin the Bottle (1959) was semi-autobiographical, dealing with his alcohol addiction. His second featured his most famous creation, Boysie Oakes. It was adapted into a film, The Liquidator (1965), starring Rod Taylor and Eric Sykes - the Boysie Oakes spy spoof series (1964-1975) was about a coward in the secret service. Gardner also published two novels in the mid-1970s featuring the further adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle's creation Professor Moriarty. This persuaded Glidrose Publications that he was the ideal author to write a new series of Bond novels.

Initially Gardner declined, saying:

I didn't even like Bond that much, I thought he was po-faced. [But] I made sure I handled and tested the gee-whiz technology 007 used in the books and tried to make sure I visited everywhere I sent him.

The Books

Glidrose Publications, renamed Ian Fleming Publications in 1999, has held the rights to the James Bond name since Ian Fleming bought the company in 1952. John Gardner wasn't the first author after Fleming to write James Bond books, and certainly isn't the last. Kingsley Amis wrote the first spin-off novel, Colonel Sun, in 1968. He used the pseudonym Robert Markham, which had been intended to be a shared alias used by other authors writing new James Bond novels; however, only the one book was published at that time.

The 14 novels and two novelisations John Gardner wrote are:

  1. Licence Renewed (1981)
  2. For Special Services (1982)
  3. Icebreaker (1983)
  4. Role of Honour (1984)
  5. Nobody Lives for Ever (1986)
  6. No Deals, Mr. Bond (1987)
  7. Scorpius (1988)
  8. Win, Lose or Die (1989)
    • Licence to Kill (1989)
  9. Brokenclaw (1990)
  10. The Man from Barbarossa (1991)
  11. Death is Forever (1992)
  12. Never Send Flowers (1993)
  13. SeaFire (1994)
    • GoldenEye (1995)
  14. COLD (1996)

While John Gardner was the official novelist writing James Bond books, seven James Bond films were made3: three starring Roger Moore, a rival production starring Sean Connery, two starring Timothy Dalton and the first film in the series featuring Pierce Brosnan. Only the last two films in the series during this era, Licence to Kill and GoldenEye, were novelised.

Bond in the 1980s

John Gardner aimed to bring the character of Bond into the 1980s. In his novels Bond is generally dismissive of the trappings of spy fiction. The most common gadget that he uses is a briefcase with secret shielded compartments useful for smuggling guns, explosives, tools and rope undetected through customs. Bond has a habit of changing his gun from book to book, having stopped using the Walther PPK, until he settles on an ASP (Armaments Systems & Procedures) 9mm. Rather than having a classy, stylish and British James Bond Car like an Aston Martin or Lotus, Gardner's Bond at first drives a Saab 900 Turbo, which in the second novel he calls 'The Silver Beast'. The Saab 900 is noted for being one of the ugliest cars of the 1980s, yet the author seemed to admire it - to most observers it resembles a cross between an iron conservatory and a clog.

Major Boothroyd, best known as Q, has virtually retired. He has been replaced by Ann Reilly who, being a woman, is nicknamed Q'ute. This replacement was for contractual purposes as Q was a character invented for the films: by having a female Q, there was no copyright violation. In Fleming's novels the head of Q Branch is Major Boothroyd, but he is never called 'Q'. Boothroyd appears in Dr No (1962) played by Peter Burton but is considered to be a different character to Q as played by Desmond Llewelyn (1963-1999).

Bond's boss is still the original M, whom Bond considers to be the father he never knew. As the series proceeds, M becomes increasingly frail before being forced to retire. His second-in-command is Bill Tanner, another character from the original novels. Moneypenny is mentioned but she rarely contributes to the stories. Bond's potential actions are often discussed in committees that can include MPs, senior policemen and members of other intelligence organisations. Most people at these committees, particularly members of the Foreign Office, keep putting pressure on M to resign.

Bond spends most of his time using the alias Boldman, James Boldman, while his codename is Predator. He is also the last remaining member of the Double 0 Section, which from SeaFire onwards Gardner renames 'Team Two Zero'. There is also an added emphasis on COBRa4 meetings between different security concerns that involve other intelligence agencies as well as the police.

There are no people of average build in the novels. All women are stunningly beautiful and young, whereas all the male villains have a physical peculiarity. This occurs with such regularity that you begin to wonder whether, had Gardner ever played 'Twister', the villain in his next Bond book would have had a right hand green and left foot blue. Not every Bond girl lives happily ever after; if you read the fateful sentence 'she reminded Bond of his wife, Tracy'5 you can pretty much guarantee she isn't going to make it to the end of the novel.

Similarities with Bond Films

Though none of Gardner's novels have inspired Bond films, there are some similarities with scenes he has created and subsequent films. In Licence Renewed, the fight between Caber and Bond is similar to the fight between Necros and Bond in the open cargo bay of an aircraft in The Living Daylights (1987) and Bond watching Murik cheat at Ascot Racecourse is similar to a scene in A View to a Kill. Bond is able to drive his Saab 900 Turbo by remote control, a trick that would appear in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). After a plot involving the Goodyear Blimp in Role of Honour, the climax to A View To A Kill involved Bond on an airship.

SeaFire features para-hawks and the climax involves Bond stopping a deliberately-caused disaster in an ageing Russian submarine in the Caribbean, while The World Is Not Enough features para-hawks and the climax involves Bond stopping a disaster deliberately caused on an elderly Russian submarine in the Black Sea.


On the whole, John Gardner successfully toned down the sexist, sadist, racist and homophobic tendencies of the character when compared with Ian Fleming, yet there is no doubt that he is also a less-talented writer. His strengths are that he is good at creating scenarios in which the reader is unsure of who is trustworthy and is left guessing until the end about who the real villains are. His weaknesses are the endings, and the characters. Truly terrible, global threats time and again are foiled simply by Bond killing off the main baddy. The head villains rarely appear until the last chapters, meaning that Bond does not normally develop a relationship of any kind with them. It is hard to fear or care about villains that only appear briefly before their inevitable defeat. Gardner often spends longer describing weapons and equipment than the main characters. So readers learn all the advantages and disadvantages of all the guns that appear in great detail but receive next to no information about the characters other than that they had an unusual physical characteristic.

There are also unnecessarily ridiculous scenarios. For example in one novel the villains have captured Bond and hypnotised him with advanced mind-control techniques so that he is completely under their control. One of the villains then decides to give Bond the antidote for no reason whatsoever. Similarly the predilection for daft names continues, with women named Easy and Adoré. However male characters also would have been embarrassed during the school register; if you thought that Ian Fleming's character 'Pussy Galore' was the most blatantly sexually named character in a Bond novel, think again as Gardner gave one henchman the even more flagrant name of 'Semen'. The name of the British Secret Service's agent in Israel, 'Fanny Farmer', is a close second.

In the main, the titles are dull and many of the individual words that make up the titles are interchangeable. In fact, you can take the words at random from Gardner's novel titles and mix and match them to create your own. How about Ice Cold, Broken Breaker, Licence For Flowers, For Ever Is Never Forever or Mr Bond Is Nobody, Man?

John Gardner's James Bond novels aren't taxing or challenging and are not to be taken seriously in the way Ian Fleming intended. Readers picking up these books will inevitably know the outcome of every novel - Bond will come through and the villain will be defeated and dispatched at the end of each story. If you are after unchallenging reading that is easy to pick up and put down and will provide entertainment while you are on a long journey or commuting to work on a ferry, train or bus, these books can do the job.

The Books

A summary of the books is provided below. Characters in Bold appear in more than one novel in the series. Be aware that characters are classed as 'Allies' even if they prove ultimately to be on the villain's side in order to avoid giving away plot spoilers.

1. Licence Renewed (1981)

PlotAlerted by a worrying meeting between international terrorist Franco and disgraced nuclear physicist Murik, Bond poses as an ex-army mercenary to investigate. He learns that Murik plans to infiltrate nuclear power stations around the world unless he receives $50 billion.
SettingAscot Racecourse, England, Mulcady, Scotland and Perpignan, France
VillainAnton Murik, Laird of Mulcady and nuclear physicist
Bond GirlsLavender 'Dilly' Peacock, Murik's ward
Ann O'Reilly nicknamed Q'ute, Q's assistant (she appears in later novels, but only as a work colleague).
HenchmenFranco Oliviero Quepscriado, international terrorist
Caber, big Scottish thug.
AlliesBill Tanner has an active role in operations.
Gun.44 Magnum revolver and Browning automatic handgun

Licence Renewed was published as License Renewed in the United States but Gardner's intended title was Meltdown. Bond's licence is not renewed at any point in the book: the title merely reflects that it is a new Bond book. Many of the Scottish scenes are reminiscent of those in the 1967 James Bond spoof film Casino Royale. The Saab 900 Turbo has a hidden compartment which contains various useful things including night-vision goggles for driving the car at night without headlights on – presumably Bond uses these just so no-one spots him in such an ugly vehicle. Fortunately he crashes the car.

2. For Special Services (1982)

PlotSPECTRE has returned! Bond is joined by Cedar Leiter, Felix's daughter and CIA Agent. SPECTRE is now led by someone who was Blofeld's unidentified illegitimate child. Who is this new head? Millionaire Markus Bismaquer, or his sinister right-hand man, the skeletal Walter Luxor? And what are their plans for infiltrating NORAD6?
SettingLouisiana, New York, Texas
VillainBlofeld – but who is Blofeld?
Markus Bismaquer – millionaire ice-cream manufacturer
Walter Luxor – racing diver and Bismaquer's right-hand man.
Bond GirlsCedar Leiter – CIA agent and daughter of Bond's best friend Felix
Nena Bismaquer – one-breasted wife of Markus Bismaquer
AlliesFelix Leiter – former CIA agent, Bond's best friend and Cedar's father
GunHeckler & Koch VP70

This is considered one of the highlights of the series; however, while there is no doubt the story is punchy for the first 90%, the ending is disappointing and inexplicable - after all the build-up over the new SPECTRE and the threat it poses, Blofeld is quickly killed off. This is particularly disappointing as the novel had kept readers guessing who the new Blofeld is.

The title comes from a gun engraved with the words 'For Special Services' that was presented to Ian Fleming by US General William Donovan in 1944. In 1941 Fleming wrote a memorandum for Donovan, the Coordinator of Information (COI), describing the structure and functions of a secret service organisation. This structure was used in the official charter of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the organisation that in 1947 became the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Bond is back in a Saab Turbo in this book, although whether it is the same Saab repaired or a new Saab modified in the same way is never revealed. In either case, the car has gained the name 'The Silver Beast' and is specified as being silver.

3. Icebreaker (1983)

PlotTerrorist organisation the National Socialist Action Army (NSAA) is assassinating Communists, which could destabilise the world's balance of power. Bond joins an international taskforce including members of the CIA, KGB7 and Mossad8 to investigate the possibility that the NSAA are smuggling weapons out of Russia across the frozen Russian/Norwegian border in the Arctic Circle. This mission is codenamed Icebreaker, but during the Cold War in the Arctic, who can be trusted?
SettingLibya, Portugal and the Finnish/Norwegian/Russian Border
VillainArne Tudeer aka Count Konrad von Gloda, ex-SS officer who longs to be the next Führer.
Bond Girls Rivke Ingber, Mossad Agent
Paula Vacker, Finnish girlfriend
AlliesNicolai 'Kolya' Moslov, KGB agent
Brad Tirpitz, CIA Agent
GunHeckler & Koch P7, Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum

4. Role of Honour (1984)

PlotA series of daring crimes are being committed worldwide with computer-like precision. It is believed that these are being planned by Dr Holy, a computer genius previously believed dead and now believed to call himself Professor St John-Finnes, who can create computer programmes to train criminals and prepare them for any eventuality. He provides this service to anyone able to afford his prices. Bond apparently resigns from the secret service and goes on a spending spree following allegations that he is considered dishonoured and sold his country out, hoping to attract Holy's attention. This works. Bond learns that Professor St John-Finnes/Dr Holy is preparing something called 'The Balloon Game'. How does this fit in with SPECTRE's plan to disarm the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons? Will the balloon go up?
SettingLondon, Monte Carlo, Banbury Cross, unknown location called 'Erewhon'9 and Switzerland
VillainProfessor Jason St John-Finnes aka Dr Jay Autem Holy, computer genius
Tamil Rahani, new head of SPECTRE
Bond GirlsPersephone 'Percy' Proud, CIA agent and Holy's ex-wife
Cindy Chalmers, CIA agent and Holy's assistant
HenchmenGeneral 'Rolling Joe' Zwingli – US soldier who believes in nuclear disarmament
Dazzle, Holy's current wife
Peter Amadeus, Holy's gay and pedantic protégé10
GunASP 9mm

Good news! Bond buys a new car to replace the terrible Saab 900 Turbo: a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo. SPECTRE hire Holy to create a flawless computer programme to train them in their plan to hijack the USA's and USSR's nuclear weapons by capturing the Goodyear Blimp and hovering over the building where the US President and Russian Premier are holding a peace conference. That way they can fool those superpowers' defence computers into accepting that any signal sent on the official channel using the correct codes from that location is from the President and Premier. This is planned in meticulous detail, yet curiously neither SPECTRE nor Holy's organisation thought about including someone who could actually pilot the airship!

5. Nobody Lives for Ever (1986)

PlotBond is driving across Europe to collect his Scottish housekeeper, May, from Austria where she has been convalescing when he prevents a gang of thugs from attacking Principessa Sukie Tempesta, an attractive young widow. Soon after it appears that everywhere Bond goes, violence follows. He learns that Tamil Rahani, the head of SPECTRE, is dying of cancer of the airship11 and has pledged to give a fortune to any criminal or political organisation that can kill Bond. Soon he learns that his old Russian adversaries in SMERSH have kidnapped Moneypenny and May in order to force him to come to them. Dogged by assassins everywhere he goes and accompanied by Sukie and her bodyguard Nannie, can Bond rescue Moneypenny and May, avoid the assassins, discover who can be trusted and defeat SPECTRE once and for all?
SettingAcross Europe including Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland and then Florida's Shark Island
VillainTamil Rahani, dying head of SPECTRE
Bond GirlsPrincipessa Sukie Tempesta, young widow
Nannie Norrich, head of Norrich Universal Bodyguards and Sukie's protector
HenchmenInspector Heinrich Osten aka Der Haken, corrupt cop who likes torturing people with a butcher's hook.
AlliesSteve Quinn, British agent based in Rome
Dr Kirchtum, May's doctor at Klinik Mozart
GunASP 9mm

This novel was released as Nobody Lives Forever in America, although Gardner's working title was You Only Die Once. Another Shark Island had previously appeared in Live and Let Die, yet this one is the base of operations for SPECTRE which is cunningly disguising itself as la Société pour la Promotion de l'Écologie et de la Civilisation', or SPEC for short. That'll fool all the world's security organisations looking for SPECTRE.

6. No Deals, Mr. Bond (1987)

PlotA team of four attractive women and one man had been planted in East Germany on missions to seduce members of the opposition, such as the KGB, and find out secrets from them under the codename Operation Cream Cake. Years after their return to England under completely new identities, two have been gruesomely murdered with their tongues cut out. Bond is unofficially sent to locate the remaining former agents and discover who is killing them.
SettingEast Germany, England, Ireland, France, Hong Kong
VillainGeneral Konstanin 'Kolya' Nikolaevich Chernov, SMERSH12 head
Bond GirlsHeather Dare formerly Irma Wagen, Cream Cake
Ebbie Heritage formerly Emilie Nikolas, Cream Cake
HenchmenMischa, Russian-trained East German
Yakov, Bogdan, Pavl and Semen, Russian thugs
AlliesColonel Maxim Smolin, defecting member of GRU13
Frank 'Jungle' Basiley formerly Franz Belzinger, Cream Cake
Inspector Norman Murray, Irish Special Branch
Swift, agent who set up Operation Cream Cake
Big Thumb Chang, Hong Kong-based smuggler
Richard Han, friend of Mr Swift

This is a better book than the title would suggest. No-one in the book at any point says, 'No deals, Mr Bond'. Gardner apparently hated the title and had written it under the name 'Tomorrow Always Comes', which would prove remarkably similar to the title of Pierce Brosnan's second Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies.

7. Scorpius (1988)

PlotA number of British politicians are murdered by suicidal terrorists! It is believed that Our Father Valentine, head of the cult The Society of Meek Ones, is international arms dealer Vladimir Scorpius. Bond investigates the threat that Scorpius is making impressionable young people believe that if they become suicide bombers they will be rewarded in the next life, and getting them to target whomever he is paid to assassinate.
SettingEngland, South Carolina, Washington DC
VillainVladimir Scorpius, aka Our Father Valentine, arms dealer / cult leader with hypnotic eyes
Bond GirlsHarriet Horner, US Internal Revenue Service agent
AlliesSergeant Pearlman, SAS NCO
Sir James Molony, the Service's medical expert
Chief Superintendent Bailey, Special Branch terrorism investigator
Wolkovsky, CIA Liaison

It would have been nice to know who was hiring Scorpius to assassinate British politicians and why, rather than leaving it as a case of baddies being evil just because they are evil. In many ways this novel seems rather prescient of more recent suicide bombers.

8. Win, Lose or Die (1989)

PlotTerrorist group BAST – the Brotherhood for Anarchy and Secret Terror - plan to infiltrate a joint British-Soviet naval operation codenamed Landsea 89. This operation is really a cover for a summit between the UK Prime Minister, Russian Premier and US President being held on board HMS Invincible. Promoted to Captain and given an extensive training course on flying Harrier Jump Jets, Bond is in charge of their security. He aims to defend the world leaders from the four heads of BAST, who are known only as the Snake, the Viper, the Cat and the Man. Having stolen milk from all the British children, will Margaret Thatcher steal all the navy's milk too? Who can Bond trust?
SettingSomerset, Gibraltar, Naples, Portugal and on HMS Invincible.
Villains & PoliticiansThe Man: Robert Besavitsky aka Bassam Baradj
The Snake: Abou Hamarik
Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher and Prime Minister
Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian Premier
George Bush, US President
Bond GirlsBeatrice Maria da Ricci
First Officer Clover Pennington, Wren
Nikki Ratnikov, Gorbachev's bodyguard
HenchmenThe Cat and the Viper

Obviously the best way to be an effective bodyguard is to be given flight training on a Harrier Jump Jet. The novel contains scenes which Bond appears to be close friends with Prime Minister Thatcher. This may make some readers uncomfortable; however, Thatcher had previously briefly appeared in the Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981). Gardner once more effectively plays the 'who can be trusted' card, but other than that the villains are quite dull and their scheme – to kidnap the world leaders and demand a ransom – is not the most original. In fact The Rough Guide to James Bond (2002) speculates that the plot for the Cat, the Snake and the Viper to kidnap world leaders and demand a ransom is remarkably similar to Catwoman, the Penguin and the Riddler planning to kidnap world leaders and demand a ransom in the film Batman (1966).

Film Novelisation: Licence to Kill (1989)

PlotBond helps Felix Leiter to arrest a drug lord. The drug lord escapes, feeds Leiter to a shark and kills Leiter's wife. Bond resigns from the Secret Service to seek revenge.
SettingFlorida Keys and Isthmus, a fictional Central American country.
VillainFranz Sanchez – drug baron
Bond GirlsPam Bouvier – CIA informant and pilot
Lupe Lamora – Sanchez's girlfriend
HenchmenMilton Krest – drug distributor posing as a marine researcher
Dario – nasty sadist
Professor Joe Butcher – fake televangelist
Killifer – corrupt Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent
AlliesFelix Leiter – former CIA agent helping the DEA
Sharkey, Leiter's friend

This novelisation had the difficult task of reconciling the continuity of the novels and films. Felix Leiter had been attacked by a shark in the novel Live and Let Die (1954). This gruesome sequence did not appear in the 1973 film adaptation of that book but it was included in the film of Licence to Kill instead. To reconcile this, Gardner says Leiter is attacked by a shark for the second time in his life - the shark predominantly eats the prosthetic limbs and causes surprisingly few new injuries. The character Milton Krest appeared in Fleming's 1960 short story 'The Hildebrand Rarity', in which he was killed, but he was killed again in the film so he appears in the novelisation. Although Gardner had promoted Bond to Captain in Win, Lose or Die, here he is still a Commander. Curiously Leiter's daughter Cedar from For Special Services doesn't appear – not even to attend her father's wedding.

In the film it is revealed that Sanchez has bought stinger missiles that he threatens to use to destroy an airliner unless he is given ransom money, which leads to an exciting sequence at the end when Sanchez fires one of the missiles at a petrol tanker that is being driven by Bond. In the novelisation, Gardner is obsessed with this and frequently states that the missiles in question are not actually Stinger missiles, that Stinger missiles look completely different to the prop seen and also that they have more advanced target-seeking capabilities.

None of Gardner's later novels refer to the events of this book.

9. Brokenclaw (1990)

PlotLee Fu-Chu has been kidnapping scientists and thus obtained the plans for a way of tracking submarines and a way to prevent submarines from being tracked. He plans to sell the plans to the Chinese Government while also hacking into the US Stock Market to destroy the US economy. Bond and CIA agent 'Chi-Chi' can only stop them by pretending to be agents working for China who have come to purchase the plans.
SettingBritish Columbia, San Francisco, Washington State
VillainLee Fu-Chu aka Brokenclaw, half-Native American, half-Chinese millionaire
Bond GirlsSue 'Chi-Chi' Chi-Ho, CIA Agent
Wanda Man Song Hing, US Naval Intelligence Lieutenant
HenchmenNolan and Wood, Corrupt FBI agents
AlliesEd Rushia, US Naval Intelligence Commander

Submarine-tracking plans had been a major plot point of the film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). This novel is probably Gardner's most sadistic, with a convoluted and torturous race in which Bond has to all-but pull his body apart to get to a bow and arrow before Brokenclaw does. Brokenclaw is so named because his left hand has its thumb on the opposite side, effectively giving him two right hands.

10. The Man from Barbarossa (1991)

PlotDuring Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of Russia, 33,800 Jews were slaughtered within 48 hours at Babi Yar, Kiev. A vigilante group known as the Scales of Justice kidnap an old man from America that they claim was Josef Vorontsov, a Russian Nazi collaborator who organised the massacre, and demand he be put on trial by the Russians for war crimes. Yet Mossad knows he is innocent - the real Vorontsov, whom they had under observation in an attempt to gather enough evidence to convict him, disappears from America soon afterwards, having been secretly kidnapped by the French. Bond and a Mossad agent, Pete Natkowitz, are sent to Russia to help the KGB infiltrate the Scales of Justice, who refuse to believe that their man is innocent and have started murdering one politician or military man a day until the old man is put on trial. However, the Scales of Justice is an elaborate cover used by extremist General Yevgeny Yuskovitch to remove his rivals and restore hard-line Communism through a sinister plan involving nuclear weapons and the invasion of Iraq during the Gulf War. Can the French be trusted? Will the world be 'rocking and a rolling, rocking and a reeling' from the Barbarossa man?
SettingNew Jersey, London, Russia, Russian/Finnish Border
VillainGeneral Yevgeny Yuskovitch
Bond GirlsNina Bibikova, KGB agent and child of British defectors
Stephanie Adoré, DGSE14 agent
AlliesPete Natkowitz, Mossad agent
Boris Stepakov, KGB agent
Major Henri Rampart, GIGN15 agent
Vladimir Lyko, Russian professor of English
Michael Brooks & Emerald Lacy – British agents who had defected to the USSR in the 1960s and Nina's parents
Nigsy Meadows, Pansy Wright, Secret Service agents

Although the slaughter of 33,800 Jews at Babi Yar on 29-30 September, 1941 is true – and was followed by further massacres meaning over 150,000 men, women and children were butchered there, Josef Vorontsov is a fictional character. Gardner had previously used the plot of an international team in which Bond works with the KGB and Mossad and then ends up on the Russian/Finnish border in Icebreaker. In this book it is revealed that the Secret Service agent based in Tel Aviv is named Fanny Farmer.

11. Death is Forever (1992)

PlotIn post-unification East Germany Britain's network of agents, known as the Cabal, are being killed along with the British and American agents sent to find them. Bond and an inexperienced CIA agent called 'Easy' are sent to find the few remaining members and learn who is killing them. With a traitor surely among the survivors, who can they trust? They soon uncover a plot to kill all of Europe's political leaders and revive Communist totalitarianism when the first train through the Eurotunnel, in a symbolic gesture, contains every major politician in the European Community.
SettingFrankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Venice, Calais, the Channel Tunnel, London
VillainWolfgang 'Wolfie' Weisen aka The Poison Dwarf, who longs to be the next Stalin
Bond GirlsElizabeth Zara 'Easy' St John, CIA Agent
Praxi Simeon, surviving Cabal member
HenchmenMonika Haardt, Weisen's fanatic lover with reptilian skin
Dmitri, jockey-sized henchman
AlliesKarl 'Bruin' Kuckuk, Cabal member
Harry Spraker, Cabal member
Kapitan Wimper, Cabal member

This book, the first post-USSR Bond tale, effectively leaves you guessing which characters can be trusted and who is the villain. It would be one of the highlights of the series had the plot of 'a traitor is killing off agents in an East German spy ring' not already been used five years earlier in No Deals, Mr Bond.

12. Never Send Flowers (1993)

PlotAfter a series of seemingly unconnected assassinations, an MI5 anti-terrorism agent is murdered on her holiday in Switzerland. Bond is sent to investigate, teaming up with Swiss agent Flicka von Grüsse. They discover the culprit is David Dragonpol, the world's greatest actor, who secretly kills famous people for a hobby. His next plot? The assassination of Princess Diana and her sons William and Harry in EuroDisney, Paris. Can Bond be a knight in shining armour and save the Princess from the Dragon, or will Princess Diana die in Paris?
SettingEngland, Switzerland, Athens, EuroDisney
VillainDavid Dragonpol, world's greatest actor
Bond GirlsFredericka 'Flicka' von Grüsse, Swiss agent
Carmel Chantry, MI5 agent
HenchmenMaeve 'Hort' Horton, Dragonpol's widowed sister
Lester, Dragonpol's butler
Charles and William, Dragonpol's nurses
AlliesDetective Bodo Lempke, Interlaken police department

A prophetic book in many ways, as Princess Diana did indeed die in Paris. However, the best line has to be Bond saying, 'I tend to get a bit angry whenever people mock EuroDisney', though close second has to be, 'Bond saw him for what he was: a crazed killer of dreams, a weaver of nightmares, a destroyer of the beautiful fairy tales that this place gave to men, women and children the world over'.

13. SeaFire (1994)

PlotOn holiday on a cruise ship owned by Sir Maxwell Tarn, Bond and his girlfriend Flicka defeat a terrorist hijack attempt only for the ship to be destroyed, apparently by a submarine. Wishing to find evidence incriminating Tarn of being an arms dealer, Bond warns Tarn when they are both back in the UK that he is about to be raided by the authorities, hoping to panic him into revealing incriminating evidence, only for Tarn and his abused wife to apparently be killed. Not only is Tarn alive, but he is also one step ahead of Bond at all times. Is there a traitor betraying Bond? Why does Tarn next plan to target an oil tanker with his submarine and set the waves alight?
SettingLondon, Cambridge, Madrid, Germany and Puerto Rico
VillainSir Maxwell Tarn, millionaire and arms dealer who believes he is the next Führer
Bond GirlsFredericka 'Flicka' von Grüsse, Swiss-born British agent
HenchmenCuthbert & Archie / Cathy & Anna, sadistic women masquerading as men
AlliesFelix Leiter, former CIA agent and Bond's close friend
Burkenshaw & Hairman, aka 'Burke & Hair' – service interrogators.

M is expected to be retired from the service, meaning that Bond is now head of the Two Zeros section of British intelligence, but everything he does must be approved by the MicroGlobe committee. Pete Natkowitz appears briefly in this novel, but appears to have changed his name to Steve. Felix says that he was very concerned when Bond and his daughter were together, even though he practically forced Bond to have an affair with Cedar in For Secret Services. An odd way to show fatherly concern...

Film Novelisation: GoldenEye (1995)

PlotGoldenEye is a Cold War-era electromagnetic pulse weapon mounted in two satellites. With the Cold War over, a criminal with a connection to Bond's past plans to use this against London.
SettingRussia, French Riviera, London, Puerto Rico and Cuba
VillainAlec Trevelyan aka Janus, former 006
Bond GirlsNatalya Fyodorovna Simonova, GoldenEye programmer
Xenia Onatopp, member of Janus Crime Syndicate
HenchmenGeneral Ourumov, corrupt Soviet general
Boris Grishenko, head programmer on GoldenEye
AlliesJack Wade, CIA agent
Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky, Russian mobster

A reasonably faithful adaptation of the film, although one sequence that Gardner adds to the book, in which Bond helps Natalya escape from Russia by dressing her as a schoolgirl, made it into the GoldenEye 007 computer game. There are some changes. In the film Zukovsky recognises that Bond is carrying a Walther PPK, a gun that Gardner had made a big fuss about how his Bond no longer carried, so the line 'Walther PPK, only three people I know carry such a gun; I believe I have killed two of them' is changed to 'I only know three people who carry that gun; I believe I have killed two of them'. The continuity is also slightly tweaked; in one scene Bond mentions that the last time he had been to Puerto Rico someone he loved became paralysed and will never walk again, referring to events at the end of SeaFire and making it apparent this book is set before the events of Gardner's next novel COLD. However, during COLD M is still a man and only at the very end of the novel is he replaced by a woman, which would set COLD before GoldenEye.

14. COLD (1996)


A tale told in two halves. In Part One, Bond is investigating a terrorist attack on flight 299 from London to Washington DC when he bumps into Principessa Sukie Tempesta, who was due to be on that flight. She warns him to beware of 'COLD' before vanishing. COLD are the Children Of the Last Days, a religious cult led by General Brutus Brute Clay. They plan on taking over America with the help of Sukie's stepsons, the Tempesta Brothers, heads of a powerful crime family. Can Bond defeat their scheme?

Four years later, after returning from Puerto Rico at the end of SeaFire, Bond is forced to leave his girlfriend Freddie and go on active service to Geneva to aid the FBI in their attempt to capture the Tempesta crime family.

SettingLondon, Washington DC, Virginia, Iowa, Rome, Pisa, Tuscany, Switzerland
VillainGeneral Brutus Brute Clay
The Tempesta Brothers, Luigi and Angelo
Bond GirlsPrincipessa Sukie Tempesta, mother-in-law of criminal brothers
Fredericka 'Freddie' von Grüsse, Swiss-born British agent
Beatrice Maria da Ricci, British agent
Toni Nicolleti, FBI agent
Felicia 'Fliss' Heard Skifflet, FBI agent
HenchmenKauffberger, giant
Roberto, drunk
AlliesEddie Rhabb, Drake, Prime & MacRoberts, FBI Agents

Published as Cold Fall in America, this novel followed GoldenEye, a film which had one scene set nine years before the rest of the film, and this story similarly has the first half of the story set five years before the second. For some unexplained reason Flicka's nickname has now changed to Freddie. Bond encounters many of the surviving characters from previous novels and one of the henchmen decides to change sides for no apparent reason. Makes a change from an ally ending up being a traitor, though. Bond, however, doesn't really seem comfortable in his new role as an air-crash investigator and spends most of the second half of the novel doing little favours for the FBI rather than investigating on his own or making his own decisions. At the novel's very end Bond heads off to meet the new, female M.

1Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, Doctor No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun.2'From a View to a Kill', 'Quantum of Solace', 'The Hildebrand Rarity', 'For Your Eyes Only', 'Risico', 'The Living Daylights', '007 in New York', 'The Property of a Lady' and 'Octopussy'. 'Murder on Wheels' was written for a proposed Bond television series but was never published as a short story.3These were For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill and GoldenEye.4Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms.5Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo née Draco appeared in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963) and was played by Diana Rigg in the 1969 film adaptation; in both novel and film she marries Bond at the end only to promptly die.6NORth American Air Defence.7Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, meaning Committee for State Security, was the security agency for the Soviet Union that officially disbanded in 1991.8Full title HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuhadim, this means Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations and is Israel's intelligence agency.9Almost, but not quite, 'nowhere' spelt backwards.10Though infinitely less homophobic than Fleming, Gardner does not come across as enlightened in his description of Peter.11According to this novel, parachuting out of airships in order to make a clean getaway in a previous book causes fatal cancer. Who knew?12Formed by Stalin in 1941, SMERSH stood for SMERt SHpionam meaning 'Death to Spies' and in reality was disbanded in 1946; however, in these novels it was merely renamed and incorporated within the KGB, becoming initially Department V and, in this novel, Department Eight, Directorate S.13Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye, standing for Main Intelligence Directorate, this is Soviet Military Intelligence.14Direction Géneéral de Securitée Extérieur, French intelligence service.15Groupement D'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, French anti-terrorist unit.

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