Solo – William Boyd

This is a James Bond novel, set in 1969, with Bond celebrating his 45th birthday in style and living a life of fast cars, wine, women, and danger.

On the one hand, I am suspicious of the book as an attempt to exploit the late Ian Fleming’s invention. On the other, if there’s reading pleasure to be had, I’m all for it.

On the plus side, therefore, the Bond character is given just the right kind of treatment. He is no superstar, albeit he is rather good at his job. There’s a fine drawing of the man with a sympathetic slant given to his weaknesses. The other characters are pure cardboard – probably as it should be.

The plot doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me. To cast my doubts here would spoil it. Let’s say, that there is intrigue, and the investigation and unraveling is interesting.

It’s a page turner, tautly written in the main, with some excellent period touches and only the occasional out of time phraseology.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a must read, but fans of Bond won’t be disappointed, and it is not a bad way to spend some quiet reading time.

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