Carte Blanche – Jeffery Deaver

Setting: Mostly South Africa.

Story: James Bond is sent to investigate a piece of intelligence about plans for a terrorist attack. His work leads him to an environmental recycler with a repulsive hobby, and deadly colleagues. But what, exactly, are they planning? And why? And are these people the brains behind the scheme, or paid footsoldiers.

The Good Stuff: Deaver brings his trademark abundance of twists and surprises to the table. A veritable page turner. The author does a good job of bringing the character of Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007, and his world, up to date. The plot is good, and tightly constructed. The gadgets and the girls are there, just like before.

More Good Stuff: The author covers the subject matter of inter-service rivalry, and the politics of espionage with aplomb. Also, the book is full of small gems of detail reflecting the undoubted ton of research Deaver must have done for the book. I think he loved this character and his world, and wanted to do both justice.

Not So Good Stuff: There was something flat and artificial about the character of Bond. The introspection and rumination of the man of action and adventure did not work for me. Perhaps Deaver was caught between two routes: keeping faithful to Fleming, or following the Daniel Craig interpretation. It looks as if he chose the latter, but lacked the insight into what makes that version of Bond, tick.

Score: 6.5/10