A James Bond novel written by William Boyd.
It is 1969 and James Bond is about to go solo, recklessly motivated by revenge.
A seasoned veteran of the service, 007 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, D.C., where he discovers a web of geopolitical intrigue and witnesses fresh horrors.
Even if Bond succeeds in exacting his revenge, a man with two faces will come to stalk his every waking moment.
Dominic West is well known for his leading roles in many films, including 28 Days, Mona Lisa Smile, The Forgotten and 300. He played McNulty in HBO’s The Wire, one of the most critically acclaimed television programmes ever made in the U.S. In 2011 he won a TV BAFTA for his role in ITV mini-series Appropriate Adult, and he was also nominated for a Golden Glove for BBC series The Hour.
©2013 Ian Fleming Publications Limited (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
A reviewer's got to do what a reviewer's got to do
As a fervent reader of the Ian Fleming books in my early years , I have been deeply disappointed by the various attempts of different writers to re-create James Bond. This time is different. If anything , the best I can say about this book is that , at times, it really sounds like the real thing. The worse is that James Bond - as a character- comes through as a bit "depassė" with his snobbish and macho attitude and belongs to a world ( Cold War) forever gone...In any case this is good entertainment and I would certainly go for an additional " Bond by Boyd" book..
I enjoyed this it's a solid story, it has the original Bond story timing, Bond girls in peril, evil bad guys who won't die and plenty of twists and turns. Kept my interest.
"I love Bond, but I didn't love this"
As the headline says, I love Bond and have done since I was given my first Bond book to read when I was 12 (I'm 30-something now). I’m not going to go into all the reasons why, but the fact that that Fleming’s books are still so widely read after all this time, is testament to the quality of the characters and the storytelling; both of which are lacking in Solo.
I’ve paid close attention to more recent Bond books by Faulks and Deaver, and enjoyed them to some degree – they weren’t on a par with Fleming’s finest, but they were decent stories in their own right. As a result I was looking forward to Solo, expecting more of the same. I was disappointed. It felt like William Boyd had been given a couple of hours to scribble down a rough plot, been told to watch Timothy Dalton in action for a few hours, ask a few teenage boys what they’d like to see Bond get up to, and then jot it down ready for print.
No, not at all. It's possible if you read this book in its own right and forget you've ever heard of Bond, then you may enjoy it. Sadly, as the cover states, it's 'A Jame Bond Novel' so if you enjoy Fleming's Bond, there's a good chance you won't enjoy this.
Honestly, I didn't have a favourite.
Dominic West's performance was good. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I sensed at times that he struggled with his delivery as parts of the dialogue were weak and the story implausible.
I've watched The Wire in it's entirety, so I know Dominic West can 'do' American, yet I remain unconvinced by his Mexican accent - it felt like some comic relief from what may have proved a bit of a chore for the actor.
I'm sure it will become the basis for a Bond movie at some stage, but I'd imagine it will be a few years down the line with a new actor playing Bond involved.
James Bond is 45 in Solo, the same age as Daniel Craig now, so he's likely to be past it by the time this gets to the big screen. I was going to suggest that at 45, Bond won't necessarily carry the same allure as he saunters out of the sea in his tight blue swimming shorts, but I am fully aware there are armies of women who would disagree.
I feel I should explain a specifics about why I didn't enjoy the book, here are a few reasons I didn't enjoy the book:
- Bond break into a woman's house an rummages through her draw without any good reason. When she returns and starts to undress, he stays to watch. Smooth. For me, this is not something Fleming's character would have done, at least not without good reason.
- Bond gets angry at decorators in his flat. This is an odd one; Boyd doesn't really explain why, but there's a passage where Bond feels the need to 'crack the whip' with the men decorating his flat. I assume it's added to point to the fact that he has to seek some form of enjoyment/power at a time when his life is a little slower than usual, but it doesn't seem to fit. Bond was always short with people, but rarely rude without good reason - this seemed to go against this.
- He gets duped easily and frequently. Maybe senility is setting in early, but Bond gets tricked a lot in Solo. I don't want to spoil plot lines, but it's a sad day when a picture of the Queen hanging on the wall is enough to convince Bond that someone is who they say they are.
- The baddies are stupid. Yes okay, a lot of the villains in Bond's films are not the sharpest, but when a Journalist masterminds a battle without anyone raising an eyebrow, you've got to ask what's coming next - "Mr Bond, you're great with a gun, are you really just a children's entertainer?"
There's more, but this has become a rant.
"Pure Bond Brilliance"
Pacey, Classy, Compelling
James Bond of course, the epitome of cool, and in this story not infallible, but resourceful and capable in all circumstances
All the scenes involving Bryce and the segment in the USA
At the end when James did the right thing, even though he didn't really want to
Not a Flemming, though no worse for that. The ending held more surprises than we are used to with the film equivalents - I suspect that is indicative of the films catering for a certain audience and certain necessary formula.
This book is skillfully narrated by Dominc West and his clever use of accents completely brings the characters to life. Cleverly he does not attempt to talk like a female for the respective characters and I think the book would be poorer if he had tried.
This was my first full length audiobook, and I am totally hooked by the format.
I do hope Mr Boyd is inspired to write another Bond epic.
One of the great things about the book is the opening in which Bond's age and the timeline of the story are explained and established. This really helps witih the scene setting and anchors the listener in that era.
"Not James Bond, Not William Boyd!"
An understanding of the complexity of the plot.
No, Flemming is dead and William Boyd is a fantastic writer in his own right. Whilst flattered to be asked to complete the task he would be better employed writing his next novel.
"A slow start that improves but never quite enough."
The last few chapters though stretching credulity (it is a James Bond novel) are fast paced and interesting. The beginning I found tedious, and though I tried hard to be interested thought the whole Africa plot disappointing.
The ending was certainly better than the beginning or the middle for that matter.
It was well read.
"Dominic West's dulcet tones brings Bond back!"
Dominic West delivers a great performance as a sultry and self-assured Bond. William Boyd's story is hard to follow in some places and typically Bond - there is a touch of sexism there... So Bond is older but the writing is still very much Fleming. I would actually say that I preferred this imagining of Bond to Jeffrey Deaver's in Carte Blanche - perhaps because Boyd has been brave enough to keep Bond more like the original Fleming one i.e. misogynistic and yet enamoured with female beauty and charm...He is the whisky drinking smoking womaniser of old!
Definitely Bond himself, followed by the female love interests.
Apart from Bond in the story the black female love interest
It made me both laugh and cry a little
A great audiobook : great entertainment. It's easy listening and yet substantial.
"My first James Bond book"
I found the book quit boring throughout the first half and did not like how the writing had captured James character at all. The second half was better. Disappointed with this book
He tried to make it interesting but it's they it was written
I would cut the first half of the book unnecessary babble it's just not needed
Would not recommend which is a shame as I was looking forward to reading it
"A Bond 'Filler' rather than 'Thriller'"
I probably would recommend this book, but there are others in the 'franchise' that I would recommend before this one, including the two other recent additions.
While I was engaged by this book I wasn't gripped. I followed listening to this by listening to Moonraker which was interesting because in retrospect you could see the pastiche that Boyd employs rather than reverence. In the end the changes in the storyline between Africa/USA felt disjointed and the story appeared rushed towards the end.
No particular character, but his lugubrious delivery of the Bond character is entertaining.
Not really, as I stated I was engaged rather than gripped.
"James Bond - goes back to his roots"
The audio book is is extreamly well read by Dominic West and draws you into the story.
The new bond girl was very interesting and a perfect foil for Bonds latest love interest
Not listened to any of Dominic West's readings before, but I might just look for something else he has narrated
Boyd is one of my favourite modern authors and unlike the recent Faulks and Deaver books this did not disappoint. The style was impeccable, the story entertaining and the Classic Fleming Bond preserved. I liked the African flavour to the novel and the plot had enough twists and turns to be thoroughly diverting. West's narration was excellent too. If you are a Bond/Boyd fan I recommend this book.
"Bond is Back with a Bang"
Entertaining, erudite and excellent
Bond trying a Jensen Interceptor, surely one of the forgotten treasures of British automation
A sense of immediacy that helps you visualise scenes better than just by your self
The moving on of May, the housekeeper who features in so many of Fleming's books
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