In ten days, Hong Kong will pass into the hands of the Chinese - and 007 is on his way there to undertake his most dangerous and thrilling mission yet.
In the Australian desert, a nuclear bomb explodes. There are no survivors and no clues about who has made it or detonated it.
In England, two police officers are shot dead when they apprehend a cargo vessel in Portsmouth dock. Vast quantities of heroin are later found on board.
And in Hong Kong, an explosion rips through one of the colony's famous floating restaurants, killing the entire Board of Directors of EurAsia Enterprises Ltd, a multi-billion dollar shipping corporation.
The People's Republic of China is about to resume control after a century and a half of British rule - and the colony is a powder keg waiting to explode. The tension reaches breaking point when a solicitor from one of Britain's most prestigious law firms is killed in a car bomb at Government House.
These apparently random events are connected - and Bond must find out how and why. From the heady casinos of Macau to the seedy strip clubs of Kowloon, 007's investigations bring him into conflict with ruthless Triad gangs, a power-hungry Chinese general - and a beautiful night club hostess called Sunni Pei.
All inquiries seem to lead to EurAsia Enterprises Ltd - and its assassinated owner. James Bond is about to come up against one of the most formidable adversaries of his career.
©1997 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
I have read various of John Gardner's James Bond novels. Some were very good, though he ended off with the same old recipe. In Raymond Benson's first James Bond novel, he does what I thought could not be done anymore - he blew life into the recipe.
Staying true to Ian Flemming, he seems to take more freedom not to include all of John Gardner's changes to the Bond scene, though he keeps enough to ensure continuity.
Placed against Gardner's last novel "Cold" "Zero minus Ten" is more believable. By using the handing over of Hong Kong to China as a setting, Benson merged fact and fiction in a very entertaining and original way.
One thing that is a bit strange to me, is how smitten James Bond with the Bond girl Sunni Pei. It is important for the story-line, but I felt it was a bit overdone.
Be that as it may, Benson succeeds to "update" Bond. I enjoyed his eye for detail. There must have been quite a bit of research into making Bond believable.
With the solid narration of Simon Vance, it would be quite wrong not to give this novel 5 stars. Good story, good performance and quite original for James Bond.
Zero Minus Ten is one of the best of the "non-Fleming" James Bond novels and is expertly read by Simon Vance.
This book feels like the novelization of an unused Daniel Craig Bond script. Lots of brutal action that is very visually described, featuring a James Bond that is physically very powerful. The locations are described well (Hong Kong, Macau, and the Australian Outback.) The right amount of leisure and travel-writing occurs with games of Mah-Jong and an Australian Walkabout.
Definitely worth a listen for any James Bond fan.
Written in the style of Flemming, excellent descriptive narrative, a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
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