If you, like me, were interested to see where Bond would go after Fleming (and Amis) and now that it was the 1980s, then License Renewed isn’t going to let you down, but it’s not really going to excite you either.
His two battered suitcases came and he unpacked leisurely and then ordered from Room Service a bottle of the Taittinger Blanc de Blancs. When the bottle, in its frosted silver bucket, came, he drank a quarter of it and then went into the bathroom and had an ice-cold shower and washed his hair with Pinaud Elixir, that prince among shampoos
It must have been daunting to assume the mantle of keeper of the James Bond novels, something Amis eventually did under the pen name Robert Markham — somewhat pointlessly. Everyone knew he was the author, and his name often appeared on the covers alongside the Robert Markham pseudonym.
It’s possible that Martin could have handled a more serious script. He’d recently proven himself quite capable of a powerful dramatic turn, both as the drunken deputy in Rio Lobo and again alongside Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift in The Young Lions. But everyone, including Dean himself, figured no one wanted to see a dark and violent turn from the popular entertainer.
“I was taking a martini across the room…” If that line, the first sentence in the first Matt Helm novel by Donald Hamilton, had been the only sentence in the book, then there would have been very little stylistic conflict between the Matt Helm of the books and the incarnation of the character that eventually fond its way onto movie screens.
Oh yeah, I forgot that I never finished reviewing all the Bond books by Ian Fleming. In a way, that in itself is a fitting review of the final of […]
Fleming delivers a complex story, well rendered and expertly paced, if not a bit far-fetched in certain aspects. It has the speed and adventure of the best action-oriented Bond stories but is a decidedly denser, more complicated work, showing that Fleming really had improved tremendously at his chosen vocation.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a nearly perfect thriller. It is packed with intrigue, action, romance, and emotion, and does indeed manage to work within the Bond formula without being confined by it.
You could skip reading The Spy Who Loved Me and suffer nary a setback to further exploration of the Bond series. In fact, considering what a huge setback The Spy Who Loved Me itself is to the series, perhaps you would be best skipping it.
Thunderball is the final time we will see the more carefree, action-oriented James Bond. As a farewell to that type of story in the Bond canon, it is a superb send-off and remains one of my absolute favorite of Fleming’s books.