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5.0 out of 5 stars Like reading Fleming
I've loved Ian Fleming novels since first reading one years ago, and Sebastian Faulks captures the soul of his writing in this piece of literature. Back to an old time Bond who boozes and schmoozes, with a villain more dastardly than most written today, Devil May Care is a must read for any Bond fan, as well as anyone looking for a good piece of reading material.
Published 8 months ago by Julian McGuire

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rating: 5.4 / 10
This was the first James Bond novel I've read. I came to this through the movies. I've read some bad thrillers over the years - “Tyrannosaur Canyon” by Douglas Preston, “Treasure of Khan” by Clive Cussler, “The Emperor's Tomb” by Steve Barry – and I figured, let's go for the source. James Bond, the movie version, is everything I...
Published 11 months ago by Jason


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rating: 5.4 / 10, May 12 2013
By 
Jason (Courtice, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Audio CD)
This was the first James Bond novel I've read. I came to this through the movies. I've read some bad thrillers over the years - “Tyrannosaur Canyon” by Douglas Preston, “Treasure of Khan” by Clive Cussler, “The Emperor's Tomb” by Steve Barry – and I figured, let's go for the source. James Bond, the movie version, is everything I look for in a thriller, particularly a spy thriller. He's a quasi-antihero womaniser secret agent with an appropriate ratio of martial ass-kicking and gadgets, that acts independently on world-changing stakes.

Sebastian Faulks writes “as Ian Fleming” in this sequel to “The Man with the Golden Gun”, disregarding all the other incarnations in the 80s and 90s, writing in Fleming's style. The story takes place in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War. The antagonist is Dr. Julius Gorner, a chemist plotting the downfall of Britain as justice for the various crimes Britain's imperialism spread in decades and century's past, with a monkey's paw for a hand, an ego to match his scheme and an Asian sidekick as muscle whose undergone brain surgery to render him a sociopath and also remove his sense of pain and irony. It's classic bond, with as much gun violence, explosions and sex as a PG-13 rating can handle.

The problem with a lot of thrillers out there is that not only are they pure pulp to the greatest degree, but that they also conform to a certain sub-genre I call airport pulp. Airport pulp is almost precisely a set length (probably around 90,000 words), designed to be bought at an airport gift shop, read while waiting to board and flying, while you're half stoned on Xanax, and then finished on the return flight, while you're half hung over. There's no deep themes, there's no exploration of deep characters, there's a set length so you're sure to finish it, and it's simple enough in it's story so that you can forget half of it and still know roughly what's going on.

“Devil May Care” is no exception to airport pulp. And it's utterly forgettable. However, it doesn't fail in all the same ways as Douglas Preston, Clive Cussler [1] of Steve Barry fail – and that actually makes it more forgettable.

There's a problem with classic James Bond films. In the days of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, this is the peak of the Cold War, and you're dealing with a British secret agent. There could be all kinds of commentary on communism, capitalism, American hegemony, Stalinist totalitarianism and so forth, but instead whom do we have for an antagonist – an apolitical consortium of self-identified evil-doers bent on world domination for no specified reason. It might has well be James Bond versus Pinky and the Brain. This is one of the reasons I'm loving the Daniel Craig Bond films.

In “Devil May Care”, Julius Gorner is not merely Pinky and the Brain. He does have a genuine motive and it does bring up issues of British imperialism. His plan is to destroy the West by decaying Western society through growing drug addiction, both pharmaceutically and criminally – which is both plausible and arguably happening. There's no sharks with laser beams here. However, that's about the extent of it. Gorner's plan is never really elaborated on, and it comes out by pure dictation, him merely elucidating every aspect of it to Bond as a gloat. The ending is somewhat anticlimactic in comparison to what we're used to in the films, but does include a nice exodus from the Soviet Union without too much wordiness.

The prose is nothing spectacular, but it's not bad either. The structure is nicely done with fairly even chapters, each titled decently without the need to throw in any filler names. The Bond girl seems somewhat stereotypical in the beginning, but I'd say she's nicely done in the end.

Faulks has said he won't be doing any more Bond novels, and I'm not sure if I'm going to check out the Jeffrey Deaver novel. This is a good book for airport pulp; whether that's praise or not I'll leave up to you.

[1] Clive Cussler doesn't actually qualify as airport pulp, because what he writes is far too long to qualify, but he's otherwise indistinguishable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like reading Fleming, Aug. 18 2013
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I've loved Ian Fleming novels since first reading one years ago, and Sebastian Faulks captures the soul of his writing in this piece of literature. Back to an old time Bond who boozes and schmoozes, with a villain more dastardly than most written today, Devil May Care is a must read for any Bond fan, as well as anyone looking for a good piece of reading material.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to read you again Mr Bond, June 18 2008
By 
Guy Rogers (Calgary, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Hardcover)
Certainly a page turner and Bond's enemy is reminiscent of the Goldfinger / Oddjob combination. It harks back to the 60's but with issues that are still prevalent today. It would be interesting to see if this got made into a film as certain aspects that draw the suspense in the book would have to be technologically `updated'.

A very enjoyable read, Faulks has done a fine job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "He seemed to be beyond reach, locked in a world where ordinary human concerns couldn't touch or weaken him.", July 19 2008
By 
Walter Hypes - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Hardcover)
Written in the tradition of Ian Fleming, Sebastian Faulks delves deep into Fleming's iconic secret agent and the mythology that surrounds him, meditating on darker-than-usual themes that have implications for the way we live now. In Faulk's Cold War mid-1960's world, Bond has been ravaged at the hands of his enemies and temporarily pensioned off by M, his life at best a double-edged sword where no triumph is likely to be anything but short-lived.

When a Frenchman of Algerian birth is savagely murdered on the outskirts of Paris, Detective Inspector Mathis is mystified as to who could have caused such a violent act: the boy's tongue had been severed and a single bullet has been fired up through the roof of the mouth. When drugs are thought to be the likely cause of the crime, Mathis comes to the realization that there is something far bigger going on than just young dissolute youths peddling heroin,

Meanwhile, James, tired of the South of France, has on the invitation of Felix Leiter, his old friend from the CIA, come to Rome, where in the middle of St. Peters Square he meets an extraordinarily beautiful woman by the name of Larissa Rossi, ostensibly in Rome with her husband, a director of one of the large insurance companies, but whose presence fills James with a strange mixture of unease and passion: she reeks of "breeding, youth, and expensive hosiery."

Intent to enjoy his time with Larissa, James can't quite believe it when he is called out of sabbatical and back to London by a cigar smoking M, after all, this is a tired and worn-down James, fresh from his encounter with Auric Goldfinger and his plans to raid Fort Knox and obliterate the world economy. James is beginning to show his battles with evil, on his torso and arms there's a network of scars, small and large, that trace a history of his violent life: "Your tired James, Your played out, Finished."

But perhaps it is only James that can battle "the master-of-all-trades the psychopathic Dr. Julius Gorner who is most likely responsible for this recent influx of drugs, infiltrating both Europe and England with pharmaceuticals in the form of heroin. Changing sides during the 2nd World War, fighting for the Nazis initially and then for the Russians at the battle of Stalingrad, Gorner has become a soldier of fortune, contemptuous of England because he feels as though the country had laughed at him.

So Bond must embark on a mission to doggedly pursue Gorner across Europe to Persia, hot on the trail to shut down the operation of a twisted individual with a demonic sense of purpose. Gorner seems to be beyond reach, locked in a world where ordinary human concerns couldn't touch or weaken him; he's bent on world destruction and domination and has made himself a key figure in the drug world. His only vulnerability is his physicality, marked by a rare deformity, a hair covered wrist shaped like a monkey, and a white glove that hides it.

Surprisingly it is Larissa who also has a connection to Gorner, soon revealing herself as Scarlett Papava, a lonely housewife, busy banker, and lady of the night who wants to enlist James' help to get Poppy, her heroin addicted sister back from the evil clutches of Gorner: "He just won't let her go, he's slowly killing her and loving every moment of it." But there's something about Scarlett that gets right under James' defenses, something about her that makes him feel profoundly uneasy.

With Scarlett determined to find her sister, and James delving deeper into Gorner's criminal enterprises, both are blindsided by the extent of this madman's plans for world domination that eventually plays out deep within the city of Tehran and the vast surrounds of the Caspian Sea.

From London to Paris, to Tehran, and then onto Leningrad and Helsinki, Bond is faced with a world mostly ruled by protection and influence, arms and dollars. In a novel that is filled with misfits and vagabonds, stoolpigeons, agents and secret police, Gorner and Bond must battle it out against a background of the cold war where America is fighting a lonely war for "freedom" in Vietnam and where the threat of the West being overrun by communism is ever present. Formulaic to the last, Faulks doesn't shy away from giving us a series of spectacular set pieces involving a giant ship-sea plane, loaded with nuclear bombs and with a British flag on it and a stolen a Vickers VC10 British airliner, painted with BOAC livery that is heading towards a fiery crash landing in the Soviet Union. Although this novel certainly doesn't reinvent the legend of our favorite secret agent, Bond's adventures are still harrowing in his journey from the known to the unknown with Faulks propelling his story along at break-neck speed, riding the apex to its violent conclusion, with Bond ultimately saving the world and getting his girl. Mike Leonard July 08.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Bond in the 60s, Feb. 13 2010
By 
Pol Sixe "hpolvi" (Thornhill, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Hardcover)
Although a "new" story this is nothing to do with the recent Daniel Craig movie reboot. This 007 story is set in the 1960s, James Bond is now 40-ish and getting a little worn around the edges. Not too impressed with the Rolling Stones and swinging London he gets a new case to look into a man named Gorner. What follows is an escapade very similar to Ian Fleming's work. A introspective Bond daydreams about women and enjoys cars, food and drinks. As in Goldfinger the heavy is a rich Eastern European man, this time there is long tennis match instead of golf and a Vietnamese henchman instead of Korean. Gorner plans to corner the world market in opiates instead of gold and, well you get the picture. The Gorner character then shows a particular antipathy for Britain and a number of [factual] British imperialist misdeeds: Irish, Mau-Mau, India, China are listed as evils needing to be punished. Maybe Gorner had a point...The final master plan is actually sort of reasonable and might have worked, there is no outlandish technology. A fault that Faulks copied from Fleming is Bond getting knocked out several times and the evil mastermind gleefully explaining what he's up to. This is the sort of narrative parodied in the Austin Powers movies and some more thought could of gone into bringing some of it up to date. But all in all its a good read, Bond saves the Empire and gets shagged so give it a go!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romp, Sept. 20 2008
By 
Len (Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Paperback)
. Unlike the movies, the book is a continuation of the original series. Though the setting is the Middle East, the time is the Cold War. The plot involves a ridiculous flying machine similar to those seen in the original James Bond series with Sean Connery saving the Britain from almost certain annihilation Sebastien Faulks does an excellent job of recreating Fleming's character while still giving it some life for readers who exist in a very different world from the 1960's.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shadows of James Bond, June 24 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Hardcover)
Unless you are awfully bored for a new Bond adventure, you could skip this book. It's a below-average spy story that employs some of the Bond characteristics without mastering the story telling to make it work. I would rather re-read a Bond original than read this story. But, alas, no one warned me. You have no excuse.

Although many of Ian Fleming's signature elements are present in this story (an unbalanced villain, unspeakable assistant to the villain, rigged competitions, beautiful damsels in distress, and the world's peace at stake), it's all too leisurely and gentlemanly to be a Bond adventure. This Bond doesn't even know he wants to be Bond.

The book started off in promising fashion as Bond is recalled early to face a threat and is directed to meet with Dr. Julius Gorner. Their meeting and confrontation is reasonably exciting, but after that the story goes downhill in terms of threat, excitement, and pacing. I won't bore you with any more information.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bond, July 22 2008
By 
C. Dueck "genxbarbie" (Toronto, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Devil May Care (Hardcover)
As an avid Bond movie fan, I decided to read my first Bond book by Fleming. Overall the book was exciting, suspenseful and full of the Bond signature moves, however; the style of writing tended to be somewhat simplistic and tedious. Once past this detail, the story was able to emerge and it was fantastic! Worth the read for sure.
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Devil May Care
Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks (Hardcover - May 28 2008)
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