The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too....
Fresh from Afghanistan, James Bond has been recruited to a new agency. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of Five, Six and the MoD, with its very existence deniable. Its aim: to protect the Realm, by any means necessary.
The Night Action alert calls Bond from dinner with a beautiful woman. GCHQ has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. And 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfil his mission.
©2011 Ian Fleming Publications Limited (P)2011 Hodder & Stoughton Audiobooks
James Bond is rebooted for the 21st century just has the new films have done, so now Bond has once again for the first time since the 60`s got both a written and film life set in the same era with a younger Bond unlike the older Bond in most of the other non Fleming books.
The changes needed to do this are not as drastic as most fans would have you believe and are both logical and believable.
This book is well plotted and written by Jeffery Deaver who while not replacing Fleming does understand and respect the character.
The book is very well read by Toby Stephens who was in Die Another Day as the villan and has played Bond in two radio plays for radio 4.
I originally thought of buying this novel for the Kindle but was put off by some of the reviews on Amazon, when I saw it on here I thought that I'd give it a chance.
I'm so glad that I did, excellent book. As someone that's read a lot of the original Ian Fleming novels this comes across as Fleming writing it, the attention to detail, character and style all sit well with the original.
Toby Stephens does a cracking job reading it and really adds to the excitement.
One of the best Audiobooks I've listened to!
Real James Bond but new; with a realistic and true espionage world. Certainly not Judie Dench withs sci-fi glass moving IT images around like some all knowing and super slick agency. To my mind this is as Flemming would have wrote James Bond if he had started today. Believable, interesting, modern, yet still authentic; and thank god nothing like the films.
really enjoyed this - think ian flemming would've been proud of it himself. easy listening to toby stephens ( has he narrated anything else???) good twists & fast paced plot - brilliant!
I am about 4 hours in so far and feel the need to review already! The story is good and the plot is interesting - seems to be James Bond in the Daniel Craig style...which I like, but the reason I am writing so early is just to applaud Toby Stephens - his narration is (in my view) superb. The accents are correct, the pace is good and there are lovely little details such as when reading the vocal of an answerphone message he speaks into a can or something to make the voice sound tinny. Hands down the best production of any audio book I have read/heard to date (this is number 23 in my library). If you like action/thriller books and have been disappointed by the quality of the voice acting *cough Tom Clancy *cough then give this a try and just sit and smile.
Deaver has quite clearly put a lot of thought into this first exploit of his 21st century 007. The plot is full of suspense, action, and twists, all of which made it a gripping listen – but it was the many 'upgrades' to Fleming's characters that raised a number of smiles. It's not just that gadgets have transferred to apps, or that MI6 has transferred to a new Churchill-inspired secret agency. Goodnight is still there as 007's secretary, but with an entirely new backstory, as is his housekeeper. And just when you think there is no way 007 could get out of a tricky situation, he is able to turn to a friend. If you don't know the Fleming books, you could interpret these characters as dei ex machina. But to those well-versed in 007 lore, you will kick yourself for not seeing them coming.
The character of 007 himself goes quite a bit beyond the dry mystery-solver of early books, reminding me more of the Fleming's writing from "Diamonds Are Forever" onwards (by which time he was probably being influenced by Connery's portrayal on camera). A lot of the action sequences seem more reminiscent of the films than the books. But in my opinion, Deaver always manages to hold it back – the result being that 007 is different, but more like a younger version of Fleming's original than a totally new 'hip' 007. And unlike with Craig's 007, who still seems a tad immature, you can clearly see that Deaver's will grow into Fleming's aftera few years of the job. Thus the book can easily be enjoyed by big fans of the originals or the films.
That's not to say it isn't without faults. I would have preferred a certain character to end up with a wooden leg, for instance. And the amount of twists began to get predictable, so that by the end I could successfully guess (a) that it wasn't over yet, and (b) that 007 had already put a plan into action. But the writing is fast-paced and witty, and made you want to find out what would happen to the characters as well as the plot. Hence still 5 stars.
All of those who enjoyed reading the original bond books should be fairly pleased with this itteration by Jeffery Deaver. Despite being an Americal author Deaver has managed to accurately capture the authentic Britishness of this very specific genre with only the odd few errors. He has craftlily moved Bond away from MI6 to a stand alone organisation and as such has permitted a variety of plausable liberties to be taken. Like the original it is all a little bit over the top in terms of Bonds knowlege, abilities and cars. All true secret service agencies rely on grey men with undistinguished features that do not raise interest and hence alarm in those being followed. A huge powerful Bently stands out as if Bond were wearing a flourescent yellow suit with I am a spy picked out in red. However the story is vey well done and I would like more please.
This is a skilful updating of the James Bond franchise, and I think it is better than Ian Fleming, whose stories left me a little bored many years ago. Bond retains his penchant for fast cars, his attraction for women, and his ability to think faster than the people around him, but his armoury now includes an iPhone with specialist apps such as a retina reader to identify people and an eavesdropping function, and he is able to draw on a world-wide resource which improvises and supplies him with cunning devices to enable him to overcome all difficulties. The story is well-constructed, with some depth to the characters, a good complex plot with plenty of misdirections, and several good twists at the end. The author left me looking forward to the next story. Toby Stephens is good as the reader, with his mastery of all the accents in the book.
This is James Bond at his best. Jeffrey Deaver wears Ian Fleming's shoes very comfortably and has produced a Bond story in the classic style. Lots of interweaving plots that hold you until the end. A long book, but my attention did not waiver. I was not expecting much of Toby Stevens as the narrator, but he was brilliant. He donned the accents of the different characters effortlessly and brought them to life. He was a major reason why the story gripped me from start to finish. I thoroughly recommend this as a really entertaining listen.
Although I found this audio book started off slow, the pace did pick up and eventually and I was gripped from then on.
I was tempted to abandon this but the first chapter tries to set the scene and mood for the rest of the book and does so in a classical style, which isn't my usual taste. However, if you stick with it, you may be pleasantly surprised.
"A very worthy successor to Ian Flemming"
I've read a few of the Flemming originals and none of them were as well researched and richly described as Jeffery Deaver has done in Carte Blanche. South African's will love the setting in Cape Town. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; good pace,not too cliched, good twists...and all the features that make James Bond such a successful character. Toby Stephens is also very good at recreating the scenes and helping your imagination along through his involved reading style. Highly recommended!
Exciting, suspensful and well written
His deep voice was well suited to the type of novel and his South African accent was good.
"Doing whatever it takes"
Only thing that would have improved the book is when they do the music interludes between sections is to have played the Bond theme song.
"Deaver's lack of knowledge of S.A. sinks the book"
Sometimes a book with promise is ruined by a writer's lack of knowledge he is writing about. This is exactly the case with Jeffery Deaver's Carte Blanche. While the story line may be typically action Bond, Deaver's Bheka Jordaan (a Police woman with a Zulu mother and an Afrikaner father, living in the Cape Malay Bo-Kaap) is totally unbelievable. When Bond visits her at her home, she serves him "bobotie" and "mageu" (referred to as Zulu beer), what a combination! To make things worse Jordaan a captain the South African Police Service wears a revolver, while all SAPS members are issued with a baretta or Z88 pistol. She speaks Zulu in a dominantly Afrikaans area. I could understand if it was Xhosa, but Zulu in Cape Town! She works for the Crime Combatting and Investigation Division of the SA Police Service. There is no such Division. She should've worked for Crime Intelligence. Furthermore a Warrant Officer in the Service when addressed is only called "Warrant." A Subaru is hired for Bond, come on! Furthermore Deaver's idea that a English-speaking person from Huguenot descend is an Afrikaner is really weird. Mopanie worms are only found in Limpopo and the Northern Provinces of South Africa, but a restaurant that would be better of selling "Snoek" in Cape Town, sells these. Deaver's bad research and even his wrong use of Afrikaans and Zulu words makes the story unbelievable to the point of being ridiculous. Toby Stephens' "covert" reading style is something you can get used to, but his mispronunciation of words like "Xhosa," "gevaar," "arbeid" etc. shows that he didn't even try to find out how Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu is spoken. I give an overall rating of three because it is Bond and definitely better than Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care, but unfortunately Jeffery Deaver's inadequate research and understanding of South Africa cripples a promising story.
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