Saturday, January 23, 2016


© by Gerald So | | 9:30 A.M.

In 1981, bucking cutbacks in the worldwide intelligence community, M reactivates the 00 Section, making Bond as its lone member, to spy on nuclear physicist Anton Murik, Laird of Murcaldy.

Bond learns that, having quit the International Atomic Energy Agency, Murik plans to force the world powers to let him build his self-proclaimed completely safe reactors by holding six nuclear power stations hostage. While working to stop this plot, Bond also discovers Murik's claim to lordship is false.

For me, a child of the 1970s, James Bond was kept alive by Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and John Gardner. After reading Kinsley Amis's 1968 Bond novel, Colonel Sun, I followed the urge to read Licence Renewed for a sense of how Gardner first approached the character.

The approach seems the same as in the three Gardner Bonds I'd read previously. Not much to identify with, but that's because, according to Raymond Benson's introduction to the 2011 Pegasus Books paperback, despite letting Gardner set Bond in the current year, Glidrose (now Ian Fleming Publications) denied him much say in how he wrote Bond, dictating an objective, camera-like prose style and holding plots to "the Bond formula".

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