29th July 2018
I enjoyed Anthony Horiwitz’s first James Bond novel - and his Bond-esque Alex Rider series for younger readers - so was glad to see him back to write another. This time it’s a close prequel, dealing with Bond’s first mission as a 00 agent, with some elements taken from unpublished Ian Fleming story ideas.
Horowitz does an amazing job of replicating the Fleming writing style, presenting a narrative that’s so recognisable. The way he describes the clothes, the food, the characters, and especially the travelogue style of introducing locations expertly mirror that used by Fleming in the original novels, and it really makes these books feel like they are a real part of the Bond canon.
Bond’s attitude also replicates the 1950s approach of the original, and yet Horowitz subverts this by adding a stream of female characters who disprove these attitudes - each having unique personalities, opinions and abilities which in turn serve to shape Bond’s character and to counter his initial views.
The narrative also neatly includes references to the originals, as well as back to some of the Young Bond prequels that have been published in recent years. It’s clear that Bond is still being moulded into the character that Fleming portrays, and I was certainly amused to see the origins of several of his foibles coming through here.
A really good Bond novel - I’m glad they picked this author and I hope he’s able to continue writing novels like this in years to come.