The Man From Barbarossa
James Bond has been partnered with an Israeli Mossad agent, Pete Natkowitz, and assigned to work with the KGB to infiltrate a terrorist group. The group, The Scales of Justice, are demanding the trial of a suspected Nazi war criminal and each day of delay brings another death.
Posing as a TV crew, Bond and the other agents attempt to discover the group's real motive. When Bond realises that the real aim is to supply Iraq with nuclear weapons just before the United Nations-led coalition invades he faces the most crucial mission of his life.
Reviewed on 6th July 2019
An early nineties-based James Bond novel from continuation author John Gardner, this novel follows on from the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Bond being sent to Russia as a friend to help investigate a mysterious new terrorist group.
It’s a slightly odd product of its time. The narrative spends a fair amount of time predicting the future (though to be fair it could have been written a little after the fact) of how the political situation will unfold, which at first seems prescient but later feels sledgehammered in.
I’m not sure that Gardner really quite gets the character of Bond - the character wears a denim jacket for much of the story and I found this really hard to merge with my mental model of 007.
The plot is interesting, but falls down now for being a story that I’ve read a few times in other thrillers, and not really adding much to the basics. It doesn’t quite seem on a large enough scale for Bond until right at the end, and even then the last few chapters feel like they’ve been scribbled down in a great rush to wrap the plot up without going over a fixed word count.
So not terrible, but not one of the best.