Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Steven Poole Reviews the New Bond Novel

The Guardian's Steven Poole has just reviewed Anthony Horowitz's Forever and a Day--the next Bond novel, which is notable for two features. One is that it is the first time since Raymond Benson that an author has had a chance to pen a second of the Bond continuation books. The other is that it represents yet a new wrinkle in that series by offering a prequel to Casino Royale.

Poole remarks that Horowitz's novel serves up "disappointing" bits of exposition (like where we get his preference for his dry martinis shaken, not stirred, and even "the name is Bond, James Bond"), and "prose throughout is more verbose and cliched than the brutal efficiencies of Fleming." However, he also praises the choice of villain, remarks that Horowitz is "good at the action scenes," and declares the book on the whole "still an enjoyably compact thriller, with an absolutely killer last line . . . [with] some pleasingly echt Bond moments."

It seems a rather plausible assessment as far as it goes, given my impressions of Horowitz's prior effort, Trigger Mortis (which you can read about, here)--though Poole, perhaps predictably, skirts the issue of whether there is a point to his having made it a prequel (could the adventure have been just as satisfying as another '50s era entry in Bond's adventures?), and whether there is any point to writing more novels in a series where so much is modified (Poole acknowledges, among other things, the gender relations, again predictably, and Horowitz's apologies for the extent to which he carried forward Fleming's attitudes, even while, as Poole's observation suggests, exaggerating that extent). The book hits the market next week in the UK, but arrives in the States in November (according to Amazon, at least).

I expect to get in my two cents then.

Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz: a YA Moonraker?
James Bond for the YA Crowd?
My Posts on Anthony Horowitz's Trigger Mortis
Just Out . . . (The Many Lives and Deaths of James Bond, 2nd edition)
The Post-Ian Fleming James Bond Novels
Just Out. . . (James Bond's Evolution)
Just Out . . . (The Forgotten James Bond)
My Posts on James Bond

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