Today I finished my latest book - Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming. I should preface my remarks by saying I hadn't previously read any Faulks and only 1 previous Bond - Casino Royale.
Set in 1967, the plot centres around a pharmaceutical magnate, Dr Julius Gorner, who has a sideline in pure Heroin production and a pathological hatred of Britain. Not content with seeking only to destroy British society, he seems to have acquired some military hardware too. Bond is employed to investigate further - not only on the instructions of M but also on behalf of a woman he meets while on sabbatical at the start of the novel.
This is a book of contrasts in which some elements are extremely good and others less so. As far as I can tell, Faulks manages, for the most part, to capture Flemings' style. Allusions to previous books, references to fine food, cars and Bond's various interests and a ripping yarn are all present and correct. Some of the passages are also very filmic - I could see Connery/Moore/Craig etc in my mind's eye as they unfolded.
Less successful, I thought, was the central plot. Without wanting to give anything away, I found that the suspension of disbelief required with regards the motive and method of Gorner's plan a little too much at times. I also thought that some of the violence may have been more extreme than Fleming would have written - although this is subject to my caveat above. Although a gripping read, some passages were less so - in particular those where Gorner lectures Bond on the evils of the Brits and a whole chapter dedicated to a description of a Tennis match.
These quibbles aside, however, this is a good read which I would happily recommend, especially to those who are fans of the film franchise.