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Sebastian Faulks

Author of Birdsong

38+ Works 19,282 Members 594 Reviews 63 Favorited

About the Author

Sebastian Faulks is the author of Where My Heart Used to Beat, which made the New Zealand Best Seller List 2015. (Bowker Author Biography)
Image credit: Sebastian Faulks, September 5, 2008


Works by Sebastian Faulks

Birdsong (1993) 5,986 copies
Charlotte Gray (1998) 2,386 copies
Engleby (2007) 1,508 copies
A Week in December (2010) 1,320 copies
Devil May Care (2008) 1,280 copies
Human Traces (2005) 1,257 copies
The Girl at the Lion d'Or (1989) 1,155 copies
On Green Dolphin Street (2001) 1,101 copies
A Possible Life (2012) 551 copies
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (2013) 519 copies
Where My Heart Used to Beat (2015) 430 copies
A Fool's Alphabet (1992) 399 copies
Paris Echo (2018) 269 copies

Associated Works

Pride and Prejudice (1813) — Introduction, some editions — 78,346 copies
All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) — Introduction, some editions — 18,511 copies
Loving / Living / Party Going (1929) — Introduction, some editions — 826 copies
The Last Enemy (1942) — Introduction, some editions — 322 copies
The Dylan Companion: A Collection of Essential Writing About Bob Dylan (1990) — Contributor, some editions — 94 copies
Ox-Tales: Fire (2009) — Contributor — 79 copies
What's Your Story? Postcard Collection (2008) — Contributor — 60 copies
Charlotte Gray [2001 film] (2001) — Original novel — 45 copies
Birdsong [2012 TV mini series] (2012) — Original novel — 16 copies


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Common Knowledge



Group Read, February 2014: Birdsong in 1001 Books to read before you die (April 2014)


Devil May Care (2008) (Bond #36) by Sebastian Faulks. Mr. Faulks is attempting to write in the voice of Ian Fleming. To properly read and enjoy this book, and to properly review this book, the reader should have a history of reading the Fleming novels. If your only view of Bond is from the movies then you are seriously hindered in you appraisal of this writing. In the original novels Bond had survived WWII, seeing some action and forming a world view from his experiences, A survivor, and a killer due to that experience, he left nonsense behind and devoted himself to the mission, namely making certain that Great Britain remained Great and her enemies remained vanquished.
As a 00 agent he brought the same sensibilities. Enjoy today, do your best to see tomorrow, and regret nothing seems to be his motto for living, something the films have drained away replacing them with quips and gadgets. Self-reliance was probably Bond’s greatest virtue, something the movies retained but never truly heralded.
With that said, it is nice to return to a Bond adventure that harkens back to the original books. Yes, there is the travel to “exotic” locations and women and danger, but there is also the mission. I’ve read in various reviews that the Bond books and movies all run to a trope in that there is a “Super Villain” who plans “Super Evil” of some type, is assisted by a cadre of henchmen that try to stop Bond, and there are beautiful women (in the Fleming novels usually just a single beautiful woman) who are dangerous to one degree or another.
Of course these things are present. The 00 section is reserved for when killing is the probably only answer to the problem presented by the mission. Only a supreme evil needs such a drastic response. These books do not enlist a bad guy who has been diddling with his taxes or stealing boxes of paper clips from work. In order to send a 00 agent out there has to be a great threat to national security, and even world security. So when you pick up a Bond book you will always find what you expect. It is just in the manner of how the threat is presented and the reaction of Bond that differs.
Here the threat is drugs. Drugs are a self-inflicted horror that is easy to get into but difficult to remove yourself from. This is the minor threat presented by Dr. Julius Gorner, industrialist and evil mastermind (if you can call trying to get every young person in England addicted) that is soon overshadowed by his true plan for the destruction of Great Britain, and perhaps more of the world. Like all super evil beings, Gorner likes to win at every thing he does. There is a tennis match Bond participates in that somehow has been rigged in Gorner’s favor. There is the beautiful woman, one of a set or twins, who helps Bond with the match.
While Poppy seems to fall into trouble, Bond and her sister Scarlett do some terrain hopping trying to save her and the world. In all truth a Bond book doesn’t need a great, pristine new plot. The tropes of the past will carry us through the story. What is needed are twists and turns, unexpected betrayals and loyalities, a good bad person, a least one outstanding henchman, vivid depictions of localities (made more difficult to render properly when the date of the writing drifts further and further away from the time setting for the book) and a proper world view. Bond is always better when he relies on his own skill set, his tenacity, and often his charm rather than the movie gizmo’s and gimcracks that would have Flemings rolling his eyes in disbelief.
Is Devil May Care the best of the Bond books? Probably not, but it is a good, thrilling read that will leave the audience satisified. And really, isn’t that all we ask of a book, or our literary heroes?
… (more)
TomDonaghey | 42 other reviews | Nov 29, 2023 |
For completists only! It's kinda fine.

The early parts seemed pretty bad, and I was very aware of the pastiche. It warmed up though. I felt Faulks caught Bond's dialogue reasonably well. Big plot holes though, and twists which were pretty obvious (even to the characters), and M seems to have got a lot more sentimental than I remember. Overall, there's a slightly apologetic feel to it.

I think all of the things that are wrong with this are probably also wrong at times in Fleming's, but perhaps not all in one book.… (more)
thisisstephenbetts | 42 other reviews | Nov 25, 2023 |
Interminable; the bally thing just goes on and on. Wodehouse would never have bored his readers with such tedious cricketing and fete performances and he most certainly would never task Jeeves with such unsolicited manipulation. No fan of Plum's would enjoy this and I'm tempted to throw it in the bin lest it waste the time of a fellow aficionado.
fionaanne | 33 other reviews | Nov 11, 2023 |
Sebastian Faulks is a brilliant writer. His First World War novel Birdsong might even be a masterpiece. But his most recent book is, sadly, a dud. It’s a near-future science fiction story full of cliches (imagine a future world that uses high-speed ‘loops’ rather than air travel, or cars that — brace yourself — drive themselves, or even a world where hardly anyone eats meat). Enough of these are planted throughout the book to remind you that it’s set in the future.

The core story is about a couple going through IVF treatment at the hands of a secretive tech billionaire genius who decides to swap the father’s sperm sample for the DNA of a Neanderthal. The resulting child grows up to be an American president … no, that’s not in this story but it would have made a more interesting one. I read until the end hoping for some kind of surprise or twist or what used to be called “plot” and couldn’t find anything. Not recommended.… (more)
ericlee | Oct 19, 2023 |



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