This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Man from Barbarossa by John Gardner
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
199289,320 (2.9)2



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
I was pretty disappointed in this entry in Gardner's Bond run. It feels like Gardener wrote a generic espionage story (which the man is damned good at) and plugged in the name James Bond for the hero. This is a decent spy story, just not a Bond story. ( )
  Leischen | Oct 30, 2013 |
"Here lies the body of a gallant British officer, thought to be Captain James Bond, Royal Navy, died for his own cause, January 9, 1991."

The Man From Barbarossa has long been a very divisive novel amongst Bond fandom. It takes a very different approach to the typical 007 novel, shifting the focus between a number of other characters and dealing with some 'real world' issues that were a growing concern at the time, namely the impending conclusion to the Cold War and the upcoming Gulf War. Some fans were taken aback by the lack of fantastical elements and the manner in which Gardner abandoned the 'Bond formula', while others have heaped praise upon this novel for trying new things. Though it's little surprise to me that John Gardner considered it to be his best 007 book; the man often gave off the impression in his letters that he was growing weary of Bond after a certain period of time, and that the later half of his books in the series were only done to pay the rent. I think the author clearly wanted to insert some of his own creativity into the stories instead of constantly trying to emulate Fleming.

The plot sees Bond sent on loan to the KGB to deal with a Russian terrorist group known as the Scales of Injustice, who have so many talons dug into their country's government and military that the only hope for dealing with them is to enlist the aid of outsiders. Bond is teamed with a couple of French intelligence agents and a very capable man from the Mossad, Pete Natkowitz, who acts as 007's right hand man throughout the story. The Scales have abducted an elderly man from New Jersey, believed to be Josif Voronstov, the number two to real-life war criminal Paul Blobel at the massacre in Babi Yar during World War II. The terrorists want the Soviet government to put Voronstov on trial for war crimes, and will kill one government or military official each day until their demands are met. Eventually, the Scales put Voronstov on trial themselves, hoping to release the video of the trial and subsequent execution to the media around the globe. The catch? The 'real' Voronstov was living in Florida, and is now in the safe custody of the French government. Bond and his team are sent in to pose as the television news crew recording the faux trial, in an effort to discover just what the Scales are up to with all their grandstanding. Typically, nothing is what it seems at first glance.

Personally, I'm in the middle ground regarding The Man From Barbarossa. I think it's refreshing to see some new things in this long running series, which has more of a Robert Ludlum espionage feel to it than an Ian Fleming adventure story. There are a few rather interesting characters that Gardner introduces us to in this novel, including Bond's charismatic handler at the KGB, Bory Stepakov, a ruthless commander plagued with overly boyish looks his entire adult life, and the rather glamorous looking French agent Stephanie Adoré, a woman so concerned with the frivolities in life such as fashion and appearance that Bond is actually turned off by her. A foxy lady 007 has zero interest in? Gardner really was trying new things!

Unfortunately, not all of the new ideas pan out that well. I can tell the author was attempting to get a bit more down to earth with this novel, but having Bond undercover as a mundane cameraman is fairly uninspiring stuff. No matter how gritty or sci-fi your 007 yarn gets, I still think the main man should have a bit more je ne sais quoi about him. He never really does anything remarkable or 'Bondian' throughout the novel. There's also an incredibly lame and telegraphed plot twist involving Bond which even an idiot can see coming from a mile away. The reader will not be fooled for one second. Without spoiling too much, Bond essentially disguises himself in a way that's about as weak as George Lazenby putting on nothing more than a pair of glasses in the film version of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and hoping Blofeld won't be able to figure out who he is. And although there's no villain hiding out in a volcano or stuck with some extreme deformity about him, there is the stereotypical mad Russian General causing havoc. His scheme is slightly reminiscent of Orlov's in Octopussy, which makes me think Gardner fibbed about his vow to stop watching the Bond films after he took over the literary series.

Overall, it's a nice cloak and dagger style story worth tracking down if you're already into Bond in print, but certainly not recommended for newcomers to either Bond or John Gardner novels. ( )
1 vote OrkCaptain | Feb 21, 2009 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

James Bond has to stop the mastermind behind the Soviet terrorist group "The scales of justice" before they can unleash their horrendous plot.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (2.9)
1 1
2 4
2.5 3
3 10
3.5 2
4 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 136,471,020 books! | Top bar: Always visible