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Licence Renewed by John Gardner
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536628,585 (3.01)17



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Too long and too interested in making connections to past stories. A fair read but not a keeper book. ( )
  spycaperbanks | Jan 23, 2019 |
This first post-Fleming Bond updates our hero to the early 1980s. He drinks less. He smokes low-tar cigarettes. He jogs.

An entertaining, if long-winded pastiche of material from the earlier Bond books (and even movies). While Gardner lack's Fleming's sheer verve in conveying brutality, violence, and sex, he does display a fine hand with setting and suspense. ( )
  JackMassa | Nov 23, 2016 |
The 1970s saw the two excellent James Bond continuation novels by Christopher Wood “James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977 and two years later “James Bond, Moonraker”. Although these two books owed much of their basic plots to the movies that Wood helped write, they were in fact much more than that with fully rounded characters and an entertaining narrative. In short, of all the writers to tackle the difficult task of following in Ian Fleming’s foosteps, Christopher Wood was the most successful, effectively managing to channel Fleming. The same cannot be said for John Gardner.
Although I enjoyed reading “Licence Renewed” I am not entirely convinced that I was reading a James Bond novel. Aside from some brilliant sections, the story seems more fitting to a movie. In what is truly an ironic twist it does more so than Wood’s two efforts. The plot involves Bond’s investigation into a Scottish Laird and his plan to cause a nuclear catastrophe to highlight the danger inherent in the use of nuclear power.
I enjoyed that Gardner’s books took us to Scotland. Having grown up on the Scottish border I am always in favor of some Highland fun and we get a particularly well done scene when Bond must spar with the villain’s henchman Caber and thrilling night chase through the Scottish countryside. But without the rich flavor that was so evident in Fleming and Wood’s work we are left feeling that these scenes could have just as easily taken place anywhere else.
Gardner’s first foray into the world of James Bond is a valiant effort and reads perfectly well as a thriller, it just doesn’t read well as a James Bond thriller. ( )
  DarrenHarrison | Jul 29, 2016 |
Probably more like 3.5
A good re-entry into Bond, updated to the 80s but still retaining some of that Fleming panache. ( )
  drewsof | Sep 30, 2015 |
Probably more like 3.5
A good re-entry into Bond, updated to the 80s but still retaining some of that Fleming panache. ( )
  drewsof | Sep 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
John Gardner wrote a best-selling spy novel in England some 20 years ago titled ''The Liquidator,'' and he has written 22 novels since, including ''The Nostradamus Traitor,'' ''The Werewolf Trace'' and ''The Dancing Dodo.'' Mr. Gardner made the best-seller list in this country for the first time two weeks ago, and if his name is still not familiar to American readers - except to those who might confuse him with the American writer of the same name - the hero of his ''License Renewed'' bears a name that is indeed well-known: James Bond. Yes, James Bond, 007, that bold, urbane creation of the late Ian Fleming. Fourteen years have elapsed since the last Bond book, and although the world's most famous spy has not aged a day in that time, the James Bond of the 1980's drinks moderately, smokes low-tar cigarettes and drives a fuel-efficient Saab 900 Turbo instead of a Bentley. (Bond only drove Aston Martins in the movies.)
If the new James Bond sounds very much unlike his former self, readers appear to have few objections. Even in Bond's British homeland, Mr. Gardner said in a recent telephone interview, ''The book and I have been welcomed with open arms by the great aficionados of Bond. The reviews have been very kind so far and so have the interviewers. The people who own the literary copyright knew Fleming well and they all worked with him.''
Perhaps one reason Bond fans do not object to the new 007 is that, although the changing times have dulled many of his male chauvinist edges, Bond remains very much a charmer, as Miss Moneypenny would still attest. And even though Bond's pipe-smoking chief, M, is in the process of withdrawing the Double-O status, which conveyed license to kill in the line of duty, changing circumstances soon dictate a renewal of that license.
The owner of the Fleming copyright is Gildrose Publications, Ltd., whose board of directors chose Mr. Gardner to write the Bond books. Gildrose is a subsidiary of Booker and McConnell, which according to Mr. Gardner is a large London-based conglomerate ''to which Mr. Fleming sold his copyright long before he passed away in order to have a regular salary.'' The new book, incidentally, is dedicated to the memory of Ian Fleming.
''Apparently Gildrose had a list of six candidates and I was at the top,'' he said. ''I supplied them with four possible narrative outlines, they picked one of them and asked me to do certain things. What they wanted was for me to think in terms of Bond having been on ice for a while, but being quite up to date about what's been going on in the world during the past two decades.''
In the book's acknowledgments, Mr. Gardner explains that all the ''hardware'' used by Mr. Bond in the story is genuine: ''Everything provided by Q Branch and carried by Bond - even the modifications to Mr. Bond's Saab - is obtainable on either the open, or clandestine, markets.'' That means trouble for Franco, the international terrorist, and the Laird of Murcaldy, the renowned nuclear physicist, when Bond sets out to make the world safe from accidental nuclear holocaust.
Mr. Gardner, 54, was born and raised in England. His father was an Anglican priest, and he himself was ordained as a clergyman, although he soon became a theater and film critic for various British newspapers. These days he lives in Dublin, and his contract calls for him to write at least two more Bond books.
Before he agreed to take up the Fleming mantle, Mr. Gardner said he worried whether it would pose scheduling conflicts, since he had already contracted for several books of his own during the next few years. He intends to honor both contracts. ''Now I don't think it will be much of a problem,'' he said, ''because I'm used to writing all the time anyhow.''

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Gardnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tingey, JanetCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of Ian Lancaster Fleming
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The man who entered the airport washroom had light hair, cut neatly to collar length.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The British author of this work is sometimes referred to as John E. Gardner to avoid confusion with the American author of the same name.
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James Bond pits his nerve and cunning against a dangerously deranged opponent -- one prepared to sacrifice most of the Western world to prove that only he can make it safe from accidental nuclear holocaust.

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