The Ian Fleming Estate won’t let just anyone write a James Bond novel, and I think that’s a good thing. Sebastian Faulkes made a decent job of it, and now Anthony Horowitz has taken a very similar tack of moving everyone’s favourite hard-drinking, hard-smoking mysgonist spy right back to his roots, dropping Bond right back to the start of his career just after World War II. (If I remember rightly, Faulkes’s outing was set in the sixties).
Following the murder of 007 in France, the British Secret Service is forced to promote a new agent fresh out of training: James Bond, a decorated war hero from Naval Intelligence takes the dead agent’s number and travels to France to avenge his death. It’s pretty much the standard Bond adventure: find the woman, find the villain, sleep with the woman, kill the villain. And as with all the 007 books, it’s not so much the plot as how it’s told. Horowitz tells it very well. The genius of setting the story in the mid-forties is that it immediately restricts you: there are no satellites for electronic surveillance, no invisible cars that can shoot missiles … nope, in the good old days, all Bond had was a pistol and a radio (and he was lucky if the radio worked). So without the gadgets then Bond is a much better read. Continue reading “Book review: Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz”