The thought of rebooting a classic like James Bond seems a task daunting and quite scary, but Jeffery Deaver manages to pull it off with much ease and style. He modernizes Bond well and coupled with Daniel Craig’s contemporary “Blond Bond”, little is left to imagination. ‘Carte Blanche’ is a treat for all readers, fans of the 007 series or not.
The book re-invents Bond as an Afghanistan War veteran instead of the Cold War spy that Fleming made him to be. Set in mid-2011, the story spans a week. Bond gets a tip that thousands are going to die. Following up on it, he is led to an economic waste management company, Green Way, whose owner, Severan Hydt has a vulgar idea of fun. Guided by the cold Niall Dunne, the two form Bond’s nemesis being as atypical Bond villains as possible. And hence, follows the tale of good vs. evil, in this case, Britain vs. the World or more eloquently put, James Bond fighting the world. To stop this mission, Bond is given a carte blanche, to do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat.
This mission takes him to various exotic places – South Africa, Dubai and so on. The book has all the ingredients of a good James Bond novel – the cars (a Bentley Continental GT and even a Subaru Impreza WRX), girls (oh so many of them), gadgets (Bond’s very own iPhone aptly called Q iPhone and numerous other brilliant gizmos that keep in touch with the 21st century) and of course, some over-the-top action. There is even an Indian in the intelligence, Sanu Hirani, the head of the Q Branch which is in-charge of the technology. Many of Bond’s old friends too make an appearance: M, Moneypenny and Felix Leiter.
Bond’s Sherlock-ism may get a little too exasperating at junctures but then, what is Bond if not exasperating. An atypical Bond novel, it pits Bond against a traditionally crazy villain and gives us a tour of glamorous places. The modernism is refreshing and keeps it up-to-date and helps place the book better in today’s scenario. Overall, it makes for a good, but not a fast read.
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