It is no easy task to continue the story of another, however when I discovered that William Boyd had written a ‘James Bond’ novel, I knew that the continuation of this franchise would be safe in the hands of one of my favourite and most compelling authors. Solo certainly didn’t disappoint.
Set in 1969, holding Bond at the full age of around 45 and a long career to look back on, Solo keeps to all the hallmarks of a classic Bond tale. As a dubious mission to end a war in Zanzarim takes a turn for the worse, Bond finds himself embarking on his own agenda to discover the truth to matters. Utilising old contacts, daring cunning and, of course, his license to kill, Bond proves once again that it’s a dire mistake to cross this affamed double 0.
It is of little surprise that the master author of the spy novel Restless would soon turn his hand to the classic series of British espionage loved the world over. Boyd’s exquisite knowledge of the finer cuisine and fashionable tastes certainly lend well to our worldy and charming protagonist, attributing Bond with an even greater suave than perhaps managed by even Fleming himself. Boyd’s own history with Africa similarly explains his attraction to this setting, through which he fully utilises his experiences to present an authentic take on the country and its culture.
With a plethora of loveable clichés, character traits and exotic settings, Solo is indeed a true likeness to Fleming’s classic series. Action, seduction and espionage. What more could you ask of our 007?
Length: 322 (Vintage)
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars
Ordinary Thunderstorms is a novel which certainly isn’t lacking in momentum, wasting little time in diving into its fast paced narrative. With an assortment of colourful characters, drawn from all parts of London society, this is quite a different read compared to Boyd’s other novels. Though any thriller faces the potential of being labeled as being somewhat commercialised, Ordinary Thunderstorms is still absorbingly fast paced, varied and highly gripping.
Continue reading “Ordinary Thunderstorms, by William Boyd”
Though my book pile is ever growing, a recent release from one of my favourite modern authors proved too tempting to resist. This post will therefore be looking once more to William Boyd with his new novel, Sweet Caress. Upon beginning this book, I must admit I was struck with an instant familiarity. As the novels protagonist and speaker, Amory Clay, began relaying her life to the reader, I couldn’t help but notice this appeared much like another work of Boyd’s: Any Human Heart. Such a comparison is however by no means a critique, in fact I was immensely happy to find myself absorbed once more in following an intricate life of travel, romance, sorrow and excitement, captured as masterfully as before.
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Restless once more reflects William Boyd’s fascination with the intricate power plays involved in a much more realistic version of espionage. The novel follows two narratives, merging both past and present as a mature student, Ruth, seeks to unravel the exciting past of her mother, Eva Delectorskaya, delving into her involvement in and around the Second World War.
Boyd moves away from the deadly nature of the spying world which a plethora of books and entertainment have drilled into us since the first time Ian Fleming brought Bond to life, though he certainly retains a classic British level of suave. Mystery and distrust fill every page, as Eva’s introduction to the intelligence world is gradually unfolded to her daughter. With Ruth being a student, Boyd masterfully lures the historical nature of the past into the reality of the present. The use of different timelines offers an interesting way to suggest that, for those sworn to secrecy in the intelligence world, the life of a spy never truly ends.
Length: 336 (Bloomsbury)
Overall rating: 3.5 stars
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