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8 January 2011

Devil May Care (2008)

Devil May Care is Sebastian Faulks' one, and so far only attempt at writing a James Bond novel. It was tied in to the Ian Fleming Centenary 'event' that ran throughout 2008 and on the whole Seb has stuck true to Fleming's overall formula. I've never read any of Seb's work before so I can't vouch for how much of this story is him, but you certainly get reminders of Fleming throughout.

To be honest, I've not been that impressed by the raft of Bond books that have been churned out post Fleming, so I didn't have overly high expectations when I pulled this one off my shelf. First impressions were good though; I like the cover with its 80s Bond-girl silhouette... very reminiscent of the films. In fact, on its release, I think this book was marketed very much like a film. It even has its own theme song! Check out SAL's 'Devil May Care' for some permed rock-chick action.

The story itself is an easy read. It rolls along at a steady pace and this is probably my biggest criticism of the book; There's not much variation. This is Bond by the numbers. It never really gets boring, but I couldn't help but feel at times that the excitement should have been upped a notch or two.

As far as the formula goes: Seb does everything we might expect; He's obviously done his homework. James Bond is James Bond and the villains are larger than life. We have the monkey-handed Dr Julius Gorner as the big Boss-man, backed up by his murderous henchman, the Kepi-wearing Chagrin. The love interest appears in the form of the beautiful Scarlett Papava and predictably nothing is quite as it first seems.

You're probably getting the feeling that I'm a little luke-warm about the whole tale... and you'd be right. If this book was a colour, it would be grey. It ticks all the boxes without excelling at any one thing in particular. I enjoyed it at the time, but already the story is fading and I've moved on.

On the Triple-B I give 'Devil May Care' a 6. Give it a read, but only the one.

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