by Sebastian Faulks
James Bond travels the world battling a drug-trafficker with nefarious designs on Britain…
Set between Fleming’s last Bond story The Man with the Golden Gun and the first official continuation novel, Colonel Sun, Devil May Care lives up to the author billing: “Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming”. In the last few years of his life, Fleming was clearly tiring of his creation, although there are glimmers of his old fire in Golden Gun, and if you didn’t know that this wasn’t a previously undiscovered Fleming manuscript, you could believe that both author and creation had regained some of their lost fire.
All the Bond essentials from the books – including the agent’s dislike of excess gadgetry, something that isn’t part of his screen persona – are present and correct. The slight xenophobia, the almost fetishistic descriptions of food and drink, the travelogue descriptions of Bond’s destinations, the weird physical trait of the villain – all as Fleming wrote them. Bond authors from John Gardner onwards had to tone the agent down or make him conform with his screen image, so it’s good to have the unreconstructed 007 back.
The book falls apart slightly at the end. There are numerous references in the text to previous adventures yet at no time during Bond’s trip through Russia does he think about the time he spent there being brainwashed a mere three or so years earlier!
Devil May Care stands with Colonel Sun and Christopher Wood’s novelisation of The Spy Who Loved Me (a serious continuation of the series eliminating all the jokiness of the film) as prime examples of Fleming pastiche. Let’s hope for more. 8 /10
Click here for our review of the 2011 Bond novel, Carte Blanche.