Author: John Gardner
Original language: English
When an officer of the British Security Service is murdered in Switzerland, James Bond becomes involved in a deadly game of hide and seek. He follows a sinister shadow across the world, from Athens to Milan, Singapore, the USA and ultimately to EuroDisney. By the author of “Death is Forever”.
From Publishers Weekly
This sketchy detective story requires a knowledge of James Bond movies rather than Ian Fleming novels, which may explain why it reads like a rough draft for a screenplay. In Gardner’s 12th 007 book (after Death Is Forever ), the ageless agent from Her Majesty’s Secret Service is sent to Switzerland to investigate the murder of MI5 operative Laura March. Teaming up with Swiss agent Flica von Gruss, he discovers that March’s brother was a serial killer and that her ex-lover was legendary English actor David Dragonpol, now retired and living in a fairy-tale castle on the Rhine. Dragonpol’s sister, Maeve Horton, proves to be the link between March’s death and four recent assassinations; a Bleeding Heart rose bred by Horton appeared at the funeral of each of the victims, March included. Bond and von Gruss pursue the case to Dragonpol’s castle in Germany, where the usual fiendish plot is uncovered and ultimately resolved in the traditional Bond manner. This light, entertaining read doesn’t pretend to be anything more than another episode in what has turned into a never-ending adventure.
From Kirkus Reviews
Like Pentagon dinosaurs laboring to adapt to a new world order by finding telltale traces of the old in every dark shadow, Gardner’s reincarnation of James Bond examines a string of serial killings and finds a freelance terrorist just as dangerous as his old adversaries from SMERSH and SPECTRE. Bond’s called in when MI5 agent Laura March is killed at Interlaken. Going through the things in her hotel room, he and Flicka Von Gr?sse, his leggy opposite number from Swiss Intelligence, find a disturbing letter from Laura to her late brother, a serial beheader of blonds, and fax a copy back to M. While they’re coupling in Bond’s room, the letter itself is stolen, and M, citing the “grave moral scandal” (so much for updating Bond’s morality), ostensibly removes Bond from duty. Back in England for Laura’s funeral, Bond notices a bizarre floral tribute–a red-tipped white rose–linking Laura’s death to four other recent assassinations, and to the flower’s only breeder: Maeve Horton, sister of Laura’s onetime fianc‚, distinguished actor David Dragonpol. There follow the requisite scenes of tourist-trap mayhem–at Schloss Drache, Dragonpol’s Alpine aerie, atop the roof of the Duomo in Milan, and at EuroDisney, where the murderer has planned one last, ultra-high-profile strike–but Gardner’s lack of conviction reduces everything to retro-fluff. Bond really isn’t cut out for the work of tracking down serial killers, even the ones whose targets include Yasir Arafat and Kiri Te Kanawa. As Gardner struggles to update the perils his superstar hero faces, Bond himself remains the biggest anachronism of all.