Carte Blanche: n. pl. unrestricted power to act at one’s own discretion; unlimited authority. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)
Carte Blanche: – License to Kill (authority granted to members of the fictitious Double-oh section of Britain’s famed MI-6.
ODG: Overseas Development Group – the new home of the famed Double-oh section.
“Bond, James Bond” Sir Ian Fleming’s famous secret agent, portrayed in books, and on film by the likes of Barry Nelson (BBC Miniseries version of Casino Royale), Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. I was thirteen years old. Dr. No and Goldfinger had hit the theaters. The Man From Uncle and Secret Agent Man were the television rage. But to a one, we of the newly pubescent, hormonally charged male gender all wanted to be Bond, James Bond, the sophisticated, hard drinking, chain smoking, secret agent, surrounded by sexy, beautiful women, waiting for his trademark vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) while thoughtfully engaged at the baccarat table.
On paper he was Ian Fleming’s creation. The perfect suave, sophisticated spy for the cold war era. After Sir Ian’s death, the Fleming estate commissioned well known authors such as John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks to both create new Bond novels, and/or to novelize movies not directly based on a Fleming book.
The newest name to add to the list is that of American crime/thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver; probably best known for his Lincoln Rhymes novels. Deaver’s new entry into the successful series is Cart Blanche, © 2011 Ian Fleming Publications, Ltd. The cover teaser describes the book this way:
“James Bond as you’ve never seen him before…” and in way, that’s true. Deaver’s bond is not the aging Sean Connery, cute Roger Moore, devilishly handsome Pierce Bronson, or the muscular, somberly acrobatic Daniel Craig. This Bond is in a new unit, separate from MI-6 but still reporting to ‘M’. This is a 21st century James Bond who uses cell phones, computers, and other Q-branch gadgetry Sir Ian could never imagine, but the differences really end there.
Deaver’s Bond is more reminiscent of Fleming’s creation than anything I have read since.
Again, from the book jacket blurb:
“A Night Action alert calls James Bond away from dinner with a beautiful woman. Headquarters has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected.”
And so it begins. A coded message takes James from the demolition sight of a former military hospital in March, to Dubai, and finally to South Africa, on the trail not of blood diamonds, as one might surmise, but the world leader in recycling and ‘waste disposal,’ where he faces one of his cleverest and most surprising foes yet.
This is vintage Bond. The cars, the women, the food, the drinks, the gadgets, the
trademark silenced Walther, and the always certain but sometimes bumbling hero of the Fleming stories.
For fans of Jeffrey Deaver, and James Bond alike, Carte Blanche is a must read!! 5 stars to welcome back the hero who took Superman’s place in my childhood. This reviewer can only hope that we will see more of Double-oh-seven from the pen of Jeffrey Deaver.
This review is based on the 2012 US paperback release of Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver, the Ian Fleming Estate, and Pocket Star Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.
Tampa readers can purchase Carte Blanche at Barnes & noble on Dale Mabrey in Candlewood, Books-A-Million on US 19 in Port Richey, and fine book sellers everywhere. Kindle, Nook, and other popular e-book versions are also available at BN.COM, Amazon.com, and other online retailers.
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Finally, watch this spot for my next review, Twice, Lisa Unger’s newest Lydia Strong thriller – coming soon.