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Licence Renewed
John Gardner
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Licence Renewed (John Gardner's Bond #1)

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,980 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
In License Renewed, the most famous secret agent in the world pits his nerve and cunning against a dangerously deranged opponent – one prepared to sacrifice most of the Western world to prove that only he can make it safe from accidental holocaust. As the seconds tick away on the valued Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the world comes nearer this ironic annihilation; Bond comes nea ...more
Published (first published April 1st 1981)
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Aug 20, 2010 Stephen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-stuff
3.0 to 3.5 stars. I remember reading this when I was around 13 and a big James Bond fan. This was the first original Bond story I ever read and the first by John Gardner (who went on to write 12 or 13 more). A good, solid story the captures the essence of Bond while updating his outlook to be more in line with modern thinking.
Bond has been invited home for dinner by Q's attractive female assistant, a committed vegetarian. As they're sipping their drinks, he makes amorous advances.

"My chick-pea casserole will dry out!" she protests, pushing him away.

"Well, we wouldn't want that drying out," says Bond.

How come I never think of these great lines until it's too late? No wonder Bond gets all the girls.
Jul 28, 2012 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
* The first Gardner Bond book.

* In his Acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, Gardner tells us that all of the "hardware" used by Bond in the book is genuine and available one way or another. He then goes on to tell us that that used by Bond's adversary, Anton Murik, is not. This, I think, sets a broader tone, right at the outset: Gardner's books are going to try to tread a middle ground between Fleming's Bond and Movie Bond. It's a dicey proposition.

* But first, from Gardner himself: "I
C.T. Phipps
May 13, 2016 C.T. Phipps rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-bond
The James Bond Continuation Novels are, like many of those stories, something of a red-headed stepchild to the franchise. For James Bond purists, there's actually two groups with those who love the books and those who love the movies with a decent-but-not-huge overlap. Neither group has much regard for the James Bond continuation novels which were done by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and a series of others thereafter. I, on the other hand, love the James Bond Continuation Novels ...more
James Bond returns after ten years away in this light, but entertaining read, License Renewed . I say License Renewed because I got the American printing, replete with freeways and all the expected mis-spellings, the original British version was called, correctly, Licence Renewed. Bond is called in to assist MI5 and Special Branch with an investigation into a known terrorist who's entered Great Britain. M puts Bond in, undercover, independent of them both, and before you know it tracing a terro ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw this on the shelf, I was pleased that someone had taken up Ian Fleming's mantle and continued the Bond adventures. I guess I've been out of it for a while, since the book was published in 1981. Gardner writes well and offers and a quick, engaging action story. Unfortunately, it has not stood up well to the test of time. The cold war is over, the futuristic gadgets look stone-age, and men and women have re-defined how they interact.
Kost As
Apr 03, 2016 Kost As rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ξεκίνησα το "License renewed", το δεύτερο βιβλίο με ήρωα το James Bond χωρίς την υπογραφή του αείμνηστου Ian Fleming, έχοντας διαβάσει προηγουμένως το "Colonel Sun" του Robert Markham, το οποίο με είχε απογοητεύσει. Το είχα βρει μάλλον βαρετό, παρά το γεγονός ότι η υπόθεση εξελισσόταν στην Ελλάδα. Οπότε μπορεί να πει κανείς ότι ξεκίνησα έχοντας θέσει χαμηλά τον πήχη των προσδοκιών. Το "License renewed" μου φάνηκε πολύ πιο ψυχαγωγικό! Μοιραία συγκρίνεις τον τρόπο γραφής του John Gardner με εκείνο ...more
Terry Wilkes
Feb 03, 2014 Terry Wilkes rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is dreadful.
Gardner takes James Bond and removes everything that makes him fun.
He drives a SAAB. Gone is the Walther PPK. So too is the action, grappling fight scenes or any sense of menace.
The core (the very, very core) of the plot could have worked. Indeed, in some ways, the threatened attack is the same kind that we worry about today: terrorists hijacking and blowing up nuclear power stations.
But this is essentially a very ham-fisted hostage situation. All the billionaire behind t
Feb 22, 2012 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finished all the Fleming 007 novels as well as Amis' Colonel Sun I was ready to jump into the John Gardner titles. I wasn't sure what to expect. Gardner is definitely not Fleming and the new 1980s 007 is much closer to the Bond of the movies than the Bond of Fleming's novels. The book was nevertheless fun to read. Fleming's plots were relatively simple in contrast to the more complicated plots of the movies. Gardner's plot line was much more akin to the latter. Whereas Flemings Bond was g ...more
Jul 21, 2012 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this back in the '80s, but not since then. I am only 3 chapters in but sadly have already found two things that made me cringe and one that made me wince.

Ok, I thought maybe it was first-time jitters, so I read the second book in the series to give John G a chance to find his feet. But he didn't. I got the twist almost from the off, and I'm not a trained secret agent, so I'm pretty sure Bond wouldn't have been fooled.

Also and most importantly, the James I love is a sexist, racist snob. Th
Jan 17, 2010 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries-noir
My mom liked the thriller/mystery genre so there were a lot of these books hanging around the house. As a rule, I didn't read them but there was a point where I must have been hard up for anything to read and found myself enjoying this book.

I knew James Bond entirely from the movies at that point in my life (early teens), and, as the book stuck more closely to that Bond that Fleming's, it was OK. It was an interesting experience when I met Fleming's Bond a couple of decades later.
Grant Howard
The first couple of chapters are a bit shaky, but once we're into it, it becomes Bond again.

There are two edits it could do with;
1. The scene at Q'ute's (Yes, that's a lady Q. Major Boothroyd's still there though.) flat which is RIDICULOUS and, unrelated to the story so could have easily been dropped.
2. The clunky awkward expository "Let's go over our plan again" dialogue Bond hears over an electronic bug, which is all info the villain repeats personally to Bond a chapter or two later, could h
Craig Williams
Since I've read all of the Fleming books, I decided, what the heck, I'll read the post-Fleming books as well! I'd heard they were actually pretty good, and markedly less racist! As it turns out, both of those things are quite true!

James Bond is sent to infiltrate the inner-circle of a Scottish Laird named Anton Murik, one of the world's most premiere nuclear physicists. Murik has been in repeated contact with a notorious terrorist named Franco, and it is up to Bond to find out the connection.

Not too bad a James Bond book. It's not really explained how Bond can still be doing this job at his age (by my calculations, he has to be in his 60s). At least this story is readable, as opposed to the boring and confusing COLONEL SUN (Kingsley Amis's attempt to restart the Bond series). A few criticisms. Bond makes too many cutesy quips, more like the movie James Bond than Ian Fleming's James Bond. The villain, Murik, is a bit too similar to villains we've seen before. He cheats at horse racin ...more
Mike MacDee
Oct 26, 2015 Mike MacDee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gardner has a real talent for writing suspense, and his first outing as Fleming's torch-carrier goes off amazingly well. Murik's scheme is so foolproof I really had no idea how Bond was going to save the day, much less his own neck. The downside to that is, every subsequent Gardner villain scheme seems boneheaded by comparison.

It's obvious that the film A View To A Kill was largely inspired by this book, given how many setpieces were lifted from it, so it's probably as close as we'll ever get to
Rodrigo González
A few years ago I read all Ian Fleming's novels because James Bond is one of the quintessential Literature characters of the 20th century, I enjoyed most of his adventures and I was kind of excited in starting to read the novels that other autors wrote after Fleming's death. Well, this one, License Renewed, was kind of fun at the beginning but then I thought it was too Fleming, something that reasonably speaking should be good but it was too Fleming that I thought it was plagiarism. I mean, the ...more
Joe Moss
John Gardner was chosen to continue the print version of the James Bond franchise (dread word!) and ended up writing more novels that Bond's own creator: Ian Fleming. A total of fourteen novels and two novelisations of Bond films.

Licence Renewed was his first effort. Whilst critical opinion was at best lukewarm, the book sold in good quantities and that was all the publishers wanted.

Apparently Gardner was given the task of modernisng Bond, bringing him into the eighties. As a result he has some
Marcus Hobson
Aug 06, 2015 Marcus Hobson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-bond
I would call it a plausible attempt to capture the character of Fleming's legendary James Bond, but by bringing the character up to date John Gardener seems to have lost some of the flair and menace of the original. Bond is too close to the movie cameo and less to the fictional original.
The plot of the book is fine, with all the elements we have come to expect - some deranged madman who wants to rule the world or hold it to ransom. It is more that the character himself doesn't quite live up to t
Nov 06, 2013 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a kid I was always pretty lucky tracking down books. My aunt ran a second hand book shop and whenever I got hooked on a series, she’d help to find the books I was after. When I was really young, it was the Charlie Brown comic strip books which appealed to me – and she plied me with a great deal of them. But by the time I was nine years old it was James Bond who had grabbed my attention. And I loved those books – even if looking back now, I have to admit I probably didn’t truly understand them ...more
Steve Mitchell
When the Laird of Mulcaldy, a nuclear physicist has regular meetings with Franco, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists alarm bells begin to ring.
John Gardner’s first James Bond novel sets out to carry on from where Ian Fleming left off. He sets his story in the year it was written – 1981 – but otherwise tries to keep the continuity from the Fleming stories.
The double-0 section has been disbanded as surplus to requirements but M recognises that he still needs a blunt instrument for special s
Jul 18, 2011 Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

(For full review, follow link)

...Written and set in the 1980′s, in Licence Renewed James Bond is older and times have changed. M is still his boss, but ’00′ status no longer officially exists (though M refuses to acknowledge this), and Bond’s duties are far more mundane. That is, until he is required to return to his old role and save the world, yet again, from a mad genius intent on world domination...

...Bond must stop Anton Murik, Laird of Murcaldy (aide
Aug 15, 2013 Art rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are quite a few formulaic things I expect from anything dealing with agent 007. A bond novel must have fast cars, beautiful women, gadgets, fast cars, and pure evil bad guys. Sprinkle in a few trademark Bond moments and you have the foundation for yet another adventure for the world's most famous spy. In License Renewed by John Gardner you can tell from the word go that Gardner gets Bond. The first thing he did was to update 007 to the time he was writing 1982 in this case. The fluid story ...more
Perry Whitford
Sep 17, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 00no-one.
I read a few James Bond novels when I was in my late teens and was generally disappointed with them. In the films he is a cross between Raffles, Superman and Hugh Hefner. In the Fleming source material I remember him as a cruel, snobbish chauvinist who plays second fiddle to the villains.

In this unfortunate reboot by Gardner he is all of those things and worse, because he is also dull. Crushingly dull.

I only bought this as it was cheap and it was the first Bond book written after Fleming's deat
Jun 30, 2012 Jerome rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In 1980 John Gardner was commisioned to take over the James Bond series after the famous spy was in a 12 year hiatus. The result was published the following year called Licence Renewed; The title couldn't have been further from the truth. Gardner was reluctant from day one to even take on James Bond; A series he thought simply stuck to rigid formula. This sorry excuse of thriller brings James Bond into the 80's by completely discarding Fleming's character entirely.

James Bond in this and all of G
Bob Garrett
Bond fans can be a funny lot. Some have no problem with six different movie Bonds but dismiss any Bond novel by anyone other than Fleming. Any character with a sixty-year history, however, seems ripe for different interpretations. Perhaps it’s time, then, to reconsider some of the post-Fleming Bond works.

Pegasus Books must agree with me, as they’ve reissued John Gardner’s fourteen Bond novels. LICENSE RENEWED, the first, originally appeared in 1981. I read it in high school – and liked it – but
Ryan Saunders
Feb 21, 2013 Ryan Saunders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Bond is one of the most well known names in the entire world. Since I was very young I've heard of his legendary movies and books. This is why when I picked up James Bond "License Renewed", I had high expectations. Fortunately I was not let down in the slightest. "License Renewed" is the first fourteen of the James Bond series by John Gardner.

In "License Renewed", James Bond is fighting to save the world from perhaps the most dangerous and crazed villain yet, Dr. Anton Murik. He's the La
Seth Madej
John Gardner's first Bond novel features a cliche I'll-show-them-all! villain riding a straight-line plot. It lacks Ian Fleming's effortless communication of rich casual detail and replaces it with recitations of facts, like a padded research paper. It skips out on Fleming's weirdness and replaces it with blandness. But it also replaces it with some genuine excitement, including a car chase I found more thrilling than any action sequence from the First 14. Combine that with a tone and character ...more
Scott Lyson
Bond recognized the bed as the famous and exclusive Slumberland 2002 Sleepcentre, with some modifications, made probably on Murik's own instructions. He noted that the console provided sound and light programs marked 'Peace Mood,' 'Wake,' 'Sleep,' and 'Love.' Something Q'ute would have appreciated, he thought with wry amusement.
Michael O'Leary
Feb 26, 2014 Michael O'Leary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was another fast read, featuring Ian Fleming's James Bond, written by John Garner. This book and plot stayed true to Ian Fleming's James Bond. This is the first of 16 James Bond books written by Gardner; I look forward to reading the remaining 15.
Huw Collingbourne
The first of Gardner's post-Fleming Bond yarns is entertaining in parts but the plot is improbable even by Fleming standards and the characters are a very wooden lot. The story moves at a cracking pace (albeit with a bit too much in the bogs and glens of Scotland, I thought) so I'll definitely try another Gardner Bond at some future date.
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Before coming an author of fiction in the early 1960s, John Gardner was variously a stage magician, a Royal Marine officer and a journalist. In all, Gardner has fifty-four novels to his credit, including Maestro, which was the New York Times book of the year. He was also invited by Ian Fleming’s literary copyright holders to write a series of continuation James Bond novels, which proved to be so s ...more
More about John Gardner...

Other Books in the Series

John Gardner's Bond (1 - 10 of 16 books)
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  • Icebreaker (John Gardner's Bond, #3)
  • Role of Honor (John Gardner's Bond, #4)
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  • Licence to Kill (John Gardner's Bond, #9)
  • Brokenclaw (John Gardner's Bond, #10)
  • The Man from Barbarossa (John Gardner's Bond, #11)

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