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License Renewed (John Gardner's Bond #1)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  1,660 ratings  ·  62 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
Paperback, 290 pages
Published April 15th 1983 by Berkley (first published April 1st 1981)
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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.
* 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
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 terror ...more
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.
Terry Wilkes
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
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
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
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
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.
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

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...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
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
Dec 20, 2011 Perry Whitford rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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 (I might be wrong about that, only read Dr. No / Goldfinger / Man With the Golden Gun / and Moonraker, and it was a long time ago), and in this retread by Gardner he is all of those things and worse, because he ...more
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
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
Not a bad jaunt but it's one of those books that when you put it down, it's flaws become obvious. Why would 007 want to stop someone from ending unsafe nuclear proliferation? Admittedly, the villain's plot is dangerous but it seemed more "amoral" than truly "evil". Then again, this book was written during the early days of the Reagan era so that certainly had something to do with it - and because of that, Bond comes off a bit like a staunch right-wing apologist than a super-spy.
Michael O'Leary
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.
Nice to visit an old character but I still like him in the movies better. It lost some of the charms of the man and his sexy ways with women. Story moved along with constant activity and Bond always finding his way out of difficult situations.
Thomas Strömquist
In the beginning of the book, I thought Gardner did a reasonably good job continuing the James Bond series after the rather long hiatus. But soon some things really started to bother me; the numerous references to Fleming's books makes this one feel an awful lot like fan fiction, and isn't the Gardner Bond a lot more like the movie Bond?

Another thing is that, even though Fleming did change Bonds birth year some, this being set in the early 80's, he must be about 60 or at least very close. Must h
Steven Kent
Almost a Bond and very readable, this was a first effort by a competent author who tried to step into Ian Fleming's shoes.

he does a reasonable job of capturing the spirit of the Bond character, an adventurer who really is not as tough as the men around him. he is lucky, and daring, and smart, but not the he-man that has been sensationalized by Daniel Craig, and maybe not even as tough as Sean Connery.

Where Gardner falls shy of the mark is in the story itself. It's good, it's very much in the spi
Derek Bridge
I pulled this book, dating from my adolescence, from my shelves in response to a recent celebrity attempt at a 'Bond novel': Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care. Faulks has greater aspirations (or pretensions) with the by-line 'writing as Ian Fleming'. Gardner, by contrast, is just using Fleming's characters.

Unfortunately, Gardner's novel was formulaic; its narrative arc seemed to owe more to the films than to Fleming. And setting the novel in the 1980s, with a grizzled, semi-retired but still athl
A good rendition and homage for those craving another classic Bond story. The writing was a little muddy at times. The exciting fight and chase scenes were confusing and harder to follow than the originals. It also wasn't as tight as it should have been: repetitious sections, overviews that were unnecessary. A fun easy read though.
MB Taylor
I remember really enjoying the first several books of John Gardner's James Bond series. I liked the fact that Bond was a little older and (perhaps) a little wiser. Shortly after I read License Renewed, Never Say Never Again came out with Sean Connery as Bond, and I remember being disappointed that the movie producers hadn't followed Gardner's lead and made Bond closer to Connery's apparent age; essentially doing for Bond what he did for Robin Hood in Robin and Marian.
Not as good as many of the Bond books, this one was still fun to read. The plot line kept me interested and the fight scenes, although hard to write well, were still good.

Not to spoil the story, but there's a big Scottish henchman named 'Caber' that has a big role in the story and in my mind I kept seeing "Fat Bastard" from the Austin Powers movies. Whenever he spoke it was in FBs voice. I kept thinking to myself, "so this is where they got the idea of that 'Fat Bastard' for the movie!"
Had a couple stylistic renderings from the Fleming novels, but took on more of the shape of the movies. Still enjoyable but slow at certain parts and a very slow unraveling ending to overcome all odds.
Exactly the right brain candy for a trip. Didn't really feel as different from Fleming as I might've thought, but maybe I'd have noticed more if I'd read the two authors consecutively. Still, I feel good about Bond in Gardner's capable hands.

Bonus: Gardner weaves a little commentary about his society through here. Fleming's was more likely to make me embarrassed to be caught reading his words.
A pretty tame story that doesn't really require much of Bond until the last dozen or so pages, and even then he doesn't do but so much. More entertaining for the narration of James' thought process when confronted with obstacles. I'm also deducting points for every instance when the words "James" and "darling" were used in the same sentence.....which is more than a few.
This first post-Fleming Bond updates our hero to the early 1980s. He drinks less. He smokes low-tar cigarettes. He jogs.

An entertaining, if long-winded pastiche of material from the earlier Bond books (and even movies). While Gardner lack's Fleming's sheer verve in conveying brutality, violence, and sex, he does display a fine hand with setting and suspense.
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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...

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