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Colonel Sun (James Bond - Extended Series #15)

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,503 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Lunch at Scott’s, a quiet game of golf, a routine social call on his chief M, convalescing in his Regency house in Berkshire – the life of secret agent James Bond has begun to fall into a pattern that threatens complacency… until the sunny afternoon when M is kidnapped and his house staff savagely murdered.

The action ricochets across the globe to a volcanic Greek island wh
Published November 1st 2001 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published March 28th 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,751)
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Jun 15, 2015 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was all that fuss the other year about Sebastian Faulks, an actual literary author (unlike John Gardner or Raymond Benson) being hired to write a James Bond novel. Wasn't it incredible? Proof of the high esteem in which Fleming's writing is held.

But ignored in all the coverage was that the Fleming estate had hired a literary author to write a James Bond novel before. It might say Robert Markham on the front of this novel, but step forward Mr Kingsley Amis.

One of the things about books like
Bond is dead, long live Bond! With Ian Fleming no longer in a position to write Bond, the estate of Fleming approached Kingsley Amis to continue the story with a new novel. Rumoured to have completed Fleming's last novel, The Man With the Golden Gun, Amis was maybe the natural choice.

And to be honest, it's pretty good. Much slower paced than a Fleming at his best, this novel never really seems to quite hit the level of excitement or anticipation that it was presumably aiming for. M has been kidn
Aug 28, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I'd say 2.5 stars, but I can't quite give it 3.

The plot is somewhat uninspired. Not bad, just typical Bond and nothing too intriguing in the story. Not bad and not a waste of time, though with the audio I did find my mind wandering on occasion. The villain, Colonel Sun, is fairly typical for an old-school Bond villain, but he's kinda cool. He has a couple of sidekick sultry gorgeous women and an interesting torture technique that made things a little interesting.

The Bond girl, Ariadne, was pret
C.T. Phipps
Jun 14, 2016 C.T. Phipps rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of the James Bond franchise, anyone who has read this blog will know that. It's one of my goals to eventually do a review of all of the movies up until Spectre. I'm not just a fan of the movies, though, but also the books. Well, sort of. I equivocate there because the novels have a wonderful panache to them which directly led to the films and a deep brooding atmosphere. They're also err, really racist at times.

Ian Fleming gets some defense for being a "man of his time" (and quit
Simon Mcleish
Mar 10, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it it was ok
Originally published on my blog here in July 1998.

I don't think that the existence of this book is terribly well-known. It's a James Bond book written in the late sixties, and is not by either Ian Fleming or John Gardner, who was licensed to continue the series by the Fleming estate. In fact, Robert Markham is a pseudonym used by Kingsley Amis, of all people, a big fan of Ian Fleming.

Bond goes to meet M at his home in Surrey, and is surprised there by a gang of thugs who have kidnapped M and wan
Nov 23, 2014 Brian rated it it was ok
Kingsley Amis, writing as Robert Markham, produced this, the first James Bond book written after Ian Fleming's death in 1964. Published in 1968, it sent the franchise into a 13-year coma, until John Gardner's License Renewed in 1981.

All right, it isn't that bad. But it isn't that good, either.

It is, in fact, superior to Gardner's early books (I haven't read them all) both in terms of the quality of the writing and in not having been influenced by the movies, with all that technological "gimcrack
Brad Lyerla
Aug 05, 2015 Brad Lyerla rated it really liked it
Robert Markham is a pen name for Kingsley Amis, who was commissioned by Ian Fleming's estate to write this James Bond sequel.

If you like Bond, then you will like COLONEL SUN. It offers everything one expects in a Bond novel. And yet it is better than the average Bond book. That is because Amis is a more polished author than Fleming or Gardner. His story follows the Bond formula, but his prose is better than Fleming's or Gardner's. And that is nice.
Oct 15, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
I read all of the Fleming books years ago, when I worked in the closed stacks of a major metropolitan public library. Yes, it's true I can file in Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress :-)

Anyway, for those who don't have a clue, most of the Bond movies are only "loosely" modeled on the books. Hey, it was a big deal back in the 60's that "Goldfinger" was the first instance of an industrial laser (even if it was a fake) in a major motion picture. ("Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expec
Edward Waverley
Oct 23, 2009 Edward Waverley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can we possibly go wrong when Kingsley Amis takes his best crack at writing his own 007 story? The Kinger's rendition fits ably into the Fleming canon. To answer your other question, no, I have no intention of moving along to read any of the other continuation novels, none of which were written by Amis, and none of which garnered his approval. There was a long silence between the publication of Colonel Sun in 1968 and License Renewed by John Gardner in 1981. If Amis' rejection of Gardner's b ...more
Gary M.
Feb 26, 2011 Gary M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How though does Colonel Sun stand up to Fleming, and does it deserve its place in the Bond canon? The answers to these questions are, "very well", and "certainly."

The book starts off in gentle fashion, with Bond reflecting on his life while he plays a round of golf with Bill Tanner - we discover that the story takes place the year after the events in, The Man with the Golden Gun. Bond has fully recovered from the bullet Scaramanga put into his abdomen.

However this quiet reflective period is simp
Kingsley Amis continuing the Bond series; the quality of the prose as one would expect from a writer of Amis's caliber. It's been years since I read any of the Fleming novels, but this one continues his themes and style, if not his flair for theatrics - I particularly liked a scene near the end where Bond muses over the fact that he hadn't used any of his specialized gadgets. The latest movie with Daniel Craig must have lifted its torture scene at least in part from this book. Fast-paced & t ...more
Dec 03, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
'A Man Lives Inside his Head' says Colonel Sun, the psychotic Chinese villain torturing Bond. There's a lot of dialogue used verbatim in the torture scene in the film Spectre. A friend pointed out this resemblance, and that encouraged me to take down this novel and re-read it. And it's a very enjoyable cold war thriller, where the Chinese are the villains, the Russians mainly are sympathetic (rather like Len Deighton's Colonel Stok from the Harry Palmer books), and there are beautiful descriptio ...more
Rob Thompson
May 30, 2015 Rob Thompson rated it really liked it
Colonel Sun is a novel by Kingsley Amis published in 1968 under the pseudonym "Robert Markham". Markham was intended as an umbrella pseudonym under which different writers would continue the series. Colonel Sun is the first James Bond continuation novel published after Ian Fleming's 1964 death.

The Bond portrayed in Colonel Sun continues on with the way Fleming was developing the character in his final three novels. Events take a toll on Bond: he loses his wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service;
Apr 03, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This being the first of the non Fleming Bond books and one written by a formidable literary name I have been looking forward to this book for a long time..I chanced upon it just th other day at a market for fifty pence and although it's worth the entry price..Well I would argue it wasn't really worth the wait.
The plots OK it involves M being kidnapped as a ruse to lure Bond into a conspiracy setting two communist factions off against each other..actually it's a bit more complicate than that but
Jan 15, 2016 Joe rated it liked it
Shelves: listened-to
Another James Bond book, another 3 star rating. "Colonel Sun" was the first post Ian Fleming Bond book, but doesn't suffer at all for it. All the elements were here:
- Bond slept with a super sexy lady multiple times.
- There were double, triple, and quadruple agents.
- Bond worked with one of these agents...who also happened to be the super sexy lady he slept with.
- Very evil villain who tortures Bond in an over the top way. (Fun side note: They clearly used some of this exact torture scene in the
Hamish Crawford
Jan 31, 2015 Hamish Crawford rated it it was amazing
Kinglsey Amis takes the reins of James Bond and tries to update him for the 1960s. A more disciplined and literary author than Ian Fleming, Amis adds a stylish literary verve to this story. It's undoubtedly low-key and minimal in its action, but it more than compensates with its first-rate villain (the eponymous Colonel, who has a never-before-seen intimacy with Bond that casts a whole new light on the hero-villain relationship), an engaging new plot gimmick (the kidnapping of 'M', a device sinc ...more
Mister Future [formerly known as 'Pizzle']
Lacked the Fleming "sweep." Somewhat interesting plot but there was a lot of violence. I skimmed most of the book because I just couldn't really get into it. I thought Amis' beginning was good and I enjoyed the Quarterdeck sequence a lot. Unfortunately, the novel seemed to lose its momentum as it rolled on. It just goes to show you that nobody does a Bond like Fleming does a Bond.

3/5 Stars
Jan 03, 2015 Oliver rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spys-like-us
Kingsley Amis's take on the Bond sagas - good in parts. Amis refers to Fleming in Lucky Jim with enough relish to guess that he was a bit of a fan, and stylistically he has his writing style down pat. Amis liked his booze and food so he's pretty good on that stuff. I'd also imagine he was better read than Fleming so there's an occasional literary reference that he sneaks under the wire and Amis's Bond is a little less of a bigot. Amis however was also a funny bastard, and sadly not a ripple of h ...more
Christian D.  Orr
Feb 21, 2015 Christian D. Orr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 007 fans, thiriller fans, action-adventure fans
This was the first of the post-Ian Fleming 007 novels, and Robert Markham (Kingsley Amis) did a damn fine job of picking up Fleming's legacy--too bad Markham/Amis didn't end up writing more than one Bond novel.

In this adventure, James Bond, recovering both physically and mentally from the gunshot belly wound he suffered at the end of "The Man With the Golden Gun" (Fleming's last novel, R.I.P.), must defeat a nefarious plot by the titular character, Colonel Sun Liang-tan of Red China's People's L
Grant Howard
This is a definitive, typical Fleming novel, except he didn't write it.
I've never read any other Kingsley Amis, so I don't know if this is his usual style or if he was making an effort to ape Fleming's style. The fact he originally published under a pseudonym makes me guess the latter.
I'd certainly put this above the Fleming novels when he'd became tired/bored with his creation such as "You Only Live Twice " or "The Man With The Golden Gun". for me, it comfortably sits with the best of Fleming.
Barry Podob
Sep 25, 2010 Barry Podob rated it it was ok
If you're a Kingsley Amis fan, you'll be disappointed; if you're a James Bond fan, you'll equally disappointed. The formula:Bond in trouble, Bond meets bad guy, Bond meets girl, Bond gets out of trouble, Bond hooks up with girl, Bond gets bad guy just didn't work.
Joe Moss
Jun 19, 2015 Joe Moss rated it liked it
A decent enough stab at continuing the Bond series, this was the first Bond novel to be published after Ian Fleming's death. Robert Markham was a pseudonym for Kingsley Amis who presumably, despite his enthusiasm for all things Bond (he had already published The James Bond Dossier, an analysis of the James Bond novels) did not want his literary legacy muddied by including a derivative thriller with a borrowed main character in it.

Amis/Markham brings in a new enemy - the Chinese military - into t
Craig Andrews
Feb 18, 2012 Craig Andrews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-bond
This book felt very Bond despite not being written by Fleming. With the exception of a really boring torture scene near the end it was a cracking tale. Recommended to anyone who liked Fleming's Bond.
Feb 17, 2009 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this when it first came out in paperback. A huge Bond fan, I was delighted someone was continuing the novels. Myself, I rate this one just behind Fleming's books.
Greg Coppin
Apr 10, 2016 Greg Coppin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not everybody can write a good James Bond novel. Of those who have tried, I think Kingsley Amis got the closest to the Fleming feel. He couldn't match it, nobody could, because the feel of Bond's world was in Fleming's DNA. But this is a brilliant effort. Amis was obviously a fan. Read his excellent James Bond Dossier. At the time of writing, I've still to track down the other Bond book he wrote: 'The Book of Bond. Every man his own 007.' That's an elusive one. Colonel Sun - good title - is mark ...more
Marilyn Goff
May 16, 2016 Marilyn Goff rated it liked it
A talented author with a different approach, Amis spins an engaging yarn with less detail in violence, fast driving, or sex than Fleming or writers since. Especially entertaining for lovers of anything Greek, the book winds its way among the food, drink, and the islands, providing interesting details for the sailor at heart. A perceptive socio-political slant on attempts at world domination make this Bond a good read, but the last four chapters seem to move quite rapidly, as if Amis had been dir ...more
Hunter Williams
Jan 31, 2013 Hunter Williams rated it really liked it
Exceeded expectations - Kingsley Amis channels the ghost of Ian Fleming
Jan 18, 2016 Gary rated it liked it
What a curious book. Written by Kingsley Amis under the pseudonym "Robert Markham" in 1968, it is the first James Bond book to be written by anyone other than Ian Fleming, who died in 1964. Although readable, it comes across as somebody trying to impersonate Fleming's writing style and it suffers from being small in scope and location-bound and an uninteresting location at that. Oddly, given the author's credentials, is the lack of clarity in the narrative, particularly notable in the descriptio ...more
Kingsley Amis? Really? Gosh, you learn something new every day.

I have had this book kicking around for at least a quarter of a century without getting around to reading it, and had assumed it was just a cheap continuation of the franchise by some unknown hack. Actually it is pretty good.

Now, I could either use it as a springboard for an extended meditation on the experiences that have formed my conflicted impressions and attitudes towards China, or just quote one of the greatest instances of God
Dec 31, 2015 Cory rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015, bond
One last book to end the year on; I needed a read for the beach, and I had this one on me. It's quite a good read for the beach, but in the end I think it washes up at 2.5 stars. There were some great elements to it, but I felt the parts were greater than the whole, by the end.

Amis's pastiche of Fleming is very strong. He has a good sense of Bond's voice, of his relationships with those around him, and I particularly noticed the setting/use of description, because that's one of the things I enj
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SSG: Spy/Spec-Ops...: Choose the cover art! (Amis, #2) 8 18 Jun 22, 2016 06:46PM  
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  • James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007
Kingsley Amis, under the pen name Robert Markham, was the first author to take on Bond after Ian Fleming’s death in 1964. Colonel Sun became the first in a long line of continuation books, penned by authors keen to continue Ian Fleming’s cultural legacy.
More about Robert Markham...

Other Books in the Series

James Bond - Extended Series (1 - 10 of 39 books)
  • Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond #2)
  • Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond, #4)
  • From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)
  • Doctor No (James Bond, #6)
  • Goldfinger (James Bond, #7)
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond, #8)
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)

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