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Zero Minus Ten (Raymond Benson's Bond #1)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  800 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
The clock is ticking for Hong Kong. On July 1, 1997, the British Crown Colony will be handed over to the People's Republic of China. But hopes for a peaceful transition are shattered when a series of terrorist acts threatens the fragile relationship between Britain and China. A solicitor from London is killed by a car bomb; a British "offcer" retaliates by assassinating tw ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published March 5th 1998 (first published May 5th 1997)
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Mar 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-bond
James Bond prevents catastrophe at the 1997 hand-off of Hong Kong to China. The gadgets are minimal to non-existent, and the plot is fairly predictable, yet solid Bond faire. Zero Minus Ten marks Raymond Benson's first full-length entry in the Bond pantheon and is a good read for those interested in British/Chinese history. Locales include, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Macau, Kowloon, and the Australian outback.
Three stars, but just barely. ZERO MINUS TEN has some intriguing moments, and the plot, in general, is actually pretty solid. It's a step up from John Gardner's inane entries in the series, but this is still a far cry from Ian Fleming's Bond. 007 still has some rough edges, but what ostensibly passes for Bond having "gained wisdom from his experiences" reeks of political correctness. Beyond that, though, the writing often slips into long-winded details that don't naturally flow into the narrativ ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
The last James Bond novel I read was so overwhelmingly disappointing I was afraid to try this one. Of course, the fact that a new author has taken over the series gave me a small measure of hope.

I was not disappointed. Zero Minus Ten was an excellent example of what a James Bond novel should be. A story that was believeable, bad guys that are clever, an appropriate amnount of Red herrings/side missions, and finally, a threat of catastrophe large enough to make Bond's mission meaningful.

This no
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"He had learned long ago how to deal with it and turn the pain into an asset that contributed to his self-made shell--the hardened, tough armour that protected him from the inevitably maddening, and conceivably fatal, aspects of consciousness called human emotions."


While being respectful to the John Gardner novels, Raymond Benson resuscitates the long dormant Ian Fleming James Bond 007. He's smoking, swilling martinis and brandishing a Walther PPK once more, surrounded by beautiful women, wo
Benson's books read like rejected screenplays for Bond films that were never made -- not surprising since he wrote the novelizations of several of the Brosnan-era 007 movies. These books would likely be entertaining for anyone who has not read the Ian Fleming novels, especially young Bond fans who were indoctrinated into the series during Brosnan or Craig's tenure as the British super spy. However, once you've read the work of superior Bond novelists (even Sebastian Faulk's Devil May Care was be ...more
Mike Bratek
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has what every Bond novel has: adventure, action, drama, espionage, romance, and murder. 007 is fierce, yet pushed to his limits in this great story. Even in bits of story we would not understand, the author goes in depth and detail to make sure reader understands whats going on without losing the readers' attention or grasp. I truly loved this read as any other Bond novel i have read!
Hunter Williams
Terrible let down after reading Kingsley Amis's effort. This one by Raymond Benson is written like a fan fiction cross-over of Roger Moore-era James Bond and James Clavell's Noble House
Darryl Walker
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the days leading up to reading Raymond Benson's inaugural James Bond novel ZERO MINUS TEN I reread four or five of my favorite Ian Fleming titles. I'm stunned (and delighted) to report that Ray can hang with Bond's progenitor himself.

Benson's adventures of 007 are thrillers of the same stature of Ian Lancaster Fleming's. Maybe even better! Prestidigitator Benson has mastered the old wine in new bottles trick. ZERO MINUS TEN is my new favorite James Bond novel and I say this as an ex-Fleming s
Shaan Mutreja
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as I could relate to it living in Hong Kong. I found it intriguing as I like James Bond and I wanted to know more about the HK Handover.
Matt Raubenheimer
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zero Minus Ten was the first James Bond novel I ever read. I was 13 years old, a big fan of the James Bond films and I found that Raymond Benson's novel delivered what I expected from a Bond story. Now, some 16 years later (and after reading about 40 other James Bond novels) I decided to return to this one and re-read it.

What Benson pulls off here, is to create a Bond novel which satisfies both the filmgoers of the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond, as well as keeping the character quite true to the o
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raymond Benson’s first novel in the James Bond series – his short story Blast from the Past appeared in the January 1997 issue of Playboy magazine – follows on from where John Gardner left off. Bond returns to being the cold and distant ruthless bastard that Ian Fleming envisioned and Gardner had turned into an introspective emotional wreck. Benson also does not fall into the trap of trying to write realistic dialogue that made some of Fleming’s books – I’m thinking of Live and Let Die here – ex ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, espionage
The first of the 007 instalments by Raymond Benson was pretty good compared to Gardner's. Benson's Bond was much closer to Fleming's: more ruthless and full of bad habits than Gardner's. There was more focus on action over gadgets, which was refreshing. As with Gardner, Benson drifted way from Fleming's more simplistic plots and went with the multiple exotic locations trend of the movies. While setting the story in the "present day" (1990s at the time), thus continuing more or less where Gardner ...more
Sep 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
This was my first ever James Bond book. I love Bond movies and my hubby has read all the Fleming Bond books along with a ton of other 007 books, including the Raymond Benson books. So, I finally took the plunge and read my first one. Unfortunately, this just didn't quite grab me. However, I was laid up with my back blown out while reading this - so being in intense constant pain might very well have skewed my opinion of the book. But, I just didn't feel connected with any of the characters, even ...more
Wayland Smith
I don't remember when I read this one. For a while, I read all the Bond books. They are, of course, different from the movies, in some ways better, in some worse. Really, if you're reading one, you probably know what to expect before you crack the cover.

This is a rare adventure that ties in to actual history. Bond is sent to Hong Kong when things are going badly in the days before the handover of the city from the British to the Chinese. Bond has to wade through the corruption and sea of suspic
Sep 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book was written by Raymond Benson who is an appointed success of Ian Fleming. While the story itself is interesting, it is unavoidable to compare the book to the one written by Ian Fleming. Comparing to the stories which were written by Ian Fleming, I felt a lot of points of difference, and I eventually became to feel awkward in the way Raymond Benson had demonstrated the story. From this point of view, if you are enthusiastic admirer of James Bond and looking for exactly same style of writ ...more
Zohar -
This is an O.K. Bond screenplay, but a bit disappointing book. It seems to me the author was writing the book with a movie in mind, what happened to the aging secret agent going through mid-life crisis? What happened to the kinky, chauvinistic, alcoholic, cold blooded killer we all know and love?
Don't get me wrong, I liked the story, even if it is predictable, and I enjoyed reading the book, I guess it's not the Bond I'm used to.

My fault .... but if you are looking for a nice, light, Sunday afte
Martyn Perry
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bond is back. Whilst nowhere near the brilliance of the Fleming originals, this is a nice addition to the Bond canon.

Benson is clearly a Bond fan, his references to both Fleming and Gardner's book series are worthy and within context of the story, but also serve to reward the Bond geeks like me that have read every book up to this point.

Whilst his writing sometimes lets him down, he certainly knows how to craft a thrilling and tight plot, filled with the action and character beats all fans expec
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2014
This was patchy. The action scenes were solid, but too much of it was trying to imitate Fleming -- a mah-jong game in the place of the bridge game, a judiciously applied cane, detailed scenic description (except without Fleming's language, so it just felt clunky). There was too much exposition, particularly at the beginning, and I don't know about the depiction of Hong Kong, but as an Australian the depiction of Australia rang very false. Not on of the better post-Fleming attempts.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To put it bluntly. Zero Minus Ten is a workhorse novel. You can see all the twists coming, all the set-ups with every T crossed and every I dotted. That doesn't mean it's bad but as you're reading it, you're "out thinking the plot". Overall a solid effort for a 007 story but nothing especially riveting either. Benson's overuse of the exclamation point is very irritating however - writers should make actions exciting, not merely point them out by punctuation.
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The first of the James Bond books I read and I will certainly read more. I saw our local permanent flea market has a few of them.

The character and event descriptions are vivid and real. No unrealistic stuff. The story moves, has unexpected twists and is much like the movies.....of which I have seen ALL!
Not as good as I'd hoped, but it was a quick, guilty-pleasure read. I'd like Bond to be more intelligent, but maybe I've been ruined by Jack Reacher (Lee Child's creation). Maybe Bond has outlived his days. However, I have the other five Raymond Benson books, so I'll probably get through them eventually.
Daniel Callister
I've read all of his other james bond books and really loved them, but this one was actually pretty lame. it was ok for a quick read that didn't require much brain power, but nothing to recommend by any means. It was high school when i read all the others, so maybe my tastes have just matured since then :)
Daniel Callister
I've read all of his other james bond books and really loved them, but this one was actually pretty lame. it was ok for a quick read that didn't require much brain power, but nothing to recommend by any means. It was high school when i read all the others, so maybe my tastes have just matured since then :)
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Found this a bit lacklustre and some of the settings and situation descriptions seemed to have been copied from google. Trouble is when I pick up a James Bond book I want the old Ian Fleming magic to reappear. Or at least a nod in that direction but this just appears to be a lazy knock-off. Shame. Glidrose the Bond publishers should be trying harder.
Kim Smith
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first James Bond book and while I found it to be a good read, I didn't find it exciting enough. The plot is thin, James gets over his head with a girl (no surprises there), and makes a lot of mistakes in the process. Go back to London, James, and stay there!
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 007-james-bond
Well-paced with plenty of action - a bit more Fleming-esque than Gardner's works, but also with a bit of the movie-Bond mixed in... an impressive debut entry for Benson into the Bond continuation series.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
This book is what you get when a publisher asks the #1 franchise fan to write his "dream" book about the subject and you end up with cliche after cliche with a little plot thrown in to carry it for two hundred pages.
Stewart Sternberg
Benson has given us a fine entry into the 007 series but there were attempts to mimick Fleming that could have been dispensed with, such as the endless info dumps and the never-ending description of a gambling event...a majong game. Benson would have done better being himself.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-adventure
Three stars from me means I liked it. Not a masterpiece, but certainly entertaining and well written. A good solid adventure much in the vein of Ian Fleming. If you just want something fun to read, this would be a good choice.
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Raymond Benson is the author of 35+ titles. Among his works are the critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling serial THE BLACK STILETTO, and he was also the third--and first American--continuation author of the official James Bond 007 novels.

More about Raymond Benson...

Other Books in the Series

Raymond Benson's Bond (6 books)
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