Phil Mc's Reviews > Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver
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's review
Jun 17, 2011

really liked it

A new outing for the well-worn spy? Why wouldn't I give this a go. This is a good addition to the cannon (although not as good as the recent Faulks’ contribution) and Deaver's ability to write taut thrillers on a grand scale certainly shines through.

Rather than a continuation of the Bond mythos, or an homage to Fleming's era (as was Faulks’), Deaver re-imagines Bond as a modern agent working for an agency more clandestine than the present secret service. In a world where the head of MI5 appears in the papers the shadowy dealings of Bond and his bosses wouldn't quite ring true. The update is both justified and largely successful; although, I have to confess that reading about Bond using an app on his I-Phone did jar a little at first. Largely though, the change of context works seamlessly and gives Deaver something to work with.

Deaver's Bond is just as cold and calculating as Fleming’s and certainly retains an eye for the ladies but, with a modern update I would have expected a shift in the misogynistic undertones that mutter throughout the originals. Don't get me wrong, Bond without misogyny would be like Bond without a Walther or Aston Martin but, in the modern context of I-phones and e-espionage, it seems a little anachronistic.

This is, perhaps, of little consequence in a novel that clearly understands, references, but is not reverential to the conventions of Bond. My one issue of any worth is that, whilst Deaver is a master of action and intricacy when dealing with action set-pieces and mammoth story arc, he lacks the charm of Fleming. The originals manage to make drinks, shoes, sitting quietly in a bar on your own or baccarat sound beautiful and stylish. They make Bond sound stylish. Deaver, sadly, falls slightly short.

In spite of this, I enjoyed Carte Blanche and read it voraciously. It will spawn sequels; I will buy them.

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