A cloud hung over James Bond as he negotiated the Bentley Muslanne Turbo through the streets of Ostend at the start of a well-earned spell of leave. Rome was his destination, but first there was that worrying call from the Klinik Mozart, in the mountains south of Slazburg, to disturb his rest. For more years than he cared to remember, his Scottish housekeeper had remained the one constant in his otherwise turbulent life. The two bronchial attacks May had suffered the previous winter had badly damaged her left lung, and had thrown 007 into a paroxysm of almost filial concern. First the Harley Street specialist and now covalescence in one of Europe's most expensive clinics had eased Bond's mind but done nothing to still May's caustic tongue. If she refused to co-operate, she might not see her next birthday, Bond had been advised. The incident on the cross-chanel ferry, when the vessel stopped while a search was made for a couple of sky-larking youngsters who, it was thought, had gone overboard, made him uncomfortably jumpy. As, unobserved, he operated the secret panel in the dashboard to check his 9mm ASP automatic and the spare ammunition clips, and to withdraw the small Concealable Operations Baton in its soft leather case, he reflected on M's parting advice to be 'especially careful'. The sharp, steely look in his chief's eyes had given Bond the odd feeling that M had been deliberately hiding something from him. It was just a few hours, rather than days, after disembarking at the Belgian port that the first grisly move was made in a bewildering game of cat-and-mouse, with Bond as the prey. What could be the purpose behind the personal vendetta unleashed by an assailant whom Bond, at first, failed miserably to identify? Never have Bond's defence mechanisms been more sorely tested than they are as, slowly, the realsiation dawns that there is, quite literally, a price on his head.
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John Gardner was comissioned by Glidrose, the companyto which Ian Fleming assigned the copyright in his James Bond stories, to update the series and bring a slightly older Bond into the 1980s. The first of his Bond books, Licence Renewed, was am immediate success, the Daily Telegraph passing the verdict that 'Ian Fleming would not be displeased.' It was quickly folowed by For Special Services, Icebreaker, which the Standard claimed was 'just as enjoyable as the oriignal', and Role of Honour.From Publishers Weekly:
If anyone does live forever, it's likely to be the definitive swashbuckler invented by the late Ian Fleming and starred in Gardner's fifth tale of James Bond's feats. Secret agent 007 is driving through France when he learns that his demonic foe Tamil Rahani will pay a fortune to whomever delivers Bond's head on a silver plate. The entire thug population of Europe is competing for the prize, and the intended victim is lucky that two luscious and daring females are traveling with him. They rescue him from certain death repeatedly as he races to meet his housekeeper, May, and the loyal secretary, Miss Moneypenny, at the clinic in Austria where May is recovering from pneumonia. Holding the winning hand, however, Rahani's gang has abducted the women and 007 must risk decapitation to save them. The mission takes the hero and his bodyguards to an island off the Florida coast where Rahani is waiting with an authentic guillotine in an impregnable castle. In true comic-book fashion, the gory chapters detail the horrors that kill almost everyone except Bond who obviously won't die until he wants to. Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Trafalgar Square, 1986. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 224028618