Tag: PPK

Solo by William Boyd

Posted November 6, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Thriller / 2 Comments

Solo by William BoydTitle: Solo (Goodreads)
Author: William Boyd
Series: James Bond
Published: Jonathan Cape, 2013
Pages: 322
Genres: Thriller
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The year is 1969 and special agent James Bond has just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday when he is directed by M to undertake an unusual assignment. The western African nation of Zanzarim is in the middle of a civil war and his mission is to eliminate the rebel threat. When Bond gets to West Africa he soon finds out this isn’t as straightforward as it appeared. Soon he finds himself going solo to seek revenge.

I love the James Bond movies but haven’t had much experience with the 007 books; I have only read Carte Blanche and Casino Royale. So if I’m comparing this book to those two, then Solo is amazing. But if I compare it to everything I know about Bond then there is something missing. William Boyd has modelled his Bond after You Only Live Twice so I can’t help but picture Sean Connery.

Solo’s 007 seems to be a heavy smoker but his drinking and womanising is lacking. I know that might seem weird but Bond and misogyny go hand in hand. It is like having a Bond without any wacky gadgets…oh wait, that is a bit of problem here too. One of the things that got me out Boyd’s Bond was that whenever he beds a woman he is making love to her. This just bothered me, I can’t imagine Bond being in love with all those women so the term ‘making love’ doesn’t seem right, also couldn’t we mix it up a little and use a few different teams; ‘slept with’, ‘took to bed’ and so on?

Apart from my issues with this novel, Boyd has a decent knowledge of James Bond and it was nice to see references in the book to a younger 007. For example when he tried to get a Walther PPK in a gun store, they didn’t have any so he went with a Beretta and made references to this being his weapon of choice when he was younger. Little things like that really pulled the book together.

Aside from his knowledge on Bond, William Boyd also has a decent knowledge of that classic spy thriller formula. Nothing too complicated but the light reading of a Bond or Thriller novel. Blending the nuances of the Bond and spy thriller genre, Boyd really seemed to make this his own. While die-hard fans may be annoyed and some people will be bothered with the changes, this was a lot of fun to read.