It has already left readers both shaken and stirred. The new James Bond novel With a Mind to Kill, the third and final entry in a trilogy by the best-selling author Anthony Horowitz, has been given very positive and enthusiastic reviews by the critics in the British media.
The exciting new adventure, which has just been published in the UK by Jonathan Cape, is a kind of sequel to Ian Fleming’s final novel, The Man With The Golden Gun (1965), and picks up some of the key themes that the 007 author put into that book.
The James Bond in the new Horowitz novel is thus an older, more self-aware 007, a man who has developed some nagging moral doubts about his role as a ‘blunt instrument’ for MI6 and seems more world-weary than earlier in his career. With an elaborate and fast-paced plot, which sees a brainwashed Bond go to the Soviet Union (all is not as it seems) and come up against the ice-cold Colonel Boris.
There is also a new organisation, ‘Steel Claw’, a successor organisation to Smersh, at the heart of the novel. With a great combination of Fleming-style elements and the original and distinctive touch of the masterful Horowitz, the new book has received some great comments from both Bond fans and critics alike.
Live and Let High
A review in The Times, for example, by James Owen, noted that the new novel has a ‘bold set-up’ and Horowitz has been faithful to Fleming’s conception of Bond. Similarly, a review by Moira Redmond in the ‘I’ newspaper, entitled ‘Bond is back in print and up to his old tricks’ , noted that Horowitz ‘des brave work capturing the style of the originals’, and it seems that ‘the author enjoyed himself hugely. In Redmond’s estimation, the new book is ‘exciting, atmospheric and with non-stop action. Resistance is futile. Just give in and enjoy’.
The above sentiments were echoed by Alexander Larman in The Observer Sunday newspaper. He noted that this is the first Bond novel published since the release of Daniel Craig’s final 007 movie No Time To Die, which ended with the death of Bond: ‘A similar sense of unpredictbaility permeates With a Mind To Kill. The secret agent depicted here is an ageing, vulnerable figure, weary from both torture and from years of deceiving everyone around him’. Interestingly, Larman noted that this is ‘not so very far’ from the Daniel Craig incarnation of Bond, but it also reminded him of the James Bond of William’s Boyd’s 2013 novel Solo.
According to Larman, as with Horowitz’s earlier two Bond novels, With a Mind to Kill ‘is popular fiction at its most accomplished, purring along with the sleek assurance of an Aston Martin. All the ingredients of a cracking spy story are present…’. The JBIFC very much shares that view.
Welcome back again, 007 – we’ve been expecting you.