I’m an old-school James Bond fan. I’ve read every original novel (the Fleming novels), and most the later novels (Gardener, Benson, and some others).
I’ll come out and say it: this is the best non-Fleming Bond novel I’ve ever read.
It’s divided into two parts. The first is Bond’s mission in a small West African country, deep into a civil war. That part ends on a wild cliffhanger. The second part is in a completely different location – geographically and culturally – and deals with the aftermath of the first part.
Boyd just nails the character, and just nails Fleming’s voice. I read the last 100 pages in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. The story turns into a delicious mystery, almost to the last page, and the very end is a perfect encapsulation of the psychology of Bond.
Absolutely loved this.