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Solo: A James Bond Novel (James Bond - Extended Series Book 38) [Kindle Edition]

William Boyd
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
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Book Description

It's 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.

Bond's arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.

Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is well-plotted, exciting stuff and Boyd has a great sense of time and place. His boozy, maturer, more fallible Bond is totally believable. Mission accomplished, Mr Boyd." -- Natasha Harding Sun "Boyd was a smart choice for a Bond thriller. The action clips along. There are welcome literary flourishes and a dense plot." -- Richard Fitzpatrick Irish Examiner "Written with aplomb, Boyd's Bond novel is a terrific twisting thriller." Sunday Times "Anyone wishing this autumn to enjoy the Cold War with the assurance of a happy ending should seek out William Boyd's new James Bond novel, Solo, in which 007 is dispatched to West Africa and the fictitious country of Zanzarim, where he finds himself in the midst of a civil war." -- Stephen McGinty Scotsman "A fantastic read, which I ripped through in the time it would take to watch Skyfall, as it happens, and I found it significantly more enjoyable." The Times

About the Author

William Boyd was born in Accra, Ghana, in 1952. He is the author of one work of nonfiction, three collections of short stories and fourteen novels. He has won many awards including the Whitbread First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and the Costa Book Award. He is married and lives in London.

Product Details

  • File Size: 796 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BATKNZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,950 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boyd. William Boyd. October 9, 2013
Format:Hardcover
I am a fan of William Boyd's writing and was delighted to hear he had been selected as the writer for this important Bond novel. Which makes the actual result extra disappointing.

This is a book of three bits, Bond in London post a birthday celebration. Bond on a mission in Africa and Bond going solo in the US. It's a short book at just over 300 pages.

We have to remember this is about the Bond that Fleming gave us, not the film and not as depicted in the Gardiner or Benson books. Important to remember that Fleming's books were set a long time ago and did not have the pace of more modern thrillers. Having said that, Boyd commits two serious errors, he fails to get inside Bond's personality and, worse of all, he makes the book boring.

William Boyd is a brilliant writer and manages to make his characters incredibly vivid and real and he certainly knows how to move a plot. But here he fails to open up Bond as a person and almost makes him a hard drinking civil servant - no sense that he is a killer. And likewise he fails to make this a page turner or populate it with interesting characters. It's not an awful copy of Fleming's work but he fails to get to the essence of the fact that Fleming's books were actually exciting! The book has many flaws and inconsistencies and is a weak addition to the Bond heritage. I had so high hopes for this and am astonished at being so under-whelmed by this effort from such a talented author.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but...... September 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This addition to the Bond series sees it taken back to 1969. Bond is sent to a west African country to assassinate a rebel leader. After some mis-adventures there the action moves to Washington DC where plot is unravelled.

This is not a bad story, better than Sebastian Faulks effort but I did enjoy Jefferey Deavers book which I would put on a par with this.

The positive for me is that Boyd has made the effort to write in the style of Ian Fleming, we have a Bond who is not a superman just good at his job. The plot itself is reasonable, a bit anti-American in my opinion or very cynical at least if taken against the back drop of recent world events.

The two main negatives for me are his first love interest. I won't mention why because others are to read the book but once its read I think it will be apparent. The second is Bond's use of one of the modern rap singers favourite words. This particular word is one of my favourites as well but I really don't see the need for Bond to be using it now after 50 plus years of not needing to.

All in all a good adventure, not great but some good escapisim and thats why I have read these books for forty years.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and Mundane October 15, 2013
Format:Hardcover
If you're going to (allegedly) make a claim that your own writing is better than Ian Fleming's; then have the courage to retract your statement when your work fails to live up to the potential.

Solo is a James Bond adventure that will polarize fans. Some will hate to love it, or love to hate it. William Boyd was given the chance to take a beloved character and put him in a great concept and in a great adventure. Instead, Boyd creates a tedious Bond set out on a tedious mission he nor his government has no business getting involved in the first place. The actual reason for Bond going to Africa, which is explained toward the end of the book...if anyone gets that far...is kind of astonishing in an appalling way.

To be honest it left me thinking why bother? Other deals could have been made by better representatives. The idea of stopping a war seemed good on paper, but put into practice loses plausibility when it's enacted out on the pages.

Another aspect I absolutely loathed was Boyd's flagrant misuse of Bond's treatment of alcohol. Boyd has the gall to turn Bond into a full on alcoholic and I am not ok with this. Albeit there have been times where Bond has used alcohol as a crutch to keep his demons at bay, Fleming, Gardner, Benson, Faulks and even Deaver would always have Bond recover and come back to his senses. Whereas Boyd just sends his Bond right over the edge; simply because he can.

Shame on you and your arrogance William Boyd. You knew better.

It would be a great shame to let William Boyd continue on writing Bond novels. He has no grasp of the character, no idea of the world James Bond lives in. He has no business with this franchise at all. Hopefully and thankfully Solo was a one shot deal and we can all expect a much better author to take the reigns for a much much better outing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meandering and Boring January 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I had no intention of reading this book, but I received it for Christmas. Once again an author proves there was only one Ian Fleming. This meandering and tedious novel involves a character named James Bond, off on an adventure in 1969 Africa that no one - M, Bond, or the author - seems to have thought through. Once again there is a lot of "stage Bond" (as M called it in "The Man With the Golden Gun") consisting of detailed meals and occasional references to incidents in Flemings' novels, but it all lacks what Kingsley Amis called "the Fleming Effect". Author William Boyd mechanically puts this cardboard character through his (really boring) paces.

The plot - and I'm being generous here - is a mess. Boyd spends the early part of the novel concocting a coincidence so huge you know it cannot be a coincidence, only to reveal that it is indeed a coincidence. And then, later in the book, he does it again! Another unbelievable coincidence so huge it boggles the mind. I suppose it is possible that Mr. Boyd was making some sort of sly joke about Goldfinger's "happenstance, coincidence, enemy action" rule, but if that is the case, it falls flat and amounts only to a colossal waste of the reader's time. When Bond does get a mission, his instructions are so vague that you feel that the author just wanted to get him to Africa, which is Mr. Boyd's usual novelistic theater of operations, and figured a plot would present itself. It never really does. Bond gets a chance to be Henry Stanley, then the Duke of Wellington, then Phillip Marlowe, but never, ever the James Bond of Fleming's novel. And Mr. Boyd seems to have been carrying a torch for Ingrid Pitt these past 40 years.

This book's surprises never are: everything is telegraphed far in advance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic read - entertained all the way
Published 2 days ago by Robert Benjamin Andersen
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Boyd's version of Bond brings the character into the 21st century. Readers should anticipate 'traditional' Bond with contemporary touches. Entertaining!
Published 1 month ago by Glenn Heidenreich
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not the first post-Fleming Bond novel to read.
Even though this book makes the effort to pick up where Fleming's timeline left off, this really isn't the post-Fleming Bond novel to start with. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Charles B.
4.0 out of 5 stars a good James Bond novel
Intriguing and exciting. Ending leaves a little to be desired.
Published 2 months ago by J. Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars A different side of Bond
Great details of a small country in Africa.New twist to intrigue and jetting around.Great read hard to put down.s
Super author
Published 2 months ago by Arthur Beit
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Direction That Feels Like Home
A great new story that stays true to the Bond character. Bond is called away to a mission in a war-torn nation and the book gets unapolegetically political and philosophical. Read more
Published 2 months ago by UltimateCypher
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
I have always enjoyed reading the 007 books. I haven't read this one yet, but soon.
Published 2 months ago by Leonard H. Thomas
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst. Bond. Ever.
Just awful. Words can't do it justice
Published 2 months ago by HENRY NEUFELD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 2 months ago by Migdalia Boldin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
need more Bond novels --really like this one !!
Published 3 months ago by Tom D Heyen
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More About the Author

William Boyd is the author of ten novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; and Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year.

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