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Colonel Sun Mass Market Paperback – 1969
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Mass Market Paperback
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Amis uses the then-prominent rift between the two Communist superpowers as a peg on which to hang his story, something that several other genre writers of the period—Donald Hamilton (The Betrayers), Ross Thomas (The Cold War Swap), John Gardner (Madrigal)—used in novels of the period.
Perhaps my biggest objection to Colonel Sun is that Bond gets out of his biggest scrape in the book by sheer dumb luck after getting himself put in a position of total helplessness. One would think that a master secret agent would have a bit more acumen than to simply get himself caught and then trust to circumstances to get out of the jam. Of course, Fleming himself used this rather clunky deus ex machina approach in several of his Bond novels too (Casino Royale, for example), so at least it has a legitimate pedigree.
Frankly, given Amis’ reputation, I was hoping for a bit more from this book, which is basically a paint-by-numbers Bond adventure, but that still has its merits.