I should start by saying that I listened to the abridged version, which didn’t do this any favours (it doesn’t any book). It did mean this was mercifully short though.
I was assuming this would be a thriller in the vein of the original Bond novels, where we delve into the world of super-villains and follow our hero across continents, visiting exotic locales and decadent venues.
Not so here. We do move around a lot, in fact it’s more like a pinball machine as we bounce from place to place. This is certainly not helped by the abridging. Characters are, likewise, introduced and thrown away at breakneck speed.
The story itself is weak, disorganised (we jump forward several years at one point) and populated with cardboard cut-outs. The women exist in large part of throw themselves at Bond. I’ve no idea why though, as he appears to be a bumbling incompetent.
He doesn’t fight, he doesn’t investigate. In fact, the whole story seems to progress through Bond’s historical connections to various people (largely old flames).
It’s read by Christopher Cazenove in a ridiculously clipped accent and many of the voices are so similar I had difficulty distinguishing one character from the next in several interchanges. There was also a persistent background hum.
I’m not sure when this was originally released (early 90s at a guess, before mobile phones were commonplace certainly) but it feels so dated. If any evidence were needed that the Bond franchise required freshening up, this is it.