The prince of British secret agents, gadgetry, and exalted consumerism, 007, James Bond himself, returns after a 16-year absence. And Gardner (who savagely parodied Bond in the Boysie Oakes books) is quite equal to the glossy sex, snobbery, and death-proof derring-do that are Bond's spine. Now Bond is revamped into today's health-conscious hero: his alcohol intake is "drastically" cut back (Perrier aplenty), his cigarettes are a special low-tar blend, and he's got a gas-saving but incredibly souped-up Saab 900 Turbo to replace his beloved old Mark II Continental Bentley. Miss Moneypenny still worries about James, of course, and Chief of Staff "M" has just secretly restored 007's license to kill. His mission: to penetrate the Scottish castle of Anton Murik, Laird of Murcaldy, an industrialist and disgraced nuclear physicist easily capable of making his own reactor, a megalo-paranoid in the Fleming tradition. Is Murik (codename Warlock) about to threaten the West for billions of bucks? Bond goes incognito to the Ascot races, steals some superb pearls from Murik's beauteous ward Lavender Peacock, and returns them to Murik, who invites him to stay a few days at Murik Castle. James finds the castle full of great art and willing bedmates--and he's hired by Murik to kill terrorist leader Franco, who is in international nuclear cahoots with Murik. But things go awry as Bond fails to warn M, races about France, and watches Lavender model in a fashion show during which Franco accidentally shoots Murik's mistress Mary Jane with an untraceable poison pill. The terrorist takeover of nuclear reactors, worldwide, goes into action; an ultimatum is issued to world governments; and the first climax takes place in a colossal cargo plane over the Atlantic, followed by an anticlimax at the castle. When last seen Murik is charred by a rocket bullet shot by James, who then takes Lavender--now the vastly wealthy inheritor Lady Murik--on a consumer splurge through the South of France. More tongue-in-cheek than Fleming, but mindless fun as usual: savory fluff for the curious and the old fans too.