James Bond saves the world from criminal genius, Take 13 (Take 27, if you count Ian Fleming's original series): an unapologetic nostalgia piece by Fleming's sturdy successor. When the mandarins of Her Majesty's spanking new agency MicroGlobe One need somebody to goad cruise-line king Sir Max Tarn, fingered by his own accountant as a high-end arms dealer, into cutting and running so they can pull him in without giving away the accountant, the obvious choice is James Bond, who's just celebrated his promotion to Director of the Double Zero troubleshooting branch by foiling a hijacking on Sir Max's own ship. In go Bond and his inamorata Fredericka von GrÃœsse (Never Send Flowers, 1993), and out pop Sir Max and his wife -- apparently right into a fatal auto accident. It's up to Bond, who actually saw Tarn pulling away from Hall's Manor hours after the supposed crash, to get the goods on the late Sir Max -- a labor of hate that takes him from London to Seville to Jerusalem (for an unusually gratuitous episode with Tarn's wife) to Tarn's family estate of Wasserburg in Germany (where you'll never guess what Bond learns about Tarn's political affiliations) to San Juan, where Tarn's nefarious master plan finally becomes clear hours before a cheerfully noisy holocaust. As he dodges threats of "fast, sudden death" from "the most evil man I have ever known" (the testimonial of a Tarn confederate), Bond finds that his romantic relationship "had begun to give him something that had never been present with any previous woman" -- not a good sign for anybody who remembers the fate of Tracy di Vicenzo. A feast of the predictable -- from counterterrorist high-tech to the return of Felix Leiter -- that's probably the best Bond since Win, Lose, or Die (1989). If you can swallow Pierce Brosnan as 007, you won't have any trouble getting this down.