THE FACTS OF DEATH by Raymond Benson

THE FACTS OF DEATH

KIRKUS REVIEW

The fate of the world, and James Bond, are in capable hands in this second 007 adventure from Benson (Zero Minus Ten, 1997). Writing as both a disciple and defender of Western civilization’s most enduring action hero, Benson, a director of the Ian Fleming Foundation and author of the fan bible, the James Bond Bedside Companion, attempts to meld Fleming’s brooding, coolly cruel British knight with the dapper, quip-slinging techno-warrior of the Bond movies, with a few respectful bows to the superhuman stuntman Bond became when British thriller-factory John Gardner had an exclusive franchise on the series. All the canonical elements are in place--the Flemingesque fetish for brand names (we—re informed that Bond’s crippled American sidekick, former CIA agent Felix Leiter, now zooms about in a high-speed Action Arrow motorized wheelchair), a demented, megalomaniacal father figure villain (Konstantine Romanos, an independently wealthy mathematics professor who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Pythagoras), the ultimate car (a self-driving Jaguar XK8 with more gadgets than the Batmobile but, alas, no ejection seat), the corny sex jokes (Bond seduces the statuesque female director of a sperm bank who extracts her sample from 007 as passionately as possible), a superbly furnished techno-fortress with a hidden superweapon, and, most infamously, a harem of beautiful, accomplished women, some of whom are bisexual, all of whom can—t resist Bond’s darkly handsome charms. The plot, meanwhile, is standard Bond, with Romanos using designer weaponry to kill numerous innocent people, with a purloined Pershing missile being readied for launch. Between the requisite scenes of sex, violence, and destruction, Benson’s Bond occasionally succumbs to existential gloom, but never fails to do the right thing for Queen and country. A postmodern treat for fans and newcomers that lovingly, if not ironically, duplicates a formula so familiar that originality would be sacrilege. (First serial rights to Playboy)

Pub Date: June 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-14405-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998




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