Ariadne and I are fighting an international conspiracy which is threatening England and Russia and probably Greece too. I'm sorry to sound melodramatic but--"" and we're sorry that he sounds like this too. For James Bond, who seemed immortal when he was alive, hardly seems alive at all in the hands of Kingsley Amis, alias Robert Markham, and Fleming's old friend and expositor. The new James Bond, as purposeful as an Eagle Scout, didactic and declarative (""There's no question of my co-operating with you for any of your purposes. . . . Whatever they may be. I promise you I'll resist them as long as I'm physically able"") and one Ariadne cruise through the Greek islands at great length before confronting Colonel Sun of the People's Liberation Army of China who has previously snatched M. The last sequence picks up a little steam but until then 007's been watered down to a good .00007. The sincerest form of flattery is just not a very good imitation.