Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s the early ‘50s and British intelligence is worried about unusual activity in Marseille’s underworld so they send one of their elite agents to check it out, but 007 is murdered. His replacement? A young man named Bond. James Bond.
Anthony Horowitz already wrote one retro Bond novel based on some unused Ian Fleming material with Trigger Mortis. Here, he takes us even further back to give us the story of Bond’s first mission after earning his license to kill. Bond finds himself trying to unravel a dastardly scheme as he encounters colorful characters like a morbidly obese Corsican mob leader, a wealthy American businessman, and beautiful ex-British agent who has become a major player by running her own freelance espionage business. Along the way Bond does a little gambling while wearing a tuxedo, drinks some martinis, has a bunch of sex, and kills some people. So Bond got a pretty good idea of what his job would be like early on.
Bond fans will find a lot to like here, especially those whose favorite film version is Sean Connery because that’s the vibe Horowitz is going for. As in Trigger Mortis he cleverly skirts the problem of Bond coming across as a dated jerk by leaning into it and actually having Bond be a dated jerk in many ways. The thing that makes it tolerable is that he’s usually called out for it so it still lets Bond be the classic bastard he usually is without feeling like his behavior is being excused.
So you’ve got all the classic elements in an action filled story that provides an old school origin story. It’s a good dose of Bond to fill the time until the next movie finally gets made.
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