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Boyd, William - 'Solo'
Paperback: 352 pages (May 2014) Publisher: Vintage ISBN: 0099578972

James Bond is back! He is celebrating his birthday in a hotel and meets up with a beautiful blonde, Bryce Fitzjohn, who he later finds out is a leading British horror film actress. The year is 1969 and Bond is in his mid-forties. M is still head of the secret service, as avuncular and as irascible as ever and ably assisted by Miss Moneypenny. M has a job for 007. There is a civil war going on in a West African country called Zanzarim. Oil has been found in the south of the country and the people there, the Dahumians, want independence. The British Government are keen for the status-quo to be resumed. Bond is somehow to incapacitate the military leader of the rebels, Brigadier Solomon Adeka. Bond is to liaise with their Head of Station in Zanzarim - Ogilvy-Grant - who will arrange for Bond to be transported to the Dahumians part of Zanzarim. Before flying out he visits the Bayswater offices of a charity called Afrakin, which is run by Gabriel Adeka, the brother of Soloman. He is told by Gabriel that he and Soloman are not close.

This is a difficult assignment for Bond and he is to come up against a very dangerous and resourceful adversary.

SOLO is an exciting adventure, written by a master storyteller. There is plenty of action and beautiful women of course. I'm not sure of the relevance of James Bond in the twenty-first century, but he's very much a hero in the '60s. The author weaves a complex story, which holds your interest throughout and though the ending didn't work for me, that is a minor complaint. You have to read SOLO - James Bond is back!

Geoff Jones, England
May 2014

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 11/05/2014 15:49