James Bond is back! He is the same James Bond we have come to know since Casino Royale in 1953, but with some slight differences. He does not shoot as fast as we have come to expect from the movies. (Let's admit it; most of us know Bond from the last 50 years of movies and not from Ian Fleming's superb novels.) This Bond's attitude toward women is softer and more complicated. He is younger, still learning his trade in many ways. Regardless of where Bond is he has access to someone who can help him in a most timely manner.
Yet, he is still James Bond, 007. He has carte blanche to complete the mission assigned to him. "We protect the Realm... by any means necessary" is the guiding principle for the Overseas Development Group. Bond works within the ODG, a covert arm of British security. While capturing the essence of Bond, Jeffery Deaver (The Burning Wire, The Broken Window) has brought his signature stamp to this new and riveting novel. The twists and turns that we have come to appreciate from Deaver are here in full force even as we continue to hear the voice of Fleming in the characters Deaver has created.
Carte Blanche takes place over six days, moving from the countryside of Serbia, to London to Dubai to Cape Town. The fast-paced opening section in Serbia sets the tone and narrative conflicts that eventually play out in Cape Town. Bond has learned that an operation called "Gehenna" will take place on Friday. But, where in the world will it happen? Who is friend and who is foe? The pace and the unraveling of the obfuscation increase in intensity as Friday nears and Bond runs into roadblock after roadblock.
Carte Blanche is an excellent addition to Ian Fleming's James Bond. The plot and characterizations are consistent and believable. Those who only know Bond from the movies may be surprised that a book can so effectively capture the derring-do portrayed on the big screen. Those who know Bond from the Fleming canon will find a novel that he might have written. Fans of Jeffery Deaver will enjoy a novel that includes the best of his signature twists and turns along the road to resolution. You will not see the ultimate resolution of a number of plot lines until the last moments.