Monday, February 20, 2012

JOHN GARDNER U.S. (true) first edition hardcovers

Having posted the Ian Fleming U.S. hardcovers the other day, I figured I'd roll right into the U.S. hardcover first editions of the James Bond continuation novels by John Gardner.

The Licence To Kill I've included above is a U.S. hardcover bookclub edition, which I think sits nicely among these. While the Mysterious Press released three hardcover special editions in the U.S., this book club edition proceeded those. There was no U.S. hardcover for GoldenEye. Death Is Forever originally came with a sticker affixed to the cover which you can see here.

Now, before someone dumps on these U.S. designs in comparison to the admittedly more attractive UK covers (which I'll post at a later date), know that I don't hate these. In fact, I really like them! A lot of this has to do with nostalgia, as I can recall the moment when and where I found every new edition. But I also like that they remained uniform throughout Gardner's 16 year reign. They line-up nicely on the shelf. And the popping primary colors did not look out of place among other mystery/espionage books on bookstore shelves at the time (think about the Dick Francis hardcovers).

It should also be noted that apart from the last two books, all the U.S. editions proceeded the UK versions, so these are the "true firsts." In some cases the U.S. texts are also more complete than what was published in the UK, the most dramatic example being that only the U.S. edition of COLD (retitled Cold Fall) features the Book One/Book Two structure.

So, sure, they're a little fugly, but... Respect!

License Renewed – Richard Marek, April 27, 1981.
For Special Services – McCann and Geoghegan, May 3, 1982.
Icebreaker - Putnam, March 27, 1983.
Role of Honor - Putnam, September 1984.
Nobody Lives Forever - Putnam, May 1986.
No Deals, Mr. Bond - Putnam, April, 1987.
Scorpius - Putnam, May 9, 1988.
Win Lose or Die - Putnam, July 1989.
Licence To Kill – Charter Book Club, 1989.
Brokenclaw - Putnam, July 17, 1990.
The Man From Barbarossa – Putnam, May 1991.
Death Is Forever - Putnam, June 1992.
Never Send Flowers - Putnam, May 31, 1993.
SeaFire - Putnam, August 31, 1994.
Cold Fall - Putnam, June 1996.


  1. Currently picking these up one at a time. Just got NEVER SEND FLOWERS yesterday. About half way through.

    I like 'em.

  2. Same here. I grew up reading these via libraries and love the primary colors and how the formats matched the 80's era paperbacks. Just missing Role of Honor, Nobody Lives Forever and No Deals Mr. Bond. And now Licence to Kill! I had no idea there was a hardcover!

  3. I have these. Love the silhouette from the 1st three books, and the typeface/font.

    1. Yes, I also really like the design of the first three books. I was disappointed when they changed it up with ROH.

  4. Very interesting piece. Do you know which books had the more complete text in the US editions? I always assumed the UK edition would have the most complete text, they generally seem to do with Gardner's non-Bond novels.

  5. You make very good points about why people should like these covers, John. (Not that I needed convincing, for nostalgia alone I'm already in the same camp!) I'll say this, too: as beautiful as some of the UK editions are, judging purely by their spines, the uniform, multi-color US editions make a much more striking impression on my bookshelf!

  6. Cool collection and cool page! Totally following!

  7. John, like you I can tell you exactly where and the approximate date I picked up all of these. I love the uniformity of the design, and they still look great sitting on my bookshelf!

  8. If you liked the James Bond books, you should check out J. Thomas Shaw's latest book, "The Rx Factor." Great political/medical thriller with a twist of romance... very intriguing.


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