Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The JOHN GARDNER UK first edition hardcovers

Having posted the John Gardner U.S. hardcovers last month, I figured I'd continue with the John Gardner UK hardcover first editions from Jonathan Cape and Hodder & Stoughton. Certainly not as uniform as the U.S. set, but some nice covers.

Licence To Kill, GoldenEye, SeaFire, and COLD are the standout rarities in this batch. Licence To Kill was actually printed in the U.S. by Mysterious Press and distributed in the UK by Severn House in very limited quantities in April 1990, a year after the paperback release. The First Edition print run of GoldenEye is said to have been in the 2000 copy range. It went into subsequent printings very quickly. SeaFire was remaindered in the UK so almost all copies were price clipped and it's tricky to find a copy with the price intact.

Because SeaFire was not a big seller, COLD was printed on a demand basis. The bulk of the orders came from public libraries and these editions were bound in with plain boards of a different color. Only about 900 copies were printed and about 500 of these were library editions. Unless you pre-ordered this book, you were unlikely to get one. It's the rarest of all the Gardner hardcovers.

Licence Renewed – Jonathan Cape, May 21, 1981.
For Special Services – Jonathan Cape, September 9, 1982.
Icebreaker - Jonathan Cape, July 7, 1983.
Role of Honour - Jonathan Cape, October 4, 1984.
Nobody Lives For Ever - Jonathan Cape, May 22, 1986.
No Deals, Mr. Bond - Jonathan Cape, May 21, 1987.
Scorpius - Hodder & Stoughton, June 2, 1988.
Win Lose or Die - Hodder & Stoughton, July 1989.
Licence To Kill – The Mysterious Press, April 1990.
Brokenclaw - Hodder & Stoughton, August 2, 1990.
The Man From Barbarossa – Hodder & Stoughton, August 18, 1991.
Death Is Forever - Hodder & Stoughton, July 2, 1992.
Never Send Flowers - Hodder & Stoughton, July 15, 1993.
SeaFire - Hodder & Stoughton, August 1994.
GoldenEye - Hodder & Stoughton, November 1995.
COLD - Hodder & Stoughton, May 2, 1996.


  1. I hadn't seen a couple of these before and No Deals, Mr Bond is a great cover. Shame about Scorpius!

    1. Good. I was a little worried everyone was familiar with all these covers. Glad I could show you something new. :)

  2. I've always loved the Gardner UK covers, except for No Deals which is pretty dull and Scorpius which is pretty horrible. The rest of the lot is fantastic, especially the first five, Brokenclaw, Barbarossa, Death is F. and my all time favourite: COLD.

    1. Scorpius was a real shocker when it come out in '88. Not only was it a new look, but a different size and publisher name as well.

  3. Those editions are far too pretty for my taste, John. Where's the spine fading and chipping??? They look brand new compared to my knackered set!

    And yes, Scorpius was a shock to me too. Fell across it by accident shortly after publication; wasn't JG meant to be taking a year long sabatical at the time? Ah, the glorious days before the Net told you everything you needed to know!

    1. Purdy, aren't they? And all signed except GE and COLD. :)

      I don't recall there being a plan for a break before Scorpius, but you could be right. I remember there was supposed to be a break after Icebreaker, but the break came a book later.

  4. Jg take a sabbatical....? Actually I think that had been the idea but we all knew it would never happen!

  5. I remember seeing an imported COLD First at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York for cover price. Of course, with the exchange rate, cover price was pretty expensive... too expensive for a poor high school student, I'm afraid. So, unaware of its scarcity, I passed it by, and never did get my hands on that one. Sigh. The one that got away...

    1. I believe I bought mine at the Mysterious Bookshop in L.A. I remember once hearing that you had a better chance of finding this book in the U.S. than the UK.

    2. Your post inspired me to rectify that misjudgment all those years ago. I found a copy in very good shape at a very reasonable price online, and now have it in hand!

    3. Sensational! Congrats, Tanner.

  6. I ordered COLD as a poor student: it was quite a sacrifice for someone on a grant, but it was the first time I ever got a Bond book on the day of publication. I've been delighted to find out in subsequent years that it was a worthy investment!

  7. Pfeeew : my honor is saved , got all of those editions ...

  8. Scorpius was the first JG Bond novel I bought new in hardback. Do you know the artists/designers for the books between Scorpius and Never Send Flowers?


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