Saturday, November 16, 2019

The second coming

For some reason I've been thinking a lot lately about For Special Services, John Gardner's 1982 followup to his debut Bond novel License Renewed. The second in a series can be tricky. The Bond movies have a way of fumbling the second outings of a new actor (The Man With The Golden Gun, Licence To Kill, Tomorrow Never Dies, Quantum of Solace). I even think Anthony Horowitz's Forever and a Day is a rare #2 book fumble.

But For Special Services got it right. It gave us the new Bond in a fresh setting (America) and built on all the strengths of the first book. Even going with a white cover was somehow perfect. And I still think it has one of the most Bondian titles of all the Gardner books.

So here's remembering For Special Services, the second coming of Gardner's Bond.

You can see a nice newspaper ad for For Special Services HERE.


  1. I like FOR SPECIAL SERVICES even more than LICENCE RENEWED. LR was good, solid, in its task of laying the groundwork, but FOR SPECIAL SERVICES was a little bolder, a little livelier, a little more colorful and bizzare.

    Re the second outing films, I think a couple of them are a case of the filmmakers being not certain what direction they want to take the character and the series. I watched TOMORROW NEVER DIES last night, and while it's not bad, it feels like the series was treading water, not sure where it wanted to go, what it wanted to be, now that the Cold War was over and they were (almost) out of Fleming books.


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