DRUM - - Chill Out - – AN­DRÉ J BRINK

When the Ian Flem­ing es­tate gave An­thony Horowitz the green light to write a sec­ond au­tho­rised Bond spinoff (fol­low­ing 2015’s Trig­ger Mor­tis) it gave him li­cense to push the en­ve­lope fur­ther. This lat­est of­fer­ing serves as a pre­quel to Casino Royale, the first Bond novel, and al­lows read­ers to fol­low the fa­mous spy on his first mis­sion.

M sends Bond, who’s still learn­ing his spy craft, to the south of France to find out what hap­pened to his 007 pre­de­ces­sor whose body was found in the waters of the French Riviera. Of course along the way he en­coun­ters a femme fatale named Six­tine, and there’s a mem­o­rable vil­lain in the form of the grossly over­weight Cor­si­can drug-dealer Sci­pio.

I read my first James Bond novel while still in high school and right from the start I was hooked by this suave, so­phis­ti­cated guy. But Horowitz’s man isn’t the Bond I got to love – he’s clumsy and bum­bling.

The sto­ry­line never re­ally gripped me. Some­how I don’t think Flem­ing would’ve ap­proved of this ver­sion of 007.

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