Trigger Mortis: the verdict on Anthony Horowitz's new James Bond novel
Anthony Horowitz's new official Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, is out.
Set in 1957 against the backdrop of the Soviet-American space race, 007's latest literary outing sees him reunited with Goldfinger's Pussy Galore.
The story also features a motor racing scene based on an original Ian Fleming idea for an unmade TV series.
So did Trigger Mortis click with the critics? Here is a round-up of reviews.
In Trigger Mortis the reader finds the set pieces expertly handled and genuinely exciting, particularly one stand-out scene where Bond is buried alive. Even Pussy Galore, who despite Bond's efforts is not consigned so easily, has a fresh twist. It all makes for an energetic and satisfying read. Fleming fans will eat it up.
For the most part, Horowitz makes a good fist of capturing Fleming's tone of casual cynicism. However, there are one or two unhappy attempts to try and smooth Bond's rough edges, including one moment when 007 comes over all soppy at the thought of the henchmen he has killed over the years: "He had never asked where they had come from, why they had agreed to do the devil's own work. Were they just trying to scratch a living? Did they have sick mothers and six-month-old babies?" Even readers who aren't reminded of a similar-sounding riff from Austin Powers will give this passage the raspberry.
Anthony Horowitz has written a humdinger of a Bond story, so cunningly crafted and thrillingly paced that 007's creator would have been happy to have owned it.
New York Times
Horowitz also stays true to the Bond of Fleming's books rather than the Bond of the movies. His hero is human, self-doubting, weak, in a way that is hard for a movie star to be in the context of a decades-long franchise and Monty Norman's immortal James Bond theme. And while Horowitz's loving pastiche lacks Fleming's flashes of brilliance, it should be more than good enough for the fans.
London Evening Standard
Interestingly, Fleming himself wanted to put Bond in a racing car, and some four or five hundred words of his from a rough scenario are used in one scene. You can't see the joins. Nor will you be looking for them, for by that stage you will have been caught up in the bonkers but hugely enjoyable story, which has everything in it we want from Bond, and more.
As long as Trigger Mortis follows the contours established by Fleming, it's a brisk and effective ride. The problems arise when Horowitz deviates from the model.
New Zealand Herald
Trigger Mortis feels grounded and Horowitz's crisp prose is relentless in its pace. Best of all, you can tell he enjoyed writing the book. It's a thrill, an entertainment, pure amusement. Ian Fleming couldn't have done better himself.
MI6 James Bond website
Horowitz is perhaps the only continuation author to have captured not only the vivid description of place and time, of which Fleming was a master, but also the absurdity of characterisation and events, which made the Bond books so enjoyable.