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Summary

The first of John Gardner’s novels featuring Ian Fleming’s secret agent, returning in 1981 after 12 years of absence.

Bond is back and he’s better than ever. Moneypenny thinks so. and it’s only a matter of time before Lavender Peacock, a beautiful ward of the Laird of Murcaldy, will heartily agree. Bond is drinking noticeably less these days; he’s perhaps more diligent about exercise and has a special low-tar tobacco blended for his cigarettes at Morlands of Grosvenor Street. But the 1980s have reached the department as well. Political restraints are squeezing in on the service. The elite Double-0 status, for example, conveying its authority to kill, is being abolished.

But M takes little notice of these restrictions when it comes to Bond. In certain moments, a blunt instrument is what the service needs. And one of these moments has indisputably arrived. There is something very ominous about the meeting between the international terrorist known as Franco and the renowned nuclear physicist, the Laird of Murcaldy. Someone must infiltrate the Laird’s castle, and only Bond could so deftly extract an invitation to Gold Cup Day at Ascot. Then with Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum in its secret compartment and an impressive selection of Q’s latest gadgetry ingeniously dispersed throughout his luggage, Bond points the Saab 900 Turbo toward the northwest Highlands and the fun begins.

John Gardner has brilliantly portrayed the most famous spy in the world as Bond pits his nerve and cunning against a dangerously deranged opponent – one prepared to sacrifice most of the Western world to prove that only he can make it safe from accidental nuclear holocaust.

John Gardner was a British journalist and best-selling author who published over 50 books.  He died in Hampshire in 2007.

'There are moments,' M said, 'when this country needs a trouble-shooter – a blunt instrument – and by heaven it’s going to have one…you’ll always be 007 to me'

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