‘Remarkably successful recreation of everybody’s favourite action man.’ – Sunday Telegraph
Date Published: 1981
Original Summary of the Plot
Bond is back and he’s better than ever. Miss Moneypenny thinks so. So does attractive Anna Reilly. And it’s only a matter of time before Lavender Peacock, the beautiful ward of the Laird of Murcaldy, will heartily agree. Bond is drinking noticeably less spirits these days; he’s perhaps more diligent about exercise and has a special low tar tobacco blended for his cigarettes at Morelands of Grovesnor Street. Political restraints are squeezing in on the Service. In M’s words, ‘There are moments when this country needs a trouble-shooter – a blunt instrument – and by heaven it’s going to have one.’
One of these moments has indisputably arrived. There is something very ominous about the meetings (insufficiently investigated by M.I.5) between the international terrorist known as Franco and the renowned nuclear physicist who has dubiously inherited the title on Laird of Murcaldy – Dr Anton (not a well-known Scottish name) Murik. Someone must infiltrate the Laird’s castle and only Bond could so deftly extract an invitation from Murik on Gold Cup Day at Ascot. Then with a 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 (with a lower pollution level than a Bentley) towards the north-west Highlands and the fun begins.
The most famous spy in the world 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 holocaust. As the seconds tick away on the valued Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the world comes nearer this ironic annihilation; Bond comes nearer a frightful death and ever nearer Miss Lavender Peacock.
from the Hodder and Stoughton hardback jacket copy
‘No fan will fail to be caught up in the world-scale adventure of Licence Renewed. The dear old formula of the Mad Scientist is also renewed, with great success; and the Girl – with a splendidly improbable name of course – is a worthy addition to the famous gallery of Bond’s beauties.’ Financial Times
‘Constructed, scrutinised and checked with immense care; the story moves effectively; it’s enjoyable. Ian Fleming would not be displeased.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Gardner’s James Bond captures that high old tone and discreetly updates it.’ The Times
‘This is still a gilt-edged Bond.’ Daily Mail