The seventh book in John Gardner’s James Bond series. Published in 1988.
Special Branch are not usually interest in dead bodies found floating in the Thames, except when the corpse is a young girl with an impeccable background when they become very interested indeed. So interested that they call on the legendary M, head of Secret Service.
In turn, M sends for Commander James Bond, for the body has yielded two things of interest. First, the only telephone number in her diary is that of Bond; second, she is carrying a credit card which has never been heard of before on either side of the Atlantic.
Soon, Bond finds himself caught up in an unusual mixture of intrigue and mayhem involving a strange, but deadly, quasi-religious sect known as the Society of the Meek Ones; their leader the soft-spoken Father Valentine, who has links with the shadowy Vladimir Scorpius, nicknamed ‘The King of Terror’ because he is the largest arms dealer to various terrorist factions worldwide.
Naturally, with the evil comes the good – the society girl, the Hon. Trilby Shrivenham, and an American IRS undercover agent, the gorgeous Harriett Horner. Good girls? Only time will tell.
Intrigue builds on intrigue and, as ever, Bond soon finds himself in the middle of a deadly game of terrorism and arms supplies. A game in which he is pitted against one of the most ruthless and sinister villains that Bond has ever encountered.
John Gardner was a British journalist and best-selling author who published over 50 books. He died in Hampshire in 2007.
'And you believe this? That a man would hire out people, willing to die at his say-so, acting as human bombs?'
First published 1988
Leading Lady Harriett Horner
Villain Vladimir Scorpius