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The Facts of Death

(1998)
(Book 31 in the James Bond series)
A novel by

 
The Barnes & Noble Review
July 1998

When Ian Fleming created his larger-than-life character, James Bond, did he have any idea that Bond would outlive him? Fleming - who had a penchant for giving sexy women sexually explicit names (even in his children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, replete with Bondian gadgets, the woman was named Truly Scrumptious, the G-rated version of the Bond girls' names) - was a master of the short stroke. Fleming's Bond novels were fast reads, heterosexual males' fantasies rolled up into one very suave character, and nearly a spoof of the British way of doing things. After Fleming's death, John Gardner took over the series, and although his books were certainly entertaining, I felt they lacked something. Happily, since Raymond Benson has taken over the James Bond franchise in books, new and exciting life has come into them.

James Bond is back. And he's on one of his most explosive missions ever. Sounds like good hype, huh? But let me tell you, in The Facts of Death, Benson does something very smart. He ties Bond's adventures into real-world issues and genuine threats. The book opens with a man who is recuperating after gall bladder surgery in a veteran's hospital in Los Angeles. Very quickly, he dies under mysterious circumstances. Then, soon after, anyone who has come into contact with him dies, victims of some kind of virus. We flash over to the island of Cyprus, where James Bond and others are in protective gear, studying an American barracks in which all the men have died, again of some mysterious ailment. Bond is in fine form,particularlywhen he meets sexy Niki Mirakos, who is with the Greek secret service, and invites her to shower with him. Niki wisely declines. As Bond gets under the spray himself to wash off the day's dirt, he detects a poison gas being released from the shower nozzle. Chasing down the bad guy who did this is one thing, but then James Bond leaps aboard the hijacked helicopter that the crew of bad guys has in their possession. The real Bond is back.

Surviving this is, of course, a piece of cake for James Bond, as any reader coming to this book will know. Half the fun is seeing what gadgets James will bring to the party, and in The Facts of Death, they are real treats. Also, car lovers will enjoy the specialized Jaguar that Bond gets as his big toy, which includes viscous fluid to fill up the spaces left by attacks on the car, thus "healing" the vehicle. As the plot thickens and the terrorist group behind these seemingly random attacks makes itself known, we get to see old Bond friends, like the original M, as well as the newer M. Sure, James Bond is a holdover from the martini-and-cigarette set of the 1960s, and sure, his attitude toward women, however well he treats them in other arenas, is mainly drawn from the bedroom fantasies of thousands of college freshmen; but still, James is an institution worthy of a tip of the hat. Besides that, this novel crackles with excitement as the story rolls to its tense climax.

For James Bond enthusiasts, this is the book to read. It's great, page-turning summer reading, and Benson does Fleming proud. The Facts of Death is heartily recommended for any reader who loves a dashing hero, sexy women, and mind-blowing action sequences. I'll have my next martini shaken, not stirred.

-Douglas Clegg

Genre: Thriller
 
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Used availability for Raymond Benson's The Facts of Death


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

April 1999 : USA Turtleback
Title: The Facts of Death: James Bond
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 0-606-16544-4 / 978-0-606-16544-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

June 1998 : USA Hardback
Title: The Facts of Death
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 0-399-14405-6 / 978-0-399-14405-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 1998 : UK Hardback
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond 007)
Author(s): Raymond Benson, Ian Fleming
ISBN: 0-340-69641-9 / 978-0-340-69641-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

August 1999 : USA Mass Market Paperback
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond Spy Series)
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 0-515-12550-4 / 978-0-515-12550-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Jove
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

November 1998 : UK Paperback
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond 007)
Author(s): Raymond Benson, Ian Fleming
ISBN: 0-340-69642-7 / 978-0-340-69642-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Coronet
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Audio Editions

December 2015 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond Series)
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-4915-7780-0 / 978-1-4915-7780-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

October 2015 : USA Audio edition
Title: The Facts of Death: James Bond Series
Author(s): Raymond Benson
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   

October 2015 : UK Audio edition
Title: The Facts of Death: James Bond Series
Author(s): Raymond Benson
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   

October 2015 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond Series)
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-5012-4836-7 / 978-1-5012-4836-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2015 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond Series)
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-5012-4837-5 / 978-1-5012-4837-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2015 : USA MP3 CD
Title: The Facts of Death (James Bond Series)
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-5012-4838-3 / 978-1-5012-4838-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

December 2014 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Facts of Death
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-4915-7781-9 / 978-1-4915-7781-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   

December 2014 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Facts of Death
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-4915-7782-7 / 978-1-4915-7782-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   

December 2014 : USA MP3 CD
Title: The Facts of Death
Author(s): Raymond Benson
ISBN: 1-4915-7783-5 / 978-1-4915-7783-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   

Kindle Editions

October 2012 : Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: The Facts Of Death (James Bond Spy Series)
Author(s): Raymond Benson
Publisher: Ian Fleming Publications
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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