The new issue of HMSS has arrived!

The publishers and editors of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant are pleased to announce the publication of our latest issue. This one — our best yet, we think — is packed with interesting reading about all matters Bondian.

We have some old friends returning and some new ones joining us for the first time. Our good pal Deborah Lipp checks in with two fascinating articles; one about Live and Let Die‘s monkeying around with tarot cards, the other about recurring themes of voyeurism and concealment in You Only Live Twice. Ron Feyereisen returns with a contrarian view of the ongoing Daniel Craig “reboot” tenure; suffice it to say that he’s not a satisfied customer. Speaking of reboots, regular contributor Derek Austin Johnson casts his gimlet eye on the latest 007 literary adventure, Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche (the James Bond watches man, Dell Deaton, offers a rebuttal). On the subject of the latest Bond novel, we’re rerunning Mark Henderson’s excellent interview (first published last April here on the blog,) with the author. We’re excited to welcome Stuart Basinger (that’s “Dr. Shatterhand” to you civilians) to the fold with his imaginary interview with former CIA director (and friend of Ian Fleming) Allan Dulles. James Bond is discussed. Ian Fleming Foundation member Colin Clark regales us with the story of the discovery and acquisition of Franz Sanchez’ escape plane — the Cessna we saw Timothy Dalton’s 007 lasso in Licence to Kill. And our stalwart senior editor Bill Koenig unearths the amazing story of what 1979’s Moonraker could have been like, if only Eon’s budget had matched the screenplay’s requirements. Bill’s story also covers script-to-screen changes in Diamonds Are Forever and Tomorrow Never Dies.

So set aside a little time, mix yourself a cool martini, and point your web browser to, for some thought-provoking entertainment and a heaping helping of, as the French say, le jamesbonderie (even though they probably don’t). Enjoy!

UPDATE: The North American Critics on Carte Blanche

Simon & Schuster (US) edition
Simon & Schuster (US) edition

Carte Blanche, the new James Bond novel by American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, launched last month in the UK and Europe to reasonably strong sales and mixed-to-positive reviews. Now it’s North America’s turn, as US publisher Simon & Schuster released the book on our shores June 14.
Let’s see what us colonials have to say about our homer‘s crack at the 007 saga…

  • The Wall Street Journal‘s Michael C. Moynihan says, in You Only Live About 23 Times, that new 007 author Jeffery Deaver produces “a serviceable Bond film script but not a particularly good Bond novel.”
  • Toronto’s June 17 Globe and Mail review is titled The unbreakable Bond. Critic Douglas Bell says the novel contains what “is surely the grist of a potential bestseller.” Not necessarily a good thing, apparently… he adds, “More’s the pity.” The paper also carries a pretty interesting article about the author Jeffery Deaver, the novel, and James Bond in general. Jeffery Deaver 007: he’s shaken, he stirred, but he drinks Crown Royal is worth your perusal.
  • Matthew Dunn, a former MI6 field agent, writes in the June 17 Washington Post that Jeffery Deaver “brilliantly captures [Ian] Fleming’s bitten-off, occasionally distracted, Boy’s Own style.” There’s plenty more hosannas in the rest of his review, so go take a look.
  • Our Bondian colleague, Dell Deaton, writes in Ann that Carte Blanche “is a fantastic book.” He also informs us that Ian Fleming’s stepdaughter Fionn, a friend of his, opines that Jeffery Deaver “got the [Fleming] style.” Read his entire 5/5 score review for more insights into the new 007 literary adventure.
  • “Fleming purists will be delightfully surprised when they open [Carte Blanche]…. This Fleming enthusiast felt right at home from page one.” So says Cliff Bellamy in the August 14 Herald-Sun of Durham, North Carolina. Read his review,
    Fleming purists will be surprised by new Bond
    for more insights and praise for Deaver’s novel.

Watch this space for additional links to reviews as they appear, and for our own humble editor’s review of the whole shebang. For comparison’s sake, you can check out the UK critics’ reviews to see how Deaver’s Bond is going across the pond.

A bit of lagniappe: our good pals over at the always-excellent Illustrated 007 blog have an interesting look at Three variations of the UK Carte Blanche hardcover edition. Pretty interesting stuff, so go and have a look! And, just to thump our own tub a bit more, take a look at The HMSS Interview with Jeffery Deaver if you haven’t read it yet.

UPDATE: And the Carte Blanche reviews continue to roll in…

(UPDATED JUNE 5, 2011)

The much-anticipated new James Bond novel Carte Blanche, by American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, sees print today in the UK and Europe. A terrific publicity campaign, lasting for almost the previous year, has pushed the publication of this book to the level of a media event — something James Bond fans can be excited about, regardless of their personal reaction to the story.

The reviews are coming in. As with any James Bond vehicle, critical views are hugely leavened by subjectivity, depending on the critic’s personal experience(s) with 007’s fictional exploits in their own lives.

  • Jeremy Jehu, in the May 26 Telegraph gives the novel a very nice four-star review.
  • That same day, the Guardian‘s Stephen Poole was’nt, um… quite as happy with it.
  • Mark Sanderson of the London Evening Standard said, on May 26, Carte Blanche Is Another Fine Mr. Bond Yarn, in a positively glowing review.
  • In the May 27 Independent, Boyd Tonkin has a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and quite positive review.
  • Jennifer Selway, in the May 27 Scottish Daily Express, said it’s a “slightly mischievous take on Ian Fleming” in her 5/5 review.
  • May 29’s Sunday Guardian‘s Stephanie Merritt said “fans will approve of Jeffery Deaver’s James Bond” in her glowing review, a much different opinion from her colleague above.
  • The Independent‘s Alexandra Heminsley concurred with her colleague on May 29, saying “It’s hard to imagine anyone not being impressed by this novel” in her review from last Sunday.
  • Peter Millar, writing in Sunday’s the Times, states “Carte Blanche is a worthy homage to the myth, but it is hard to see how much longer publishers can go on making silk purses from a franchise that is a bit of a sow’s ear” in his three-star review of May 29.
  • In the June 3 Financial Times, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney tells us the history of the post-Fleming James Bond, in a knowledgeable piece that fans would do well to take in. The article culminates in a rather unenthusiastic review of Carte Blanche: “[Deaver’s] Bond is truer to today’s culture of managerial efficiency, but he has also lost much in the translation. 007 fans might have to face an unpalatable truth: their man is a shadow of himself in the 21st century.” Read Relicensed to kill, and think for yourself.
  • The June 4 issue of Ireland’s Independent carries an anonymously-written review that sings Deaver’s praises but has reservations about Carte Blanche: “It’s pretty entertaining, but it’s not a great Bond novel — nor a great Deaver one.” You can read the whole review here.
  • The Sunday Express of June 5 carries its second review. This time, critic Angela McGee says: “…Carte Blanche is excellent fun, a great read and Jeffrey Deaver has breathed new life into an old favourite.” Read the rest of her enthusiastic review here.

Keep watching this space, as we’ll update it with further reviews as they come in. If you haven’t read it yet, check out The HMSS Interview with Carte Blanche author Jeffrey Deaver!

Author Jeffrey Deaver and James Bond's Bentley Continental GT