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Bond takes some hits

July 7, 2008 |  5:30 am


Daniel Craig as James Bond with Gemma Arterton in the upcoming film "Quantum of Solace" (photo by Susie Allnutt / Columbia Pictures)

James Bond returned to print this spring in "Devil May Care," penned by the British author Sebastian Faulks. But other than in this newspaper, reviews have been slow to surface, perhaps because people were trying to find something nice to say.

The consensus is that "Devil May Care" is disappointing. On Sunday, the Philadelphia Inquirer maintained that Faulks was "a poor choice" and that the author "misses the mark." Last week the New York Times described the villains as "a B-movie writer's dream" and cried out in distress when Faulks' Bond (uncharacteristically) turned down an advance from the book's hottie, Scarlett Papava.

Perhaps the "Scarlett" is a secret casting wish. It seems that movies were top of mind; every review agrees with Tim Rutten, who wrote in the LA Times' that this latest novel is more informed by the Bond films than Fleming's Bond books. At the end of Rutten's piece, he puts some excerpts of the latest book beside Ian Fleming's writing, and it's clear that Fleming's got a brutal clarity that's gone missing from "Devil May Care."

Most of the reviews say "Devil May Care" will probably be fine fare for those who've seen the Bond films but haven't read the initial novels. Shouldn't we just have another film then? We've still got Ian Fleming's excellent prose to read, again and again.

-- Carolyn Kellogg