Picks and Pans Review: License Renewed

updated 06/22/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/22/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by John Gardner

Seventeen years after author Ian Fleming died and 14 years after the publication of his last James Bond book, his hero has been resurrected. Glidrose Publications, owners of the Bond copyright, hired Gardner, the English author of such accomplished thrillers as The Nostradamus Traitor and The Liquidator, to bring Bond into the '80s. The wily 007 has barely aged. He does drink less, smoke low-tar cigarettes and drive a fuel-efficient Saab. But M, Miss Moneypenny and the inevitable madman who wants to rule the world are all still around. Our conception of Bond has been colored by those lady-killers Sean Connery and Roger Moore. But Gardner refines Fleming's secret agent, making him a dedicated, finicky, charming professional more intent on getting the job done than seducing international beauties. (He beds only one woman in the entire novel.) Gardner's approach is sometimes too tame—as in the uninspiring title—but, on the whole, it's a treat to have Bond working again. Welcome back, old friend. (Richard Marek, $9.95)

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