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Case Name: Seafire|
Author: John Gardner
Villain(s): Sir Max Tarn
Bond Girl(s): Flicka von Grüsse
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I have read many reviews on other Web sites which bash Seafire as being one of the worst, most unimaginative Gardner novels. While it is not his best, I would have to argue that, with the exception of the ending, the book an interesting and a fun read. The plot revolves around Max Tarn, a billionaire business tycoon who is determined to reunite Germany under a new 4th Reich. While the idea of pitting Bond up against the Nazis seems a bit tired, it is done well.
The novel starts off with Bond and Flicka Von Grusse, his lover from the novel Never Send Flowers, thwarting a hijacking attempt on one of Max Tarn's cruise lines only to find the ship torpedoed shortly after. A few months later, Tarn is under investigation for suspected arms dealing and his involvement in a project code named "Apocalypse." Using the connection from the ship, Bond and Flicka are sent in to investigate. By the end of the book Bond has traveled to Madrid, Israel and ultimately Puerto Rico where he teams up with Felix Leiter to stop Tarn from becoming the next Furor.
In Seafire, MI6 is a shell of its former self and has been replaced by MicroGlobe One, which is essentially a committee with representatives from each of England's intelligence agencies. MI6 has become the Double-Zero section, which Bond is a high-ranking member of. Health issues have M staying in his bed for most of the book, but some of the most interesting scenes involve Bond visiting the "old man" at his house. These meetings show just how close the two men have become over the past decades, especially when M asks Bond to seriously consider becoming the new head of the Double-Zero section should anything happen to him.
Fan favorite Felix Leiter also makes his return in Seafire when Bond travels to Puerto Rico to stop Tarn's final plan. Unfortunately, it is also in Puerto Rico that the plot of the novel takes a drastic turn for the worse. The entire story up through this point revolves around Max Tarn's desire to reunite Germany under his new Nazi party. However, at the last moment his scheme switches to a convoluted plan involving creating a massive oil spill fire outside Puerto Rico. Naturally, Bond stops this from happening, goes after and kills Tarn in one of the most uninspired endings of any novel or film. What started out with much promise and suspense ends with a sour taste in the reader's mouth. My personal recommendation is to get this book, start reading it and then stop before the final 50 pages: even without knowing how it ends it is a much more satisfying read that way.
James Bond is back in action, with the stunning Flicka von Grüsse at his
side and his licence to kill renewed once more. His target s Sir
Maxwell Tarn: a businessman whose legitimate empire spans the globe,
whose wealth is uncountable, who also deals in illegal weapons on a
But even Bond is unprepared for the speed of events, as a sting
operation in a Cambridge hotel leads rapidly to an assassination in
Spain, a fugitive in Israel and neo-Nazi plotters in Germany.
Bond finally catches up with Tarn in Puerto Rico, where is prey becomes
his captor. Can he escape in time to stop Tarn?
Review submitted by Eric Nisbet