writer and Bond novelist John Gardner has died aged 80.
Royal Marine (who lied about his age to enlist during World War II)
Gardner was born in Seaton Delaval, a village near the city of
Newcastle. He eventually became a successful thriller and spy writer
with work including the Boysie Oakes series and a series including
Professor Moriaty. Gardner had a particular interest in a more
realistic approach to the spy genre, an approach he brought to his
James Bond novels.
invited by Glidrose to write three Bond novels in 1981, and - although
he was not tremendously enthusiastic at first - ended up writing 14,
along with the novelisations of Licence To Kill and GoldenEye. Gardner
wasn't keen on taking on another author's character but he
soon relished the chance to update 007 and put his own
stamp on Bond in his continuation novels. Despite a mixed reception
from Bond fans, Gardner's 007 novels were successful and popular.
had made up my mind that I would only take on Bond if they allowed me
to go about it in my own way. What I wanted to do was take the
character and bring Fleming's Bond into the eighties as the same man
but with all he would have learned had he lived through the sixties and
I described to Glidrose how I
wanted to put Bond to sleep where Fleming had left him in the
sixties, waking him up now in the 80s having made sure he had not aged,
but had accumulated modern thinking on the question of Intelligence and
Security matters. Most of all I wanted him to have operational
know-how: the reality of correct tradecraft and modern gee-whiz
always appeared to be slightly miffed that his novels were
not adapted or used by Eon for the James Bond movies,
his books considered by some as interesting and exciting as
scripts written for the film series during this time. Licence
Renewed and For Special Services, his two first Bond novels, did
well enough to make Bond a regular fixture in bookshops again.
Role Of Honour in 1984 and Win Lose Or Die in 1989 were probably
the best, and most fun, of his James Bond novels.