Sunraker? : Kingsley Amis -“Colonel Sun”

ABOVE: The Woman with the Golden Gun?

“Die Another Day,” “The World is Not Enough,” “Spectre”: they all borrow elements from “Colonel Sun,” Kingsley Amis’ 1968 attempt to keep the  James Bond franchise an on-going concern after Ian Fleming failed to live twice. Amis’ reputation was not going to suffer, no matter what the results of the experiment (although he wrote under the pseudonym of Robert Markham). The man was more than amenable to the mercenary task of raking in the easy money, having previously written a serious (or serious enough) critical analysis of Fleming’s oeuvre in “The James Bond Dossier.” “Colonel Sun” deals with Bond’s attempt to rescue the kidnapped M, and Amis dutifully pours in all the necessary ingredients in Fleming’s classic cocktail: the exotic locale (here, the Aegean); the even more exotic women (here, Ariadne Alexandrou, seductress-for-hire and a Communist to boot); and, exotic-est of all, the villain: the titular Colonel Sun Lian-Tang, who’s bent on sabotaging a Peace summit between Brits and Soviets. The only notable deviations from the expected are a tired sort of cynicism from Amis’ Bond, as well as hints at a thaw in the Cold War that allows for 007 and his Russian enemies to momentarily unite against the common enemy: Sun’s Asian Menace.

RATING: GOOD ENOUGH

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