Book Review: For Special Services by John Gardner

August 24, 2023


For Special Services by John Gardner is the second entry of the author into the James Bond literary universe. Mr. Gardner was an English novelist, known for his Bond Books, as well as books featuring Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis, Professor Moriarty.

  • 256 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Pegasus Crime
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 160598194X

Book Review: For Special Services by John GardnerMy rating for For Special Services4
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This was one of the more enjoyable James Bond books I read, and if I’m not mistaken several scenes, and themes were adapted into scenes in different movies. I really enjoy 80s Bond, and even though I read this book as a teenager, I enjoyed it much more as an adult.

The plot is preposterous, the villains are demonic, and the women are exotic. So… a James Bond novel, but less original. Seems like the author was more interested in pleasing the fans, than simply writing a good story. He brings back former allies and enemies, and an older Bond to align, I assume with an older Roger Moore starring in the 80s movies.

Despite all that, For Special Services by John Gardner works and the ridiculousness of it can be quickly forgiven. SPECTRE is a formidable enemy with resources to match governments, and the over-the-top plot is fun, however predictable.

I have only two major complaints. The first is that the demise of the new Blofeld was done prematurely. The character was one of my favorites and it would have been nice to have an arc before they kick the bucket. The second is the character of Cedar Leiter is a fun, yet unbelievable even in the Bond universe. A 20-year-old woman, acting her age, does not make a good CIA agent and the fact that her father, Felix, almost encourages her to have sex with his best English friend comes off very cringy, to say the least.

The strong plot in the first half of the book is very enjoyable but loses it in a bizarre second half. I enjoyed it very much even though the book never seems to be able to decide on its tone.


James Bond, agent 007, teams up with CIA agent Cedar Leiter, daughter of Felix, to investigate a SPECTRE agent. Markus Bismaquer, an ice cream tycoon from Texas, is suspected to be involved with the criminal organization.

Bond realizes that his old enemy, Blofeld is back, even though he knows he killed him. Leiter and Bond discover a sinister plot to take over NORAD headquarters so SPECTRE can gain control of America’s military satellite network.

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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