Scorpius 1988

Discussion & Review Forum For James Bond Books Written By John Gardner (November 20, 1926 – August 3, 2007)
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Goldeneye
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Scorpius 1988

Post by Goldeneye »

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After being connected to the death of a woman in London, Bond is called in by M to aid the investigation. Returning from Hereford, a Sergeant Pearlman tags along by driving Bond back, during which they are attacked and involved in a high-speed chase on an England motorway. Upon safely returning to headquarters, Bond is briefed on the investigation by M and Chief Superintendent Bailey. The woman, whom Bond does not know, was found dead with Bond's telephone number. She is a member of a cult society known as the "The Meek Ones", operated by a Father Valentine. With additional information from the CIA, the British Secret Service learn that Valentine is an alias for Vladimir Scorpius, an arms dealer for several terrorist organisations.

As the country's general election approaches, by the use of brainwashed cult members, Scorpius has begun a "holy war" against every man, woman, and child. The cult members, thinking themselves to be pure, moral, and unsullied, sacrifice their lives for "the greater good of humanity" believing that by performing this "death task" that they will achieve paradise. Throughout the novel, The Meek Ones commit several acts of terrorism including multiple terrorist bombings and several assassinations of British politicians.

Throughout the horror, Bond meets Harriett Horner, an IRS agent working undercover in England and investigating a credit card company run by Scorpius. The two work together along with Pearlman to attempt to track down Scorpius. After an interrogation of a captured cult member, Horner is taken captive by Scorpius' men. Additionally, Pearlman confesses to Bond that he was secretly giving Scorpius information for the benefit of his daughter who had been brainwashed. Together the two set out for Scorpius' base of operations in South Carolina, having Scorpius believe Pearlman was taking Bond captive.

At Scorpius' island, Bond meets up with Horner once again and the two actually marry at the behest of Scorpius. Knowing that the marriage is invalid, Bond agrees to go ahead with it thinking it would buy him time until he can escape. On the night the two decide to escape, Harriett is killed by a water moccasin. At the same time the FBI is conducting a raid of Scorpius' island, which further angers Bond since her death was in vain. Bond returns to the island, finding Scorpius attempting to flee. After giving chase, Bond successfully gets the upper hand and forces Scorpius to die in a similar manner to that of Horner's death.
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Re: Scorpius 1988

Post by Kiwichris »

I just finished reading this. Overall it wasn't bad for a Gardner book. Like his other stuff there were periods of lag and drawn out space filling sequences but the overall plot and theme were good. Valentine Scorpius/Father Valentine is certainly one of the more original and convincing villains created by Gardner (2nd only to Nena Bismaquer IMO), who was often criticized for having lame and tame villains compared to Fleming.

The book has a lot of hints of Fleming and I thought it was a sort of mish-mash of Dr. No and OHMSS. Harriet seemed to remind me of Honey Ryder for some reason. Scorpius' base reminded me of Crab Key mixed with Blofeld's Garden of Death from YOLT. Obviously Bond's mock marriage with Harriet and her subsequent death within a day of the ceremony are a blatant case of OHMSS deja vu.

This is also one of the better cases of how political Gardner's books are, something Fleming mostly sidestepped. The Meek Ones suicide bombing political candidates from both parties trying to disrupt the general election and finally an attempted joint assassination of the PM and US President.
"Dalton makes an effective Bond - lacking Sean Connery's grace and humor, and Roger Moore's suave self-mockery, but with a lean tension and a toughness that is possibly more contemporary" - Roger Ebert
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