Solo : James Bond (Extended)

  • by William Boyd
  • Narrated by Dominic West
  • Series: James Bond (Extended)
  • 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A James Bond novel written by William Boyd.
It is 1969 and James Bond is about to go solo, recklessly motivated by revenge.
A seasoned veteran of the service, 007 is sent to single-handedly stop a civil war in the small West African nation of Zanzarim. Aided by a beautiful accomplice and hindered by the local militia, he undergoes a scarring experience which compels him to ignore M's orders in pursuit of his own brand of justice. Bond's renegade action leads him to Washington, D.C., where he discovers a web of geopolitical intrigue and witnesses fresh horrors.
Even if Bond succeeds in exacting his revenge, a man with two faces will come to stalk his every waking moment.
Dominic West is well known for his leading roles in many films, including 28 Days, Mona Lisa Smile, The Forgotten and 300. He played McNulty in HBO's The Wire, one of the most critically acclaimed television programmes ever made in the U.S. In 2011 he won a TV BAFTA for his role in ITV mini-series Appropriate Adult, and he was also nominated for a Golden Glove for BBC series The Hour.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I love Bond, but I didn't love this

Is there anything you would change about this book?

As the headline says, I love Bond and have done since I was given my first Bond book to read when I was 12 (I'm 30-something now). I’m not going to go into all the reasons why, but the fact that that Fleming’s books are still so widely read after all this time, is testament to the quality of the characters and the storytelling; both of which are lacking in Solo.

I’ve paid close attention to more recent Bond books by Faulks and Deaver, and enjoyed them to some degree – they weren’t on a par with Fleming’s finest, but they were decent stories in their own right. As a result I was looking forward to Solo, expecting more of the same. I was disappointed. It felt like William Boyd had been given a couple of hours to scribble down a rough plot, been told to watch Timothy Dalton in action for a few hours, ask a few teenage boys what they’d like to see Bond get up to, and then jot it down ready for print.


Has Solo put you off other books in this genre?

No, not at all. It's possible if you read this book in its own right and forget you've ever heard of Bond, then you may enjoy it. Sadly, as the cover states, it's 'A Jame Bond Novel' so if you enjoy Fleming's Bond, there's a good chance you won't enjoy this.


Which character – as performed by Dominic West – was your favourite?

Honestly, I didn't have a favourite.

Dominic West's performance was good. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I sensed at times that he struggled with his delivery as parts of the dialogue were weak and the story implausible.

I've watched The Wire in it's entirety, so I know Dominic West can 'do' American, yet I remain unconvinced by his Mexican accent - it felt like some comic relief from what may have proved a bit of a chore for the actor.


Could you see Solo being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I'm sure it will become the basis for a Bond movie at some stage, but I'd imagine it will be a few years down the line with a new actor playing Bond involved.
James Bond is 45 in Solo, the same age as Daniel Craig now, so he's likely to be past it by the time this gets to the big screen. I was going to suggest that at 45, Bond won't necessarily carry the same allure as he saunters out of the sea in his tight blue swimming shorts, but I am fully aware there are armies of women who would disagree.


Any additional comments?

I feel I should explain a specifics about why I didn't enjoy the book, here are a few reasons I didn't enjoy the book:

- Bond break into a woman's house an rummages through her draw without any good reason. When she returns and starts to undress, he stays to watch. Smooth. For me, this is not something Fleming's character would have done, at least not without good reason.

- Bond gets angry at decorators in his flat. This is an odd one; Boyd doesn't really explain why, but there's a passage where Bond feels the need to 'crack the whip' with the men decorating his flat. I assume it's added to point to the fact that he has to seek some form of enjoyment/power at a time when his life is a little slower than usual, but it doesn't seem to fit. Bond was always short with people, but rarely rude without good reason - this seemed to go against this.

- He gets duped easily and frequently. Maybe senility is setting in early, but Bond gets tricked a lot in Solo. I don't want to spoil plot lines, but it's a sad day when a picture of the Queen hanging on the wall is enough to convince Bond that someone is who they say they are.

- The baddies are stupid. Yes okay, a lot of the villains in Bond's films are not the sharpest, but when a Journalist masterminds a battle without anyone raising an eyebrow, you've got to ask what's coming next - "Mr Bond, you're great with a gun, are you really just a children's entertainer?"

There's more, but this has become a rant.

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- Oliver

Well Done

What did you like most about Solo?

The writing style. Mr Boyd really captured the essence of the original stories by IF. INFINITELY better than Sebastian Faulks's effort which was poor.


What did you like best about this story?

The atmosphere and pace of the story. It felt authentic Bond.


Which character – as performed by Dominic West – was your favourite?

He did them all well.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could have done, but didn't


Any additional comments?

Use Dominic West more often. He is a 1st rate reader!

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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-09-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks