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Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz

Bond is back, this time authored by international best-selling author Anthony Horowitz. It all begins with a seemingly simple mission (at least for Bond). After a few days training, James heads to Germany to race in the European championship at Nürburgring where he plans to stop the Russians using dirty tricks to secure victory. However, we're not surprised that Bond soon uncovers a much bigger and more serious plot: a scheme by Korean Sin Jai-Seong (otherwise known as Jason Sin) and SMERSH (a top-secret department of the Russian government) to undermine the American space programme whilst simultaneously murdering millions of New Yorkers and toppling the Empire State Building. As the clock ticks down, only Bond and CIA field-agent, Jeopardy Lane, can stop it. But are they already too late?

Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Z J Cookson
Reviewed by Z J Cookson
Summary: A high-octane Bond adventure that's not to be missed. Recommended for fans of 007.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Orion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1409159148

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I've not read a Bond novel before but I am a huge fan of Anthony Horowitz's teen Alex Rider series and it's certainly easy to tell that they're penned by the same author. The two share the same break-neck pace, complex and entertaining plot, and thrilling action. The only real difference between the two is that as an adult (Alex Rider is just 14) Bond can smoke, drink, shoot and, of course, seduce all those beautiful women.

Having not read any of the original Bond novels, I can't compare the writing style but there must be some considerable similarity. Trigger Mortis incorporates original material from the Ian Fleming archives and it's impossible to identify the seams. Horowitz is also clearly steeped in the Bond cannon and expertly weaves in references to Bond's previous missions. Pussy Galore, for example, makes a brief appearance at the start of the novel which also provides an insight into the consequences of the Goldfinger escapade.

While this is fascinating, Horowitz wisely keeps this aside brief and focuses on his own plot. Expertly structured with plenty of twists and turns, this is classic Bond. Korean Sin Jai-Seong is the perfect Bond villain. I particularly loved the details – the thick rimmed spectacles, the burnt out eyes in the portraits at Sin's German mansion, and the Hanafuda playing cards that Sin uses to so coldly decide the manner of his enemies death. The explanation of Sin's behaviour (a moving account of the massacre at No Gun Ri in the Korean War) provides a brief serious moment but the plot quickly rattles forward – quite literally as Bond hurls himself onto a moving train.

If I have one minor niggle with this book, it is the amount of 'product placement' particularly in the opening chapters. Personally, I really don't care what brand of soap or cigarettes Bond prefers. However, I suspect that this may be a homage to Fleming and it's a minor complaint. Overall this is a high-octane adventure: an example of escapist action at its very best.

If you enjoyed this, why not try an Ian Fleming original. The Bookbag enjoyed The Spectre Trilogy by Ian Fleming. Alternatively, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the Alex Rider series to fans of James Bond even if you're officially too old for 'teen' fiction. Try Crocodile Tears.

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