License Renewed

ISBN: 0425124630
ISBN 13: 9780425124635
By: John Gardner

Check Price Now


Adventure Bond Default Espionage Fiction James Bond Mystery Suspense Thrillers To Read

About this book

In License Renewed, the most famous secret agent in the world pits his nerve and cunning against a dangerously deranged opponent – one prepared to sacrifice most of the Western world to prove that only he can make it safe from accidental holocaust. As the seconds tick away on the valued Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the world comes nearer this ironic annihilation; Bond comes nearer a frightful death and ever nearer Miss Lavender Peacock.

Reader's Thoughts

Ryan Saunders

James Bond is one of the most well known names in the entire world. Since I was very young I've heard of his legendary movies and books. This is why when I picked up James Bond "License Renewed", I had high expectations. Fortunately I was not let down in the slightest. "License Renewed" is the first fourteen of the James Bond series by John Gardner. In "License Renewed", James Bond is fighting to save the world from perhaps the most dangerous and crazed villain yet, Dr. Anton Murik. He's the Laird of Murcadly as well as a brilliant nuclear physicist who invented what he calls "the Murik Ultra-safe Reactor". In the book Murik claims that it's "the ultimate in reactors-one which not only provides the power but safely disposes of the waste, and cannot go wrong" (Gardner, 40). Murik was ridiculed for his design and kicked out of the company. Many years later the MI6 found out he was meeting with world renowned terrorist Franco. James Bond is sent in to investigate and is shocked as to what he finds. Murik has world destruction planned. The main theme of "License Renewed", is never give up. This theme is a huge part of Bonds mentality as well. An example of this is when *SPOILER ALERT* he's aboard a huge luxury air craft and being held against his will. "Pity about not being able shave. If they were to die, he would rather go looking his best. Negative thinking. Bond cursed himself (Gardner, 233). One of the most interesting characters in the book's Caber, a violent Scotsman who has a broken nose for most of the book and works for Murik. One of my personal favorite quotes from him is "'I suppose ye got Franco, then. But it'll do ye nae bluddy guid for yersel, Bond', Caber whispered in his ear. 'The Laird's mor'n a mite upset-and wi' good reason. Ocht man, he's longing tae set his eyes on ye. Just longing for it. I doubt he has some grand plans for ye'". Beyond writing an interesting book John Gardner is an interesting person. John Gardner was the second person ever allowed to write a James Bond book. This fact alone makes him memorable. However, he has also lived a very interesting life beyond the Bond series. Gardner grew up in the small town of Seaton Delaval and originally wanted to be a magician. He turned out to be fairly good at this and preformed for a few years before deciding to become a journalist instead. Toward the end of his journalism career started writing novels. The first book he published was called "The Liquidator", and was a spoof on James Bond. The book was an over night succes and became very popular. This motivated Gardner to write a sequel. The sequel was succes as well and was the cause of a newspaper writing "Gardner Writes full time now". This prompted him to leave journalism and become self-employed. Overtime Gardner wrote more novels and eventually caught the eye of (Ian Flemmings ltd). They invited him to write them and while he was reluctant, his agent was insistent. Fortunately for him (and us) a one book deal turned into much more and he eventually wrote 2 more books than even Ian Flemings. All in all John Gardner may not have started out as a writer but it was clearly ment for him. In conclusion I think that "License Renewed", is a fantastic book beyond even my high expectations. John Gardner is a fantastic author and I think that Ian Flemmings ltd was incredibly wise to trust him with the series.

Andrew Kosztyo

The first installment of the "James Bond" series not written by Ian Flemming, "License Renewed" is an effective reboot of the shaken-not-stirred template. Surprisingly, the book contains some of the most elegantly constructed sentences I've ever enjoy reading -- colons; semi-colons; hyphens and dashes all cohabitate comfortably in single short sentences.


I really wish his books had been the basis of the modern era Bond films today.License Bonds


Had a couple stylistic renderings from the Fleming novels, but took on more of the shape of the movies. Still enjoyable but slow at certain parts and a very slow unraveling ending to overcome all odds.


A good rendition and homage for those craving another classic Bond story. The writing was a little muddy at times. The exciting fight and chase scenes were confusing and harder to follow than the originals. It also wasn't as tight as it should have been: repetitious sections, overviews that were unnecessary. A fun easy read though.

Tom O'Connor

Good and reasonably faithful to the original. I would only recommend these books to Fleming fans, but for them, I would definitely recommend them.

Leo Susana

I read most James Bond novels in the 80's. Was a huge fan of John Gardner's take on 007. BUT: I don't actually remember the stories now. I know I enjoyed them, thought they were great at the time, but I was a kid dreaming with far away places.

Alan Kingsley

A welcome continuation of the Fleming novels. License Renewed is written well, reasonably paced, and has some fun characters and locations, but ultimately it never got off the ground for me. I liked it well enough, I suppose, but I think the story overstays its welcome by about forty pages.


Nice to visit an old character but I still like him in the movies better. It lost some of the charms of the man and his sexy ways with women. Story moved along with constant activity and Bond always finding his way out of difficult situations.

Steven Kent

Almost a Bond and very readable, this was a first effort by a competent author who tried to step into Ian Fleming's shoes.he does a reasonable job of capturing the spirit of the Bond character, an adventurer who really is not as tough as the men around him. he is lucky, and daring, and smart, but not the he-man that has been sensationalized by Daniel Craig, and maybe not even as tough as Sean Connery.Where Gardner falls shy of the mark is in the story itself. It's good, it's very much in the spirit of Goldfinger, but it just doesn't have the spark and the style that made Godfinger special.I'll take License renewed over The Spy Who Loved Me or Live and Let Die, for what it's worth.


A pretty tame story that doesn't really require much of Bond until the last dozen or so pages, and even then he doesn't do but so much. More entertaining for the narration of James' thought process when confronted with obstacles. I'm also deducting points for every instance when the words "James" and "darling" were used in the same sentence.....which is more than a few.

Kurt Vosper

When this came out I was in my teens and it was a gift from my folks as I was a James Bond fan. I remember hoping for Ian Fleming and getting considerably less.


just okay for me, sort of un the same vein as Ian Fleming's novels, I just felt he should made Bond a bit more sinister (especially after reading Robert Ludlum's work)

Thomas Strömquist

"In the beginning of the book, I thought Gardner did a reasonably good job continuing the James Bond series after the rather long hiatus. But soon some things really started to bother me; the numerous references to Fleming's books makes this one feel an awful lot like fan fiction, and isn't the Gardner Bond a lot more like the movie Bond? Another thing is that, even though Fleming did change Bonds birth year some, this being set in the early 80's, he must be about 60 or at least very close. Must his love interest be 27? Kind of silly and again, the book Bond was never irresistible to women, that is the movie Bond. The last third of the book has far to many improbable and illogical events and actions taken by the characters. "


* The first Gardner Bond book.* In his Acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, Gardner tells us that all of the "hardware" used by Bond in the book is genuine and available one way or another. He then goes on to tell us that that used by Bond's adversary, Anton Murik, is not. This, I think, sets a broader tone, right at the outset: Gardner's books are going to try to tread a middle ground between Fleming's Bond and Movie Bond. It's a dicey proposition.* But first, from Gardner himself: "I described to the Gildrose Board how I wanted to put Bond to sleep where Fleming had left him in the sixties, waking him up now in the 80s having made sure he had not aged, but had accumulated modern thinking on the question of Intelligence and Security matters. Most of all I wanted him to have operational know-how: the reality of correct tradecraft and modern gee-whiz technology." Which would seem to leave a gap of about 16 years (from The Man With the Golden Gun [1965] to License Renewed [1981]). It isn't clear from this book (or the quotation above) how Gardner handles the gap, but Wikipedia opines that, "due to the timeframe change," the Gardner series "suggests" that Bond's earlier adventures took place not in the 50s and 60s, but rather in the 60s and 70s. Can it be that Gardner, during the course of 14 novels, never spells this out?* This, of course, is another thing: 14 novels. More even than Fleming wrote. And starting with a character in his very late thirties, at best. (Indeed, Bond is already noting, in this book, a few gray hairs.) Just how old is he going to get?* Well, what were the alternatives? "Period" novels from only a decade and a half earlier? Time travel? What else could Gardner do? I'll tell you. He could have created a new Bond; that is, a completely separate series with the character but not the history of Fleming's books. License Renewed could have become License Granted, and away we'd go with a young James Bond and nothing but blue skies ahead.* But he didn't, so we have what we have, and comparisons between the two, instead of being largely moot, are relevant. And based on this first book, those comparisons do not redound to Gardner's credit.* Not that it's a bad book; it isn't. It is, however, a shade tentative, which we might expect, and a bit slack, which we wouldn't. Gardner's prose isn't as tight as Fleming's, and neither is Bond. Oh, he's plenty tough, but he's not as hardboiled.* At the same time, and this brings me back to where I started, Bond here tips toward the superman of the movies. M's line that if there's anyone who can pull off his latest mission, it's Bond, smacks more of the movies than Fleming's books. Bond himself seems to have fewer doubts about his superiority.* Then there's that "gee-whiz technology" that Gardner mentions. Bond is here kitted out with a great deal of hardware--on his person, in his luggage, and in his specially modified Saab. What Gardner doesn't understand is that, to some extent, technology makes the man. The Bond of all this gimcrackery isn't the old-fashioned Bond of the novels (even if, at the time, he was cutting-edge). Finding him curled up on his comfy Sleepcentre bed, intently listening in to one of Murik's clandestine meetings on his fancy surveillance hardware is, I'm afraid, not the modern equivalent of Bond peering at Russians through a periscope in a dank, rat-infested tunnel beneath the streets of Istanbul. Bond has become the oxymoron of the films: soft, yet somehow infinitely superior to his enemies.* Still, in terms of the plot, it isn't technology that kills credibility here, it's the plan itself. I won't say more than that it involves the simultaneous assault on several nuclear power plants. I don't need to say more. It's the same as saying that Goldfinger's plan was to rob Fort Knox. It's ridiculous, unworkable, and never believable.* But I liked the book. Go figure. I didn't like it a lot (for these and other reasons), but I found it enjoyable. Partly, I suppose, for the fun of comparing it to Fleming's work. And partly because of Fleming's genius: after all, he created a character so beloved that this second series by another author makes sense, a character so transcendent that not even the film industry could kill him.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *