** spoiler alert ** This is John Gardner’s ninth addition to the James Bond series – if you include the novelisation of Licence to Kill – and sees the hero promoted to captain. A new terrorist organisation, BAST, has appeared and following a daring, but ultimately unsuccessful attack upon a super tanker in the Persian Gulf the world’s intelligence agencies are awake to the threat that they pose. When M receives information that the failed super tanker raid was a dry run for a real attack upon HMS Invincible Bond is returned to active service within the Royal Navy so he will be in position should BAST try to cause any trouble.HMS Invincible is due to take part in a NATO exercise during which a top secret meeting between Mrs Thatcher, President Bush and President Gorbachev to speed up the thawing of relations as the Cold War draws to a close and Bond is placed in charge of the security for the duration of their visit.This is not a bad story, although the ease that BAST are able to gather top secret information to plan the mission and then place their terrorists aboard one of the Royal Navy’s capital ships is ludicrous even by the standards of Bond stories. Even with that flaw, this could still have been so much better had Gardner not persisted in constantly having people appear as double- and even triple-agents; it has happened so many times the novelty has well and truly worn off by now and he should have stopped a couple of books ago.Peter O'Brien
Typical Gardner: sloppy, ridiculous double bluffs and yet another rushed ending.Wilde Sky
A British secret service agent foils a dastardly plot.I found this book a bit disappointing – in places it was confusing and overall it wasn’t very original.Carol
Didn't like this book. I couldn't even finish it.Carson
Another solid, good entry in the John Gardner 007 literary world. I continue to question some of Bond's thoughts and behaviors from time to time regarding emotion, but seeing him return to active Naval duty to protect three high-ranking world leaders (in interesting cameos) makes for an enjoyable read. It wasn't out-of-this-world but it was a well-put-together story and where Gardner is sometimes criticized for his frequent use of double-crossing and double agents, this one has a few twists and turns that still make for relative surprise.