Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Read: "Icebreaker" by John Gardner

Read: Icebreaker by John Gardner, 1983, (ISBN is not to hand).

A new organization called the National Socialist Action Army (NSAA) has been sending out assassination squads around Europe, and even into a secretive Libyan facility, to assassinate communists and communists "supporters".  The hitmen all commit suicide before capture.  The NSAA is secretive and scary.

James Bond is in Helsinki after a two week winter operations training course with some SAS and SBS guys in Northern Finland. Bond calls up a sometimes bed partner for some sex.  Bond arrives to her apartment and is attacked to by two guys speaking lousy Russian.  Bond escapes.  Bond boinks babe even though he is injured.  Bond returns to London.

M briefs Bond that he is to return to Finland and join a joint Russian, America, Israeli operation to locate and destroy the NSAA headquarters in Northern Finland.  NSAA is run by a former Finnish Nazi.  The Russians called for the help and everything is suspicious, including the other agents working with Bond.

Bond is hot for the Israeli woman Agent.  Bond discovers Israeli Agent is daughter of NSAA's head Nazi.  Israeli Agent convinces him of her loyalty and her sexiness.  Everyone heads North.

Things happen.  The hotel rooms of each spy are bugged.  People are trying to murder Bond.  Israeli girl is blown up and then kidnapped by fake paramedics and police.  Bond, Russian and American travel into Russia to observe illegal purchase of Russian arms by NSAA.  Bond is captured and taken to Secret Underground Lair.  Bond meets Finnish Nazi.  Bond is tortured.  Identities and loyalties are revealed.  Israeli Agent is secret Nazi and shot in face. Bond is rescued.  Secret Underground Lair is bombed by Russkie jets.  Bond escapes Russkie Agent.  Bond returns to Helsinki.  Bond kills Russkie Agent.  Bond finds out Finnish Nazi escaped.  Bond finds Finnish Nazi at Helsinki airport and kills him. Bond learns of the secrets and double crosses that explain the plot.

1. A fun novel and I may have read this 30 years ago.  The torture scene is very familiar but may just resemble a torture scene from another Gardner book.
2.  When I first tried reading a Gardner books in middle school I did not like it.  I was used to the movie versions with more action and half-nude women.  I did feel very adult when reading the novel.
3.  The incessant naming of brands.  Reading the high end brand names - even 30 years removed - is often an odd pleasure.  As if I am now in the know.
3.a. In this case many of those brand names may no longer exist.  Or they are 30 years obsolete.  High tech gadgets of the time that may have seemed the future - the heads-up display installed in Bond's Saab using technology from a Saab fighter, or the H&K P7 (which is still pricey as a used gun) - but never took off and were surpassed by something better and less expensive.
4.  Bond's reputation as a chauvinist is addressed and dismissed during one conversation with Israeli Agent.  Israeli Agent accuses the Russian and American of not taking her seriously and ogling.  Bond says he never has trouble working with women.
5. Other "old" stuff: I got to wondering about his car - a Saab Turbo 900 - and looked it up.  I'll be damned.  Or Crombie British Warm overcoat.  Finnair's flight 831 still travels mornings from Helsinki to London.
6. I was in Finland for about five weeks in 1989.  I have nothing to tie my experiences into the novels setting.  I vaguely remember a fellow exchange student on my return flight complaining about going to the far north where there was nothing to do.
7. Saab love.
8.  H & K love.
9. Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum love.
10. This reminds me that Max Allan Collins is a nut for James Bond movies.  But, I cannot recall if Collins recently wrote anything about what he thinks of the novels.  I enjoy his commentary.

1 comment:

Max Allan Collins said...

I am a huge Fleming fan. I was reading him prior to the films coming out (I was in junior high wjem DR. NO was released). I haven't followed the non-Fleming novels, though I just picked up the Benson anththologies, as Raymond is a friend of mine. He's a true authority on Bond/Fleming, and a good writer, so that will likely be worthwhile. Fleming himself is much underrated and I often forget to mention him as an influence -- shame on me.