cover image The Facts of Death

The Facts of Death

Raymond Benson. Putnam Publishing Group, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14405-9

Led by a hypnotic, self-styled Greek demigod, the villainous Decada cabal prove insanely worthy adversaries for 007 as they plan chemical and biological revenge against Turkey (and any country they perceive as its allies) in the immortal SIS agent's new outing. Benson (Zero Minus Ten; The James Bond Bedside Companion) cues off the latest Bond reels by setting up his female ""M"" (head of SIS) with Alfred Hutchinson, a suspicious politico linked to the Decada. When he is murdered, Bond goes to Texas in search of Hutchinson's missing son, reunites with American agent Felix Leiter (now confined to a wheelchair), stumbles onto the source for the Decada's chemical and biological weapons and follows the trail back to Greece. Sexual subterfuge--ever Bond's betrayer and salvation--lands him in the clutches of Konstantine Romanos, mad leader of the Decada, and the result is several quintessential 007 escape/rescue scenes (aided by a luscious Greek agent) before the final showdown under a nuclear shadow on Cyprus. Edgar winner Benson pays homage to Fleming's plots in an amusing inventory of Bond's scars; touchingly ages Leiter, loyal Miss Moneypenny and long-suffering arms maven Boothroyd; and imbues his Bond with enough honor, sexual prowess and action-hero skills to please the purist and enthrall the novice. First serial rights to Playboy. (June) FYI: Benson is director of The Ian Fleming Foundation.