The Facts of Death

The Facts of Death

5.0 2
by Raymond Benson

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Benson's 007 is a chip off the old block, said Kirkus Reviews of the classic secret agent depicted in Zero Minus Ten, Raymond Benson's first James Bond novel. Fast-paced, fun summer reading, wrote The Boston Sunday Herald. Bond is still as irresistible as ever. Now Benson takes Bond to the heart of a fanatical cult whose sinister mission is


Benson's 007 is a chip off the old block, said Kirkus Reviews of the classic secret agent depicted in Zero Minus Ten, Raymond Benson's first James Bond novel. Fast-paced, fun summer reading, wrote The Boston Sunday Herald. Bond is still as irresistible as ever. Now Benson takes Bond to the heart of a fanatical cult whose sinister mission is wrapped in the teachings of the great Greek mathematician Pythagoras. His cult is committed to following their brilliant and mad leader on a series of assignments, each one more diabolical and destructive than the last. When Alfred Hutchinson, Great Britain's Goodwill Ambassador to the World, is murdered by a stranger whose umbrella tip bears a tiny capsule of ricin poison and who leaves behind a scrawled #4, Bond is called upon to halt the escalating body count of the Number Killer. His hunt will take him from the wild backroads of Texas to the crumbling ruins of Greece, a trail that crisscrosses the potentially explosive tinderbox of Cyprus. At every step he must use both cunning and brute force to stay ahead of-or even with-the grand plan of the Monad, the shadowy mastermind behind the cult. Propelled by an extraordinary Jaguar XK8 coupé designed for this mission, challenged by life-threatening underwater and aerial attacks, and seduced by a galaxy of beautiful and destructive women, James Bond is once again the archetype action hero-this time caught in a final countdown, where each heartbeat could be his last.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
July 1998

When Ian Fleming created his larger-than-life character, James Bond, did he have any idea that Bond would outlive him? Fleming — who had a penchant for giving sexy women sexually explicit names (even in his children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, replete with Bondian gadgets, the woman was named Truly Scrumptious, the G-rated version of the Bond girls' names) — was a master of the short stroke. Fleming's Bond novels were fast reads, heterosexual males' fantasies rolled up into one very suave character, and nearly a spoof of the British way of doing things. After Fleming's death, John Gardner took over the series, and although his books were certainly entertaining, I felt they lacked something. Happily, since Raymond Benson has taken over the James Bond franchise in books, new and exciting life has come into them.

James Bond is back. And he's on one of his most explosive missions ever. Sounds like good hype, huh? But let me tell you, in The Facts of Death, Benson does something very smart. He ties Bond's adventures into real-world issues and genuine threats. The book opens with a man who is recuperating after gall bladder surgery in a veteran's hospital in Los Angeles. Very quickly, he dies under mysterious circumstances. Then, soon after, anyone who has come into contact with him dies, victims of some kind of virus. We flash over to the island of Cyprus, where James Bond and others are in protective gear, studying an American barracks in which all the men have died, again of some mysterious ailment. Bond is in fine form,particularlywhen he meets sexy Niki Mirakos, who is with the Greek secret service, and invites her to shower with him. Niki wisely declines. As Bond gets under the spray himself to wash off the day's dirt, he detects a poison gas being released from the shower nozzle. Chasing down the bad guy who did this is one thing, but then James Bond leaps aboard the hijacked helicopter that the crew of bad guys has in their possession. The real Bond is back.

Surviving this is, of course, a piece of cake for James Bond, as any reader coming to this book will know. Half the fun is seeing what gadgets James will bring to the party, and in The Facts of Death, they are real treats. Also, car lovers will enjoy the specialized Jaguar that Bond gets as his big toy, which includes viscous fluid to fill up the spaces left by attacks on the car, thus "healing" the vehicle. As the plot thickens and the terrorist group behind these seemingly random attacks makes itself known, we get to see old Bond friends, like the original M, as well as the newer M. Sure, James Bond is a holdover from the martini-and-cigarette set of the 1960s, and sure, his attitude toward women, however well he treats them in other arenas, is mainly drawn from the bedroom fantasies of thousands of college freshmen; but still, James is an institution worthy of a tip of the hat. Besides that, this novel crackles with excitement as the story rolls to its tense climax.

For James Bond enthusiasts, this is the book to read. It's great, page-turning summer reading, and Benson does Fleming proud. The Facts of Death is heartily recommended for any reader who loves a dashing hero, sexy women, and mind-blowing action sequences. I'll have my next martini shaken, not stirred.

—Douglas Clegg

Douglas Clegg is the author of numerous horror and suspense novels, including Dark of the Eye and The Children's Hour. His recent critically acclaimed short story, "O, Rare and Most Exquisite," can be found in the anthology The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Volume 10.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 subterfugeever Bond's betrayer and salvationlands 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.
Kirkus Reviews
The fate of the world, and James Bond, are in capable hands in this second 007 adventure from Benson (Zero Minus Ten, 1997). Writing as both a disciple and defender of Western civilization's most enduring action hero, Benson, a director of the Ian Fleming Foundation and author of the fan bible, the James Bond Bedside Companion, attempts to meld Fleming's brooding, coolly cruel British knight with the dapper, quip-slinging techno-warrior of the Bond movies, with a few respectful bows to the superhuman stuntman Bond became when British thriller-factory John Gardner had an exclusive franchise on the series. All the canonical elements are in place—the Flemingesque fetish for brand names (we're informed that Bond's crippled American sidekick, former CIA agent Felix Leiter, now zooms about in a high-speed Action Arrow motorized wheelchair), a demented, megalomaniacal father figure villain (Konstantine Romanos, an independently wealthy mathematics professor who thinks he's the reincarnation of Pythagoras), the ultimate car (a self-driving Jaguar XK8 with more gadgets than the Batmobile but, alas, no ejection seat), the corny sex jokes (Bond seduces the statuesque female director of a sperm bank who extracts her sample from 007 as passionately as possible), a superbly furnished techno-fortress with a hidden superweapon, and, most infamously, a harem of beautiful, accomplished women, some of whom are bisexual, all of whom can't resist Bond's darkly handsome charms. The plot, meanwhile, is standard Bond, with Romanos using designer weaponry to kill numerous innocent people, with a purloined Pershing missile being readied for launch. Between the requisite scenes of sex, violence, anddestruction, Benson's Bond occasionally succumbs to existential gloom, but never fails to do the right thing for Queen and country. A postmodern treat for fans and newcomers that lovingly, if not ironically, duplicates a formula so familiar that originality would be sacrilege.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
James Bond Series
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.95(d)

Meet the Author

Raymond Benson is the author of The Facts of Death, Zero Minus Ten, High Time to Kill and the novelizations of Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough. He is a director of The Ian Fleming Foundation. Benson lives and works in the Chicago area.

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The Facts of Death 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first Bond novel i have read (to tell you the truth i am only like little more than half way through..) and I love it. I have been a huge fan of 007 since Tomorrow Never Dies, I know that wasn't long ago but that is the first one that came to theaters when i was old enough to be interested in that or old enough to even see it in theaters without a parent. I own most of the movies now on DVD. I did buy the novel of The Spy Who Loved me at the librbay book sale a few years ago, but I didn't really like it, i read about three chapters and found it boring and slightly confusing (like where the heck is James?). Anyways, this is a great book and i would recomend it to anyone who likes 007 or any action adventure books/movies. And if anyone has any coments, disagree with me, or would like to discuss anything Bond related further, please feel free top contact me (just make sure in the subject it mentions Bond or something to let me know that it is something to do with this so I don't accedently delete it...). Thanks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is definately the best in raymond bensons series of these action novels.