Book review: Solo

Title: Solo

Author: Ian Fleming Publications Limited

Publisher: Jonathan Cape


This is a James Bond (aka 007) novel written by William Boyd. “Ian Fleming Publications Limited has asserted its right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.”


The year is 1969. The story begins with James Bond celebrating his 45th birthday alone (without the company of a Bond girl). He kept having flashbacks of a mission he participated in 1944 during World War 2. A few days later he received a mission: to infiltrate into Zanzaim, a West African country, and stop the civil war that had went on for 2 years. James Bond entered Zanzaim under the disguise as a journalist. After much difficulty he managed to enter the territory controlled by the opposing army. The authorities were friendly towards him as they believed his cover as a journalist with a French press, and they were eager for French support. But the mission did not go as planned and the war ended shortly after the rebel leader died of cancer. James Bond tried to leave when the government forces were about to invade the last stronghold of the opposing army, but he was wounded. Through a series of unexpected events, he was saved and sent to Scotland for recuperation. Upon recovery he decided to take revenge against the one who shot him. His investigation to finding that person took him to USA where he uncovered more secrets. I will leave it to the reader to find out what happened and the ending.


William Boyd has included the main ingredients essential for a James Bond story: Bond girls, alcohol, innovative gadgets, deception, battle of wits, and mysterious characters. It is an interesting read, though I find the pace of some sections a little slow. William Boyd also described, through James Bond’s eyes, the plight of innocent civilians who were caught in the war when the 2 armies fought for control over their villages, showing the impact of wars on civilians and their helplessness. And when the whole mystery was finally revealed, I find the whole plot a little complicated. What was initially presented to the readers as a war between 2 tribes, became something that involved various foreign powers with vested interests.



PS: I borrowed this book from the library. I have not received any form of compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the publisher or author mentioned in the post.


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