Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

007 Gets More Than One over the Eight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

007 Gets More Than One over the Eight

Article excerpt


SOLO: A JAMES BOND NOVEL by William Boyd (Cape, [pounds sterling]18.99) JAMES Bond has always liked a drop, we know. A cocktail here, a little fizz there. In William Boyd's new Bond adventure, licensed by the Fleming estate, which portrays Bond at the age of 45 in 1969, however, James drinks enough to float a boat. He drinks so much you wonder that he ever has time or inclination to do anything else, let alone the health or sobriety.

He drinks champagne, two dry martinis, a bottle of Taittinger Rose 1960, a bottle of Chateau Batailley 1959, a glass of Valpolicella, another glass, three fingers of Dimple Haig, a double brandy and soda and then another one. Courage! We're not finished yet.

He has a local African beer, Green Star, and then another one, a large whisky and soda and then another one, a bottle of Johnnie Walker, then another Green Star, two large whisky and sodas, a bottle of schnapps, another whisky and soda, a generous three fingers of Scotch, a half-bottle of Dewar's whisky and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Onwards!

He has a carafe of Barolo, an inch of brandy in a tumbler, a bottle of Taittinger, a light and fruity Chianti, a brandy again and another bottle of champagne. He has two large bourbons, a vacuum flask filled with a weak solution of bourbon and iced water (for work), a badly made dry martini, a bottle of bourbon, two fingers of bourbon, a vodka martini, a bottle of Jim Beam, another bourbon, another bottle of champagne and another vodka martini. Not long now, promise.

He has a bottle of Chateau Lynch-Bages 1953, a calvados, a bottle of Gordon's, more champagne, a bottle of Chateau Cantemerle 1955 and another inch of brandy in a tumbler. And we're done! That is what James Bond is described as drinking in this fairly brief adventure, give or take a few snorters I may have missed.

Has any author ever been so assiduous in keeping his protagonist topped up? It seems almost to be Boyd's chief preoccupation in this otherwise rather inattentive novel. It takes Bond to Boyd's old stamping ground, West Africa, to a fictional state called Zanzarim, a former British colony, now torn apart by civil war between the southern and northern tribes, the Fakassa and the Lowele, following the discovery of vast oil reserves. …

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