Raymond Benson novels

Thanks for showing these! It is interesting to see how the german language market presented them.

Took me a moment to figure out where the other four covers were. I expect everyone else will know instinctively to click on the posted image.


Good you point it out, @AMC_Hornet: the image in my previous post is indeed three times the size of the small version; just click on it to expand.

Thanks for mentioning this, I didn’t have a clue either! :pleading_face:

The Icebreaker one is interesting in that NONE of the pictures has anything at all to do with the book. Also, the girl reminds me of Caroline Munro’s Naomi.

Most of these covers are fairly generic action pieces you could have found on every other rental video cassette. For Special Services stands out since it has at least a trace of Bond atmosphere and evidently was conceived by somebody who actually read the book: the Saab and the VP70 are both in the book and the rocket at least points to the ‘space wolves’ McGuffin. So that’s a good fit for a paperback first release; you see there evidently went some thought into the design.

Role of Honour on the surface seems to mirror that effort. But the Bond image is simply grabbed from Moore; the Bentley, while in the book, is not doing a lot, and the opportunities from the plot - mercenary camp, dirigible - are left untouched. It’s still a drawn image but could have been just as well photoshopped a few years later. This was done by a publisher who didn’t have much use for the license any more, no doubt due to disappointing sales.

I’ve started Benson, completing Zero Minus Ten. Especially after Gardner, the writing style is simplistic, feeling more like an outline than a fully developed novel. Licence Renewed was the stronger debut from my perspective. I’ll keep going though, largely because I’m eager to reach the Union Trilogy.


As has been mentioned before, Benson’s plotting isn’t bad—in fact it can be quite strong. Unfortunately his prose is simply lacking in any real style or “zing.” It simply tells the story and not much more. Having said that, Benson does improve over his tenure.


While High Time to Kill is my favorite of his (and one of my favorite continuation novels in general), I too found that Benson got better as he went along. It was really only his first two that struggled in the prose department (or I just got used to his writing style by that point). Regardless, I found his plotting far stronger than Gardner’s. Whereas Gardner seemed to get worse as he went on (I can’t even remember the plots of his last five or six), Benson really began to find his groove by the end of his tenure. The Man With the Red Tattoo is also a favorite of mine.


I’m enjoying the cinematic style and could see several elements working in future films. I quite like the idea of having Shamelady as Bond’s house in Jamaica, providing residual continuity with NTTD while being a reboot. I also like having a new global organisation other than SPECTRE, a brand new car and Australia as a location.

I finished The Facts of Death and agree with your statement. I could feel the gradual improvement in the reading experience. I’m now ready to begin my main meal of The Union Trilogy.


My main gripe with the Benson novels ,as I’ve mentioned before,is he writes about locations as if he’s read about them from a brochure. The way he describes main Street in Gibraltar is literally lifted word for word out of the tourist leaflet.

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I’ve been reading a lot of books in the past year or so, and a base level of expectation for me is if I’m engaged enough to continue reading. Especially if it’s for pleasure and not research. From High Time To Kill onwards Benson fulfilled that criteria for me. He put fun and colour into Bond’s world with his characters and concepts. I had a good time. That goes a very long way for me, to the point I’m willing to let any other potential misgivings slide.


Overall, I still prefer Gardner’s first nine.