Official, original James Bond from a writer described by Len Deighton as a 'master storyteller'.
In different corners of the world four high-profile figures are assassinated in less than a week. Nobody links the deaths but one thing is certain: each of them has been stalked, sought out and killed with care and preparation. Then a sinister connection is established: a single, blood-tipped rose is sent to each funeral and an unremarkable female agent is murdered in Switzerland.
When MI5 come to MI6 to ask for help M brings in his best. At first, a weekend abroad seems tempting to James Bond: especially when he's paired with Flicka von Grusse, a gorgeous Swiss intelligence officer. But this is a perilous assignment that starts with the mysterious actor David Dragonpol and leads them to Athens, Milan and on to EuroDisney ... and an explosive climax.
This sketchy detective story requires a knowledge of James Bond movies rather than Ian Fleming novels, which may explain why it reads like a rough draft for a screenplay. In Gardner's 12th 007 book (after Death Is Forever ), the ageless agent from Her Majesty's Secret Service is sent to Switzerland to investigate the murder of MI5 operative Laura March. Teaming up with Swiss agent Flica von Gruss, he discovers that March's brother was a serial killer and that her ex-lover was legendary English actor David Dragonpol, now retired and living in a fairy-tale castle on the Rhine. Dragonpol's sister, Maeve Horton, proves to be the link between March's death and four recent assassinations; a Bleeding Heart rose bred by Horton appeared at the funeral of each of the victims, March included. Bond and von Gruss pursue the case to Dragonpol's castle in Germany, where the usual fiendish plot is uncovered and ultimately resolved in the traditional Bond manner. This light, entertaining read doesn't pretend to be anything more than another episode in what has turned into a never-ending adventure.