Double or Nothing

By Kim Sherwood

Double or Nothing, a novel by Kim Sherwood
Book details Books in the series

James Bond has evolved through the decades from the original Ian Fleming books to a world-famous series of films and even classic computer games, but at their heart the best Bonds all hark back to Fleming’s style. Double or Nothing by Kim Sherwood is a surprise then as it is a Bond book without Bond. He is missing and it is up to other 00 Agents to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Although Bond may be absent, his presence is not. This is a thoroughly modern Bond book that brings Fleming’s voice into 2022 and promises the future. 

Bond has been missing for over a year and in a modern world of face recognition and computer infiltration, this is as good as him being dead. Moneypenny, now in charge of the 00 Agents, refuses to believe this and sends out some of her best young Agents to unearth Bond. In doing so they will come across a powerful mercenary network and am eccentric Billionaire who claims to want to save the world, but does he just want to own it? 

Having no Bond in a Bond book should prove impossible, but Sherwood has noticed that Bond is only part of a wider Double 0 Universe. The likes of M, Q and Moneypenny are still present, as are several new Agents. It feels like a Fleming novel, it has that cynical edge and mixture of spy craft, action and alure. However, it also feels very much a book for today’s audience. Moneypenny is in charge; Q is now an AI that trawls the world’s data for inconsistencies and M a former Agent turned boss. 

The young Agents also feel fresh, diverse, intelligent, and deadly. 003, Johanna Harwood has just been rescued and needs debriefing, who better to test her loyalty than her own ex-fiancé, Sid Bashir, also known as 009. 004 is Joseph Dryden a former soldier who lost his hearing when caught in a IED attack. Now he hosts an ultra-modern neural linkup directly to Q and the team back at base. All new Agents, but they all have something in common with Bond; the cold ability to kill. 

Sherwood plays up the duplicitous nature of the Agents. There are few people less trustworthy than someone who lies for a living. At several points in the book you do not know who to trust, all the way up to the top of the Agency. There are several character flips and reveals as the reader discovers yet another secret. The book is multi-layered with several investigations ongoing at once. The gold at the end of the rainbow is the fate of Bond, but you will have to read the book to see what happens there. 

The book feels 2022, and even a little techno futuristic, but in its intrigue it has that classic mid 20th century Fleming feel. Like those Bond books, there is also plenty of action alongside the spying. Sherwood does an excellent job of creating different scales of action from short fights to epic car chases. When reading the book you can see it being adapted into a film, or even better a high-quality miniseries. 

Introducing a Bond fan to three new 00 Agents could have failed, but Sherwood stays true to the feel of Fleming in terms of their actions and that of how Fleming wrote about MI6. The characters themselves are modern and diverse. Rather than disturbing the legacy of Bond, it gives the franchise some new legs. There has always been more to MI6 than Bond and now we get to see more from 00 agents other than being killed in a clown suit or failing from the top of a satellite. The Double 0 Universe has a lot more stories to provide and mysteries to uncover. 

Written on 31st August 2022 by .

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