Author Conrad Williams is the author of seven novels, four novellas and a collection of short stories. One was the winner of the August Derleth award for Best Novel (British Fantasy Awards 2010), while The Unblemished won the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel in 2007 (he beat the shortlisted Stephen King on both occasions). He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 1993, and another British Fantasy Award for Best Novella (The Scalding Rooms) in 2008.
His latest book, Dust and Desire, was released this week.
PI Joel Sorrell is approached by the mysterious Kara Geenan, who is desperate to find her missing brother. Joel takes on the case but almost immediately, an attempt is made on his life. The body count increases. And then PI Joel Sorrell is approached by the mysterious Kara Geenan, who is desperate to find her missing brother. Joel takes on the case but almost immediately, an attempt is made on his life. The body count increases. And then Kara vanishes too… as those close to Joel are sucked into his nightmare, he realizes he must track down the killer if he is to halt a grisly masterplan – even if it means sacrificing his own life.Kara vanishes too… as those close to Joel are sucked into his nightmare, he realizes he must track down the killer if he is to halt a grisly masterplan – even if it means sacrificing his own life.
And, Conrad is also a huge fan of author Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, so FOG! is proud to present his Top 5 James Bond novels!
To his chagrin (‘anger balling up inside him like cat’s fur’), 007 is dispatched to Jamaica to look into an affair regarding a bird sanctuary on Crab Key. It’s intended as an easy mission after the travails of his previous assignment (see no. 4 in my list) in which he was almost fatally poisoned with Tetrodotoxin courtesy of old bloody two-shoes herself: Rosa Klebb of the KGB. But while he is there he falls in with Honeychile Rider who tells him of a ‘dragon’ guarding Crab Key…
Dr. Julius No is a great Bond villain, with his steel pincers, ‘Dali-esque’ eyebrows and great lines (‘Is the Martini to your liking? You have cigarettes – enough and the right sort to cosset your cancer?’) although his death is not the kind of epic demise you’d expect, and was never going to be replicated in the film (although it would have been interested to hear what kind of quip Connery might have come out with).
4. From Russia with Love (1957)
Ian Fleming wasn’t averse to throwing something a bit different into the formula mix from time to time (eg. The Spy Who Loved Me). In this novel, James Bond doesn’t appear until we’re 80 pages deep, by which time we’ve been introduced to various SMERSH thugs and tacticians such as assassin Red Grant, Rosa Klebb and Victor Konstantin, all of them wrapped up in a honeytrap to lure 007 to his death, with the unwitting Tatiana as the bait. The train journey on the Orient Express is the highlight, with the tension rising as you know Red Grant is likely to be making his return at some point soon.
3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
The second in the so-called Blofeld trilogy (after Thunderball and preceding You Only Live Twice). This book reveals an emotional depth to 007 rarely seen previously (we are told that every year he comes back to Royale-les-Eaux to visit the grave of Vesper Lynd). Within the first few pages, Bond has resigned from the service, frustrated at having been forced into a detective role to find Ernst Stavro Blofeld (whom Bond believes is dead) and any remaining factions of SPECTRE. Bond saves the life of the suicidal Tracy and through her father’s connections, discovers that Blofeld is alive and well and hiding out in the Swiss mountains…
2. Moonraker (1955)
James Bond without the exotic locations? Get used to it in this novel, set exclusively in the UK. Hugo Drax, German, scarred, physically forbidding, has built the Moonraker, a rocket with nuclear capabilities. M sends 007 on a recce to the missile base and it is here that he bumps into the alluring Gala Brand, a police mole working undercover in the guise of Drax’s PA. Together they uncover a plot hatched by Drax: he intends to weaponise the rocket and destroy London. This novel, the third in the series, gives us a glimpse of Bond at home. We get to understand what his life is like outside of the Service to some degree. He is humanised, after the superhero antics of his first two adventures.
1. Casino Royale (1953)
The first Bond novel and, for me, the best. Lean and brutal and tense. Le Chiffre is the villain, paymaster for a SMERSH splinter group. Bond is charged with the task of bankrupting him and this he does in some style, at the baccarat tables of the casino in Royale-les-Eaux, France. In response, Le Chiffre kidnaps Bond’s new squeeze, Vesper Lynd, and ends up torturing 007 during one particularly eye-watering scene. Bond’s last statement, the final line of the novel, indicates the depths of his coldness and sets the bar for the rest of the series.