Taking on one of fiction’s all-time greatest heroes is no easy task, but Anthony Horowitz has proven to be the man for the job. Seeing this inexperienced side to Bond is refreshing and finally provides the true origin story that was always missing ... Horowitz has crafted an authentic, action-packed Bond novel that even the Fleming faithful will devour.
Horowitz has...come up with an excellent villain: a tremendously corpulent Corsican drug-dealer named Scipio ... Horowitz is good at action scenes, which he helps along with emotive adjectives ... Inevitably, the prose throughout is more verbose and cliched than the brutal efficiencies of Fleming, but Forever and a Day is still an enjoyably compact thriller, with an absolutely killer last line. Scattered throughout the book, too, are some pleasingly echt Bond moments, as when he tells one of his captors: 'It would be nice to know your name when I kill you.'
Sadly it’s very formulaic. Anyone who has read more than a couple of the post-Fleming Bond novels knows that we are going to get references to his knitted tie, love of scrambled eggs and heather honey, Scottish housekeeper, scarred cheek, moccasin shoes… There’s (much, much) more but that’s enough. Then there’s the customary sequence of scenes ... Exposition is clunkingly shovelled in ... There are moments so clunsy, you groan ... Still, if you can put all that behind you, it is a fun read—the well-worked-out plot is nicely twisting, even managing a surprise at the end, and there’s also some original, unpublished Fleming material in one chapter. Horowitz excels at action sequences and more than a third of the novel is taken up with car chases, shoot-outs, fights and explosions, so it’s by no means all bad.