The CBn ‘Looking Back…’ series now moves onto Raymond Benson’s fifth original James Bond novel, Never Dream Of Dying. First released in May of 2001, this was Benson’s final novel of the Union Trilogy. CBn takes an indepth look back at Never Dream Of Dying. Included are publication details, trivia notes about the book and CBn Forum fan reactions…
In Raymond Benson’s chilling new James Bond novel, Bond comes face to face at last with the most cunning criminal mastermind he has ever fought–the blind genius behind the brutal organization called the Union.
It begins at a movie studio in Nice where a police raid goes horribly wrong, killing innocent men, women and even children. It continues in an English prison, where a dead man discloses an intriguing secret about the brutal criminal organisation called the Union. The trail leads James Bond to Paris, where he meets the tantalising movie star Tylyn Mignonne and embarks on a voyage of sensual discovery.
But Tylyn is in mortal danger. Her husband, a volatile French film producer, has not forgiven his glamorous wife for ending their troubled marriage–and he is connected to the Union’s thugs.
Meanwhile Bond’s friend, French agent Mathis, has disappeared while tracking down the Union’s mysterious leader, Le Gérant. Bond’s journey takes him to a thrilling underwater brush with death, a chase through the Corsican wilderness, a surprise encounter with an old friend–and a final confrontation with a twisted criminal genius.
UK First Edition Hodder & Stoughton Hardback
Never Dream Of Dying is the final book of the Union trilogy–the other two being High Time To Kill and Doubleshot.
Unlike some previous James Bond novels by Raymond Benson, Never Dream Of Dying was the author’s original choice for the title.
The US G.K. Hall Large Print hardback edition of Never Dream Of Dying shares the same cover as the US Putnam hardback.
The name ‘Tylyn’ is taken from a Playboy playmate that was a friend of Raymond Benson.
While being promoted to the Captain status in later John Gardner James Bond novels, here 007 is a Commander once again.
Raymond Benson’s Never Dream Of Dying
The author’s fifth original James Bond novel (he’s also adapted two of the recent big-screen adventures) is classic Bond. Here we have a larger-than-life villain (the mysterious leader of the Union, an international terrorist organization), a diabolical plot (yes, it involves world domination), lots of action, and plenty of snappy Bond dialogue…
What sets this book apart from its two predecessors in the Union series, however, is not just a better constructed and more gripping plot, but also the humanisation of Bond… he has rediscovered the mood and psyche of the self-assured and, at times, humorous assassin… Bond is human, after all, and Benson has him looking deep within himself.
- 2001: 1st British Hodder & Stoughton Hardback Edition
- 2001: 1st American Putnam Hardback Edition
- 2001: 1st British Coronet Paperback Edition
- 2001: 1st American G.K. Hall Large Print Hardback Edition
- 2002: 1st British Windsor/Chivers Press Large Print Hardback Edition
- 2002: 1st American Jove Paperback Edition
***WARNING***: Some of the following reviews contain major spoilers regarding this novel.
I loved Never Dream Of Dying, and if they were to only make one of the continuation novels into a film, this would probably be the one that I would choose to adapt.
CBn Forum member tdalton
Whilst I cannot say Never Dream Of Dying is my favourite Benson (Doubleshot is my favourite, followed closely by Zero Minus Ten), I still loved it! Of course, the Union and their leader return, so naturally I was excited to read their next adventure (as I read the trilogy as soon as each novel was released and therefore obviously in order). My only disappointment with the novel is the fact that Le Gérant may be dead. However, Benson saved himself beautifully, by allowing his return.
I was also surprised with his treatment of Draco, though I wasn’t necessarily annoyed with it. Raymond, himself explained to me, in one of the interviews I did with him, that Draco is a villain, pure and simple (he’s head of the Union Corse!). So it’s quite reasonable that he should turn on Bond, especially after Bond got his daughter involved with Blofeld in the first place!
The locations in the novel are also beautifully mapped out and described by Benson. Such as France and Corsica…
The novel also has some extremely tense moments, such as the early scenes in France, as well as Bond’s animal dream. This passage is particularly impressive and well thought out.
Overall, it’s still a strong novel. Great villain, interesting Bond girl, the return of Mathis, a torture sequence, a confrontation with Le Gérant and the return of Draco. Benson does it again for me.
CBn Forum member James Boldman
Benson took on a bit more than he could chew by incorporating Draco. The Draco “twist” actually takes over the majority of the book really and leaves Le Gérant in the dust. Honestly, he didn’t need to incorporate the second wife and child being killed into this. Revenge over Tracy was enough even with the significant time difference.
CBn Forum member Willowhugger
Never Dream Of Dying is my #1 favorite Benson book.
CBn Forum member zencat
Not my favorite of Benson’s, mostly due to the Draco issue, but I do believe it has the best torture and escape sequence of any of the Benson novels. Made me flinch. Hell, makes me flinch just thinking about it right now.
CBn Forum member clinkeroo
It’s quite a good read, but not as well-crafted or enjoyable as The Man with the Red Tattoo (Benson’s best, in my opinion) or Zero Minus Ten. Much better than the dire High Time To Kill, though. A fun timekiller.
CBn Forum member Loomis
This was the first Benson book I read last year, before moving backwards down the line (I had been a hold-out thinking no one could really match Fleming’s Bond) and I absolutely loved this book. It was a great set up and I just couldn’t put it down. By far, the best of Benson’s novels.
CBn Forum member Agent 0011
I liked Never Dream Of Dying very much. It is very interesting and it is hard to stop reading, but it doesn’t really seem Bond. I don’t like that the movie things are involved and the climax at Cannes… if it had not been for that it would have been a masterpiece. Well, the book is better than High Time To Kill, but not better than Doubleshot.
The ending on Corsica when attacking the Union is great! But I would have enjoyed it more if Bond and Le Gérant had a bigger fight with each other…
CBn Forum member Kronsteen