Licence Renewed: Wikis


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Licence Renewed  

1st edition Jonathan Cape cover
Author John Gardner
Cover artist Richard Chopping
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series James Bond
Genre(s) Spy novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date 1981
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 272 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-224-01941-4 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC Number 8146232
Preceded by James Bond and Moonraker
Followed by For Special Services

Licence Renewed (published in American editions as License Renewed), first published in 1981, is the first novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond.[1] It was the first proper James Bond novel (not counting novelisations and a faux biography) since Kingsley Amis's Colonel Sun in 1968. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Richard Marek.

The release of Licence Renewed successfully relaunched the Bond literary franchise, being the first of 14 original novels by Gardner until his retirement in 1996. In that time frame Gardner also wrote two novelisations.


Updating James Bond

When hired to begin a new series of James Bond novels, author John Gardner was tasked with updating James Bond and his allies and transporting them into the 1980s.

I described to the Glidrose Board how I wanted to put Bond to sleep where Fleming had left him in the sixties, waking him up now in the 80s having made sure he had not aged, but had accumulated modern thinking on the question of Intelligence and Security matters. Most of all I wanted him to have operational know-how: the reality of correct tradecraft and modern gee-whiz technology.
John Gardner[2]

Updating the time frame to the 1980s, Gardner's series picks up the career of James Bond some years after the Fleming novels ended. Due to the time frame change Gardner's series suggests that Fleming's stories took place in the 1960s and 70s, rather than the 1950s and 60s.

Likewise with James Bond, his companions and allies, specifically those working for the British Secret Service such as M, Bill Tanner, Miss Moneypenny, and Q are also all transported to the 1980s, although Q is rarely mentioned and is mostly substituted by Ann Reilly, a genius of gadgetry who is promptly nicknamed "Q'ute" by fellow workers as well as Bond, not long before being added to Bond's long list of romantic conquests.

Plot summary

When Licence Renewed begins, M reminds Bond that the 00 section has in fact been abolished; however, M retains Bond as a troubleshooter (pun intended), telling him "You'll always be 007 to me". Bond is assigned to investigate one Dr. Anton Murik, a brilliant nuclear physicist who is thought to have been having meetings with a terrorist named Franco. Franco is identified and tracked by MI5 to a village in Scotland called Murcaldy. Since Murcaldy is outside of MI5's jurisdiction, the Director-General of MI5, Richard Duggan requests that M send Bond to survey Murik. Relying on information that MI5 did not have, M changes Bond's assignment to instead infiltrate Murik's Scottish castle and gain Murik's confidence.

Bond makes contact with Murik at Ascot Racecourse where he feigns a coincidental meeting, mentioning to Murik that he is a mercenary looking for work. Later, Bond joins Murik in Scotland at Murik's behest and is hired to kill Franco, for reasoning at the time unknown. Franco in turn has been tasked by Murik to kill his young ward, Lavender Peacock because she was the true heir to the Murik fortune, which could only be proved by secret documents Anton kept in a hidden safe within his castle.

Murik's plan is to hijack six nuclear power plants around the world simultaneously with the aid of bands of terrorists supplied by Franco. To ensure that Murik can never be associated to this deal, he attempts to use Bond to assassinate Franco. Ultimately terrorists do take over six nuclear power plants, but are prevented from starting a meltdown when they are given an abort code by Bond, believing him to be Murik. Murik is eventually defeated by Bond and Lavender before his demands were met.


  • Dr. Anton Murik
    the current Laird of Murcaldy, owning the village of Murcaldy as well as most of the land surrounding it. Murik is a brilliant nuclear physicist who had been kicked out of the Atomic Energy Commission for his radical beliefs on the safety of nuclear power. Murik had claimed to have designed a nuclear reactor that was as powerful as a standard nuclear power plant, but safely disposed of the nuclear waste - a view debunked by many other nuclear physicists. To make a point to the world that the current nuclear power plants in use around the world were unsafe, Murik planned to have terrorists infiltrate six plants simultaneously and start a global meltdown.
  • Mary Jane Mashkin
    Murik's mistress who attempts to become "more than friends" with James Bond to see if Bond was lying to Murik about being a mercenary looking for work.
  • Lavender Peacock
    Dr. Anton Murik's ward. Unbeknownst to her, she is the true heir to the Murik family fortune.
  • Caber
    Murik's personal bodyguard and the "Champion of Murcaldy". He especially dislikes Bond for beating him in a wrestling match in which Bond cheated to ensure victory.
  • Franco Oliveiro Quesocriado
    an international terrorist leader wanted in most European countries as well as some in the Middle East. He aids Murik by supplying willing terrorists for his meltdown operation and additionally accepts the task of assassinating Murik's ward, Lavender.

The Silver Beast

In Licence Renewed Bond drives a Saab 900 Turbo. For some editions of the book, the car is shown as black or red on the book cover; however, in the book the car is silver. The vehicle took on the nickname the "Silver Beast"[3] in the follow-up Gardner novel, For Special Services.

The car is Bond's personal vehicle, updated on his own expense by Communication Control Systems Ltd (CCS), a real life company (now known as Security Intelligence Technology Group) that advised author John Gardner with ideas about feasible gadgets to be used. Consequently, Gardner gave them the credit in the book and not Q Branch.

With the release of Licence Renewed Saab Automobile took the opportunity to launch a Bond themed promotional campaign complete with an actual car outfitted like the one in the book (but using smoke instead of tear gas).[3]

Publication history


External links



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