The Red Danube
His hand on the dead-man throttle, the driver of the Serbian Rail diesel felt the thrill he always did on this particular stretch of railway, heading north from Belgrade and approaching Novi Sad.
This was the route of the famed Arlberg Orient Express, which ran from Greece through Belgrade and points north from the 1930s until the 1960s. Of course, he was not piloting a glistening Pacific 231 steam locomotive towing elegant mahogany-and-brass dining cars, suites and sleepers, where passengers floated upon vapors of luxury and anticipation. He commanded a battered old thing from America that tugged behind it a string of more or less dependable rolling stock packed snugly with mundane cargo.
But still he felt the thrill of history in every vista that the journey offered, especially as they approached the river, his river.
And yet he was ill at ease.
Among the wagons bound for Budapest, containing coal, scrap metal, consumer products and timber, there was one that worried him greatly. It was loaded with drums of MIC — methyl isocyanate — to be used in Hungary in the manufacture of rubber.
The driver — a round, balding man in a well-worn cap and stained overalls — had been briefed at length about this deadly chemical by his supervisor and some idiot from the Serbian Safety and Well-being Transportation Oversight Ministry. Some years ago this substance had killed eight thousand people in Bhopal, India, within a few days of leaking from a manufacturing plant there.
He'd acknowledged the danger his cargo presented but, a veteran railway man and union member, he'd asked, "What does that mean for the journey to Budapest . . . specifically?"
The boss and the bureaucrat had regarded each other with the eyes of officialdom and, after a pause, settled for "Just be very careful."
The lights of Novi Sad, Serbia's second-largest city, began to coalesce in the distance, and ahead in the encroaching evening the Danube appeared as a pale stripe. In history and in music the river was celebrated. In reality it was brown, undramatic and home to barges and tankers, not candlelit vessels filled with lovers and Viennese orchestras — or not here, at least. Still, it was the Danube, an icon of Balkan pride, and the railway man's chest always swelled as he took his train over the bridge.
His river . . .
He peered through the speckled windscreen and inspected the track before him in the headlight of the General Electric diesel. Nothing to be concerned about.
There were eight notch positions on the throttle, number one being the lowest. He was presently at five and he eased back to three to slow the train as it entered a series of turns. The 4,000-horsepower engine grew softer as it cut back the voltage to the traction motors.
© 2011 All Rights Reserved
A new James Bond novel is cause for celebration, but when Jeffery Deaver writes it, let the fireworks begin!
A lifelong Ian Fleming fan, Deaver felt the British author’s influence early on—his own first fiction, at age 11, featured a hero based on 007! The winner of the 2004 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden of Beasts, Deaver was blown away by the honor when Fleming’s estate approached him last year to write the next Bond novel.
Now it’s here. The series’ 37th novel updates the agent’s backstory for the 21st century while maintaining Bond’s famous persona and Fleming’s unique tone. And surprises abound. On his latest assignment, the jet-setting spy sweeps through exotic, glamorous—and dangerous—places around the globe, stopping off for a few thrilling hours in the dazzling city of Dubai. A place never before used in any Bond novel, this burgeoning metropolis provides an exciting backdrop for heart-stopping action, as 007’s search for a very disturbing villain pushes the hero to new extremes. But in matters of international security, are there lines even James Bond should not cross?
Get ready for the blockbuster read of the summer, as Jeffery Deaver gives James Bond…Carte Blanche.
Hardcover Book : 448 pages
Publisher: Simon And Schuster, Inc. ( June 14, 2011 )
Item #: 13-384665
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.0inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Not nearly as good as his other books that we've read, but I guess we all have a slow peroid?
Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme novels are suspense-packed with engaging characters, that is why it is so surprising that Carte Blanche is neither. There's no action to speak of and the characters are bland and uninspiring. Definitely not the James Bond we are all used to. I didn't even get halfway through the book...
I've read all the Ian Fleming Bonds. Deaver does a good job....but the original is always better. However, if he writes another story, I'll buy the book. Kept my interest.
While it was an entertaining story, to me it was mildly disappointing and I just did not get that "James Bond" feel from it.
I had read all the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. This is a great read. Lots of action and Jeffrey Deaver did a great job.