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John Gardner (thriller writer)

John Gardner (thriller writer)

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Not to be confused with John Gardner (American writer)



John Edmund Gardner (20 November 1926 – 3 August 2007) was an English spy novelist, most notably for the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 series.

Early life


Gardner was born in Seaton Delaval
Seaton Delaval
Seaton Delaval is a village in Northumberland, England, with a population of 4,371. It is the largest of the five villages in Seaton Valley and is the site of Seaton Delaval Hall, the masterpiece completed by Sir John Vanbrugh in 1727....

, Northumberland. He graduated from St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college's alumni include nine Nobel Prize winners, six Prime Ministers, three archbishops, at least two princes, and three Saints....

 and did postgraduate study at Oxford. During World War II Gardner served in the Home Guard until he became of age to volunteer for service in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm
Fleet Air Arm
The Fleet Air Arm is the branch of the British Royal Navy responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm currently operates the AgustaWestland Merlin, Westland Sea King and Westland Lynx helicopters...

 then transferred to the Royal Marines 42 Commando
42 Commando
42 Commando Royal Marines is a battalion sized formation of the British Royal Marines and a subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet....

 serving in the Middle East and Far East. Gardner's father was a clergyman in the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 and encouraged Gardner to follow his example. Gardner was ordained and served as a priest for seven years before deciding he did not have the proper vocation and withdrawing from the clergy. He then worked as a journalist and theatre critic.

Career


In 1964, Gardner began his novelist career with The Liquidator
The Liquidator (novel)
The Liquidator was the first novel written by John Gardner and the first novel in his Boysie Oakes series.After publishing his autobiographical account of alcoholism Spin the Bottle, Gardner decided to write a novel about governments killing people...

, in which he created a richly comic character named Boysie Oakes
Boysie Oakes
Boysie Oakes is fictional secret agent created by the British spy novelist John Gardner in 1964 at the height of the fictional spy mania. Oakes is a richly comic character who is inadvertently taken to be a tough, pitiless man of action and is thereupon recruited into a British spy agency...

 who inadvertently is mistaken to be a tough, pitiless man of action and is thereupon recruited into a British spy agency. Oakes is, in actuality, a devout coward with many other character failings who wants nothing more than to be left alone and is terrified by the situations into which he is constantly being forced. The book appeared at the height of the fictional spy mania and, as a send-up of the whole business, was an immediate success. It was made into a movie by MGM of the same title
The Liquidator (film)
The Liquidator is a 1965 MGM film starring Rod Taylor as Brian "Boysie" Oakes, Trevor Howard as his Intelligence Chief Mostyn and Jill St. John as Mostyn's secretary Iris MacIntosh. It was based on the first of a series of Boysie Oakes novels by John Gardner, The Liquidator.-Plot:The film follows...

, and another seven light-hearted novels about the cowardly Oakes appeared over the next 12 years.

Following the success of his Oakes books, Gardner continued to write with new characters: Derek Torry, Herbie Kruger, and the Railton family, which he intended as more serious works in the spy novel genre. Gardner also wrote three novels using the character of Professor Moriarty
Professor Moriarty
Professor James Moriarty is a fictional character and the archenemy of the detective Sherlock Holmes in the fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind, described by Holmes as the "Napoleon of Crime". Doyle lifted the phrase from a real Scotland Yard inspector who was...

 from the Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 series. The third of this series, titled simply Moriarty, was delayed due to a dispute with the publisher, but was finally released shortly after his death.

In 1981, Gardner was asked to revive Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming
Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer.Fleming is best known for creating the fictional British spy James Bond and for a series of twelve novels and nine short stories about the character, one of the biggest-selling series of fictional books of...

's James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 series of novels. Between 1981 and 1996, Gardner wrote fourteen James Bond novels, and the novelizations of two Bond films. While the books were commercial successes, Gardner was ambivalent about writing novels with a character he hadn't created. In 1996, Gardner officially retired from writing Bond novels. Glidrose Publications
Ian Fleming Publications
Ian Fleming Publications is the production company formerly known as both Glidrose Productions Limited and Glidrose Publications Limited, named after its founders John Gliddon and Norman Rose...

 quickly chose Raymond Benson
Raymond Benson
Raymond Benson is an American author best known for being the official author of the adult James Bond novels from 1997 to 2003. Benson was born in Midland, Texas and graduated from Permian High School in Odessa in 1973...

 to continue the literary stories of James Bond.

In the late 1990s, Gardner stopped writing for several years due to a prolonged battle with cancer and the death of his wife in 1997. Gardner recovered and returned to print in 2001 with a new novel, Day of Absolution, which was widely praised by critics. Gardner also began a series of books with a new character, Suzie Mountford, a 1930s police detective.

Death


Gardner died on Friday 3 August 2007 from suspected heart failure. He collapsed while shopping in Basingstoke
Basingstoke
Basingstoke is a town in northeast Hampshire, in south central England. It lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is southwest of London, northeast of Southampton, southwest of Reading and northeast of the county town, Winchester. In 2008 it had an estimated population of...

. Although he was later rushed to hospital, he died.

Boysie Oakes novels

  • The Liquidator
    The Liquidator (novel)
    The Liquidator was the first novel written by John Gardner and the first novel in his Boysie Oakes series.After publishing his autobiographical account of alcoholism Spin the Bottle, Gardner decided to write a novel about governments killing people...

    (1964)
  • Understrike
    Understrike
    Understrike is a novel by John Gardner. It is the second novel in his Boysie Oakes series....

    (1965)
  • Amber Nine (1966)
  • Madrigal (1967)
  • Founder Member (1969)
  • The Airline Pirates aka Air Apparent (1970)
  • Traitor's Exit (1970)
  • Killer for a Song (1976)

Two Boysie Oakes short stories in The Assassination File

Professor Moriarty novels

  • Return of Moriarty (1974)
  • Revenge of Moriarty (1975)
  • Moriarty (2008)

Herbie Kruger novels

  • Nostradamus Traitor (1979)
  • Garden of Weapons (1980)
  • Quiet Dogs (1982)
  • Maestro (1993)
  • Confessor (1995)

James Bond novels

  • Licence Renewed
    Licence Renewed
    Licence Renewed , first published in 1981, is the first novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. It was the first proper James Bond novel since Kingsley Amis's Colonel Sun in 1968...

    (1981)
  • For Special Services
    For Special Services
    For Special Services, first published in 1982, was the second novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by McCann and Geoghegan.-For...

    (1982)
  • Icebreaker
    Icebreaker (novel)
    Icebreaker, first published in 1983, was the third novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and is the first Bond novel to be published in the United States by...

    (1983)
  • Role of Honour
    Role of Honour
    Role of Honour , first published in 1984, was the fourth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond...

    (1984)
  • Nobody Lives for Ever
    Nobody Lives For Ever
    Nobody Lives for Ever , first published in 1986, was the fifth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond...

    (1986)
  • No Deals, Mr. Bond
    No Deals, Mr. Bond
    No Deals, Mr. Bond, first published in 1987, was the sixth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Putnam...

    (1987)
  • Scorpius
    Scorpius (novel)
    Scorpius, first published in 1988, is the seventh novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Putnam.Considered one of the most...

    (1988)
  • Win, Lose or Die
    Win, Lose or Die
    Win, Lose or Die, first published in 1989, was the eighth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Hodder and Stoughton and in the United States by Putnam.Beginning with this...

    (1989)
  • Licence to Kill
    Licence to Kill
    Licence to Kill, released in 1989, is the sixteenth entry in the Eon Productions James Bond series and the first one not to use the title of an Ian Fleming novel. It marks Timothy Dalton's second and final performance in his brief tenure in the lead role of James Bond...

    (1989) – novelization of a film script
  • Brokenclaw
    Brokenclaw
    Brokenclaw, first published in 1990, was the tenth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Putnam...

    (1990)
  • The Man from Barbarossa
    The Man from Barbarossa
    The Man from Barbarossa, first published in 1991, was the eleventh novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Putnam.More so than...

    (1991)
  • Death Is Forever
    Death is Forever
    Death Is Forever, first published in 1992, was the twelfth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond...

    (1992)
  • Never Send Flowers
    Never Send Flowers
    Never Send Flowers, first published in 1993, was the thirteenth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond...

    (1993)
  • SeaFire
    SeaFire
    SeaFire, first published in 1994, was the fourteenth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond...

    (1994)
  • GoldenEye (1995) – novelization of a film script
  • COLD
    COLD (novel)
    COLD, first published in 1996, was the sixteenth and final novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond...

    (1996)

The Railton family novels

  • Secret Generations (1985)
  • The Secret Houses (1988)
  • The Secret Families (1989)

Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford novels

  • Bottled Spider (2002)
  • The Streets of Town (2003)
  • Angels Dining at the Ritz (2004)
  • Troubled Midnight (2005)
  • No Human Enemy (2007)

Other books

  • Hideaway (1968) – short story collection
  • The Censor (1970)
  • Every Night's a Bullfight (1971)
  • Assassination File (1974) – short story collection
  • To Run a Little Faster (1976)
  • The Werewolf Trace (1977)
  • The Dancing Dodo (1978)
  • Golgotha (1980)
  • Garden of Weapons (1980)
  • The Director (1982)
  • Flamingo (1983)
  • Day of Absolution (2001)

30th Anniversary James Bond reprints


To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Licence Renewed, Ian Fleming Publications
Ian Fleming Publications
Ian Fleming Publications is the production company formerly known as both Glidrose Productions Limited and Glidrose Publications Limited, named after its founders John Gliddon and Norman Rose...

 will re-release John Gardner's first five James Bond novels in hardback using their original artwork. Subsequently, all fourteen of Gardner's 007 novels will be released in paperback by Orion starting in 2012. In the USA, the fourteen novels will be re-released by Pegasus starting in autumn 2011. Gardner's two movie novelizations, Licence To Kill
Licence to Kill
Licence to Kill, released in 1989, is the sixteenth entry in the Eon Productions James Bond series and the first one not to use the title of an Ian Fleming novel. It marks Timothy Dalton's second and final performance in his brief tenure in the lead role of James Bond...

and GoldenEye
GoldenEye
GoldenEye is the seventeenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film was directed by Martin Campbell and is the first film in the series not to take story elements from the works of novelist Ian Fleming...

, will also be included in the UK paperback re-release schedule.

On the subject of the choice of introduction writers for the reprints, Simon Gardner, son of the late author said in a recent interview: "Otto Penzler was a dear friend of my Father's and they were involved on numerous projects together. Raymond Benson is also an obvious choice as he has run the gauntlet of being a Bond continuation author. Raymond is a wonderful guy and became a true friend of my father before he died."

External links