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Literature / Death Is Forever

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The twelfth James Bond novel by John Gardner, published in 1992.

A British-American network of agents called Cabal has disappeared in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Now with many of them turning up dead, including the people sent out to look for them, Bond must find out what is really going on.

This novel contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: When Bond finally gets face to face with Weisen, he excepts him to be a monster-of-a-man worthy of the nickname "Poison Dwarf". He instead meets a pleasant, smooth-talking man who wouldn't be out of place in a Christmas movie, albeit one with hidden fanaticism and insanity.
  • Alliterative Name: Wolfgang Weisen, who is the second Big Bad in the Bond books to be part of the trope.
  • Animal Assassin: Staying at a hotel, Bond and Easy order sandwiches. When they are about to eat them, they find out that someone has planted eggs of poisonous spiders on them, which were supposed to hatch after ingestion.
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  • The Baroness: Monika Haardt, Weisen's lover and a fellow fanatic communist.
  • Bald of Evil: Weisen is described as having a small, round head with no hair.
  • Big Bad: Wolfgang Weisen, the former spymaster for Soviet Union.
  • City of Canals: Bond travels to Venice after he learns from the remaining members of Cabal that Weisen and Haardt are stationed there. In there, he stays in a hotel that can only be accessed with a boat.
  • Code Name:
    • Every agent in Cabal has a designated code name.
    • As Bond and Easy are tasked to find the living members of Cabal, they are given the names Vanya and Eagle, which were carried by the two previous agents looking for them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The failure of the coup in the last book is referenced. The real, less dramatic coup attempt that happened several months of after its release is also mentioned.
    • When Praxi, the sole alive member of Cabal, asks Bond that how much she has left considering that others are dead. Without thinking, Bond answers "all the time in the world", and immediately regrets it due to the all the pain it brings back in his mind.
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  • Dirty Communists: Weisen is a hardcore Stalinistic communist, who was brought into it by the man himself, whom he came regard as a father figure.
  • The Dragon: Weisen's mole in Cabal, the real Harry Spraker.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: The real name of the brutish Cabal agent Ariel is Karl Kuckuk (German for "cuckoo"), which is a sore spot for him. He insists upon being called by his nickname Bruin (old English for "bear").
  • Evil Laugh: After an ominous remark, evil blonde Dominic gives out a laugh which makes Bond think that it would be suitable for The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.
  • Evil Plan: Weisen has been eliminating Cabal members so that he can cover his tracks before attempting to destabilise the European community by by killing its leaders who are travelling through the Eurotunnel to Calais.
  • Faking the Dead: To throw suspicion off from him, Kapitan Wimper of Cabal arranged a corpse wearing his clothes into a river. Days later, its bloated appearance was enough to convince people that Wimper was dead.
  • Girl of the Week: Elizabeth Zara "Easy" St. John , the CIA agent tasked to work with Bond to find the Cabal agents. They fall for each other despite the initial problems of their partnership.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Bond and Wimper scale the wall of Weisen's building with the help of fictional Hilton Pyrotechnic gun, which can fire grapples for easy climbing. A mortar variant is also mentioned.
  • Groin Attack: Bond, terribly pissed off by the death of Easy, unleashes his rage on The Dragon by kicking him on the groin, following with a knee to the mouth as the guy keels over in pain.
  • High-Voltage Death: Bond kills Weisen and his men in the Eurotunnel by covertly sending a message to restore the power to the rails, which then fries them alive right before his eyes.
  • Honey Trap: It is revealed that Easy's predecessor slept with the traitor in Cabal, and unknowingly helped to bring them down. This is ultimately subverted that while she did sleep with a Cabal-member, the evidence of honeytrapping was actually faked.
  • Just Between You and Me: Averted. Weisen feels obliged to "fill in the blanks" of the events prior to their meeting for Bond before moving out and leaving him to be killed, but refuses to reveal the machinations of his main operation when questioned about it.
  • The Mole: Wimper pretended to be a mole for Weisen to find out the other, real one within the Cabal.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After stopping Weisen's Evil Plan, Bond is attacked in London by Monika Haardt who forces him into a Knife Fight.
  • Renegade Russian: Weisen seeks to restore international communism, and the novel repeatedly posits the threat of idealistic people who won't give up on it and will continue to fight the west until the bitter end.
  • Sex for Solace: Bond has sex with Praxi after she asks him to, so that he can help her cope with the deaths of the rest of the company.
  • Shout-Out: A mook has Bond dead on his sights, and says "Go on, punk. Make my day." Bond's ally Wimper then makes a timely appearance beside him and tells the mook to make his day.
  • Slashed Throat: Bond distracts one of Weisen's men by throwing his coat at him, and follows it by slicing his throat with a knife.
  • Stealing from the Till: A stabbing of Dmitri, an operative of Weisen's, seems to be out of context with the Cabal-business, but it is later revealed that he had been stealing from "operational funds", and Weisen had him killed because of it.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: Spraker complains about the use of this trope, telling Bond that an author whose book he is reading constantly uses it to describe people. Bond then notes that someone once told him that he "looked like Hoagy Carmichael with a cruel mouth", which is how he was described by Ian Fleming in Casino Royale.
  • Went to the Great X in the Sky: Bond tells Spraker, one of the Cabal agents, that the previous investigators of their disappearance are "going through a debriefing with that great Director of Intelligence in the sky".
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Weisen is genuinely saddened by the deaths of some of his men, and expresses it when he talks to Bond.