Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Role of Honour

Go To

The fourth James Bond novel by John Gardner, published in 1984.

Under orders from MI-6, Bond resigns from his work under pretense of corruption. He is then sent to infiltrate a company run by ex-military computer technician who is suspected for several daring robberies. This leads to the uncovering of a conspiracy against many a nation.

This novel contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Three ladies are named so; Persephone "Percy" Proud, Freddie Fortune and Cindy Chalmer. Bond ends up sleeping with all of them.
  • Big Bad: Prof. Jason St. John-Finnes, previously known as Dr. Jay Antem Holy. He is actually just The Dragon, and Rahani is the main villain.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • As Bond sings by himself while driving, he is unable to finish a verse about a wife, since it reminds him of the late Tracy Draco.
    • "The place is electronically buttoned like Fort Knox — you remember Fort Knox?"
  • Cool Car: Because his sudden will decrees that at least hundred thousand pounds must be spend in "frivolous manner", Bond buys himself a new Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, which he had dreamed about since it came out a year before.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: After getting "kicked out" from MI-6, Bond has meetings with his bosses in a cosmetics shop.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Tamil Rahani, a business partner of Dr. Holy and Gen. Zwingli, is suspected by MI-6 in being involved in illegal activities (he is).
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Thanks to Bond, one mook shoots another and the shot mook keeps firing his submachine gun as he falls over dead, killing the other as well.
  • Driving into a Truck: Bond is ambushed on the road by other vehicles and is herded to drive into a truck's open ramp, and into truck itself.
  • Evil Plan: Using stolen ciphers only available for the leaders of USA and Soviet Union on special frequencies, the bad guys initially plan to trick them both to destroy all their nuclear codes, leaving them defenseless and destabilizing the nuclear balance. When the plan is put into action, it is revealed that SPECTRE only wants to remove USA's nuclear defenses, and hand them over to Soviet Union.
  • Faking the Dead: Dr. Holy and Gen. Zwingli "died" in a plane crash, and started a computer simulations company in Oxfordshire as a first stage for their big plan.
  • First-Name Basis: Aside from the Officer Commanding and Bond, everyone in Erwhon are referred to by their first names.
  • Meaningful Name: Endor, the building that houses Gunfire Simulations, is named after the Witch of Endor, a medium whose false information led to loss of a battle. The Evil Plan, that is supposed to be launched from Endor, also hinges on misinformation in military actions.
  • On One Condition: As part of his quarter-million pound inheritance, Bond is required to spend at least hundred thousand pounds of it in a "frivolous and extravagant manner" within the first four months of getting it (apparently Uncle Bruce had a sense of humor). He spends most of the required sum on a new Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, and the remaining thirty thousand on friends (mostly female) and himself, including on gambling sprees.
  • Operation: [Blank]: The bad guys' plan is called Operation Down Escalator, a play on the word "de-escalation".
  • The Reveal:
    • Dr. Holy/Prof. St. John-Finnes is built up to be the sole major villain of the story, but is later revealed to be The Dragon for new leader of SPECTRE.
    • Tamil Rahani is the new leader of SPECTRE, and his plan is to remove only USA's nuclear capablities.
  • Show Some Leg: Cindy undresses in front of her room's window to distract two guards so that Bond can make his way to Endor establishment's garage, and relay a message to his people.
  • Significant Anagram: Erewhon is an intentional anagram for "nowhere".
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: In Erewhon, an area of houses called The Charnel is used as a training ground against anti-terrorist attacks. It is used as a Death Course for Bond to test him.
  • Sore Loser: After Prof. St. John-Finnes invites Bond to play a war game based on The American Revolution with him, he is warned that the man is a poor loser. Sure enough, he ends up having a childish tantrum at the end of the game.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Holy and Zwingli work with what turns out to be a band of apolitical mercenaries, "rent-a-terrorists", as Bond puts it.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: "Sinful" Cindy's face reminds Bond of a young Ella Fitzgerald, a jazz singer.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Bond inherits a quarter million pounds from an Australian uncle he has never heard of (Bruce, his father's younger brother). The following spending spree mandated by the will makes him seem suspicious in the eyes of his employers (except for a select few whom he'd reported the inheritance to, per service requirements) and some of their allies, since coincidentally there have been a couple of Soviet men (called "ambulance chasers") hiring double-agents lately.
  • War Gaming: Gunfire Simulations specializes in producing war game simulations for computers, and uses them as a pretense for conspiracy gatherings.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Holy and Swingli want world peace, even if it means to putting USA and Soviet Union in extremely vulnerable position.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Our principals are a group who call themselves SPECTRE."
    • "Come on, yourself, Jay. You didn't think we were really going to allow the Soviet Union to suffer the indignity of being stripped of her assets as well?"