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Literature / Scorpius

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The seventh James Bond novel by John Gardner, published in 1988.

It comes to light that a cult called the Society of the Meek Ones is actually a cover for Vladimir Scorpius, an infamous gun-runner who is yet to be apprehended for his crimes. Bond is sent after him, and the chase soon develops desperate tones as Scorpius' Meek Ones start committing suicide attacks on important political targets.

This novel contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Harriett Horner, but she's quick to point out that her second name (Irene) breaks the alliteration.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Arms Dealer: Supplying arms is Scorpius' specialty, usually for terrorist organizations. Lack of any clear evidence pointing at him keeps him in business.
  • Big Bad: Vladimir Scorpius, currently operating under the alias of Father Valentine.
  • Big "NO!": Scorpius' last words as he's killed by snakes.
  • Bookcase Passage: The door to Scorpius' dining room is hidden behind a bookcase, which can be opened by pulling a copy of War and Peace.
  • Continuity Nod: As Bond is questioned about his relationship with Emma Dupré, the events of Nobody Lives for Ever are referred to as a "thing with Rahani" and later Bond brings up his "little legacy" from Role of Honour.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Bond, enraged from Harriett's death, forces Scorpius to walk into the marshlands behind his estate, and watches as the cottonmouths swarm and kill him.
  • Death Glare: Once Wolkovsky finally admits that he knew Horner's presence in England, M is described giving him a cold stare likes of which tend to send people to Siberian gulags.
  • Downer Ending: The book ends with Harriet Horner dying and Bond shooting his ally's innocent, albeit brainwashed daughter out of necessity.
  • The Dragon: Scorpius' mole within the Operation Harvester, Detective Superintendent Bailey.
  • Evil Plan: Disrupt the British General Election with suicide bombings, culminating with a final attack at the White House, targets being the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the President of United States.
  • The Last Title: The final chapter bears the name "The Last Enemy".
  • The Mole: Bond suspects that the SAS member Pearlman to be working for Scorpius, and sure enough, he appears in a safehouse to capture him. However, Pearlman tells Bond that he is only working for Scorpius because his daughter had joined the Meek Ones when he was away, and wants Bond's co-operation to save her.
  • Mythology Gag: As Bond watches The Untouchables as an in-flight movie, narration notes that his favourite actor plays a Chicago cop in it.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Scorpius, which is Latin for scorpion.
  • Operation: [Blank]:
    • The operation to find and stop the Meek Ones is named Harvester.
    • The operation to stop the killing of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the President of United States in the climax is called Last Enemy.
  • Scary Scorpions: Bond and Harriett become trapped in a glass cage that is slowly being filled with hundreds of scorpions when they try to escape from Ten Pines.
  • Suicide Attack: Scorpius, through his cult's religious dogma, has turned its followers into what Bond describes as a "self-perpetuating killing machine". The cult's members get married and will sacrifice themselves for "the revolution" on their master's orders after they have had children. The children will grow up to fulfill this same role as needed, giving Scorpius an endless supply of suicide-bombers-for-hire for his clients.
  • White-Collar Crime: US Internal Revenue is after Father Valentine for the billions of dollars he owes to them. They have sent their agent Horner to England to find him.