The fourteenth James Bond novel by John Gardner, published in 1994.
A cruiser, which conveniently has Bond and his partner/lover Fredericka von Grüsse as its passengers, is attacked by pirates and is later sunk by an explosion. The ship's owner, Max Tarn, is already known for clandestine criminal endeavours, and Bond, the current leader of the newly-established Double-O section (now called Two Zeroes) is sent to investigate him.
This novel contains examples of:
- Arms Dealer: Under his legal practices, Tarn has a business in smuggling arms and military vehicles for terrorists and other shady business partners.
- Bastard Bastard: The government report on Max Tarn, who officially is the surviving son of the Prussian Tarn family, is suspected being an illegitimate child of Graf Klaus von Tarn and his housekeeper.
- Big Bad: Sir Maxwell Tarn.
- Co-Dragons: Maurice Goodwin (the head of Tarn's security) and Connie Spicer (Tarn's muscle).
- Continuity Nod:
- Bond is still together with Flicka, and the events of the previous book, where they met, is referenced.
- After Bond asks Flicka to marry him, it has him reminiscencing of his past loves Vesper Lynd, Honeychile Ryder, Domino Vitale, Tracy di Vincenzo and Kissy Suzuki.
- Felix Leiter's "argument with a shark" is mentioned when Bond meets him in San Juan. Bond's work with his daughter Cedar is also mentioned.
- Did the Earth Move for You, Too?: When an explosion rocks the Caribbean Prince, Flicka falls over and asks this from Bond.
- Domestic Abuse: Once he learned that his wife Trish is quarter Jewish, Max Tarn made her a recipient of violence, which Bond and Flicka learn when they meet her in Jerusalem and witness her battered face.
- Evil Plan: The purpose of Operation SeaFire is to cause a huge oil spill in the Caribbean and set it on fire, which is then going to be stopped and cleaned by Mare Nostrum, an experimental ship that Tarn had built. This is supposed to lead to the invigoration of Nazis.
- Faking the Dead: After learning that the government is looking into his affairs, Max Tarn arranges the "deaths" of himself and his wife in an exploding car.
- Faux Affably Evil: Tarn keeps up a friendly facade that hides his diabolicalness, which Bond instantly recognizes.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Bond kills one of the hijackers in the opening chapter by throwing a knife into his throat.
- Man on Fire:
- An officer of Caribbean Prince is engulfed in flames as he tries to put out a fire, and burns to death despite Bond's attempts of saving him.
- Bond sets Tarn on fire by shooting him with flares. He is then finished with a shotgun blast to the back of his head.
- The Mole: Bond finds out that one person in The Committee is leaking information to Tarn.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: Pirates attempt to rob the wealthy passengers of Caribbean Prince, but find out that Bond, thanks to his experience as an intelligence agent, is more ruthless.
- Samus Is a Girl: As Bond and Flicka go meet Trish Tarn in Jerusalem, they meet Archibald and Cuthbert who reveal themselves to be actually Cathy and Anna, a pair of women working for her.
- Sinking Ship Scenario: An explosion rips the hull of Caribbean Prince, and it goes bottom of the sea. It was caused by a torpedo, which was misfired by the submarine Tarn owns and had on a test run.
- Slashed Throat: An SAS man set to guard Trish is found with his throat slit.
- Those Two Guys: As Archibald and Cuthbert, Cathy and Anna put on an exaggerated act of being duo of killers who talk to each other very formally.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Tarn fashions himself as the next Hitler, and plans to restore Nazis into their former glory.
- The Von Trope Family: While he doesn't use it, Tarn is officially named Maxwell von Tarn.
- Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Bond approaches Tarn by pretending to be a disgruntled agent who is now no longer important to his government due to the Cold War being over.