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Literature / The Facts of Death

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The third James Bond novel (the Novelization of the film Tomorrow Never Dies being the second) by Raymond Benson, published in 1998.

Several chemical attacks has been carried out against Brits in Cyprus by a perpetrator dubbed as the "Number Killer", due to the painted numbers left into the scenes of the crime. Bond, who was part of the initial investigation, becomes fully involved when one of these attacks take place in London, and he ends up against an organization called Decada, which seeks to end the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.


This novel has examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Ashley Anderson, an infertility doctor and the Decada member Number Ten.
  • Arms Dealer: The US-based organization The Suppliers specializes in selling weapons to criminals and terrorists like Decada. It is eventually revealed that Decada had taken it over some time ago.
  • Auto Erotica: Bond and Mirakos spend some time together in Bond's Jaguar after a blowing up some Mooks' who tried to kill them on a mountain path.
  • Big Bad: The Monad, the One of Decada, a.k.a. Konstantine Romanos.
  • Bond One-Liner: One is given by Bond when he destroys the helicopter containing the remaining Decada members.
    Bond: Welcome to Hades, Hera.
  • The Brute: Romanos' cousin Vasillis, the Number Seven of Decada, who is a huge man acting as his bodyguard and enforcer.
  • Calling Card: Alongside with numbers next to the victims, the Number Killer also makes sure that there is always a statue of a Greek god nearby.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • It is mentioned how Sir Miles' previous servants, the Hammonds, met their untimely deaths during "the Colonel Sun affair".
    • Sir Miles tells Bond that Alfred Hutchinson has a terrible temper at losing at cards, which reminds him of Sir Hugo Drax.
    • The events of For Special Services are alluded to when Bond goes to Texas to meet Felix Leiter, with a mention of him losing his limbs in Live and Let Die thrown in as well.
    • Sir Miles tells Bond that Alfred Hutchinson's father was court martialed for "mislaying" Nazi Gold, and likens it to the situation from the short story "Octopussy".
  • Destination Defenestration: A guard dog attacks Bond as he spies on Vasillis in Texas, and he uses its own momentum to hurl it through a window.
  • The Dragon: Hera Volopoulos, the Number Two of Decada, a Dark Action Girl who was in fact raised by Romanos. Her experience comes in handy for her work as the Number Killer.
  • Evil Plan:
    • Dacada is going to commit ten acts of violence to provoke a conflict in Cyprus, which is supposed to end with Greece completely claiming the island for its own.
    • Hera, the traitorous member of Decada, plans to take over the organization and let loose a virus that acts like a ricin poisoning, and extort the world for the vaccine.
  • Evil Vegetarian: All main Decada members are strict vegetarians. Knowing this fact helps Bond deduce that Manville Duncan is a member of the group.
  • It's for a Book: Bond, with Mirakos, learns about the New Pythagoreans, whom he suspect of being a front for Decada, firsthand by visiting them under a guise of writing about philosophy and religion.
  • Just Between You and Me: As Dr. Anderson has Bond on gunpoint, he uses the moment to ask her if the infertility clinic ReproCare is a front for a terrorist organization called the Suppliers. Her answer is fairly typical ("Since you’re going to die in a few minutes, I suppose it won’t hurt to tell you"), but she refuses to tell him about the people whom Suppliers are shipping chemicals to (it's Decada).
  • Mission from God: Romanos believes that ancient Greek gods talk to him, and he is enacting their will. Unfortunately, Hera also believes that gods talk to her, and betrays him on their "command".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Hera Volopoulos, who is just as vengeful as her namesake Greek goddess.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: Decada is a numerical and ancient Greece -influenced organization which seeks to drive Turks out of Cyprus.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: After being captured by Hera (again), Bond is taken to Romanos' yacht. Romanos insists upon being a good host, and treats Bond a dinner while explaining his history and big plan.
  • Parasol of Pain: Alfred Hutchinson is killed by getting stung by a poisoned umbrella. The real-life assasination of Georgi Markov is immediately brought up upon this revelation.
  • Put Their Heads Together: Bond fights two Mooks in a cable lift, and at one point grabs their heads and hits them with each other.
  • The Reveal: Alfred Hutchinson was not a Decada member, his lawyer and assistant Manville Duncan is.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Played straight, and conversed, by Bond and Hera after a hour of passion.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink:
    • Number Killer's fifth chemical attack is spraying anthrax inside a ship full of food cargo. It is foiled by Alfred Hutchinson (who's angry at Decada for killing his father) alarming the authorities, stopping the deaths of tens of thousands of northern Cypriots.
    • Hera manages to capture Bond for Decada by feeding him drugged meat.
  • Title Drop: The title appears in a note that Alfred Hutchinson prepared for M in case that he would be killed by the Decada.
    The facts of life are such that we are all human and we all make mistakes. Alas, the facts of death do not allow us to properly correct those mistakes.
  • Tuckerization: Minor character Panos Sambrakos is named after a guide that Benson had while visiting Greece.
  • The X of Y: The novel's title.
  • You Are Number 6: Each ten main members of Decada have assigned numbers, with their leader being the One.


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