Movie novelizations are notoriously bad, as the action is badly translated from the silver screen to the printed page. Thankfully, Raymond Benson`s adaptation of the 18th Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, is an exception. Far from being a direct copy of what was seen in the cinema, the novel nevertheless remains faithful to Roger Spottiswoode`s film.
Just as a chef perfects a familiar recipe Benson had tweaked the plot of Tomorrow Never Dies to produce an original and compelling read. Without budgetary or time restraints, time is given to character development and background. We learn of Carver`s rise to power and the seeds of his madness, while Wai-Lin`s mission is given some much-needed back-story, which only strengthens the already impressive character.
The central theme of media manipulation is also examined in more detail than was seen on screen, with nice touches such as M leaking misinformation to the British press to ensure her position at MI6 is secure, adding a feeling of realism to the snowballing world crises.
One of the biggest changes is the character of Paris, now a far-more independent character ready to leave her husband at the drop of a hat – or dress – and willing to wear her involvement with 007 on her sleeve. Unfortunately, without the entrapment of a marriage impossible to escape, Paris loses her desperation and sympathy this making her death less of a tragedy.
While Tomorrow Never Dies fails to touch Zero Minus Ten`s crown, the novel stands head and shoulders above the usual tie-in pap and successful captures the excitement of one of the best Bond films in the canon.