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For Special Services, first published in 1982, was the second novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by McCann and Geoghegan.

Plot summary[]

Bond teams up with CIA agent Cedar Leiter, daughter of his old friend, Felix Leiter, to investigate one Markus Bismaquer, who is suspected of reviving the criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E., which was believed to have been disbanded years earlier following the death of its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld at the hands of Bond in You Only Live Twice.

The British Secret Service learns that Bismaquer is an obsessive collector of rare prints, so Bond and Cedar visit the man's huge ranch in Amarillo, Texas posing as art dealers. Their true identities are soon revealed, but not until Bond holds his own both in an impromptu (and fixed) car race arranged by Bismaquer, and in the bed of Bismaquer's frustrated wife, Nena. Nena, who has only one breast, quickly wins Bond's heart and his sympathy and Bond is convinced that Bismaquer is the one now being referred to as the new Blofeld.

Bond discovers that the revitalised S.P.E.C.T.R.E. plans to take over control of NORAD headquarters in order to gain control of America's military space satellite network. His true identity revealed, Bond is captured and brainwashed into believing he is an American general assigned to inspect NORAD. Although he has been set up to be killed in the ensuing attack by S.P.E.C.T.R.E. forces on the base, Bond regains his personality and his memory. Apparently Bismaquer, who is bisexual, has taken a liking to Bond and sabotaged the hypnosis.

When Bond returns to Bismaquer's ranch, he witnesses Bismaquer being killed by Nena, who is in fact the mind behind the operation and the daughter of Blofeld, a fact she confesses to Bond just before falling into the crushing grip of her pet pythons. She is later put out of her misery by Felix Leiter, who arrives on the scene to help rescue his daughter.



Behind the scenes[]

"For Special Services"[]

In June 1941 General William Donovan was appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to the position of Coordinator of Information (COI), a position that later transformed into the chairmanship of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Upon request by Donovan, Ian Fleming was contacted to write a lengthy memorandum describing the structure and functions of a secret service organization. Parts of this memorandum were later used in the official charter for the OSS, which was later dissolved after World War II in 1945. For appreciation of Fleming's work Donovan presented Fleming with a .38 Police Positive Colt revolver with the inscription, "For Special Services."

In 1944, Donovan proposed to President Roosevelt the creation of a new agency, "which will procure intelligence both by overt and covert methods and will at the same time provide intelligence guidance, determine national intelligence objectives, and correlate the intelligence material collected by all government agencies." This organization was later established in 1947 as the Central Intelligence Agency; a direct descendant of the OSS.


  • This is the second novel in Gardner's Bond series in which Bond drives a Saab 900 Turbo; however, this is the first book in which the car is referred to by its more popular nickname, the Silver Beast.
  • The events of the story were later referenced in Raymond Benson's continuation novel, The Facts of Death (1998).[1]


  1. Benson, Raymond [7th May 1998] (1 October 2012). "Chapter 6: Tequila and Limes", The Facts of Death, James Bond (in En-UK). Ian Fleming Publications. “Bond hadn’t spent much time in Texas. He had been to the area known as the Panhandle during the case a few years back that involved the last heir of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but he had never been to Austin or any of the other more scenic areas in central Texas.”