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The Man from Barbarossa - Small Title.png NovelLocationsEquipmentCharacters

The Man from Barbarossa, first published in 1991, was the eleventh 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 Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Putnam.

Gardner has stated on many occasions that this is his favorite 007 novel that he wrote because it was different and had a more creative approach than all previous Bond novels. Additionally, Gardner believes that of all his novels, this was also Glidrose's favorite as well. Critics, however, noted the novel's plot had more than a few similarities with Gardner's earlier work, Icebreaker.

Plot summary

An elderly American is kidnapped by a Russian terrorist group, apparently on the mistaken belief that he is a war criminal responsible for a Second World War-era massacre. The group demands the Soviet government put the man on trial, and begins murdering government officials when leaders refuse. Captain James Bond is partnered with an Israeli Mossad agent and assigned to work with the KGB in infiltrating this group and discovering their real motives, which include sabotaging perestroika and supplying Iraq with nuclear weapons before the United Nations-led coalition invades.

The Man from Barbarossa acknowledges real-life world events as it is set just prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, as a calendar date of January 9, 1991 is mentioned at one point, as is the date the actual attack on Iraq began including a description of the early stage of the war. No reference to the end of the conflict is made, suggesting the manuscript may have been completed before the war's end. Gardner also predicts that hardliners within the Soviet Union might attempt a coup against the government, which did occur later in 1991 but under different circumstances. The book also strongly suggests that the Cold War was soon to end, which did occur that year.



  • This novel firmly establishes that the "universe" inhabited by Gardner's Bond is not the same as that in which Fleming's version of the character resided, as it is strongly implied that Gardner's Bond was not an agent (or at least a 00-agent) in the early 1960s.
  • Part of this novel takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan, which would later be one of the settings of the 1999 Bond film, The World Is Not Enough.

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