Carte Blanche - The "Red" Edition

Published by:

ISBN: 978-1-444-72505-6
Edition size: 500 numbered, unsigned
MSRP: £100.00

Now here's a rather odd looking production, especially when you examine the front and back boards. This "Red" edition of Carte Blanche was produced as an alternative to the obscenely priced "Bentley" edition (which, inscrutably, isn't even signed). The choice is yours - pay £100 for this edition and still have enough to feed the wife and kids in the morning. Or, go for broke and shell out a whopping £1,000 for the white, unsigned "Bentley" edition (the wife and kids can dumpster dive for all their essential needs, right?).

What makes me completely confounded regarding The Bentley Edition is that there's very little design difference between it and The "Red" Edition, other than the different leather used for the boards. The author, Jeffrey Deaver, didn't even sign the uber-deluxe edition. How's that for insanity?

There's also a third variant in the wild, called the 'Independent Edition". Amazingly, it is signed & numbered in an edition of 1,500 with a mind-bogglingly low MSRP of £19.99. And to top it all off, yet another limited was produced for Waterstone's in an edition of 750, also signed & numbered, priced at £100. This edition came with an open-top slipcase and was not all that well received given the lackluster production values versus relatively high price.

Dumbstruck? I know I am. For those of you who work best with tables, here's a summary of these editions:

The Limited Editions

The Independent Edition Waterstone's Edition The "Red" Edition The Bentley Edition

ISBN: 978-1-444-73821-6

Signed & numbered of 1,500.

MSRP: £19.99

Style: different dustjacket than the trade.

ISBN: 978-1-444-73707-3

Signed & numbered of 750.

MSRP: £100

Style: open-top slipcase and different dustjacket design than The Independent Edition and trade.

ISBN: 978-1-444-72505-6

Numbered of 500, unsigned.

MSRP: £100

Style: red boards with blank inscribed bullet containing serial.

ISBN: 978-1-444-72505-X

Numbered of 500, unsigned.

MSRP: £1,000 (that's not a typo)

Dimensions: 489mm x 212mm x 108mm (entire package)

Style: Nappa white leather, blank inscribed bullet containing serial, and stylized metal Continental GT car reproduction enclosure.

All that bellyaching aside, the "Red" version is truly remarkable. A real labor of love. The only thing it lacks is the author's signature. C. Thomson gives us his usual thorough and excellent review of this edition. Take it away, C.!

by Jeffrey Deaver

Review and Pictures by C. Thomson

The latest author to publish a novel about the legendary James Bond appears to have either declined to sign or was never asked to sign any of the special editions released of Carte Blanche. I am consciously refusing to include the Waterstone’s edition as a “special edition” due to its severe lack of special qualities other than it was actually signed by the author. The other two editions produced by Hodder & Stoughton in conjunction with the Bentley are the marquis editions.

The "Red" edition can be, in my humble opinion, summed up simply as the best edition if one is looking for a limited edition of the latest Bond novel. Completely bound in soft red leather with bands around each board, the title of the book and associated Bentley and 007 marks are debossed into the front board and down the spine. Unfortunately for Mr. Deaver, his name does not appear until the copyright page, where it is mentioned it was omitted with permission. The edges of the boards are rounded and the leather is wrapped along these soft corners with very minimal wrinkling. All three page edges are colored in a matte red. At first I would have thought gilt would look better, but, due to the lack of any foil stamping, the matte color makes the leather stand out all the more.

The interior sports many fine additions, including a bright red woven ribbon mark. No designs on the endpapers, but they are of a good heavy stock in the same themed red color. Printed in two colors throughout, the red ink looks great on the white pages. Moving across the bottom of each page is an outlined Continental GT, traveling from left to right as each page is flipped over. Lastly, the page numbers are center positioned on the right margin using a three digit layout at all times. Included above and below the number, in case you ever forget, is the book title.

The only critique to be said of the construction is that, due to the through hole where the limitation polished bullet hangs out, there are some indentations on the leather boards, presumably from when the bullet was resting against it. This hole is cut with enough room for the bullet to slide very easily between the pages, as the bullet is much smaller than the thickness of the actual text. Perhaps this also contributed to the indentations mentioned above throughout the shipping process. Regarding the bullet, there are a few concerns. Although it is billed as a polished bullet, apparently the metal is not of a perfect stainless variety, as there was quite a bit of discoloration when I first opened the book. Collectors should be wary of this if they want to show off their edition.

Compared to its much more expensive white Bentley edition brother, the red edition is quite a steal. And at $100 (converted), it would be a great addition to anyones collection. However, the retail price is £100, which, at the current exchange rate, is quite a bit more than just $100.

A tough decision needs to be made when considering the different editions of this book if only one purchase can be made. Personally, I already have a UK trade edition signed, so the lack of signature for this edition was of no consequence to me (of course, your mileage may vary). At current market prices, I was able to get it for what I consider a great deal. But, any of the three options as mentioned above (including the Waterstone’s) are a bit overpriced at retail. I would go so far as to say (although I have not seen one in person) that the white Bentley edition retailing at £1,000 is just flat-out ridiculous and to AVOID that edition unless that metal sculpture is truly what you seek. However, I would RECOMMEND this edition because the leather is superb. If the price falls below $100, I would bump it to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, regardless of the lack of signature, because it is limited to just 500 copies.

- N U M B E R E D -

Front of book.

Macro of Bentley debossing.



Sewn binding with embedded ribbon marker.

Red matte gilt on page edges.

Leather boards and red endpapers.

Macro of rounded book corners.

Half title page.

Title page. Note lack of authorship.

Copyright page. This is where Jeffrey Deaver is cited as author.

Detailed view of page numbers.

Continental GT illustration as progressing from left...

...across the fold...

...and finishing on the right.

Section header with intentionally blank preceding page.

Sample text and ribbon marker.

Bullet seen with CARTE BLANCHE engraved on side. Note tarnish.

Limitation number on back of bullet.

Indentation made by bullet (highlighted within white box).