Win, Lose, or Die is built on the premise that everyone involved will make increasingly stupid decisions and refuse to behave in any way resembling a rational human being.
Pretty much every spy novel franchise inspired by James Bond had at least one story where the main character went up against some robe-clad Moonie stand-ins, so I guess Gardner figured why the hell not?
With No Deals, Mr. Bond, John Gardner achieved enough clout, or had at least been around long enough, that he was given a little more leeway to “do his own thing.”
Released in 1986, Nobody Lives Forever has a similar feel to the movie For Your Eyes Only, in that both are essentially one chase scene after another.
Whatever good will was built up with the brisk action of For Special Services and the intriguing locations of Icebreaker is undone with Role of Honor, a dreadful entry in the series.
In Icebreaker, Bond does almost nothing—which is for the best, because when Bond does do something, it’s usually some of the worst espionage work he’s ever done.
For Special Services, maintains all the ties to Ian Fleming’s original novels, but gets more breathing room since it isn’t saddled with re-introducing Bond.
License Renewed is not the sort of book I would go to war for — if you were bored by it or actively hated it, I would understand.