This was the book that launched the James Bond 007 empire. I am pleased that I read it although I did not find it brilliant. Yes, we are now looking back in time, and even to imagine a world without mobile phones and the sophisticated equipment that the modern spy has at his disposal seems to render this text a historical novel, but it was well received in its era.
As I remember, the Bond films were always eagerly anticipated and full of action and colour. I cannot say whether they are far removed from the original text but, as films, they received rave reviews.
Will I now read more Bond? Doubtful, but this one enlivened a long plane journey so it was worth the read.
This is where it all began. The first of the Ian Fleming books, in which we are introduced to James Bond 007. The plot is a fairly typical one; the West is under threat from the Russians. James Bond’s mission is to ruin one of their high-level agents, an employee of SMERSH, the Russian Intelligence Agency. The setting for the confrontation is the Baccarat table at the casino and all the action in the first part of the book takes place here. Unsurprisingly things don’t quite go to plan and the next section is a lengthy, horrific torture scene which Bond is lucky to survive. The final section is the aftermath, revealing how it all pans out.
This is the first Bond book I have ever read and it was a bit of a surprise – quite a pleasant surprise but definitely not what I was expecting. There appears to be a disparity between the feel of the films, in general, and the feel of this book, in particular. (I obviously can’t comment on any of the other Bond books as this is the only one I have ever read). The writing is much slower-paced than the films and much more detailed. The character of James Bond is portrayed differently as well as there is a vulnerable side to him which does not come across in the film versions. Also, I don’t think I would normally expect to learn something from a James Bond novel. However, other than being a gambling game, I had no idea how Baccarat worked before reading the book - now I do. I liked these aspects of the book.
One part I wasn’t quite so sure about was the middle section of the book. I am not a great fan of violence and the torture scene was harrowing (although probably far more so for Bond than for me).
For those who are familiar with the James Bond films (probably most people - they’re hard to avoid), I think it would definitely be worth reading this book. It gives the creator’s view of the character at the start of his career and offers a completely different perspective.
Not my usual kind of read but I enjoyed it.
I love it, a great start to Ian Flemings James Bond series, although i am a very big fan of James Bond. The end I was not so keen on because it was abit lovie dubie!