Oh yeah, I forgot that I never finished reviewing all the Bond books by Ian Fleming. In a way, that in itself is a fitting review of the final of […]
Fleming delivers a complex story, well rendered and expertly paced, if not a bit far-fetched in certain aspects. It has the speed and adventure of the best action-oriented Bond stories but is a decidedly denser, more complicated work, showing that Fleming really had improved tremendously at his chosen vocation.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a nearly perfect thriller. It is packed with intrigue, action, romance, and emotion, and does indeed manage to work within the Bond formula without being confined by it.
You could skip reading The Spy Who Loved Me and suffer nary a setback to further exploration of the Bond series. In fact, considering what a huge setback The Spy Who Loved Me itself is to the series, perhaps you would be best skipping it.
Thunderball is the final time we will see the more carefree, action-oriented James Bond. As a farewell to that type of story in the Bond canon, it is a superb send-off and remains one of my absolute favorite of Fleming’s books.
For Your Eyes Only illustrates that you can be a Fleming fan and a Bond fan but not like everything Fleming did in the name of James Bond. Two stories with potential, one that is neither good nor bad, and two that have practically nothing to do with Bond or the Bond universe don’t make for a very satisfying read.
I know as an author he struggled with Bond burn-out early in his career, but for this go-round, his familiarity with the character really works to the story’s advantage. Even the extended golfing showdown was a lot of fun.
After acquainting himself with the PPK, Bond is on a plane bound for Jamaica. In my opinion, in both film and novels, the Bond stories are at their best when they’re set in a tropical location. I assume Fleming enjoyed himself in the tropics, and his enthusiasm for the details of the islands shines through in Bond.
From Russia with Love continues to showcase Fleming’s growth as a writer. The fact that he takes time to explore the world and people around Bond instead of spending all his time on Bond himself makes for a much richer experience.
Although it’s easy to discount Diamonds are Forever as one of the lesser Bond novels, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s tremendously fun to read. It’s a slim volume and goes by very quickly, and what it lacks in action it certainly makes up for by simply being a quickly paced and highly agreeable travelogue.