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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James…
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond Novels) (original 1963; edition 2003)

by Ian Fleming

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1,687234,235 (3.65)34
Member:saucybetty
Title:On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond Novels)
Authors:Ian Fleming
Info:Penguin Books (2003), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming (1963)

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  1. 00
    Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy (Hedgepeth)
    Hedgepeth: For those who enjoy the behind the scenes espionage/intelligence gathering
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» See also 34 mentions

English (19)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Of all the Bond books, I think I like this one the most. The movie with Sean Connery was great & it blended in my mind perfectly with the book. I guess it's the romantic streak in me that made it so hard hitting. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
A very interesting book. First Fleming I've read. 007 one agent of the British secret spy service with no respect for America. There is a 006 mentioned who is a former commando and looking out for office girls to seduce. The book was published in the same year that Kim Philby defected to the USSR and after Gary Francis Powers was shot down and presumably still in a Russian prison. Fleming talks about some of the false propaganda which the CIA released following Powers' shoot down such as the plane had been sabotaged and the plane's self-destruct mechanism had been, maybe, set off by Powers himself. Therefore pilot error, and not CIA spying was responsible for the plane being over Russia. Actually Powers said that the self-destruct mechanism didn't destroy the film he had been taking and the Russians were able to see what he had been surveilling. Very bad work by the CIA. If the Russians didn't have the film, Powers could have been released sooner. As it was, the Russians knew we had secret powerful cameras which could see from high altitudes. One of the reasons 007 is given the mission in this book is to avoid disclosure of similar situation intelligence capabilities. Bond, here, is a gambler (not a good recreational habit as it makes for being open to bribes and becoming a double agent) and uses his winnings to supplement his meagre pay (another well known tool to entice traitors). Fleming begins by portraying Bond as an international Philip Marlow but then transforms him into an adventurer who stumbles upon (Russian) conspiracies to unleash weapons of mass destruction. Bond is conscious of his immoral actions at times but justifies them as in the service of the country and crown. Bond is originally from the Scottish highlands. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Jun 28, 2014 |
Rating: 4.5* of five

Again a reminder that this is a review of the 1969 film, not Fleming's novel. I found I wasn't able to get past the outdated attitudes in the novels. I think because books are important to me, enduring documents of their times, and films are slight and insubstantial entertainments, I judge films much less harshly. After all, I take them so much less seriously.

(I do have to say that this novel presents Bond as a much more human, emotional character, and that's not all to the good. Also Blofeld is a much larger part of the novel's warp and weft than he is of the movie's.)

This is only a 4.5-star experience because Lazenby's only outing as Bond was stylish and cool. It earned bad reviews for Lazenby, which endears him and his performance to me. Film critics in general are so full of hot air and bullshit that I love reading bad reviews so I can go and enjoy the panned product. I liked Heaven's Gate, for example, and I'd've never gone to see it if the critics hadn't howled their lungs out about its crappiness.

Anyway, Blofeld the recurring villain is played by Telly Savalas in this film. It's the absolute worst Blofeld I've seen. He got no pointy objects hurled at him, however. Hmmm.

Diana Rigg is The Girl. Okay, whatevs. The fact that her "father" is played by an Italian actor pretending to be Spanish and she's as British as shepherd's pie (and about as attractive, but then I'm pretty much immune to female aesthetic appeal), well it's a Bond film so one goes with it.

Joanna Lumley plays one of Blofeld's Angels of Death. The camp factor of this film just went up 2500%. It's also a little sobering to realize that Lumley was a comely youff when the film was made, and is now a grandmother. Tempus do fugit, eh what?

So that rating...is it purely contrarian? No. The film is very well made. The plot, while ridiculous, lacks gaping holes, unlike other entries in the series. The cinematography is as lovely as the series' standard, the script as witty as the best entries in the series, and Lazenby is very very very nice to look at. I also think he turned in a fine performance, and it's only butthurt Connery diehards who can't see that. This role isn't one for a Dramatical Genius to play, it's one for a film star to play. Lazenby COULD have been a long-run Bond. I think it's a shame he wasn't.

Pleasant way to pass a few hours, nice to look at, oh and the song! The song is sung by LOUIS ARMSTRONG!!!! Oh be still my heart. "All the Time in the World." I liked it. It's not up there with "Live and Let Die" or "Goldfinger" but it's a damn good song qua song. ( )
  richardderus | Dec 11, 2013 |
An unexpected turn for Bond, which is interesting in itself. It's also a lot more entertaining than the preceding few books. ( )
  comfypants | Aug 12, 2013 |
Another solid Bond entry. This one of course it's famous for having the one and only Bond marriage scene. Shocking as the ending is (and you know it from the movie unless you've been living under a rock for the last few decades), I could not for a moment visualize Bond as a son in law to a mafia don. The scenes between Bond and Marc-Ange are actually my favorites, although it's another one of Bond books that would not be published today because of the decidedly anti-feinist message. Everything you loved about the movie is even better in the book and there's much more depth to the material. Not to be missed for a Bond fan. ( )
  MashaK99 | Jun 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
It’s one of the best Fleming-penned Bond adventures
added by Shortride | editA. V. Club, Keith Phipps (Jan 14, 2010)
 

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Ian Flemingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kröner, JackTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Summary: Agent 007 is sent to the Alps to track down one of the world's most dangerous criminals, Ernst Stavros Blofeld, who is developing weapons in his Alpine mountain base that could threaten the whole world.

(summary from another edition)

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