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On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming (1963)

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

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
It's really two books this one. The 'A' plot (Bond looks for Blofeld, Bond finds Blofeld, Bond fails to catch Blofeld) is not one of Fleming's best; it's filler between the world-threatening melodrama of Thunderball and the presumable resolution of You Only Live Twice.

It doesn't help that 007 spends much of the book surrounded by air-headed dolls who give Fleming far too many excuses to indulge his every worst assumptions of women. He also bizarrely seems to confuse allergies and phobias.

That said, the action sequences are, as you'd expect from Fleming, superlative – especially Bond's ski-run escape, aped so many times since – and there is a genuine sense of threat throughout.

The other side of the book is 007 and Tracy. True she's a pencil sketch (and early in the book looks dangerously like the caricature of a fallen woman saved by the grace of man's penis) but she's a sketch of exactly the sort of woman I can imagine Bond asking to marry him: capable, exotic-but-basically-British, and most importantly someone who'll protect that lost little boy at the heart of him. Diana Rigg was perfect casting.

The chapter leading up to the wedding is glorious (Bond's stag night with the ex-Luftwaffe pilot turned taxi driver in particular), soppy and heartwarming. It needs to be; you have to want them to be happy. Because when the other foot lands, as it always had to, it is cruel and heartbreaking and first-class writing. Exactly the sort of sledgehammer blow today's TV series are praised for delivery – but Ned Stark had nothing on Tracy Bond.

( )
  m_k_m | Feb 21, 2017 |
One thing that strikes me on rereading the original Bond books is how vulnerable Bond is. Far from the efficient Superman of the films, he invariably gets roughed up by the villians, often ending up in the hospital. True, he is ruthless and recklessly courageous (why we love him!), but when not in the thick of battle, he has his self-doubts, his regrets and awkward moments, and in some dialogue comes across as (Dare I say?) a bit of a pansy? Well, maybe that's just his British manners.

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, he is at his most emotionally fragile, feeling guilty over his string of empty love affairs, falling for a woman and asking her to marry him. But I won't spoil the ending...

Suspenseful, fast-paced and emiently-readable, like all the Fleming books. ( )
  JackMassa | Nov 23, 2016 |
By far, the saddest of the Bond books...

Bond is hot on the trail of Blofeld and SPECTRE. He gambles, meets a girl, learns about family trees, and ends up on a Swiss mountain top surrounded by beautiful women who are being treated for allergies! He also makes a new enemy, Irma Bunt! There follows skiing, bobsledding, explosions and avalanches. And after it all, Bond marries Tracy. And then...

"you see, we've got all the time in the world."

:-( ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jul 5, 2016 |
First Edition, 1963 ( )
  bonedoc86 | Apr 24, 2016 |
First Edition, Second Impression
  bonedoc86 | Apr 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (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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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.

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