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For Your Eyes Only

by Ian Fleming

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: James Bond (8), James Bond - Extended Series (book 8), James Bond - Original Series (book 8)

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2,075356,060 (3.46)58
"Sudden emergencies and beautiful girls who aren't quite what they seem are the stock-in-trade of James Bond. And when 007 is on the case there's only one thing you can be sure of - the result will be thrilling. Whether he's dealing with the assassination of a Cuban thug in America, the destruction of an international heroin ring, or sudden death in the Seychelles, Bond gets the job done. In his own suave and unmistakable style."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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English (33)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
After a brief look at my reading logs I realised that I have read quite a few of the Ian Fleming Bond books, in fact the next one up was the 9th, For Your Eyes Only. As luck would have it, I had this as an ebook ready and waiting on my Kindle. This book isn't one story but a collection of short stories all of which centre around our hero, James Bond. I'll deal with all of these in turn as I think its the best way to review this book.

From a View to a Kill.
A motorbike messenger goes missing, suspected killed, during a routine delivery of signals between intelligence services. James Bond is dispatched to aid the investigation and to help find out what happened. There is seemingly no evidence to follow and no obvious enemy. This was the best story in the book in my opinion as it is a great combination of action and intrigue. I really liked the way the enemy disguised themselves, it was really well thought out and built the tension very well. Fleming paints the imagery of what happened very well in this story and I could completely imagine the scenes in my minds eye.

For Your Eyes Only.
M calls for Bond and from his manner, Bond can tell something is up and the case is not a usual run of the mill case. It turns out that one of M's friends has been murdered in Jamaica by a criminal who wanted to buy their property. The killer is working for a big crime boss and M would like him terminated. The only issue is that this is a personal job and not an official one and this doesn't sit well with either man. This was another good story, but not quite up to the standards for the preceding one. A lot of the tropical island imagery in Bond films clearly comes from this and other stories. This is one of the stories which explores Bond's reluctance in killing people, particularly those who don't pose him an overt risk.

Quantum of Solace.
James Bond is at a dinner party and has a conversation with the governor of Nassau who he doesn't really like. They share niceties and then James is told a story about a civil servant called Masters whose life is going well and he marries a beautiful woman. He is posted to Bermuda and they start their married life together in what would appear to be ideal circumstances. As it happens, his wife has a wondering eye and is not discrete about her affairs with other men on the island. The story then tells about how Masters gets his revenge on his wife. I didn't really like this story, it felt like an unfinished idea which required more work and development. This was my least favourite of the collection. The story bears no relationship to the movie of the same title.

In this story Bond is investigating a drug smuggling ring in Italy who are sending drugs into the UK. Bond meets up with a man called Kristatos in a restaurant owner by the target Colombo. During this meeting his attention is drawn to a beautiful woman who is Colombo's mistress. Bond is now caught up in a game of cat and mouse involving all these people are there are quite a few twists and turns along the way. This is another very good story from the book and although some of the characters have familiar names they vary from the characters in the movies with the same name.

The Hildebrand Rarity.
The final story in the book features Bond doing a favour of sorts for someone and isn't actually on an assignment. He is to catch a rare fish for a millionaire called Krest who is using scientific research as a cover to avoid paying taxes. Krest is a thoroughly horrible individual who belittles Bond and man local to where they are, the Seychelles. Along with this he is also horrible to his wife and beats her. After a night of drinking it's clear that all three would like to hurt him. During the night something happens to Krest and Bond tries to work out who did it. This is a good story but the attitude towards the female character in this story is quite off-putting.

As is typical of the Bond books written by Ian Fleming there are some themes that just don't fit with modern society. There is a portrayal that women are seem as less than men and there is some casual racism thrown in for good measure. As I said in the past with regards to Fleming I don't find this too troublesome as it fits in with the prevailing attitudes of the time. There is one exception to this and that is the fact that Mrs Krest is held partially responsible for the fact that she is beaten by her husband. I can't really let that one pass and it did spoil the last story. Most of the stories feature bits that were later expanded upon to form the Bond movies I know and love. ( )
  Brian. | Jul 25, 2021 |
Five great stories. Three of them (From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, and Quantum of Solace) have had movies made with those names - none of the films had much, if anything, to do with the stories here. Quantum of Solace is particularly interesting, in that Bond is only along for the ride, so to speak - he's part of the framing story, in which a guy he's had dinner with tells him an amazing, awful, fantastic tale.

The last story, The Hildebrand Rarity, might be my favorite of the bunch. However, I don't think I can say much about it without giving it away. So just read the thing! ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
"For Your Eyes Only" is a book of a few short James Bond stories, some of which have titles recognizable from the movies but aren't related otherwise.

Several take place at the waning days of the British Empire with Bond investigating things in remote parts of the empire with regional governors telling him about "the natives" even as their own power is diminishing.

In "A View to a Kill" he investigates a spy ring intercepting the allies' motorcycle couriers, turning himself into the bait for them once he figures out how they're probably operating.

"For Your Eyes Only" is probably the best one, with Bond sent by M to investigate, and unstated, avenge, the murders of one of M's oldest friends (M was the best man at their wedding) who was a property owner in a Caribbean island, which was desired by a Cuban gangster ready to kill for it. Of course, M isn't the only one out for vengeance, and Bond soon runs into the old couple's daughter, well armed herself.

In "Quantum of Solace" Bond is stuck in a discussion after a formal dinner with the governor of Jamaica because it's too earlier to be polite to leave. Neither of them particularly likes the other, but formalities must be observed. By the end, though, they have a good storytelling session and understand one another a bit better.

"Risico" has a plot that forms some of the basis of the movie "For Your Eyes Only" with Bond getting involved with a Greek smuggler cooperating with British Intelligence in order to investigate another one. But who is who, and who is using whom?

In "The Hildebrand Rarity" Bond is stuck after a job in Seychelles with little to do except dive, so a rude, obnoxious, drunken, American millionaire, Krest, hires him, not knowing he's really a top-notch spy, to hunt down a very rare fish for him to take home so a science foundation will pay for his expensive yacht. Throughout the hunting Bond stays on Krest's yacht and is treated like a servant, abused and yelled at by Krest, but not as badly as Krest's very young wife. By the end Krest is found dead with the fish shoved into his throat, and no one knows who did it. ( )
  KevinRubin | Aug 6, 2020 |
My personal reading challenge 2019: A short story collection.

The Good:
+ Shows a different side of Bond's personal life by focusing on different aspects of his work.
+ The five stories each stand out by being so vastly different in length, style and substance.
+ Fleming still has touch for overblown characteristics, realistic action and beautiful nature writing.
+ Can be both exciting, mysterious and filled with suspense.

The Bad:

- Some parts feel hopelessly dated by today's standards.
- The only really interesting stories are the first two.
- The stories differ greatly in quality.
- Doesn't really evolve the character of Bond - these stories are easily skippable within the timeline of the original novels.
- The third story is hopelessly boring and pointless and the last one takes a good while to get going. ( )
  MrScallops | Jan 1, 2020 |
This isn't the eighth James Bond novel, but rather the first James Bond short story collection. There are five in total, varying from typical Bond spycraft in short story form to more literary, domestic tales.

"From a View to a Kill" and "Risico" are the more typical Bond tales here; the first has Bond defeating a Soviet plot to intercept NATO intelligence despatches, while "Risico" sends Bond undercover to defeat a drug-smuggling operation. I enjoyed the former, imbued as it is with Fleming's usual attention to detail, and also a captivating female character that I wish we saw more of. On the other hand, "Risico" didn't seem to offer anything new.

"For Your Eyes Only" and "The Hildebrand Rarity" are a little more personal than normal. In the former, M sends Bond on a personal mission of vengeance, while in the latter, a vacationing Bond discovers an abusive marriage, a problem beyond the powers of Britain's top spy to do anything about. I liked both of these. "For Your Eyes" has another captivating woman for Bond to interact with, while "Hildebrand Rarity" is surprisingly interesting and complicated and violent.

The least Bondian story here is "Quantum of Solace," which is mostly a story a civil servant is telling Bond about a bad marriage. I really enjoyed it, and it's pretty clever what Fleming does with Bond here. The story would work on its own regardless as a horrific but all too plausible story of human cruelty, but having it framed with James Bond coming off an exciting adventure gives it a little extra oomph: "Suddenly the violent dramatics of his own life seemed very hollow." It leads to a nice moment of self-reflection for a man not terribly prone to it.

On the whole, I enjoyed the book. Fleming's spare style is suited to the short story, and some of his novels struggle to fill up a novel's worth of space, I think (e.g., Moonraker and Goldfinger), so giving him less space to work with fits his strengths as a writer.
  Stevil2001 | May 24, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fleming, IanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eisler, BarryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The eyes behind the wide black rubber goggles were cold as flint.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Not to be combined with the film of the same name.
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"Sudden emergencies and beautiful girls who aren't quite what they seem are the stock-in-trade of James Bond. And when 007 is on the case there's only one thing you can be sure of - the result will be thrilling. Whether he's dealing with the assassination of a Cuban thug in America, the destruction of an international heroin ring, or sudden death in the Seychelles, Bond gets the job done. In his own suave and unmistakable style."--BOOK JACKET.

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