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On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian…
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    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 31 (next | show all)
This was really good. After the events of Thunderball (allowing for Bond's American vacation in The Spy Who Loved Me), Bond has been tracking down Blofeld, but to little avail, and he feels like he's being wasted on detective work. Driving back from a mission, he meets Tracy, a damaged woman who captivates him, and he ends up helping her feel wanted for the first time in a long while, and her father-- leader of the Corsican underworld-- tries to get him to settle down with her. Then, following a lead, Bond ends up infiltrating an alpine Swiss resort where it seems Blofeld might be hiding; Blofeld's given himself away by writing to the College of Arms to get himself a title.

Fleming is firing on all cylinders here. Even though the book's two plots could feel only tenuously connected, they interact much more organically than the way books like Goldfinger or Thunderball open. Tracy is a convincing love interest for Bond; one can imagine that he would settle down with her because they clearly love each other for who they are, damage and all, rather than wanting each other to change.

The parts with Bond infiltrating Blofeld's clinic are good; Fleming's focus on pedantic detail serves him well when writing about heraldry, and when focusing on Bond as an infiltrator. I like how there's a countdown of sorts once the Secret Service agent from Station Z is captured by SPECTRE, and  Bond must work quickly and efficiently but unobtrusively to find a way out of the situation. The way Blofeld's plot slowly reveals itself is well-handled, and the action sequences are excellent, some of the most tense in the series, as Bond must make two escapes down a mountain, one via skis, the other via bobsled. Fleming makes you feel the intensity and the struggle of these escapes. As always, things are difficult and grueling for the literary Bond. The only thing I don't like is that Blofeld's plan feels like a reduction of stakes after the previous book, less grand and less interesting, while it should be bigger and bolder.

The very end is famous-- I knew what was coming even though I've never read the book or seen the film-- and it works, even if it's obvious. It really is devastating. Overall, this is probably the best Bond book, except for maybe the first one.

Some other notes: Bond using the phrase "Sucks to you" was not a thing I expected, nor was him being familiar with the St. Trinian's films. There is a nice callback to Casino Royale at the beginning (we are reminded how much Bond cared for Vesper), which sets up the more emotionally vulnerable Bond of this novel. This was the first Bond novel to be written after the film series began, and Fleming explains why Bond has a Scottish accent on screen by explaining that Bond's father was a Scot, something previously not mentioned. He also debuts the (real) motto of the (real) Bond family, "The world is not enough," which would give its name to a Pierce Brosnan film. The weirdest reference to the films, though, is that Bond sees Ursula Andress, who played Honey Ryder in Dr. No, in Blofeld's clinic!
  Stevil2001 | Jun 14, 2019 |
This book has a special place in my heart. One, it is my favorite Bond movie, of all of the Bond movies. Two, my other half gifted me a first edition back in 2012, so this review is more of a comparison of movie to book, given that I knew the movie pretty much by memory. I love the fact that the movie did keep a fair bit of the original story intact, albeit with some physical characteristics changes to accommodate the actors hired to play the roles. Tennent does a wonderful job reading the story - he even nailed Irma Bunt's voice! - but I found it interesting that the written story is missing some of the high flying action scenes Hollywood chose to employ in the movie adaptation. Yes, the story is decidedly dated in how women are portrayed (but that was also how they were portrayed in the movies, so not a big surprise). What is interesting in the written story is how Fleming likes to flaunt (for lack of a better word) his, dare we say, insider knowledge of the "elite set" - his descriptions of some of the menus and the casinos/ski retreats are rather detailed. Yes, I tend to cry at the ending of the movie and I did again at the ending of the story. I tend to view this story as being the one to peel back Bond's iron clad exterior and give readers a glimpse - yes, a rather brief, guarded glimpse - into his soul.

Dated by today's standards, but classic Bond. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Oct 14, 2018 |
One of my favourite Bond stories. As always an enjoyable read, especially if you're able to transport yourself back 50-60 years and the way the world was back then. ( )
  PhillipThomas | Sep 7, 2018 |
James Bond vs the American Mafia.

It could have been great, but it managed to be just decent. I just can't get behind James Bond gambling on horse racing rather than cards, though I will admit that I learned a fair bit about cars while reading this. The drinks weren't quite as charming, the villains not quite as compelling. It showed promise at the beginning and end with some interesting shoot outs with a helicopter, but the bulk of it? Marginal.

The writing, as always, was good. The girl had a surprisingly dark backstory, even for a Bond book, and reading between the lines made it all the more chilling. The ghost town was a lovingly campy creation that only the mind of Ian Fleming could have perfected.

I just prefer Bond in Jamaica, but always love Russia and England best I suppose. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Solitudine

Puoi essere quello che vuoi, ma prima o poi senti quel desiderio, quel bisogno primordiale delle cose semplici, normali. E' l'istinto che ci guida e non ne possiamo fare a meno. E' quello che ci salva, che ci spinge verso una strada, una persona. James ritrova sulla sua strada Teresa "Tracy" e capisce che non può fare a meno di lei. Vuole condividere qualcosa e non può più farlo restando da solo. Soltanto che il destino è beffardo e la felicità un attimo. Blofeld sfugge ancora una volta alla resa dei conti e 007 di conti ne dovrà fare con sè stesso. L'avventura, l'azione è sempre concentrata in pochi frangenti. A differenza delle pellicole, è il pensiero del nostro agente, il suo animo, la sua indole il vero corpo della storia. Come sempre, un uomo prima di tutto, con tutte le licenze possibili, ma non quella di derogare dalla sua umanità. ( )
  Magrathea | Dec 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian Flemingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kröner, JackTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDermid, ValIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When James Bond rescues a beautiful, reckless girl from self-destruction, he finds himself with a lead on one of the most dangerous men in the world - Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. In his snowbound Alpine base, Blofeld is conducting research that could threaten the safety of the world. To thwart the evil genius, Bond must get himself and vital information out of the base.… (more)

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