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Live and Let Die Hardcover – 2007

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Hardcover, 2007
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: The Folio Society; Reprint edition (2007)
  • ASIN: B002A6J81Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,482,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in 1908 and educated at Eton. After a brief period at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he went abroad to further his education. In 1931, having failed to get an appointment in the Foreign Office, he joined Reuters News Agency. During the Second World War, he was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty, rising to the rank of Commander. His wartime experiences provided him with a first-hand knowledge of secret operations.

After the war he became Foreign Manager of Kemsley Newspapers. He built his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica and there at the age of forty-four he wrote Casino Royale, the first of his novels featuring Commander James Bond. By the time of his death in 1964, the James Bond adventures had sold more than forty million copies. Dr No, starring Sean Connery, was released in 1962 and the Bond films continue to be huge international successes. He is also the author of the magical children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The novels of Ian Fleming were immediately recognised as classic thrillers by his contemporaries Kingsley Amis, Raymond Chandler and John Betjeman. With the invention of James Bond, Ian Fleming created the greatest British fictional icon of the late twentieth century.

(The picture is reproduced with the permission of the copyright owners, Ian Fleming Publications Limited and the Ian Fleming Will Trust)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
"Live and Let Die" was Ian Fleming's second James Bond novel. In Casino Royale (Vintage Classics) he established the character of Bond, ending with the agent resolving to go after Soviet Intelligence's terror machine, SMERSH. In fact, Fleming was partly out of date in using SMERSH in this way because, it had been disbanded before the nineteen fifties when he was writing. But it was a useful conceit for his story telling and played effectively on fears generated by Cold War which was then at its height.

"Casino Royale" had shown many features that will continue to appear in the Bond novels. But the first book is, in some ways, different from other Bond books in that the main thriller action largely takes place the first two thirds. In "Live and Let Die," the James Bond format is properly established in ways that were largely followed in the films also: Bond is briefed by M about an enemy agent (in this case an American gangster, Mr Big) and sent abroad to break the SMERSH operation. In the course of the adventure, which moves from New York via Florida, to its climax in Jamaica, Bond encounters an assortment of villains and henchmen plus the inevitable beautiful woman.

This action is combined with Fleming's atmospheric descriptions of the places Bond visits which are often very accurate and based on local knowledge, for example his descriptions of the winds in Jamaica. The characterisation of Mr Big, as with all the villains, is highly effective: a Negro who uses Voodoo (which Fleming had read about, and maybe misrepresents) to cultivate fear.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. P. Venables on 15 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
"Live and Let Die" is the second and, in my opinion, one of the best of the original Bond novels. "Casino Royale" wonderfully introduced the world to James Bond 007 but "Live and Let Die" is a more satisfying adventure.
James Bond 007 is pitted against Mr.Big, a member of SMERSH who uses the voodoo religion to terrify both his subjects and his enemies.
As with all the original Bond novels, certain elements haven't aged well. In places it does have a somewhat racist tone and everyone knows about how our hero treats the fairer sex. It's hard to forget that these books are around fifty years old. Though having said that, the depiction of James Bond with his frustrations, fears and morale doubts is still compelling reading.
"Live and Let Die" is amazing piece of work. It is not a novel that is rich in symbolism or meaning but is its focus is something more visceral. Live and Let Die is escapism, thrusting the reader from one narrow escape to the next, from one shock to the next. It contains passages of pure excitement and an amazing sense of danger. Not as far fetched as some of his later works, Live and Let Die has a very well balanced tone. "Midnight among the worms" is one of the most memorable and exciting chapters I have ever read.
If you want to get to know the literary or just want to get your heart pounding then read "Live and Let Die".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my second Bond book.

The story is a little more complex than Casino Royale, the first of the "Bond Books"

This book is well worth reading and has excellent characterisation, and a very strong descriptive narative, as with all good writing each sentence seems to move the story on, overall this is a good story very well told.

One has to remember the book was published in 1954 and so may seem a little racist in its language to our more sensitive ears, however in all other respects the writing is timeless.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and after the perhaps slightly simplistic story in Casino Royale found this a much more accomplished novel.

I am looking forward to reading the next one...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia on 30 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think we should get something out of the way here: If you are the sort of person who has no understanding of the concept of values dissonance and are completely unwilling/unable to accept the fact that this book was written before any of the major victories of either the civil rights movement or feminism and are thus unable to grasp that any of the racism or sexism here within is completely without malice; then I would suggest you stay clear of this book to the same level one would avoid a starving lion. (And may I also suggest that if you are that closed minded you should probably steer clear of anything written before 1980 and/or free your mind up a little).

If on the other hand you are willing to accept this for what it is; as a period spy novel written by a man who actually did this stuff for a living as opposed to about 90% of every other book or film in this genre, then you will find a book that you will re-read time and again. Is this my favourite Bond book? No. That is why I am giving it four stars. It simply does not match the dark grittiness of Casino Royale or the depth and complexity of From Russia With Love. This is nevertheless a classic that absolutely should be on your ''books to read before you die'' list... even if you decide to read it solely on the basis to see how far we have (thankfully) come socially since the fifties.
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