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The Spy Who Loved Me (Coronet Books) Paperback – 1 Jun 1989

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet; New edition edition (1 Jun. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340425695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340425695
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.5 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,166,326 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)

Product Description

Amazon Review

"I felt the prod of a gun in my back but swung the door wide open ... I had gambled that they wouldn't shoot. They hadn't. Now all depended on the solitary man who stood on the threshold." When James Bond makes his first appearance in The Spy Who Loved Me, the novel is two thirds complete. It is Fleming's most experimental Bond story but one of his most successful, developing characters with a new fullness and constructing an adventure which builds momentum through a series of genuinely thrilling crescendos. We may see comparatively little of Bond himself here but The Spy Who Loved Me reveals more of the man than ever before.

This is the story of Vivienne Michel, a Bond Girl with a difference, whose first-person narration moves through three sections: "Me", describing her childhood, unhappiness and disastrous love affairs; "Them", in which she escapes the past only to find herself caught up in a life-threatening insurance job at the Dreamy Pines Motel Court; and "Him", where Bond enters and the story moves rapidly towards its resolution. There's a mythical quality to James Bond's appearance and disappearance from the action, but Fleming explores his character with great realism, enjoying the freedom to observe his hero objectively.

In many ways this is barely a Bond story at all--the book is firmly in Fleming's gangster tradition and Bond is not even on a mission, just stepping by chance into someone else's nightmare--but The Spy Who Loved Me is nonetheless one of the most exciting and skilful additions to the 007 canon. --Iain Campbell


Ian Fleming keeps you riveted. His narrative pulls with the smooth power of Bond's Thunderbird (Sunday Telegraph ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Green TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
If 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (TSWLM) was the first on Ian Fleming's James Bond novels that someone read they might be forgiven for wondering a.) how a book of this sort could have inspired the movies adaptations that followed and b.) where all the espionage and adventure they were expecting had gone. There's also a good chance that they'd never pick up another Bond novel out of sheer disappointment, so if you've never read any of Fleming's books before (or have only picked up one or two) I would not recommend starting with TSWLM. Go back to the beginning as I did and start with Casino Royale. Its a worthwhile exercise.

For those familiar with Fleming's books TSWLM will still come as a surprise, as it is most definitely not a normal Bond novel. In fact its not really a novel, more a literary experiment on the part of the author masquerading as a glorified short story. Sticking to a three act structure the book is narrated by a young Canadian woman, Viv Michel, who in Act One recounts how she went from a comfortable upbringing in Montreal, via finishing school and a career in journalism in London, to being holed up in a deserted motel in Adrionacks in the US during a severe thunderstorm. Act Two then centres on the arrival of two gangsters with nefarious motives at the motel and how they go from initially unsettling to threatening and eventually attacking the vulnerable Viv. Only in Act Three does James Bond finally arrive on the scene and effect a rescue of Viv.

In almost every respect TSWLM is unlike any other Bond novel. Along with the narration from Viv throughout and the lack of James Bond for two thirds of the book's length there's also no espionage for Bond to undertake even once he does appear (his arrival on the scene being entirely coincidental).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim J-R on 2 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
The first thing to know about The Spy Who Loved Me is that it is not a typical James Bond adventure by any stretch. This is the story of Viv Michel, a Canadian working in an American motel when gangsters descend. It's a very personal, almost coming-of-age, tale, told in the first-person.

It feels much more akin to the short stories of For Your Eyes Only than the other full novels in Fleming's Bond series, and is short enough that I read it through in a single day. The style though is very Fleming and Michel is just as opinionated as the Bond character in other stories. It's certainly one of the most believable stories in the set and most of the emotion is put across with a gripping realism.

It's quite a graphic novel, probably due to the nature of the narrative, and includes some of the most graphic sexual scenes of the Bond novels as Michel recounts her short personal history in the first third of the text. I wonder how shocking some of this might have been in the sixties when the book was first published.

Yes, it is very different from the usual Bond story, but it just shows the breadth of Fleming's writing ability was not limited just to thrillers. It's not an adventure, but knowing that before reading it (after all, I have read it before) I think I appreciated it more than the previous few stories in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By a little bit of a grumpy old so and so on 5 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is quite unlike any other Bond book I have read. or a start it is written in the first person, from the perspective of Vivienne, a Canadian girl livening initially in London, but who embarks on a tour of North America. Bond plays only a fairly small part in the book, surprisingly so. Like most of Flemings writing it is quite decorative and lacks nothing in pace. It is quite surprising that Fleming, famed as a misogynist took on this book and it stands up really quote well and is far less patronising than one might have feared of expected. Well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the best Bond. Fleming was wrong to be embarassed with it. It is a masterpiece, very different, very refreshing. utterly compelling.
THis is my favourite of all the Bond novels. most of them i found okay reads, but didnt really understand what the fuss was all about. the films are far superior, usually.
But this one just blew me away. Fleming deviates from his formula, and writes the best novel of his career. UNfortunately, it is also the shortest.
The characters here are great, the two killers chiiling. Bond takes on a mythical quality (as a previous reviewer said) in the way he seems to come and go, rather in the manner of a fairy godmother. (although he himself would probably hate ever being assosciated with that phrase!)
The plot of this one is nicely simple, easy to get to grips with, and the writing is very good. I enjoyed this book most out of all the Bond i've read (i.e. all of them). This is a very, very, good, novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andy ( on 6 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Imagine being alone, totally alone, in a remote location during a storm, when all of a sudden, cold, merciless, danger, comes-a-knocking at your door.
This is the situation facing Vivienne Michel, a lovely French-Canadian motel receptionist at the Dreamy Pines Motor Court in upstate New York when she is paid a visit by danger in the shape of two loathesome gangsters. In 'Horror' Horowitz and 'Sluggsy' Morant, Fleming conjures up two of his more hideously thuggish creations in this gem of a tale.
The plot of this novel is basically one of a 'damsel in distress' as Vivienne, who narrates the story throughout, has to confront her worst
nightmares in the shape of the motel owners bully boys who, for some reason, seem determined to hurt her and then kill her. The 'knight in shining armour' is of course, 'you know who,' who doesn't actually show up until two-thirds of the way through the book. However when Vivienne rather fearfully opens the door to be confronted by a man who was, 'good-looking, in a dark, rather cruel way...' We know that our hero has arrived.
This is a Bond novel totally unlike any other I have ever read. It is not concerned with espionage (although Bond does tend to let his mouth run away with itself when explaining how he turned up at the motel), it does not pit Bond against some fiendish mastermind, it is not set in a glamorous location (an upstate New York forest ?) and it does not involve a female noted for looking after herself. But despite all this, it is a glorious examination of fear, and of how love can grow because of that fear. It is also compelling !

Indeed we learn a lot about Vivienne Michel. The first half of the book is mostly concerned with her life-story of broken hearts and shattered dreams.
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