This excellent box set collects together unabridged audio readings of the first 7 Bond books by Ian Fleming, in order of publication. Seven separate readers take on these iconic stories and do them full justice.
Casino Royale, 1953, read by Dan Stevens, 4 discs.
Live and Let Die, 1954, read by Rory Kinnear, 6 discs.
Moonraker, 1955, read by Bill Nighy, 6 discs.
Diamonds are Forever, 1956, read by Damien Lewis, 6 discs.
From Russia With Love, 1957, Read By Toby Stevens, 8 discs.
Dr No, 1958, read by Hugh Quarshie, 8 discs.
Goldfinger, 1959, Read by Hugh Bonneville, 8 discs.
Each reader brings a different emphasis to the character of Bond, and all do a superb job. Fleming did a grand job in the writing of using a prose full of vivid imagery, and each reader seems to really relish getting into the meaty passages and does an equally great job of getting teh character and tension across. Especially Hugh Quarshie, he gives a most memorable account of Dr No's assault course. Any faults here are on the part of the writer, not the reader - some of Fleming's attitudes towards ethnic minorities and gay people were very definitely of their time and might shock a modern reader/listener. And very occasionally there is a character who does not work or a plot that seems a little weak, but in general these are extremely well polished books of cracking adventures.
The set has been produced by Fleming's Niece, Lucy Fleming, and I have to say that I think she has done her Uncle proud. It's a brilliant box set, and I hope volume 2 follows shortly.
Each individual story is available separately, as are the stories not included here (Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun), all read by equally distinguished names. The cost of the box set, at the time of writing, is significantly less than that of collecting them individually, making this a good buy if you want all the stories. Hopefully Volume 2 will be a similarly good value. 5 stars.