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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read them in the context of the time in which they written
This is an interesting read rather than an exciting one, which I find a strange thing to write after the impact the James Bond stories have had on literature and film.

In their day, the Bond stories were something different and fresh: the thought of a ruthless killer, licensed to kill and prepared to do so on our behalf in the time of the cold war: it was heady...
Published 13 months ago by Stephen Reid

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gap Filler
A nice little book of James Bond short stories, nothing very exciting but pleasing enough and it is always refreshing to read about Bond in the post war world and as he was originally conceived by Fleming, not exactly the superman of the films and all the bettter for it. If like me life has become so busy you have to snatch your reading in the gaps available this book...
Published on 25 Nov. 2008 by Maximus


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read them in the context of the time in which they written, 11 Feb. 2014
By 
Stephen Reid "Stephen" (Basingstoke) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is an interesting read rather than an exciting one, which I find a strange thing to write after the impact the James Bond stories have had on literature and film.

In their day, the Bond stories were something different and fresh: the thought of a ruthless killer, licensed to kill and prepared to do so on our behalf in the time of the cold war: it was heady stuff. Add to that a eye for the ladies ... it was a potent formula.

Thing is ... it was over fifty years ago. The Bond stories and films changed everything and since then there have been countless thriller and spy series that built on the Bond legacy and amplified it. So going back to where it all started ... it's an eye-opener. In fact the stories are not as racy as their reputation would have it. They are not as violent as the (share the names only) films portray. They are solid and well plotted but written in a style that was different in its day but pedestrian by today's standards.

That said, even in these short stories, it is clear that Ian Fleming had worked out a depth of character for Bond that made his actions and behaviour utterly credible. James Bond was, in Fleming's books, a believable person, presented in a warts-and-all manner, dealing with huge pressures and sometimes struggling to cope.

Very little of these stories found its way to the silver screen, with the exception of 'The Living Daylights' where Bond is sent to take out an assassin who turns out to be a very attractive female cellist. The short story stops at the point he deliberately misses: the Timothy Dalton film went on to develop an extended story-line.

So: how to mark this? This collection is not the best of Bond but the stories are worthy and the characterisations of the hero and villains are good. It is worth a read, certainly. If you are coming to these short stories for the first time, read them in the context of the time in which they written and remember that they, and the longer novels, were to have a profound effect on virtually every aspect of entertainment. But don't expect the crash, bang wallop of a modern day thriller - they were never that.

Fascinating. The stories range between three and four stars. Four for the historical context. Four overall.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable, 14 Dec. 2008
This is quite an eclectic collection of stories giving Fleming the opportunity to play with themes and voices which might not have fitted into the novels. Despite the story titles, the film links are almost non-existent.

I hadn't read any of the Bond novels since school, so picked this up without any real expectations and have been charmed by the world and the characters he has created. The ability to switch from the sniper on a tree branch, to the colonial dinner party, to the raid on the machine gun-toting smugglers, to the high-society auction, without a false note, is what makes Bond the character stand out and it is also what makes this collection so enjoyable.

The majority of the stories are written in a simple, almost brutal prose, appropriate to their content, which zips them along nicely. Some of the more descriptive passages about snorkelling in coral seas or climbing in the mountains, and the title story which is mostly told through the eyes of an elderly colonial civil servant, show an ability to effectively switch styles and bring out a more reflective and human Bond than the films ever would.

The stories also feel thoroughly authentic - the casual low-level undertones of post-war nationalism, racism and misogyny ground the writing in its era in a way modern writers wouldn't dare. If you're unable to accept the mores-of-its-time aspect you may find this does grate at times. Fleming's natural and understated descriptions of the world of politics and espionage of that time have that authentic whiff of real experience and he doesn't feel the urge to unload patronising explanations of them on you in a way many modern writers - having put all that effort into extensive research at significant cost - seem intent on doing.

Several of the stories feel like they could have been developed further, I wondered if they were scenes edited out of the novels, but others including the title story stand up well on their own.

Overall I would recommend this collection and wouldn't say that you would need to have read the novels or enjoyed the films to get something out of it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solace indeed, 11 Mar. 2009
Ian Fleming's various short stories featuring his suave super-spy have been collected in this bumper volume. Quantum of Solace (the recent film only has the title in common with the story) centres on an intriguing little anecdote that Bond is told by his friend the former British consul to the Bahamas; it is a tale of repressed passion, betrayal and revenge. From a View to a Kill is the taut and suspenseful tale of one of Bond's minor assignments and The Hildebrand Rarity (which was plundered for 1987 movie 'The Living Daylights') focuses on a rich playboy and his sadistic relationship with his beautiful wife. These stories show that Fleming had some range and are all well-crafted and absorbing studies of human nature; as such they provide a welcome counterpoint to the full-length 007 books and show a more thoughtful and human side to the legendary secret-agent.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond, James Bond, 7 July 2008
People expecting to read this book and get an idea as to what the new film is about will be disappointed when "Quantum of Solace" is released in November. The only thing the two have in common is the title. However the story is a very good one and I'm sure the film will also be superb.

This book is a collection of the short stories following Bond in "For Your Eyes Only" and "Octopussy and The Living Daylights". The Amazon description is wrong and the tales from "For Your Eyes Only" are "View to a Kill", "For Your Eyes Only", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico" and "The Hildebrand Rarity". From "Octopussy and The Living Daylights" comes "Octopussy", "The Living Daylights", "The Property of a Lady", and "007 in New York".

All very much worth a read and personal favorites include "The Living Daylights" and "For Your Eyes Only", however I don't think they quite live up to Bond's adventures in "Goldfinger" or "The Man With The Golden Gun".

Nevertheless well worth the price and more than enough to keep you entertained whilst reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars worth a listen, 28 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Quantum of Solace (Audio CD)
not top notch ian fleming, but not bad, though of course nothing to do with the worst bond film of all time by this name, so actually an interesting story and classic ian fleming even though not his best. good insomniac medecine , nicely read
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gap Filler, 25 Nov. 2008
By 
Maximus "Max" (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
A nice little book of James Bond short stories, nothing very exciting but pleasing enough and it is always refreshing to read about Bond in the post war world and as he was originally conceived by Fleming, not exactly the superman of the films and all the bettter for it. If like me life has become so busy you have to snatch your reading in the gaps available this book works well. Enjoy
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 20 Sept. 2014
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good collection- Ian Fleming great writer- Character of James Bond more interesting than in the movies!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Compliment to the full stories!!, 20 April 2009
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This book contains the collection of short Bond stories. I have been reading the full books and was interested in the short stories for a quick fix. These are quite absorbing and fully in the vein of the regular books. Very enjoyable read. As with the other books these bear very little relation to the films.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent colection of short stories which shows another side of Bond., 7 Aug. 2009
A fantastic collection of short stories which I found very different to the longer Fleming books. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Bond in different settings. Well written, fast paced and engaging throughout.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars classic bond, 24 Nov. 2008
Every story in this book is a treat-classic Bond , Classic Flemming-it is worth buying purely for the short story "For your eyes only" .Bond hikes through the American mountains to shoot a cuban hit man-tense , exciting and compelling. I once read that we aren't really supposed to like Bond as a man but can't help be on his side-this story typifies this-highly recommended .
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