1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr No: Ian Fleming - A relaxing holiday in the sun for Bond, James Bond... Contains some spoilers.
Dr No is the sixth appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1958 it is very much of it's time in certain attitudes and the dangers facing the world, but it is a ripping yarn that holds up well still today.
Following the near fatal events of `From Russia With Love', and Bond's extended convalescence, he is sent by M to Jamaica...
Published 7 months ago by Victor
3.0 out of 5 stars Still fascinating despite the dodgy bits
The very first Bond book I ever read, as well as the first movie. Decades since I've read it and fascinated as to how it stands up. Not surprisingly, it's the racial element that now seems most controversial and attracts the most comment.
Personally I don't think the book is racist, but it is deeply colonial and patronising, reflecting Fleming's generation and...
Published 11 months ago by Mr. Ja McLaughlin
Most Helpful First | Newest First
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr No: Ian Fleming - A relaxing holiday in the sun for Bond, James Bond... Contains some spoilers.,
Following the near fatal events of `From Russia With Love', and Bond's extended convalescence, he is sent by M to Jamaica on what should be an easy case to ease Bond back into the groove. A relaxing holiday in the sun as M puts it. Two operatives, the local station chief and his secretary, have mysteriously disappeared. Bond is sent to find out what happened to them, and to look into the sudden reduction in numbers of a rare bird, the roseate spoonbill, on nearby Crab Key. What looks like a simple matter, well below his abilities, quickly turns into something more sinister, and eventually leads Bond into a struggle that pushes him right to the limits of his physical and mental endurance. Every step of the way is a trial for Bond, and from the moment he sets foot in Jamaica he has to be on the top of his game to avoid ending up dead, and to protect those around him.
It's a thrilling book, and once again Fleming writes with bags of atmosphere. You can picture the syrupy glow of the sun in Jamaica, hear the birds in the trees, feel every ounce of terror and pain inflicted on the characters. There are several bravura sequences, which are totally and utterly gripping; Bond's encounter with a deadly centipede, and his fight for survival in Dr No's lair are nailbiting and exhausting examples. Added to which is Fleming's ability to relate mundane matters in an interesting way - the guano industry is central to the book, and Fleming makes his essential description of this most uninteresting sounding subject both informative and enthralling. And the final detail, Dr No is a fascinating villain, somewhat outré, but nothing totally impossible in his physical description. He is certainly one of the more memorable Bond villains.
Some of the views expressed in the book seem a little, er, backwards today. Especially in terms of race. But in Fleming's defence, these were views that were commonly held, and the characters he creates would, if they were real people, have held those views. It cannot be held up as an example of Fleming's or Bond's own views. It is, as I said, a book of it's time, and reflects the era.
In general it is another tense and exciting story from Fleming. And to be honest, any book where the villain earns his money from guano and meets his end buried under 20 tons of the stuff in an imaginative climax, is worth a look!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Yes!,
This review is from: Dr No (James Bond) (Hardcover)Ian Fleming's dynamic spy story may not have been his first James Bond novel (that honour goes to Casino Royale) but it was the first to be filmed, and as such it has remained in the public consciousness as 007's first real adventure. The daddy of all super-villains, Dr Julius No, is holed-up in his lair on Crab Key, a small island in the Caribbean. Bond is despatched by his boss `M' to the Caribbean, to investigate the disappearance of the its Secret Service representative, a friend of 007's, whose mysterious death may well be linked to Dr No's secret operations on Crab Key. The deadly game that No forces Bond to play, is vividly brought to life and styled so as to be extremely thrilling for the reader, whilst the soon-to-be template for all Bond girls - the exotically delicious `Honey Ryder' - adds spice to an adventure that is already excitingly different.
Fleming's genius lay in his ability to write simply, but with an almost fetishistic attention to detail; the reader experiences a delicious thrill when Bond lights another cigarette or describes the minutiae of his daily routine. It is this ability to prompt such a vicarious response in the reader that lifts Fleming's novels from their pulpy origins, and which has given them their longevity and their status' as classic slices of disposable fiction.
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting- a little far-fetched.,
5.0 out of 5 stars dr No,
This review is from: Dr No (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)I found it ok. It is worth buying it if you like the genre. Also good for the money invested and the delivery.
3.0 out of 5 stars Still fascinating despite the dodgy bits,
Personally I don't think the book is racist, but it is deeply colonial and patronising, reflecting Fleming's generation and class, who held condescending viewpoints of others without ever thinking themselves as actually racist. It all comes from an assumed superiority based on decades of Empire, and I'm old enough myself to have seen the last vestages of it. It has to be seen as of it's time and historically fascinating in that regard. Times change, sometimes for the better - so be glad about that and move on.
As for the book itself it still stands up well as a robust thriller. There's much to enjoy in Fleming's crisp style, no frills yet often highly evocative. And the man's outrageous imagination is sheer fun!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Elegant Venus,
The plot of the novel concerns James Bond's attempts to mop up a little local difficulty involving the disappearance of the representative of the British Secret Service in Jamaica, Commander Strangways. The evidence points to Strangways having eloped with his secretary but some digging by Bond, allied to a few baffling and particularly nasty attempts on his life - one of which involves a giant poisonous centipede - lead Bond to suspect some serious foul play, foul play that seems to have the reclusive Dr No at its heart. Bond's investigations lead him, and the innocent Honey, into increasingly dangerous situations.
Dr No has, over the years, had its critics. It is perhaps the most sadistic of the Bond novels, but then Dr No himself has a fascination with inflicting pain and so his attempts on Bond's life naturally take on a particularly grotesque colour (watch out for the spiders and the giant octopus towards the end of the novel!). In turn, and largely for the same reasons, Dr No has been seen as marking the point at which the novels become a little too 'comic book' for the liking of many. Gone are the 'real' threats of the Soviet Union and the rogue businessman Hugo Drax from Moonraker, for example, and in their place we have a lunatic who intends to do away with the beautiful Honey Rider by having her eaten by maurauding crabs. The threat is deliberately over the top but, personally speaking, that's what I love about the book: it's mad, colourful, exciting, graphic and brilliant - all the things the Bond books do best in other words.
Ian Fleming was always a brilliant, descriptive writer and Dr No contains some of his best work. Many scenes linger in the mind: Bond's first glimpse of Honey collecting the seashells - the highly valuable 'Elegant Venus' - from the beach; the first deadly appearance of Dr No's fire-breathing 'dragon' with which he sweeps unwanted intruders from his island; Bond's hotel-room encounter with a poisonous centipede smuggled in with a bowl of fruit and, perhaps best of all, the surreal and beautiful lair of Dr No with its elegant trappings and its splendidly insane take on the giant goldfish bowl. Dr No was the first of the novels to be turned into one of the long-running series of films and it's easy to see why. It's definitely one of the most cinematic of the books, and comfortably one of the most thrilling. Dr No sees Fleming, and James Bond, at the top of his game.
5.0 out of 5 stars James Bond,
5.0 out of 5 stars dr no,
4.0 out of 5 stars The first super-villian makes for an entertaining read,
This review is from: Dr No (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)The sixth James Bond novels shows the beginning of the larger-than-life super-villains that the series has come to be known for, in the character of Doctor No. When two MI6 agents go missing in Jamaica, Bond is dispatched for what is expected to be a light mission to find out where they have gone, only to find something altogether more sinister.
Fleming seems a little more relaxed with his novel - its predecessor, From Russia With Love, seemed far more conservative and thought out, whereas this novel shows a freer style that seems happy to extend from the unlikely to the edge of the ridiculous. The plot is far less believable than in the previous novels, though Fleming's attention to detail and beautiful imagery can almost fool the reader into thinking it could actually happen.
The character of Bond has changed - he's nicer. He's more compassionate and comes across as more feeling. This is particularly evidenced in his two main relationships in the novel - with Quarrel and Honey. There are some aspects where the book has aged - particularly with regard to the choice of language, a lot of which wouldn't be acceptable nowadays - however it's almost cute to see how the four-letter swearwords are neatly censored out when in a modern thriller they would be left liberally in.
I've found in my re-reading of the James Bond novels that in general I've appreciated the Europe-based novels over those set in the Americas, but Doctor No breaks this trend. It paints a picture that I can easily envision and that's better than the descriptions in Live and Let Die and Diamonds are Forever. Overall, despite how outdated some of it feels, I've enjoyed reading this again as an adult, and would recommend it as one of the highlights of the series so far.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Dr. No (James Bond) by Ian Fleming (Audio CD - Jan 2009)
Used & New from: £10.11