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On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ian Fleming - Happy Christmas Mr Bond...

OHMSS is the eleventh appearance in print (counting the short story collection of For Your Eyes Only as one entry) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1963 it finds our hero disillusioned with life in the secret service after a year on the trail of the probably dead Blofeld after the events of Thunderball. On the point of resigning, a chance encounter with a girl with the sort of problems that even Bond finds difficult to deal with changes both of their lives. Soon Bond is on the scent of Blofeld, tracking him down through means as varied as Corsican gangsters and the Royal College of Arms. And along the way Bond falls prey to that which he had always feared, committing an act seemingly out of character that leads to the gripping and numbing finale, with an ending even bleaker than that of Casino Royale.

This has all of Fleming's trademarks, all the qualities that made almost all of his Bond stories great reads. From the off there is a feeling of danger for Bond, either as he and Tracy are kidnapped in the opening pages, or when he is working undercover, with the threat of discovery always in the background, through to big final battle. The action scenes, especially Bond's frantic ski chase, are written with verve and vigour, and leave the reader breathless with excitement. There is character development for Bond - it is interesting to observe him becoming emotionally involved with someone for the first time, as Tracy breaks down the walls surrounding his heart. There are great descriptive passages, one can almost taste the salt in the air when Bond os on the beach, or feel the cold and see the icy snow spraying up as he is chased through the Alps. I love this aspect of Fleming's writing, very few authors can do such good descriptive work and still keep the action flowing and entertaining. And few authors of action novels bother to colour their tales so richly. Finally there is the feeling of something different. There are not many action thrillers which rely on a knowledge of heraldry, or a visit to the royal college of arms, populated by people with names such as Sable Basilisk! This section, essential to the plot, could have been dry and boring, but Fleming injects it with a little humour and makes it an enjoyable little diversion.

The plot is great, the action thrilling when it comes, the feeling of tension and danger all pervading and gives the book a real edge. The interweaving of Bond's personal life is an ingenious stroke, and lifts this book higher than most of the rest of the series. It is a classic book, worthy of 5 stars.
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on 2 January 2003
If you are used to the James Bond of the movies- this James Bond may come as a bit of a surprise - We see him as a bored bureaucrat on a thankless job, as a bit of a snob, as a hothead turned on by a woman overtaking him, as a loner trying to come to terms with - perish forbid - matrimony!
We follow him as he impersonates a Scottish peer, trying to act as a heraldry expert- We see him struggle to maintain his cover when a colleague is killed in front of him -We also see him meet Sable Basilisk and Griffon Orr Pursuivant, and discover his family motto - "the world is not enough" -
and his crest(3 bezants (balls)-"I am sure that is a valuable bonus")
We meet his prospective father in law, an uncommon criminal with the name of an angel - we follow him through his bloody and desperate ski ride through the Swiss alps- and we are there with him at the end of the book - where Bond takes the girl in his arms and says that they have all the time in the world.
Its not a book with a clean ending - its more like a significant chapter of the James Bond file - The most devastating personally - but as far as saving the world or Britain is concerned, the operation is done "offscreen" so to speak.
And the ending is surely one of the best of all thriller endings.
Riveting stuff- the most gadgety movie can't come near this stuff.
They dont make books or heroes like that anymore...
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OHMSS is the eleventh appearance in print (counting the short story collection of For Your Eyes Only as one entry) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1963 it finds our hero disillusioned with life in the secret service after a year on the trail of the probably dead Blofeld after the events of Thunderball. On the point of resigning, a chance encounter with a girl with the sort of problems that even Bond finds difficult to deal with changes both of their lives. Soon Bond is on the scent of Blofeld, tracking him down through means as varied as Corsican gangsters and the Royal College of Arms. And along the way Bond falls prey to that which he had always feared, committing an act seemingly out of character that leads to the gripping and numbing finale, with an ending even bleaker than that of Casino Royale.

This has all of Fleming's trademarks, all the qualities that made almost all of his Bond stories great reads. From the off there is a feeling of danger for Bond, either as he and Tracy are kidnapped in the opening pages, or when he is working undercover, with the threat of discovery always in the background, through to big final battle. The action scenes, especially Bond's frantic ski chase, are written with verve and vigour, and leave the reader breathless with excitement. There is character development for Bond - it is interesting to observe him becoming emotionally involved with someone for the first time, as Tracy breaks down the walls surrounding his heart. There are great descriptive passages, one can almost taste the salt in the air when Bond os on the beach, or feel the cold and see the icy snow spraying up as he is chased through the Alps. I love this aspect of Fleming's writing, very few authors can do such good descriptive work and still keep the action flowing and entertaining. And few authors of action novels bother to colour their tales so richly. Finally there is the feeling of something different. There are not many action thrillers which rely on a knowledge of heraldry, or a visit to the royal college of arms, populated by people with names such as Sable Basilisk! This section, essential to the plot, could have been dry and boring, but Fleming injects it with a little humour and makes it an enjoyable little diversion.

The plot is great, the action thrilling when it comes, the feeling of tension and danger all pervading and gives the book a real edge. The interweaving of Bond's personal life is an ingenious stroke, and lifts this book higher than most of the rest of the series. It is a classic book, worthy of 5 stars.
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on 22 May 2015
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the tenth novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. It was first published in 1963. It is the second book in what is known as the “Blofeld trilogy“. This begins with Thunderball and concludes with You Only Live Twice. Fleming wrote the book in Jamaica whilst the first film in the Eon Productions series of films, Dr. No, was being filmed nearby.

After The Spy Who Loved Me’ ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ is a return to form. In some ways it is a typical Fleming book. The plot is over the top and the story is exciting. Bond is in danger throughout. We also get the customary large scale battle at the end. This is all interspersed with action and pace, for example Bond’s frenetic ski chase. But in other ways Fleming departs from his normal blueprint as he shows an emotional side to Bond. Bond visits the grave of Casino Royale‘s Vesper Lynd, which he apparently does every year. He also asks the enigmatic Tracy to marry him after becoming emotionally involved. Both Bond and Tracey appear to be isolated people who both want more security in life.

Fleming is also great at the descriptive passages too. The scenes on the beach or in the Alps are well depicted and expressed in a way without breaking up a flow in the narrative. Fleming does insist on protracted explanations of card games and alpine sports.

In summary, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a notable chapter in the saga of James Bond. It pits Bond against his arch nemesis Blofeld’s and is one of the better books. The mingling of Bond’s personal life into the tale elevates this book higher than most in the series and this keeps the reader gripped until the end.
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OHMSS is the eleventh appearance in print (counting the short story collection of For Your Eyes Only as one entry) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1963 it finds our hero disillusioned with life in the secret service after a year on the trail of the probably dead Blofeld after the events of Thunderball. On the point of resigning, a chance encounter with a girl with the sort of problems that even Bond finds difficult to deal with changes both of their lives. Soon Bond is on the scent of Blofeld, tracking him down through means as varied as Corsican gangsters and the Royal College of Arms. And along the way Bond falls prey to that which he had always feared, committing an act seemingly out of character that leads to the gripping and numbing finale, with an ending even bleaker than that of Casino Royale.

This has all of Fleming's trademarks, all the qualities that made almost all of his Bond stories great reads. From the off there is a feeling of danger for Bond, either as he and Tracy are kidnapped in the opening pages, or when he is working undercover, with the threat of discovery always in the background, through to big final battle. The action scenes, especially Bond's frantic ski chase, are written with verve and vigour, and leave the reader breathless with excitement. There is character development for Bond - it is interesting to observe him becoming emotionally involved with someone for the first time, as Tracy breaks down the walls surrounding his heart. There are great descriptive passages, one can almost taste the salt in the air when Bond os on the beach, or feel the cold and see the icy snow spraying up as he is chased through the Alps. I love this aspect of Fleming's writing, very few authors can do such good descriptive work and still keep the action flowing and entertaining. And few authors of action novels bother to colour their tales so richly. Finally there is the feeling of something different. There are not many action thrillers which rely on a knowledge of heraldry, or a visit to the royal college of arms, populated by people with names such as Sable Basilisk! This section, essential to the plot, could have been dry and boring, but Fleming injects it with a little humour and makes it an enjoyable little diversion.

The plot is great, the action thrilling when it comes, the feeling of tension and danger all pervading and gives the book a real edge. The interweaving of Bond's personal life is an ingenious stroke, and lifts this book higher than most of the rest of the series. It is a classic book, worthy of 5 stars.
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OHMSS is the eleventh appearance in print (counting the short story collection of For Your Eyes Only as one entry) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1963 it finds our hero disillusioned with life in the secret service after a year on the trail of the probably dead Blofeld after the events of Thunderball. On the point of resigning, a chance encounter with a girl with the sort of problems that even Bond finds difficult to deal with changes both of their lives. Soon Bond is on the scent of Blofeld, tracking him down through means as varied as Corsican gangsters and the Royal College of Arms. And along the way Bond falls prey to that which he had always feared, committing an act seemingly out of character that leads to the gripping and numbing finale, with an ending even bleaker than that of Casino Royale.

This has all of Fleming's trademarks, all the qualities that made almost all of his Bond stories great reads. From the off there is a feeling of danger for Bond, either as he and Tracy are kidnapped in the opening pages, or when he is working undercover, with the threat of discovery always in the background, through to big final battle. The action scenes, especially Bond's frantic ski chase, are written with verve and vigour, and leave the reader breathless with excitement. There is character development for Bond - it is interesting to observe him becoming emotionally involved with someone for the first time, as Tracy breaks down the walls surrounding his heart. There are great descriptive passages, one can almost taste the salt in the air when Bond os on the beach, or feel the cold and see the icy snow spraying up as he is chased through the Alps. I love this aspect of Fleming's writing, very few authors can do such good descriptive work and still keep the action flowing and entertaining. And few authors of action novels bother to colour their tales so richly. Finally there is the feeling of something different. There are not many action thrillers which rely on a knowledge of heraldry, or a visit to the royal college of arms, populated by people with names such as Sable Basilisk! This section, essential to the plot, could have been dry and boring, but Fleming injects it with a little humour and makes it an enjoyable little diversion.

The plot is great, the action thrilling when it comes, the feeling of tension and danger all pervading and gives the book a real edge. The interweaving of Bond's personal life is an ingenious stroke, and lifts this book higher than most of the rest of the series. It is a classic book, worthy of 5 stars.
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OHMSS is the eleventh appearance in print (counting the short story collection of For Your Eyes Only as one entry) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1963 it finds our hero disillusioned with life in the secret service after a year on the trail of the probably dead Blofeld after the events of Thunderball. On the point of resigning, a chance encounter with a girl with the sort of problems that even Bond finds difficult to deal with changes both of their lives. Soon Bond is on the scent of Blofeld, tracking him down through means as varied as Corsican gangsters and the Royal College of Arms. And along the way Bond falls prey to that which he had always feared, committing an act seemingly out of character that leads to the gripping and numbing finale, with an ending even bleaker than that of Casino Royale.

This has all of Fleming's trademarks, all the qualities that made almost all of his Bond stories great reads. From the off there is a feeling of danger for Bond, either as he and Tracy are kidnapped in the opening pages, or when he is working undercover, with the threat of discovery always in the background, through to big final battle. The action scenes, especially Bond's frantic ski chase, are written with verve and vigour, and leave the reader breathless with excitement. There is character development for Bond - it is interesting to observe him becoming emotionally involved with someone for the first time, as Tracy breaks down the walls surrounding his heart. There are great descriptive passages, one can almost taste the salt in the air when Bond os on the beach, or feel the cold and see the icy snow spraying up as he is chased through the Alps. I love this aspect of Fleming's writing, very few authors can do such good descriptive work and still keep the action flowing and entertaining. And few authors of action novels bother to colour their tales so richly. Finally there is the feeling of something different. There are not many action thrillers which rely on a knowledge of heraldry, or a visit to the royal college of arms, populated by people with names such as Sable Basilisk! This section, essential to the plot, could have been dry and boring, but Fleming injects it with a little humour and makes it an enjoyable little diversion.

The plot is great, the action thrilling when it comes, the feeling of tension and danger all pervading and gives the book a real edge. The interweaving of Bond's personal life is an ingenious stroke, and lifts this book higher than most of the rest of the series. It is a classic book, worthy of 5 stars.
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OHMSS is the eleventh appearance in print (counting the short story collection of For Your Eyes Only as one entry) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1963 it finds our hero disillusioned with life in the secret service after a year on the trail of the probably dead Blofeld after the events of Thunderball. On the point of resigning, a chance encounter with a girl with the sort of problems that even Bond finds difficult to deal with changes both of their lives. Soon Bond is on the scent of Blofeld, tracking him down through means as varied as Corsican gangsters and the Royal College of Arms. And along the way Bond falls prey to that which he had always feared, committing an act seemingly out of character that leads to the gripping and numbing finale, with an ending even bleaker than that of Casino Royale.

This has all of Fleming's trademarks, all the qualities that made almost all of his Bond stories great reads. From the off there is a feeling of danger for Bond, either as he and Tracy are kidnapped in the opening pages, or when he is working undercover, with the threat of discovery always in the background, through to big final battle. The action scenes, especially Bond's frantic ski chase, are written with verve and vigour, and leave the reader breathless with excitement. There is character development for Bond - it is interesting to observe him becoming emotionally involved with someone for the first time, as Tracy breaks down the walls surrounding his heart. There are great descriptive passages, one can almost taste the salt in the air when Bond os on the beach, or feel the cold and see the icy snow spraying up as he is chased through the Alps. I love this aspect of Fleming's writing, very few authors can do such good descriptive work and still keep the action flowing and entertaining. And few authors of action novels bother to colour their tales so richly. Finally there is the feeling of something different. There are not many action thrillers which rely on a knowledge of heraldry, or a visit to the royal college of arms, populated by people with names such as Sable Basilisk! This section, essential to the plot, could have been dry and boring, but Fleming injects it with a little humour and makes it an enjoyable little diversion.

The plot is great, the action thrilling when it comes, the feeling of tension and danger all pervading and gives the book a real edge. The interweaving of Bond's personal life is an ingenious stroke, and lifts this book higher than most of the rest of the series. It is a classic book, worthy of 5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First I'd like to say this is a really cracking audio book and is excellently narrated by the glorious David Tennant in all his native Scot's accent.

This book was written in 1962 and published when the world was a wholly different place.
There are two versions of James Bond the films and the books.

A modern reader reading the books for the first time is often surprised at how different James Bonds is. Bond is a lot more direct, less comedic and a lot more direct.
The other novels were published in the late 50s when times and attitudes were very different. Bond is a lot meaner and of the world.

But this novel is something different it was written when the films were on the go and to my ear it certainly has a cinematic feel to it as if Fleming was writing the story for the screen. As apposed to the other pre film books published in the 1950s.
Now this is no bad thing.
Like most Bond stories it really rolls along and Fleming has a good eye for detail and great descriptive skills he knows how to crank up the tension for the many exciting set scenes.

When this book was released as a film and for many people it was memorable because the James Bond roll was switched to George Lazenby.

Many people think he was a poor replacement for the much beloved Sean Connery a definite Scott- Lazenby was not Scottish (nor English and was chosen because rumour as it, because of the way he walked in a popular TV Commercial!)
but the other strange thing that has been noted by other fellow reviewers s that the publishers have chosen a Scottish narrator - David Tennant to read the book uses his Scots brogue, if that's the correct descriptive word?

To Tennant- he really is excellent. I have heard many of his audio readings - mostly via the Dr Who book releases where he has proved himself a gifted reader.
Here he handles the vocalizations really well and there are many to handle including a whole lot of the female type. He handles them with aplomb and the story is enhanced by his terrific vocal talents.

Fleming has written a really great story which entertains the listener.
If you like Bond in the films you will love this audio version.

The great thing is there are a whole slew of audio books to celebrate the anniversary of James Bond and that can't be bad thing can it?
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I read the James Bond books several times through when a teenager - so much so that I could almost recite whole passages off by heart - and still pick one up to reread occasionally. This is a story which encapsulates so many of the classic features of the books: the handsome, ruthless action hero, the beautiful, devoted girl, the evil genius in his mountain fastness with his brutal associates and his plan for the domination of the world (or, at least in this case, the UK). If so many of these features have become cliches since this book was written in 1963, that's a testament to its popularity and the enduring appeal of the character.

Re-reading it, I got caught up in the story once more, however unlikely and fantastic the plot appears in places, and was only momentarily distracted by the stylistic quirks. Bond's thoughts appear to be laced with rather too many exclamation marks for effectiveness - e.g. "So! Blofeld had got the fix in!", "So! Up the Davos Valley!" [pp 80,82], etc. - and there's a passage on p52 in which terms like "friends in Zurich", "wanted [man]", "watch lists" and "numbered accounts" all have the first word in quotes, as if to introduce them to readers who were unfamiliar with these - then - exotic things. But all nitpicking has gone out of the window by the end of the book and its shocking denouement: I'm always struck by how tersely this is written on the final page, and the lasting picture it leaves in the mind.
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