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4.7 out 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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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 30 June 2016
The book most loyally copied in its film version, this is a great story which neatly follows on the criminal career of Ernst Stavros Blofeld.

Bond is in fine form, taking a battering from all sides, but also showing the tender side to his character in his romance and subsequent marriage.

A real page turner of a novel.
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2016
Inarguably Fleming's best written story which would later become the best of the Bond movies.
In the books James is a bit more of a romantic than on film but even so he only truly falls in love twice and the story Herr between him and Tracy is as glorious as the action.
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on 20 June 2016
I had nver read Ian Fleming before as like many people I only knew James Bond from his film portrayals. I enjoyed this book as it presented a more nuanced portrayal of James Bond. There is of course the handsome lovable rogue but he struggles with his job role at times.
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on 17 October 2012
This was the third volume to be released by Titan Books of the newspaper strips originally published in the Daily Express in the mid 1960's
Included in this volume is "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "You Only Live Twice". The artwork of these two stories is some of the best in the series.
Also included is an introduction by George Lazenby and "Bond In Books" part 3.
A fascinating and worthwhile purchase for any Bond fan.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2004
I was very excited to hear that Titan was set to deliver even more editions of the James Bond strips that appeared in the pages of The Daily Express in the 1960s and even more pleased to hear that two of my favorite Fleming books - 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' and 'You Only Live Twice' were set to appear in the same edition.
Some years ago, back in the 1980s I had picked up a previous edition of 'Octopussy' that Titan had put together and promptly devoured the book and for years later had wished and wanted to see the rest of the series. Here at last some two decades later I am getting my chance - and am extremely happy about it.
Not only do we get the comic-strip adaptation of the above two books in this one edition, but we also get an introduction by Bond actor George Lazenby (who played the character in the 1969 movie) as well as a discussion of the Fleming books (from 'Doctor No' to 'For Your Eyes Only') and before the beginning of both novels a brief discussion on the background behind the comic-strips and even mention of where the strip deviates from the book which it is adapting.
A word of warning must go out to those who only know the secret agents exploits through the popular series of EON Productions movies. These strips are based on the Fleming novels which are very different from the 007 movies (at least since 1971 onwards). In fact one of the novels adapted here - 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' may be the Fleming novel most faithfully adapted for the movie screens.
Titan Books deserve a great deal of credit for publishing these editions and this one will undoubtedly (and justifiably) become a proud addition to the bookshelves of every self respecting fan of the novels of Ian Fleming and in particular of his most famous creation - James Bond.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 October 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When films are based on books I usually think it is better to watch the film or read the book but not both. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It is well known that the Bond films bear little relation to the books but what struck me most was the difference in style. Unlike the film, the book feels firmly rooted both in reality and in its post war setting. In stark contrast to the superstar of the screen this James Bond worries about things. He even thinks carefully about money and worries about the extravagance of spending £5 taking a woman out to dinner.

This Bond is not a man who would run past half a dozen crooks with automatic pistols and rely on all the bullets missing. He doesn't assume he can take any woman to bed. He thinks about the desirability, the consequences and whether he is up to the challenge.

For me, all this made a completely different, and interesting experience. It is nicely read by David Tennant in a thoughtful tone completely different from his style in Dr Who.
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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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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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