On Her Majesty's Secret Service Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 Sep 2012
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"No book comes closer to the heart of 007" (Val McDermid)
"A most compelling story-teller" (The Times)
"Bond is what every man would like to be, and what every woman would like to have between her sheets" (Raymond Chandler Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
There is only one Bond. Enjoy these intoxicating spy novels in stylish Vintage Classics editions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
In this book, 007 heads up into the Swiss Alps to track down Stavro Blofeld, one of his biggest and most enduring arch-enemies. Bond is there on a pretext, pretending to be an expert in genealogy who’s performing a service for Blofeld, but there’s danger at every turn, especially because he packs light to avoid any further suspicion.
For me, it was an enjoyable enough read, but it did get heavy at times and whilst I powered through it in a day, that was only because I spent most of the day travelling. It isn’t one of the best Bond books, but it just about sneaks its way into the top half, and if you’ve seen the movie then you’ll know what to expect and be able to make the call on whether to read it. Either way, I’d recommend it to other Bond fans, or people who like skiing and bobsleighing.
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