Octopussy and The Living Daylights Paperback – 1 Oct 2009
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|Paperback, 1 Oct 2009||
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"Mr Fleming is the best thriller writer since Buchan." (Evening Standard)
"Ian Fleming traces the intricacies of counter-espionage with all the efficient authority of 007’s own secret reports" (Sunday Times)
"A brilliant gem!" (Publishers Weekly)
"Admirers of James Bond will be glad to have them to add to their collection" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Stories which, in their fascinated pouring on things – guns, techniques, foodstuffs – remind us that it is the mastery of the world of things, rather than people, that gives Fleming his peculiar literary niche" (Anthony Burgess) --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
Okay some of the statements in these books are not political correct. But they were written some time ago. They have been read by many and like those others I enjoyed them.
A collection of four short stories make up this book:-
CHAPTER 1: OCTOPUSSY
James Bond is in Jamaica on official business to meet with a man who stole Nazi Gold during the war.
CHAPTER 2: THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
The actions to catch a double agent takes James Bond to the auction rooms at Sotheby's.
CHAPTER 3: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
James Bond is in Berlin to kill a Soviet assassin who is trying to stop someone move from east to west.
CHAPTER 4: 007 IN NEW YORK
James Bond is in New York. Nothing more to add to this.
First published in a single collection in 1966, 2 years after Ian Fleming's passing, this is the final print outing for superspy James Bond from the pen of his originator. It is a collection of four short stories, Octopussy, Property Of A Lady, The Living Daylights and 007 In New York. As with his previous short story collection, Fleming uses this as an opportunity to do something a bit different with his writing, and to get away from the traditional Bond milieu.
Being in the short story format, Fleming has to restrain himself from the over long descriptions that sometimes bogged the later Bond novels down slightly, making these short sharp and punchy pieces, but still beautifully observed. Story by story:
Octopussy - This is a great opening story. We see the story through the eyes of Major Dexter Smythe, an ex army officer who served with intelligence during the war and is now living in a comfortable retirement in Jamaica. A visit from an enigmatic man named Bond shatters his world, as the secret of his wealth is revealed and he must decide on his own future. This is a classic piece of writing from Fleming. The character of Smythe is particularly well realised (apart from the dodgy wartime dealing and the murder, I wonder how much of the mid fifties ex intelligence officer living in Jamaica with a coronary condition was based on himself?) and from the vivid descriptions of sea life through to the bleak tale of Smythe's life and how his villainy and wealth have failed to bring him happiness this tale is a real winner for me.
Property of a Lady - 007 attends an auction at Sotheby's to try and uncover the Russian's top man in England, who MI6 think will be bidding on a priceless Faberge piece. The piece was sent to a top mole working for the Russians in MI6 as a clandestine way of paying her for her services. It's a slight tale, and has a glaring plot hole at it's heart (MI6 want to keep using the mole to pass disinformation, so why do they set out to expose the top Russian at the auction, thereby exposing that they know about the mole and eliminating her usefulness?) but Fleming's passion for the detail saves it and a decent read is the result.
Living Daylights - an unusually morose piece from Fleming finds Bond on a mission to eliminate a Russian sniper who will be trying to prevent a defector from making the dash from East to West in Berlin. This, for me, is the best story in the book as Fleming examines Bond's attitude to the job of a cold blooded murder. The final section of the story is as tense as they come as the mission plays itself out. It's a masterful piece, 5 stars in its own right.
007 in New York - This is a bit of an oddity. Seemingly penned by Fleming as an apology for a travelogue he once wrote in which he damned New York, this finds James Bond anticipating the pleasures of the city as he waits for a rendezvous with an ex MI6 agent to deliver a warning. In essence it is a description of all the best things to be found in the city, although it has one deficiency, which leads to an unusually funny ending. As an interesting coda there is an excellent recipe for scrambled eggs at the end.
This unabridged reading is excellent. Tom Hiddleston takes on the first three stories, and does a fine job of distinguishing characters without resorting to OTT accents and vocal gymnastics. He has a feel for the pace of the stories, and builds up the tension expertly. At the climax of Living Daylights I actually thought there were two people speaking at the same time, his vocal separation is so good. Following Living daylights there is a short interview with Hiddleston, which is mildly interesting. Then comes an introduction from Ian Fleming's niece, Lucy, giving some background for the story 007 in New York, which she then proceeds to read. I had worried that might be a little bit of a vanity job, but as it turns out she is a fine reader, perfectly suited to the piece and the whole thing ahs a feeling of something a little bit special.
Total run time is 3 hours 40 minutes. It's a great finish to what has been an excellent series of unabridged reading for all of the Bond adventures penned by Fleming. 5 stars.
The stories themselves are enjoyable and are some of the better Bond tales. The plots are straightforward and the limited word count provides constraints around what Bond can get involved with. They are more like character studies. For example, Octopussy is a morality tale, with greed bringing repercussions years later to the main protagonist, Dexter Smythe (who seems to be modelled on Fleming himself).
In The Living Daylights Bond's thoughts on killing are examined once again, showing that although 007 did not like doing it, he considered that he must as part of his duty to complete an assignment. Once the mission is completed, with Bond deliberately not killing the assassin, there is an attitude of complacency and disobedience with Bond shrugging off his colleague's complaints about the incident.
So, a worthy final addition to the original Bond series. A quick, easy and recommended read.
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