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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 December 2013
About six months after the end of Casino Royale. Bond is sent to the United States to investigate "Mr Big" like Le Chifre the villain from Casino Royale he is a member of SMERSH.

Mr Big is using gold coins that originate from treasure that goes back to the days of the pirate Henry Morgan to finance Soviet and his own ambitions in the United States. Alongside Mr Big is Miss Solitaire a fortune teller who Mr Big wants as his wife. Solitaire pleads and Bond agrees to take her away from Mr Big.

The story takes in New York, Florida and Jamaica. Along the way Bond is helped by Felix Leither the CIA man. Leither meets with some serious injuries. This leaves Bond alone to trace Solitaire who has been kidnapped by Mr Big's men from a motel in Florida.

On arrival in Jamaica Bond is helped by John Strangways and the Cayman Islander called Quarrel. Intelligence confirms that Solitaire is being held on Mr Big's yacht which has come to collect some more Gold coins.

Bond is captured and both him and Solitaire are reunited then are seconds away from meeting a nasty end when his prior calculations come good and justice is done.

I liked this. Yes it is dated but is a lot better than the 1973 film adaption which was around 20 years after the original book was published.
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on 27 March 2017
A quick easy read. It's a dated /non pc storyline but it's busy and it flows. Much adventure, friendship, an evil villain, sharks,gold and a one dimensional love interest. What more could you ask for.
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on 26 March 2017
Excellent story from my childhood. Ideas and language from an earlier age but still very enjoyable. Definitely worth a read.
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on 23 July 2017
seen the film but not read the book till now very good
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on 28 April 2017
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on 15 April 2013
I hadn't read the original James Bond novels and thought I'd start with this one: wow, what a fantastic style this author has - lean, sharp and very punchy. Thoroughly enjoying this book and will certainly be reading others in the series!
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on 28 June 2017
It may be old, it may be racist, sexist and misogynistic but you just can't help but love it.
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on 16 March 2017
Such a well known story but its charm is the simplicity of the original narrative from 50 years ago. Passages in NYC evoke the Mad Men erase. A great yarn
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on 2 December 2015
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on 12 October 2012
"Live and Let Die" was Ian Fleming's second James Bond novel. In Casino Royale (Vintage Classics) he established the character of Bond, ending with the agent resolving to go after Soviet Intelligence's terror machine, SMERSH. In fact, Fleming was partly out of date in using SMERSH in this way because, it had been disbanded before the nineteen fifties when he was writing. But it was a useful conceit for his story telling and played effectively on fears generated by Cold War which was then at its height.

"Casino Royale" had shown many features that will continue to appear in the Bond novels. But the first book is, in some ways, different from other Bond books in that the main thriller action largely takes place the first two thirds. In "Live and Let Die," the James Bond format is properly established in ways that were largely followed in the films also: Bond is briefed by M about an enemy agent (in this case an American gangster, Mr Big) and sent abroad to break the SMERSH operation. In the course of the adventure, which moves from New York via Florida, to its climax in Jamaica, Bond encounters an assortment of villains and henchmen plus the inevitable beautiful woman.

This action is combined with Fleming's atmospheric descriptions of the places Bond visits which are often very accurate and based on local knowledge, for example his descriptions of the winds in Jamaica. The characterisation of Mr Big, as with all the villains, is highly effective: a Negro who uses Voodoo (which Fleming had read about, and maybe misrepresents) to cultivate fear. There is also the first use Barracuda's which seem to be a favourite animal of Bond villains for disposing of people, and which Fleming was familiar with as an enthusiastic skin diver. Plus, as always, there is the pace of the writing, which Kingsley Amis called the "Fleming sweep," that keeps the reader interested from beginning to the end.

Fleming, to me, is one of the most effective thriller writers ever. His ability to provide this mixture of pace, thrills and atmosphere is, as always, a winning combination. This is perhaps not my personal all-time favourite Bond novel. That would be either From Russia with Love (Vintage)or Dr No (Penguin Modern Classics) which were still to come. But "Live and Let Die" still is near the top of the very best Bond novels and, unlike thrillers from some other authors, remains fresh and very readable even on repeated readings.
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