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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 November 2012
From hearing the first words read by Rosamund Pike, I knew I could be nothing but delighted with this CD set. Her voice is deliciously deep, resonant, and of course beautifully feminine.

I already owned Casino Royal read by Dan Stevens, and Diamonds Are Forever read by Daimian Lewis in the same 007 Reloaded series from AudioGo, so it was an obvious choice to buy this one read by the actress who had played Miranda Frost in the film Die Another Day.

The film The Spy Who Loved Me bears no relation to the book, other than the title. Rather than beginning with Bond, this original story starts with a fascinating depiction of a young Canadian woman's recent experiences in London and the road trip she takes across America. This leads her to the Dreamy Pines Motor Court and into the clutches of two extremely sinister gangsters. Fleming treats us to the girl's intimate thoughts and feelings, and provides a fascinating depiction of American motels in the fifties. A thrilling story: exciting, sensuous and full of danger.

I enjoyed Ms Pike's reading much more than the other stories in this series read by male actors. She plays all the characters with skill and variety. Ms Pike is very accomplished and reads with great feeling and panache. Her comments at the end of the recording on her personal response to the story are both insightful and reflective.

Worth every penny - the best of Bond on CD!
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on 31 July 2013
A great read, a bit racy in places and touches on some difficult subjects. Not like the other Fleming Bond novels, quite refreshing. There is one line toward the end of the book referencing rape that I found very difficult but it is very much a book of it's time and reveals yet another aspect of Bond's character.
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on 17 March 2017
great
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on 16 April 2017
Good correspondence! Thank you!
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on 8 September 2017
very good
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on 12 June 2014
This book is written from the viewpoint of Vivienne Michel a twenty three year old French Canadian.

Viv tells the story of her time in London and the return home to Quebec. The decision to motorbike over the border to the United States.

She is currently working as the receptionist in a motel in upstate New York. On the night before the motel closes for the season. Viv is alone while a storm is in full flow.

Then two nasty pieces of work show up and then visitor number three arrives.

This is a different James Bond adventure.
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on 2 December 2015
Gift
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on 12 December 2015
Okay
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on 13 May 2015
Published in 1962 The Spy Who Loved Me is the ninth book in the original James Bond series. It is a short and explicit experimental novel by Ian Fleming. Its somewhat of a disappointment when compared to other books in the series. If you picked up The Spy Who Loved Me expecting Bond to be the central focus of the story you’d be disappointed. You would probably never read another Bond book again.

The story is a first person tale narrated by a young Canadian woman, Viv Michel. It charts her life story and upbringing and eventual arrival at a motel. Gangsters then arrive, threaten her, then Bond shows up and saves the day.

Apart from Bond being missing for much of the book the other problem is the cartoonish gangsters, Horror and Sluggsy. These characters are more like henchmen as opposed to true villains. There is also no espionage as the only crimes they want to commit are insurance fraud and arson. So, in most respects The Spy Who Loved Me is more like a noir crime novel in which Bond makes an appearance.

It’s good that Fleming tried something new with a familiar character despite holding misogynistic attitudes. He doesn't do too bad a job avoiding making Viv a completely useless damsel in distress. Her character is less patronising then I would have expected. But her purpose is to wait for the hero (Bond) to show up, rescue her and then fall in love with.

So in summary, if you’re a Bond fan its worth reading The Spy Who Loved Me for completeness. Cast aside any notions of evil scoundrels with plans for world domination first. Read the book without any preconceptions. If you do this then you’ll find the book moderately entertaining, written with a degree of pace and style.
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If 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (TSWLM) was the first on Ian Fleming's James Bond novels that someone read they might be forgiven for wondering a.) how a book of this sort could have inspired the movies adaptations that followed and b.) where all the espionage and adventure they were expecting had gone. There's also a good chance that they'd never pick up another Bond novel out of sheer disappointment, so if you've never read any of Fleming's books before (or have only picked up one or two) I would not recommend starting with TSWLM. Go back to the beginning as I did and start with Casino Royale. Its a worthwhile exercise.

For those familiar with Fleming's books TSWLM will still come as a surprise, as it is most definitely not a normal Bond novel. In fact its not really a novel, more a literary experiment on the part of the author masquerading as a glorified short story. Sticking to a three act structure the book is narrated by a young Canadian woman, Viv Michel, who in Act One recounts how she went from a comfortable upbringing in Montreal, via finishing school and a career in journalism in London, to being holed up in a deserted motel in Adrionacks in the US during a severe thunderstorm. Act Two then centres on the arrival of two gangsters with nefarious motives at the motel and how they go from initially unsettling to threatening and eventually attacking the vulnerable Viv. Only in Act Three does James Bond finally arrive on the scene and effect a rescue of Viv.

In almost every respect TSWLM is unlike any other Bond novel. Along with the narration from Viv throughout and the lack of James Bond for two thirds of the book's length there's also no espionage for Bond to undertake even once he does appear (his arrival on the scene being entirely coincidental). His role is relegated to that of the mysterious stranger riding in to protect and rescue the damsel in distress and the likes of SMERSH & SPECTRE are restricted to name checks in tale Bond recounts to Viv during a lull in proceedings. The two gangsters, Horror & Sluggsy, are evil and physically ugly specimens like many Bond villains and are reminiscent of the hoodlums from Diamonds are Forever (Penguin Viking Lit Fiction) &Goldfinger (Penguin Viking Lit Fiction), but they are also less exotic and their motivations (arson and insurance fraud) are far more pedestrian. In many ways TSWLM feels more like a traditional noir crime novel which just happens to feature James Bond.

This almost complete divergence from the normal 'Bond' template is bound to leave some fans wholly disatisfied. Despite some reservations going in however, I found that I really enjoyed this complete change of pace from the other adventures. There are the usual observations to be made about Fleming's anachronistic attitudes to certain things (written in 1962 TSWLM is now very much a period piece) but its also good to see a writer trying something new and different with a familiar character and for the most part pulling it off. The book's brevity helps as the changes in pace and subject matter don't overstay their welcome, and in some ways it feels closest in style to the short stories from For Your Eyes Only (Penguin Viking Lit Fiction), but Fleming nails the character of Viv quite well, avoiding making her a completely helpless damsel, and there is palpable sense of menace to events during the second act. The final act is more tradition Bond action, but stripped of any world changing significance or scale events on the page feel raw and have greater punch.

All in all TSWLM is worth dipping into. As long you don't expect the usual mix of evil masterminds, world changing plots and high adventure you will not be disappointed and if you're a fan of Fleming's spare prose, characters, sense of place and feel for action there is much in the book that will entertain.
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