Context: Took this on an 8 mile walk around Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire when we stopped for a pub lunch.
Everyone’s seen at least one of the Bond films. But how many people do you know who’ve read a Bond novel. Fleming wrote 7 in all and, although I won’t be reading more than this one I don’t think, I always like to see the genesis in a novel of an idea or a character who’s had a great influence culturally. It’s another reason why the 1001 list is worth reading from.
The novel contains all we’ve come to expect from a Bond novel: near death experiences, villains monologing, car chases, kidnapping, glamour, a
love sex interest, M, a double agent, the Soviets… but what was intriguing to read though was all that we don’t expect from old Mr Bond.
Along with some background about how Bond got his 00 status, we have a ton of soul-searching from a spy who seems remarkably more human, weak and frail than we’ve been lead to expect. There’s also a relatively large amount of philosophy about good and evil and Bond’s own role in it all. In fact, he says he’s going to give up spying because it’s all too much. And to cap it all, he really does fall in love with Vespers and spends time thinking about settling down with her. He even builds up his courage to propose marriage. James Bond proposing marriage!?
I couldn’t quite conclude whether I liked a more human Bond or not, but it was refreshing to have a choice at least.
One final point: all the page numbers in my edition were three digits with leading zeros. That mean that page seven was rendered 007. Nice touch.