James Bond #1
- Ian Fleming -
Well, that was not what I expected.
What I thought I'd read was non stop action full of dubious double crossing spies with hidden razor blade faux playing cards and walkie talkies in their cuff links blowing up souped up sports cars and leaving a trail of at least a dozen or so dead bodies behind them. Instead what I read was a low key story about Bond doing a bit of gambling, falling in love, and being beaten/tortured to near death. He did not save the day. He did not have a fancy watch that shot laser beams. He did not capture Dr. Evil and lock him away in a dungeon on Skull island. He was actually a flawed hero who obsessed over every detail , appeared to lack any confidence in himself whatsoever, and completely lost his mind over a woman he barely knew!
There was a car chase, there was a small shoot out, there was a gun hidden in a cane...but, that's all the secret agent stuff I can recall. That being said, it was still a good book. Bond is an interesting character to read, with all his little quirks, and his insight into the mind of a killer (the killer being him). I was surprised to find that a good chunk of the book had almost nothing to do with the whole spy vs spy thing, that it was almost a love story. Bond agonizes over every word and action this episode's 'bond girl' does. I actually found it interesting to see him consciously ignore all the warning signs that this girl is going to leave him. I wondered how far he would go, how much he would pass off as nothing, how desperate he would become? It was pitiful by the end. A double O agent (aka the cream of the crop) almost crawling on his hands and knees begging an obviously broken woman to love him...just not the image I had of Bond before I started this book. Which actually makes me want to pick up the next one, Live and Let Die, to see if Bond can redeem himself or if he will fall for the next woman he meets?
I think the covers on these Bond books are hilarious. Imagine seeing that in a bookstore today? I'd love it.