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Live and Let Die (James Bond Novels) Paperback – May 27, 2003

244 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Containing passages which for sheer excitement have not been surpassed by any modern writer of this kind."
-- The Times Literary Supplement (Times Literary Supplement ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ian Fleming (1908-1964), creator of the world's best-known secret agent, is the author of fourteen James Bond books. Born in London in 1908 and educated at Eton and Sandhurst, he became the Reuters Moscow correspondent in 1929. In the spring of 1939, Fleming went back to Moscow as a special correspondent for the London Times. In June of that same year, he joined Naval Intelligence and served throughout World War II, finally earning the rank of Commander, RNVSR (Sp.). Much of the James Bond material was drawn directly from Fleming's experiences as an intelligence officer. Later, Fleming became a consultant on foreign affairs for the London Sunday Times, by which time he had become far better known as the creator of James Bond.

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Product Details

  • Series: James Bond Novels
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003237
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in London on May 28, 1908. He was educated at Eton College and later spent a formative period studying languages in Europe. His first job was with Reuters News Agency where a Moscow posting gave him firsthand experience with what would become his literary bete noire--the Soviet Union. During World War II he served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence and played a key role in Allied espionage operations.

After the war he worked as foreign manager of the Sunday Times, a job that allowed him to spend two months each year in Jamaica. Here, in 1952, at his home "Goldeneye," he wrote a book called Casino Royale--and James Bond was born. The first print run sold out within a month. For the next twelve years Fleming produced a novel a year featuring Special Agent 007, the most famous spy of the century. His travels, interests, and wartime experience lent authority to everything he wrote. Raymond Chandler described him as "the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England." Sales soared when President Kennedy named the fifth title, From Russia With Love, one of his favorite books. The Bond novels have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide, boosted by the hugely successful film franchise that began in 1962 with the release of Dr. No.

He married Anne Rothermere in 1952. His story about a magical car, written in 1961 for their only son Caspar, went on to become the well-loved novel and film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Fleming died of heart failure on August 12, 1964, at the age of fifty-six.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Caesar, Ph.D. on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
After "Casino Royale" (1953) introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming quickly followed up with his second novel, the vastly superior "Live and Let Die" (1954). Whereas its predecessor is an apprentice work and one of the weakest of the whole series, "Live and Let Die" is fine Fleming, with all the characteristics that mark the best Bond novels: quick pacing, deft characterization, a solid plot, and Fleming's own inimitable style.

The plot is straightforward: someone is smuggling gold coins into the US and the British Secret Service wants to find out who. M sends Bond to America, where he hooks up Felix Leiter to pursue the nefarious Mr. Big, a gigantic Haitian who works for SMERSH and uses voodoo to maintain his control over his minions. Bond, of course, succeeds, but only after much death, suspense, and sexual tension with Solitaire, his delicious female companion.

I would rank "Live and Let Die" in the second-tier of Bond novels, along with "From Russia, With Love" and "Moonraker." It doesn't quite reach the level of such absolute masterpieces as "Doctor No," "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," or "You Only Live Twice," but it's certainly superior to such relatively weak entries as "Goldfinger," "Casino Royale," and the disastrous "The Man with the Golden Gun." All in all, a classic Bond thriller.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Benz on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
This was the second Bond novel overall, but the first to feature the blueprint for the Bond novels and films to come. Unlike the superb "Casino Royale" which was almost exclusively kept to one location, LALD is a globe trotting epic dragging Bond from NYC to the Caribbean and incorporating nerve shattering adventures in planes, trains and even finishes up as a sea faring thriller. Amongst all of this, somehow Fleming finds time to establish a number of classic 007 motifs - the decadent hotels, iconic villain, sidekick villians, mastermind death plots, development of Felix Leiter's friendship with Bond, the briefing from M. To cap it off, Q branch also rates it's first ever mention, and the beginnings of the novel's gadgetry fixations begin here. LALD is most notable as being the first of it's form and it must have hit readers powerfully with it's freshness on first release. This was 007 as we now know him - brave, resourceful, invincible - master of any skill or body of knowledge. For me, and most Bond readers, familiar with the genre, it's a good read, not a great one, because it skimps on Bond's psychology which ultimately gives a level of excitement and depth that the movies can't equal (although they certainly have different advantages over the books). You need look no further than "Casino Royale" for the thrill of getting inside James Bond's mind and for enjoying his enigmatic and self centred ethics. This read is much more straight forward and dare I say it, predictable good fun. It deserves it's accolades because it was there first.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Greg Hirst on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Ian Fleming readers will know what they are getting, and fans of the movie may not. This is the second Bond outing in novel form, the first being CASINO ROYALE. But like the movies, it's unnecessary to see or read them in order. There are a few references to the first novel, mostly vague "from the Royale incident" statements, but nothing major.
Bond is darker, less suave than the movie version, and it comes out in this dark novel. It's actually has more to do with the movie For your eyes Only than LIVE AND LET DIE. There's an ocean motif in this one, lots of sharks and underwater perils.
Vivid and exciting. good stuff
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. P. Stathoulopoulos on May 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fleming's second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die is a solid thriller although it certainly has room for improvement. And Fleming would improve and polish Bond's adventure very very well as time went on. Here, his prose is more terse, often feeling less descriptive than it would in later novels, but still very smooth. There is some really solid action and Bond is also given a very believable reason to go after Mr. Big, the villain (what else could he be with that name?) Felix Leiter, Bond's CIA chum, is mauled by sharks. (This part of the story was not in the film Live and Let Die but was rather used in the later film Licence to Kill.) Bond also forms a solid romance with the mysterious Solitaire and in the end...well, give it a read. A lot of fun for sure and very smooth.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Asselin VINE VOICE on November 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The 2012 release of "Skyfall," the latest in the Bond film series now fifty years old, brought me back again to the Ian Fleming novels, just as had "Casino Royale," which had signaled the reboot of the movie franchise in 2006. That movie was an unusually faithful adaptation of the first of Ian Fleming's 007 books, of the same title. Fleming's sophomore outing, "Live and Let Die" (LALD) was published almost exactly a year after the debut novel, in April of 1954. In story and character development, LALD is a marginal improvement over its predecessor, which I had found wanting in character depth and, even given the time period in which it was written, in its treatment of women. Even though I thought there was some merit to "Casino Royale," and that this story, too, works fairly well, all in all, I'd recommend it more as an archeological artifact of the Bond legend than as a novel in its own right.

In LALD Fleming remains true to the prospectus for his Bond novels that he presented near the end of "Casino Royale." In my review of that book, I noted that Fleming "does not focus on actual spying, but on the threat that causes it. `The business of espionage could be left to the white-collar boys. They could spy and catch the spies. He would go after the threat behind the spies, the threat that made them spy.' Fleming's Bond is not Le Carre's Smiley: Bond, his apparent intellect notwithstanding, is out to eliminate the threat, not the spying."

And so, in LALD, Bond finds himself in New York City investigating a Harlem-based crime figure and apparent tool of the fictionalized Soviet counterintelligence organ, SMERSH. (That fact is pretty much all you'll read of SMERSH in this novel.) "Mr.
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