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Octopussy and The Living Daylights (James Bond Novels) Paperback – April 6, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"A must for Bond buffs." -- Newsweek

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

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (April 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #553,026 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

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By john purcell on August 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ian Fleming penned 14 Bond adventures before his death in 1964. He lived to see the first few movies made, was hopelessly smitten with the young Ursula Andress, and fortunately did not live to see the excesses of his sucessors.

This book is a compilation of three short stories in Octopussy, The Living Daylights, and Property of a Lady. There is no real resemblance to the similarly titled films, but some of the scenes and characters from the short stories made it to the big screen.

These stories show what Bond would do on a slow day, no gadgets or romance involved. Bond does not entertain three women per story, in fact, he meets none. He is smitten at a distance with a cello player, but nothing develops romantically, and the female lead of the third story is described as unattractive.

Bond simply closes out a few files, as one might do in a short week before heading out on holiday. Of course, M and Ms. Moneypenny appear here, with M and the unnamed Chief of Staff providing Bond with his orders and accoutrements.

Octopussy is the best of the lot here. In fact, Bond barely appears in the story set in Fleming's beloved Jamaica about 15 years after the war. A British army major comes into a treasure in the closing chaotic days of the war in Europe. His techniques included murder and eventually he is tracked down by 007 who had been an acquaintance of the "Good German" victim.

The Living Daylights features a challenge between two trained assassins, which will be familiar to viewers of the Timothy Dalton film. Fleming very cleverly sets the scene at Checkpoint Charlie just before the Wall went up. Both sides use innovative cover to muffle their killer's sounds and movements.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Octopussy and the Living Daylights is a terrific collection of stories that show some of James Bond's smaller, more ordinary assignments. Of course since he's Bond even his more routine stuff is thrilling reading. First out is Octopussy which has nothing to do with the horrible Roger More movie. This story was really about a retired English major who once had a fine career in military inteligence. At the end of the war the major makes a terrible decision and years later in his middle age a man named Bond shows up at his Jamaican home and makes him pay for it. This story is very well written and shows that Ian Flemming had a real knack for characterization.

Property of a Lady shows Bond on a pleasant but serious assignment. For a change he never has to leave London or even break a sweat but he manages to expose one high ranking Russian spy and wryly observes a low level double agent playing the spy game badly.

Living Daylights in my favorite of the stories. Bond has been ordred to Germany to take out a sniper so an agent can escape to the West. This is not a nice job and Bond spends a surprising amount of time considering his distaste about the job. The little details about Bond's preparations, his school marmish old contact, the velvet snipers uniform and walking and eating around Germany are all fascinating. And in the end Bond makes a decison about the Russian sniper and his fellow agent whom he's been sent to save.

The last story and the shortes is Bond in New York. He's been sent on a mission of mercy and plans to enjoy himself in Manhattan. We learn of Ian Flemming's opinion of frozen food and that Bond once had an apartment in Manhattan!

I wouldn't buy this short story collection first. Try the full length novels and then this one because it's all so much about showing the other side of Bond. This is a treat for serious Bond lovers, old and new.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As Conan Doyle did in the late 1890's (and as others like Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie followed), Ian Fleming seemed to has suscribed the theory that sometimes "less is more" in writing a story, thus chosing a short tale instead of a long one for more impact. This book comprises, in its final form, three novelettes a la "For Your Eyes Only". The book was first printed in 1966 (being the last release of a Fleming original), but the stories were written and fictionally occur after "The Spy Who Loved Me" and before "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". The title episode is another showcase for Fleming's ability to write a story in the true sense, picturing a tale of a man's life since the WWII up to his last days in the Caribbean. Bond is merely an excuse for a dramatic tale of greed, murder and treachery. This story is highlighted by another excellent underwater frame-sequence. "The Living Daylights" is pure Bond, from his practice with the rifle outside London to the tense climax at Berlin. This story is another twist of the plot of "For Your Eyes Only", showing 007 as an assassin questioning about his job but doing it the best he can. Excellent surprising villain(ess). "The Property of a Lady" is a brief example of the author's master touch for describing with great detail and gusto parts of recent history and all kind of things and subjects, in this case jewels and auctions. The development itself is direct and simple, too short indeed, with an ending that doesn't matter as much as the description of the events. By the way, this episode refers to another traitor in the Service. A collection of odd but varied 007 missions.
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