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The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond Novels) Paperback – September 2, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews
Book 10 of 45 in the James Bond 007 Series

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Paperback, September 2, 2003
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"Where's 007 now that we really, really need him? He's back with the old derring-do in Penguin's dazzling new reprints"

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.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003268
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a really unusual, but most enjoyable James
Bond book. As is often the case of the Bond novels
made into movies released in the 1970's, this novel
and the 1977 film have absolutely nothing in common
other than the title. But in this case even the main
character is different. Bond does not even appear
until the final third of the book.
The story is told in first person by a woman who
ultimately crosses Bond's path. "The Spy" is Bond and
"Me" is Fleming's main character, Vivienne Michel.
She is an attractive, single, 23-year old woman who
has been shafted by two lovers as the story begins.
The very idea of a 54-year old man writing a story
from the point of view of a woman more than 30 years
his junior is interesting. However, when the older
man is Fleming and known for creating characters with
names like Pussy Galore, it is not only interesting
but amusing!
The narrator, Vivienne, uses flashback to describe the
events of her life as the novel opens. As a naive
young girl she was burned by one lover and in spite of
that experience, she allows herself to be burned
again. At the completion of her trip down memory
lane, she suddenly finds herself in the clutches of
two thugs. She has no idea what they are up to except
that they want to harm her. It is, of course, Bond
who becomes her knight in shining armor and rescues
her in spite of his admitted carelessness.
There is a story within the story here as well. Bond
describes his most recent assignment, thwarting a
SPECTRE plot involving the attempted assassination of
a Soviet defector. It is a shame that this vignette
has never been the subject of a movie.
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Format: Audio CD
First off, I must say that my experience w/ Blackstone audio books has been VERY positive. I've purchased most of the audio books in the Bond series, & so far I've only had problems w/ one of them (On Her Majestie's Secret Service). A couple of the discs had what appeared to be glue (from the packaging?) on them & would not play properly. When I first encountered the problem, I called the 800 number on the box, fully expecting to get an automated answering service w/ menu options. To my surprise, a very pleasant woman named "Carol" answered, assuring me that there would be no problem getting a replacement disc to me free of charge. The entire phone call was over in a few minutes & left me feeling very happy w/ the company & w/ my purchase Thank you, Carol!

As for the Blackstone Bond series audio books, Nadia May does an outstanding job narrating this book. It took some getting used to hearing a woman narrator after listening to Simon Vance's excellent narration on several titles (this is the only title in the Bond series NOT read by Vance), but this is also the only Bond novel written by Fleming in first person from a woman's perspective, so it makes sense to use a woman narrator. Unlike some narrators I've encountered w/ other companies (such as Brilliance) who read descriptive passages AND dialogue using the SAME TONE so that it's difficult to tell which character is actually speaking, May (like Vance) gives each character his or her own voice and manner of speaking. It makes for a MUCH more pleasant & enjoyable listening experience.

Part of the fun of the original Bond novels is seeing how they compare to the films that bare their titles. In many cases, there's scarcely any similarity at all (and sometimes none whatsoever). However, I actually enjoy that.
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Format: Paperback
Having recently read Andrew Lycett's excellent biography of 007 creator Ian Fleming, I found rereading "The Spy Who Loved Me," his tenth James Bond novel, a very unconventional story.

James Bond doesn't appear until page 100. The novel is told from the perspective of Vivienne Michel, a Canadian woman traveling across the USA after two devastating relationships. "Viv" is an strong, sympathetic character--considering that her creator was generally the type of cad who broke her heart! She remembers her deflowering (Fleming had lost his virginity the same way) and her career before fleeing to America (like Fleming, she worked for a newspaper).

But she's a tough, resilient woman, just the type of female who would appeal to a secret agent like 007. Drawn into an insurance scam at a remote New England motel and menaced by two repellent thugs, Viv is threatened with rape and murder until a mysterious Englishman gets a flat tire on a nearby road.

"The Spy Who Loved Me" was an interesting experiment in Fleming's writing that didn't pay off for him. He discouraged any reprints and considered destroying all unsold copies. Who knows what other directions and what risks Fleming might have made if "Spy" had succeeded. In fact, when the producers of the Bond films were looking for their next entry in the series, the Fleming estate allowed them to use only the title of this one.

Reading the novel now in 2007, it appealed to me because Viv's painful past relationships and her determination not to be bitter reflect many women I know now--or wish I knew.

It was also fascinating that the unfeeling men in her past resembled the author more than the main characters. Viv was the strong, beautiful woman he wished he had. And James Bond, as usual, was the dashing super stud he wished he was. Just like the rest of us.
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