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Thunderball (James Bond Novels) Paperback – May 27, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: James Bond Novels
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003244
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A thriller, a chiller and a pleasure to read " New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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.


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.

www.ianfleming.com

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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THUNDERBALL is a very interesting Ian Fleming James Bond novel.
gobirds2
I decided to read one of the old books one day and ended up buying and reading all of them.
BP
Fast paced and detailed, a very good plot with vivid descriptions.
Scott Hoffman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Ellis on January 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For fans of the literary James Bond, Thunderball is one of the most pivotal works of the series. It was in Thunderball that Bond creator Ian Fleming first introduced the world to perhaps the ultimate Bond villian -- Ernest Stavro Blofeld. Though Bond and Blofeld never actually meet in Thunderball, it is in this book that Bond first battles the schemes of SPECTRE, Blofeld's criminal organization.
The plot of the book (which, as with most of Fleming's best work, is disturbing plausible) deals with SPECTRE's theft of two nuclear missiles and their attempt to blackmail the world with atomic destruction. On little more than a hunch, M (Bond's superior, as gruffly humorous as ever) sends Bond down to the Bahamas to search for the missiles. (It is made clear that other intelligence agents are combing other locations as well. One thing that sets the book apart from the film is the portrayal of James Bond as not the absolute best secret agent in the world but instead as just a hardworking professional who, often times, resents the intrusion of work on his private life.) While in the Bahamas, Bond meets the book's main villian, Emilio Largo (well characterized as an almost likeable rogue), Largo's mistress Domino (who has a nicely vulnerable speech in which she analyzes a picture on a pack of cigarettes), and old allies like Felix Leiter. Along with the usual nonstop action and the vivid descriptions that Fleming was known for, Thunderball contains some of Fleming's most memorable characterizations. While little new is revealed of Bond, Largo and Domino grab hold of the reader's imagination and linger after the end of the book.
Famously, this book was inspired by Fleming and producer Kevin McClory's attempts to launch a pre-Connery James Bond film series.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kimberley Wilson on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you've seen the movie you know the plot of Thunderball already so I won't get into that. Reading Thunderball is a great pleasure for Bond fans because the movie was so faithful to the book. There were a few things left out becuase they were considered too much for the big screen.

Ian Fleming must have had a marvelous sense of humor becuase the chapters where Bond finds himself stuck at Shrublands, drinking tea and vegatable broth and longing for spaghetti and chianti are extremely funny. Later when things get serious the reader gets wonderful scenes with M. who really was a fascinating character. The old man was even more ruthless than Bond.

The biggest thing Thunderball did was to introduce the world to Blofeld and nevermind the Austin Powers jokes, the original Blofeld was a very dangerous, very scary dude. The description of Largo and the scenes with Bond's old pal, Felix Leiter are also great.

I'm very happy that the old (real) Fleming books are being re-released in such good quality paper and with such snappy retro covers. My dad's old copies were literally crumbling whenever I touched them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
THUNDERBALL is a very interesting Ian Fleming James Bond novel. I found the first two thirds of the novel very well written. The final third of the novel seems to lose all its steam and sinks into literary mediocrity and that's what really interests me. The first third of this novel contains some of the best prose that Fleming ever put on paper. It is rich in detail and thoroughly engrossing. It is a true delight to read and savor. As the novel enters the second the third it still remains engrossing but seems to lack some of Fleming's usual drive and coherency. The final third falls below what could even be considered commonplaceness for Fleming. Fleming seems to have just given up on this project at some point and just finished it out to get it into publication. Yet THUNDERBALL remains one of my favorite Fleming novels. The first third truly is brilliant and I enjoy reading it and examining at what point Fleming became disinterested.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Konrei TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
In a sense, THUNDERBALL is where it all started and where it all ended for James Bond. Although the novel was not released until 1961, it is based upon a earlier screenplay (MR. KISS-KISS BANG BANG) written by Fleming, Jack Whittingham and Kevin McClory, many elements of which were adapted for the first Bond Films.

(In)famously, McClory and Eon Productions became embroiled in an epic lawsuit that lasted decades over the rights to the intellectual property of SPECTRE and Blofeld. As a result, SPECTRE vanished from the later films, the producers decided never to follow another of Fleming's plotlines (much to the detriment of the movies), McClory was awarded partial rights to THUNDERBALL (which was remade as NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN), and Connery was wooed home for the role, a thumb in the eye of Cubby Broccoli, who had argued with Connery years before. In the end, MGM/Eon bought everybody out, this is all a footnote, and CASINO ROYALE is expected in 2006 with as yet an unnamed actor as Bond.

While not one of the best of Fleming's works, THUNDERBALL has a charming wit that makes it irresistible, especially in its earlier scenes at Shrublands the exclusive health spa where Bond is forced to go for the cure.

Fleming obviously wrote the Shrublands episode with his tongue jammed firmly into his cheek, and has a wonderful time poking fun at critics who find Bond's hedonism distressing. After two weeks of drinking wheatgrass juice and eating pine nut tofu, Bond is feeling absolutely "mahvelous," he has practically turned into "Jim-Bob Gandhi," and his Scots housekeeper May is in tears warning him against the danger of a grown man eating such "bairn's food.
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