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The Last Battle: Dragonmaster, Book Three (Dragonmaster Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – November 4, 2008
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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Praise for Chris Bunch: 'I highly recommend Storm of Wings. It is in many ways, the fantasy equivalent of another Vietnam vet's masterpiece - Haldeman's THE FOREVER WAR. Yes, it really is that good' THE ALIEN ONLINE, 'Rich and convincing ... will leave you eagerly awaiting the next instalment' SFX, 'Slam-bang excitement, lusty action and military magic ... fast-paced and ferocious' JULIAN MAY --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Chris Bunch is a Vietnam veteran and served as a patrol commander and combat correspondent for Stars and Stripes. He has written for the underground press, outlaw motorcycle magazines and Rolling Stone. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Now all these years later I find the same experience as I did in 1960, and I was rather disappointed that the series was not available for the Kindle, until now!!
If you have only followed the movies as I know so many have, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you purchase these books and read them in the order that they were published as they cover in sequence 12 years in the life of the greatest SPY who ever lived.
You will be transported back in time to the cold war very vividly and quite realistically described all without dragging down the story. You will also meet the man James Bond, a very loyal and caring person with a very dirty job that had to be done,
I have had the greatest pleasure over the years and have visited several or the Pubs and places described in this to me wonderful series of books.
Annually and sometimes more than that, I read the series again. I have tried to pickup a book later in sequence to just read that one story again and after about 2 chapters I put it done and dive in once again to the series,
I hope you can find at least a large part of the wonderful experience I have and continue to have with Dr. No and all of the other classic work by Ian Fleming.
Bond is supposed to take a rest cure in Jamaica but is very quickly given a simple assignment: to investigate the disappearance of his fellow MI6 agent Strangways, whom we witnessed being murdered, along with his secretary, at the beginning of the novel by Chinese negroes who are henchmen of Dr. Julius No. There are many instances of suspicious activity at Crab Key, the island that is the headquarters for Dr. No’s guano processing operation. Aside from Strangways and his secretary, a few members of the Audubon Society on the island to observe native Roseate spoonbills also died. Bond eventually travels to Crab Key with his friend and trusted guide, native Jamaican Quarrel, who had also helped him in the earlier novel ‘Live and Let Die.’ While there they meet Honeychile Ryder, the rare exception to escape the attention of Crab Key’s owner thus far, a young woman on the island to collect shells. Bond and Honey are taken captive after a ‘dragon’, actually a doctored up tractor/armored vehicle with flame thrower, burns Quarrel alive.
Dr. No is a Chinese-German gangster, a former member of the Chinese Tong crime organization, immensely tall with pincers replacing hands that were cut off. The guano operation is the semi-legitimate cover for his real operation: a mechanism for jamming American missile radio signals causing them to go astray and disregard their directives. He hopes to sabotage enough of these operations to exhaust American resources and alternatives. He admits that he’s received aid from Russia and hopes to attract the interest of Communist China. He explains his plan before sentencing Bond and Honey to long, excruciatingly torturous deaths. Of course, Bond and Honey both escape and Bond seizes control of the guano-loading machine at the docks, diverting the guano flow to bury Dr. No alive.
Although Fleming would never be described as a horror writer, there is a sequence in which a centipede has been placed in Bond’s bed which is worthy of Poe in mounting psychological terror. There is also the long obstacle course sequence, in which Bond navigates through yards of zinc-lined ventilation piping, slowly inching his way up vertical lines and battling steam and hordes of spiders with stretched grating wire as an improvised weapon, culminating in a plunge into the ocean at the end of the pipe, nearly drowning, then battling a giant squid. These are expertly paced and described sequences. Whatever other weaknesses Fleming may possess as a writer, he is a master of perfectly paced adventure.
As in the previous novel, Bond does not take killing lightly. He kills only when there are no other alternatives or if it is the obvious solution to a menacing problem i.e. the elimination of Dr. No. He is genuinely saddened by the unfortunate death of his friend Quarrel. While the novel may strike modern readers as offensive in its depiction of Quarrel’s ‘pigeon English’, Quarrel himself, though obviously a faithful friend and sidekick, does not seem to be dim or slow. He is intelligent in the ways of his native land and how to navigate through it. His fate only results from being in the wrong place, at the wrong end of a flame thrower emerging from a makeshift tank. Actually, in this case, the filmed adaptation strikes me as more overtly racist than the source novel.
Likewise, Honey is not stupid. She is a largely self-taught orphan who has had to survive and fend for herself from a very early age. She is extremely beautiful, her face marred only by a broken nose from a man who raped her earlier. Although physically traumatized and understandably distrustful of men, she trusts Bond instinctually. Although Bond is undeniably attracted to her, he restrains his desire and does not attempt to seduce her or be anything but supportive. The novel ends with ‘her’ as the sexual aggressor.
There is an undertone of lack of respect for British imperial authority. Bond feels resentful toward M, who has taken away his reliable Beretta handgun and issued him with a clumsy Smith and Wesson, then unwittingly saddled him with this ‘soft’ assignment while Bond is supposed to be resting in Jamaica. The Colonial Governor is presented as a standard politician who wants to hush this entire affair up to avoid bad publicity. Fortunately, he is talked out of doing nothing by a Naval Brigadier who suggests they get a platoon to clean out Crab Key and destroy the remnants of the operation and track down any surviving collaborators.
The only weakness that I detected, and it’s not major, is the dramatization of the real threat of Dr. No’s ultimate plan. We never see a headquarters with a lot of electrical equipment or see any missiles straying from their intended trajectories or causing any real damage. The diabolical plan only exists as words that Dr. No utters in his cold, mechanical, dispassionate voice. All we actually see is conveyor belts and cranes loading masses of guano onto barges at docks. Dr. No’s underground headquarters is impressive, luxurious quarters excavated and constructed miles below the surface of the ocean. However, none of it looks ‘world-threatening.’ This is where the films stepped in and made almost every villain’s headquarters massively spectacular and seemingly impregnable. Of course, this observation comes from someone who encountered the Bond films before reading any of the novels. As a prose work created years before the filmed adaptation of the work was begun, ‘Dr. No’ holds up as a taut, well-executed and plotted thriller, so impressive that one largely forgets the instances of implausibility.