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You Only Live Twice (James Bond (Original Series) Book 12) Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, October 16, 2012||
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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About the Author
- ASIN : B008L40P7U
- Publisher : Thomas & Mercer; Reprint edition (October 16, 2012)
- Publication date : October 16, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 564 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 175 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #91,289 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The Kinlde version appears to be simply a compilation of page-by-page image files. It is UNREADABLE on my Kindle and cannot be resized! In the online app, the print/image quality is horrible, unreadable, and again ... cannot be resized. When I attempted to return for a refund, I got a message that said "item ineligible for refund."
Thanks a lot Amazon. A totally unreadable piece of c r a p for which you will not let me return.
"You Only Live Twice" finds Bond in a slump, unable to recover from the murder of his wife of only a few hours on their honeymoon. He's been eased back into work, but has literally made a mess of 2 missions and M is seriously considering revoking his Double-O status.
The Service consulting physician is fond of 007, and suggests an alternative. He states a man of Bond's psychological makeup cannot rise unless he is challenged against overwhelming odds, so he suggests giving him a literally impossible mission to accomplish and free reign to do it.
Unlike the usual assassination assignments, Bond is asked to travel to Japan and make contact with the head of the Japanese Intelligence Service, a mysterious man of which little is known other than his name; Tiger Tanaka. This is to be primarily a diplomatic mission, and he is to offer to trade British Intelligence resources & information in exchange for the treasure trove of Japan's Russian spy network. It is thought highly unlikely Japan will work with the British and will be a coup if Bond pulls it off. Bond accepts, and begins his adventure to the Far East; another routine assignment with more than meets the eye, scores settled with Ernst Blofeld, ninja training, and a second chance at life.
The detailed explanation of the Japanese culture makes this book fascinating. Bonds transition from British secret agent to Japanese fisherman under the guidance of Tanaka (a very different character than the movie version) comprises the majority of the story and sets the stage for the ending.
I had forgotten how the books are much more of an ongoing connected narrative. I look forward to the next one.
Top reviews from other countries
A reasonable plot line, then, so what's wrong with it? Well, by now, it's hard to keep swallowing the awful dialogue, and the constant undertow of national one upmanship becomes boring by the time 007 stops fencing with his opposite number, Tiger Tanaka. There is none of the narrative charm from earlier novels, in particular Casino Royale and Moonraker. Very little action, and very few dilemmas for Bond to try and get out of. Reminds me of the last few Sharpe novels where the formula lacked a little something.
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There is a good possibility he will be removed from active service when he is given a final chance on an impossible mission that takes him to Japan.
Whilst there he forms a friendship with Tiger Tanaka. Who is a senior figure in the Japanese Secret Service.
Tiger asks for Bond's help in a local matter. A Doctor Shatterband and his wife have recently arrived in Japan and have set up home in a castle in one if the nearby islands. They are encouraging people to come and commit suicide as Japan has high statistics of their people taking their life.
On being shown their photographs. Although disguised there is no doubt it is Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt who are masquerading as Doctor Shatterband and wife in their castle retreat.
Bond agrees to help. He does not let on that this is now a personal matter.
Does he get revenge over Blofeld?
This is a slow paced read which is better in the second half of this book. It lacks the action I associate with James Bond and the glamorous woman.
Then again the man is in a state of shook and like in his last adventure Bond finds a form of love in the shape of Kissy Suzuki.
Also mentioned in this are his parents Andrew Bond a foreign representative from Glencoe in Scotland and his Swiss mother Monique Delacroix who both perished whilst climbing at Chamonix in the French Alps when Bond was eleven years old.
TOO MUCH time is taken up by listening to Bond talk about Japanese food, drink, architecture, women, politics, history and culture that by the time we actually reach Blofeld (who is incidentally now but a shadow of his formerly magnificent self) the book is all but over. Maybe if I was reading this back in the sixties when Japan was this distant faraway exotic land I could have appreciated this more - but I make no apologies for being a child of the early nineties and as such I began to feel under pressure to continue reading.
It's sad because ''Live and Let Die'' proved that Fleming is more than capable of including a lot of local flavour and yet still write a fantastic book.
If I may be so bold as to say this; but I think this book just smacks of a man who was getting very bored of his creation. If the many rumours are true that he wanted to end the series here I honestly would not be surprised. Stick with the earlier books would be my advice.
First published in 1964, this is the twelfth print outing (eleventh full length novel) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. It was the last of the Bond series published in Fleming's life time.
Following the calamitous events at the end of `On Her Majesty's Secret Service', Bond is a wreck. He is drinking too much, he is gambling and losing too much, and even worse he is making mistakes on assignments that are putting lives at risk. M is on the verge of firing him from the service, but is persuaded by an eminent psychologist to give Bond one last chance, with an assignment so tough that it might shake Bond up and bring the old, dedicated and dangerous agent back to life. M sends him on a seemingly impossible mission to Japan, not to kill or investigate anything, but to schmooze the chief of Japanese intelligence into letting the British have access to a solid gold intelligence source they have in Russia. Bond is indeed shaken up and the assignment proves to be a tough one as he uses all his wits and judgement to get Tiger Tanaka on side. He gains the trust of the Japanese intelligence man, who agrees to hand over the intelligence, but at a price. He needs a deniable operative to perform an assassination, and it seems as though Bond fits the bill. One murder by Bond and the British can have all the access it wants. So Bond undergoes a transformation into a Japanese coal miner and is sent off to slay the mysterious Dr. Shatterhand in his garden of death. But it turns out that as well as the opportunity to fulfil his mission, Bond also has the opportunity for a personal revenge.
The book falls into three main sections, Bond's breakdown and the early stages of his mission in which he schmoozes Tanaka, a journey across Japan in which Tanaka immerses Bond in Japanese culture, and finally the mission itself in which Bond is on his own in an alien landscape. The first section is a well written and interesting study of a man taken to the brink and slowly pulling himself back from it. It holds the interest, and Fleming's usual excellent prose is used to good effect. The second section of the book however is a different story. Fleming often worked in a detailed description of something crucial to the plot (for example, guano farming in Dr. No, gold smuggling in Goldfinger, Heraldry in OHMSS) and made it utterly adsorbing. Here he attempts to sum up Japanese culture, and though mildly interesting to see it from the point of view of a middle aged man in the early 1960s, this whole section of the book is a real struggle for me to get through. It could have been trimmed to half, even a quarter of the length and the book would have still made sense and been a lot better for it. It is in the final third of the book, where Bond actually starts on his mission and realises who he up against that things really take off. Fleming uses all his descriptive powers to great effect to describe the garden of death in all it's alien horror, and the final showdown between Bond and his would be nemesis is an absolute cracker.
The book has a strong theme of character development and rebirth in it. Bond is transformed from a drunken gambler back to a man of action, then into an instrument of vengeance and finally into a normal human being living a contented life. Blofeld is shown as moving from a disciplined authoritarian evil genius into a raving lunatic (though no less of an evil genius), no longer in control of himself. Fleming also takes time to explore the state of the nation, with the exchanges between Tiger and Bond revealing how Fleming saw the position of the UK on the world stage at the time. There is also an interesting interlude at the end which leaves us on a bit of a cliff hanger, and gives us an opportunity to read Bond's obituary from M in the papers. That s a neat touch, and a great ending to what had been an only intermittently good book.
I wanted to like the book a lot more than I did, mainly because of the slow middle section. The opening, and the action packed finale are excellent, as is the philosophical depth that Fleming manages to bring to the piece. But that long tedious slog as Bond is trained to be Japanese just mars the whole thing. Three stars for the book.
The unabridged reading by Martin Jarvis is excellent. He manages a range of voices and accents with ease, and never slips into patronising or absurdity with his Japanese accents, as would be so easy to do. Over the course of seven and a half hours his excellent reading, with just the right pitch, intonation and pace, keeps the listener hooked, even through the sections of the book that are heavy going. So for the audio book I have to give it four stars, with Jarvis's excellent narration responsible for the extra star.
At the beginning of the novel James Bond is suffering from depression, experiencing a nine-month stretch in which his world crumbles and the colour bleeds from his life. He is not sleeping, he is drinking too much and his work for M has gone to hell. M, sensing that something must be done, sends him to Japan on what is regarded as an impossible mission - not because he believes Bond has any chance of succeding, but merely to present him with a challenge so insurmountable that he is forced to face reality and thus hopefully emerge from his moribund, drink-addled stupor. In Japan Bond meets Tiger Tanaka, finds himself getting an insider view of the Japanese secret service, and becomes immersed in Japanese culture (Tiger sees Britain as old, crumbling and decadent - a fading power - while for Bond Japan is a land of cloying ritual and rigid - too rigid - discipline); in a discussion on information-sharing between the two powers a side-issue emerges, a tale of a mysterious 'Castle of Death' in a remote coastal region of Japan where suicides flock in vast numbers to do away with themselves. Bond takes up the challenge to investigate and put an end to the macabre castle, and its mysterious owner, Dr Shatterhand.
The idea of a 'garden of death', a region cultivated with toxic plants that weep poisonous sap, yield lethal seeds and exude a miasma of decay comes - I suspect - from Nathanial Hawthorne's short story 'Rappaccini's Daughter', in which Dr Rappaccini cultivates flowers that positively exhale a toxic scent. In Fleming's hands the garden becomes a surreal devil's playground in which Blofeld - who patrols the garden in a suit of Japanese medieval armour in order to protect himself from the plants - provides what he sees as a noble service (a means by which suicides can easily do away with themselves without inconveniencing others). The accounts of Bond making his way through the garden to reach Blofeld's castle, and the sinister games of cat and mouse that follow, are amongst the finest things Fleming ever put down on paper.
In conclusion You Only Live Twice is one of the finest Bond novels. You can keep your straight-forward megalomaniac plans for world domination - a personal battle between Bond and an insane genius inhabiting a noxious landscape of beautiful poisonous plants is way more fascinating. Superb, surreal, baffling, dazzling stuff! Recommended.