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Thunderball (James Bond) Paperback – October 16, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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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 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.

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Product Details

  • Series: James Bond (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612185525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612185521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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‘Thunderball’ had its origins as a screenplay that Fleming was working on with two other writers so, in a sense, it would seem ready-made for film with Fleming’s book as the novelization of the screenplay. All of this took shortly before the famous film series was launched, with ‘Thunderball’ coming out over a year before the film ‘Dr. No.’ It is a fairly cinematic novel, although there is still much exposition and internal monologue that would need to be excised from any workable screenplay.

Unlike the film series, in which the terrorist organization SPECTRE and its master mind Ernst Stavro Blofeld were introduced from the beginning, ‘Thunderball’ is the first novel of the series that features this organization and its supervillain. The reason for the emergence of SPECTRE is partially because the Soviet organization Smersh was dismantled by Nikita Khrushchev in 1958. What are ex-foreign spies to do to stay in business? Blofeld provides them with a second career, assembling ex-Smersh, Gestapo, Mafiosi and other refugees from foreign intelligence. SPECTRE is an acronym for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. The mission that will thrust them on the world stage is a blackmail plot involving the hijacking of a jet carrying two nuclear bombs. Ransom letters are sent both to the Prime Minister of Britain and the President of the United States giving them seven days to hand over $300,000,000. Or is that pounds? It’s a large amount (for 1961) regardless of the currency. This, of course, is Terrorism circa early 1960’s, where the terrorists issue warnings with escape clauses (at least on the surface), unlike their 21st century counterpart Al Qaeda.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book made two of my favorite original Bond movies "Thunderball" and "Never Say Never Again". That said, I was disappointed in the book, it was just okay at best. In a style similar to "From Russia with Love" we are filled in on the Super-Villain plot early on and it is left up to Bond to figure it out. We are also introduced to the arch Super-Villain 'Bloefeld'. Were this goes so terribly wrong I think; was the 'evil plot' portion on "From Russia with Love" was really a vehicle to introduce a HUGE cast of interesting and evil villains for the plot (and a love interest of course). In "Thunderball" the 'evil plot' reveal is just that.... a plot device and a plot about a device. The actual event was anti-climactic and the rest just went downhill (steeply) form there. Even the excitement over finding the missing plane, wasn't.

Maybe its because this book was so boring that the movie producers 'jazzing it up' made for good summer film... But this is the second time I have ever recommended "to just watch the movie".
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