Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thunderball and Dr No are closest to the films, but they really need to be forgotten about if you have never looked at the books before (Roger Moore in a Safari Suit is as far removed from the original Bond as Adam West as Batman is from Christian Bale). Fleming's Bond in these pages is a much more believeable person, inhabiting a world where the threats are real rather than being designed to draw in the crowds to the cinema and wow people with extravagant set design.
As the series goes on there are more links with the "real" world of the time (unless I just don't recognise the references earlier on) but despite the previous paragraph they are still definitely fantasy rather than full-blown detective procedural. Mind you, I do wonder why a so-called Secret Agent uses his real name so much. To the point that every organisation he comes up against knows his history and weaknesses etc with a full dossier to be slapped onto the head honcho's desk at an appropriate point in the narrative.
The books are also very much of their time when it comes to racial and sexual attitudes, but taking that into account they are gripping page turners and I can highly recomend them to anyone who has never dipped a toe in the waters.