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Thunderball [Mass Market Paperback]

Ian Fleming
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1989 James Bond
James Bond is in disgrace. His monthly medical report is critical of the high living that is ruining his health, and M packs him off for a fortnight to a nature-cure clinic to be tuned-up to his former pitch of exceptional fitness.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

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

About the Author

During World War II Ian Fleming served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, rising to the rank of Commander. His wartime experiences provided him with knowledge of secret operations. After the war, he built his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica. There, at the age of 42, he wrote Casino Royale, the first of the James Bond novels. By the time of his death in 1964, Fleming’s 14 Bond adventures had sold more than 40 million copies and the cult of James Bond was internationally established. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Again Bond dabbed with the bloodstained styptic pencil at the cut on his chin and despised the face that stared sullenly back at him from the mirror above the washbasin. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Novel Oct. 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Cool, Clever and Cruel July 31 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
65 years on and Fleming's writing still has that contemporary relevant feel. Bond is more real than ever, well crafted and with even more human qualities than portrayed in past novels. A wonderful spy tale and a great adventure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Its Classic Bond Sept. 28 2013
By Bootsy Bass TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What more can you say? Ian Fleming and Bond at his 60's best. This is one of the classics in the Bond universe. Its great to compare these books to the movies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Its a bond book, what more can i say? Jan. 2 2013
By THE_MAN
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a Bond book of course its good, Bond books are like pizza, even when its bad its so good..... Not suggesting this is bad or anything, I recommend all bond books to teens and adults.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  89 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing SPECTRE... Jan. 19 2002
By Jeffrey Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
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. The plot was invented for the movies and occasionally, the book suffers for it. The final battle between Largo and the military, for instance, reads a bit flat and doesn't carry the same charge as the earlier, less epic scenes. Surprising as it may be to some of Fleming's detractors, the writer main strength was always his ability to create compelling one-on-one scenes between Bond and the various eccentrics populating his world. And it is here that Thunderball really shines. It's too often ignored that Fleming was a witty writer whose Bond books often carried a comedy-of-manners feel. This is certainly true in the first part of the book in which Bond finds himself sent to a health salon to recover from a life of hard living. Bond's attempts to quit smoking and drinking are hilariously lampooned by Fleming, who makes little secret that he's mocking the critics who complained that his books were immoral. (Indeed, when we are first introduced to Blofeld, we are quickly informed that this man doesn't smoke, drink, rarely eats, and is apparently a virgin. In short, he lacks all of Bond's vices and, Fleming seems to suggest, turns to the business of international villiany mostly because he doesn't have much else to do.) By the time this book came out, Fleming had certainly grown as a writer from the first Bond books. Gone are the occasional awkward passages that occasionally pop up in Casino Royale. Every character speaks in his own individual voice as opposed to everyone speaking like an upper class English gentleman. In short, Thunderball is an excellent adventure that should thrill Bond fans and non-Bond fans alike.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now that was a blast Dec 2 2004
By Kimberley Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Novel Oct. 23 2003
By gobirds2 - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I Thought I Saw A Spectre..." April 23 2005
By Konrei - Published on Amazon.com
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." Bond patiently explains, with the insufferable air of a true zealot, the difference between "live" foods and "dead foods," and dismisses May with the grumbled imprecation, "Change of life."

But May is right. When called to action, Bond immediately reverts to steak and eggs, black coffee, Morland Balkan cigarettes, and whisky neat. His nemesis, Blofeld, by the way, indulges in nothing.

Not so Emilio Largo, who is a true Roman epicurean. Largo's favorite indulgences are the hydrofoil yacht Disco Volante and Domino Vitali. Bond quickly develops a fondness for the latter as well, a far more explicit fondness than the films ever could describe.

The plot is familiar to everyone who has seen the movies. (Isn't that everyone?) SPECTRE steals two atom bombs and holds the world hostage. Bond must retrieve them.

What makes THUNDERBALL the book so vastly different from THUNDERBALL/NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN is Fleming's style as an author. He is a true "sensualist" as a writer, able to pack a scene with smells, sounds, sights and textures, all while practicing an economy with words that is admirable.

While Fleming's Bond is vaguely sketched by intent, it is Fleming's language that essentially animated the "James Bond Style," far and beyond any one film. This is most evident in THUNDERBALL, the movie that became a book that became two movies. The Bond films merely solidified Fleming's prose. The cinematic Bond is a different character, but wears the same shoes.

A blasted good read!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's no Bond like an old Bond! June 5 2000
By Bruce Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After reading some of the recent works of Raymond Benson, I thought it might be fun to go back and read one of the classic 007 novels. I had never read THUNDERBALL before, but I thoroughly enjoyed both movie versions; especially "Never Say Never Again".
Thunderball is one of Fleming's best! The scuba diving battle beneath the Caribbean between Bond and Largo is epic, but the most enduring feature of the novel is it marks the first appearance of the criminal organization SPECTRE, and it's diabolical leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld!
Did Ian Fleming have any idea how much impact this character would have on the rest literary world when he created him? Blofeld started out as just an arch rival for James Bond, but his character became the role model for all evil genius villains with megalomanical dreams of world domination!
Thunderball is a must-read for all 007 fans.
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