Since it seems that I have some fans from the James Bond site I frequent from time to time, let us see if I can drag a few into the open (unless they are hiding in the shadows for just the right moment to strike). After the release of the Casino Royale film in 2006 (the first published novel by Ian Fleming and the 21st OFFICIAL Bond movie) I have sought the remaining 11 novels and short story collections. It took me a few years to track down any. Apparently, Fleming’s centennial (1908-2008) prompted a reissue of the novels. I have been faithfully reading the books in order and am now just starting Dr. No (the 6th novel and the first movie released way back in 1962). Starting with the second book, Live and Let Die, the first few novels bore little to no resemblance to the movies aside from character names and settings which to me was at times good and bad. For instance, Diamonds are Forever features Bond trailing bumbling diamond smuggling gangsters which to me was not at all entertaining… It was almost painful reading. Diamonds had the characters of Tiffany Case (can anyone tell me the significance of the name?) and the villainous henchmen, Misters Wynt and Kidd (a very odd sort and if you have read the novel or seen the movie you know why) but little else to hold me interest.
Instead of the evil SPECTRE organization as seen in the Connery classics, 007 battles enemies from the actual Soviet group known as SMERSH (an acronym for Smert Shpionam or “death to spies”). My favorite novel thus far,From Russia with Love, is most like the movie of the same name. Perhaps this is because the novel was high on President John F. Kennedy’s favorite novels list. However, the ending to the novel is not quite the same as the movie. The book ends after Bond got the boot from evil, ugly woman Rosa Klebb. I felt sorry for the readers who were left in the balance not knowing if the British super spy lived or died. I thought my edition was missing a chapter. How rude to leave the hero like that. Short, fun, quick-paced reads.
I know there are differences in editions, so in a further attempt to flesh out other potential commenters, I am reading the paperback Penguin editions.