I was browsing around the little bookstore down the street and I found a stack of small paperbacks tucked in the back, hiding behind a giant volume of Sherlock Holmes. Upon further inspection I realized they were James Bond books and they were only four dollars. How could I resist? I’m actually impressed at the restraint I showed. At four dollars a pop it would have been very easy to talk myself into buying the whole stack, but I managed to walk away with only one, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Flemming.
I went into this book with very limited knowledge of the James Bond world. I’ve seen some movies, but it was so long ago I remember very little about them. Despite that and the fact that this is definitely not the first of the series, it was easy to understand what was happening and to dive right into the story and action. A few names popped up that were unfamiliar but, for the most part, I was given enough of a background story on reoccurring characters to keep up.
This was everything I’d expect a James Bond book to be, action packed, lots of classy drinks (I’m not unconvinced that Bond has a serious drinking problem…), a couple of Russian villains, and, of course, several beautiful women. What I wasn’t expecting was the insight into Bond’s thought process. From what I’ve always understood he is a smooth operator that does what needs to be done regardless of possible consequences. This book doesn’t change that entirely, but it points out the emotions and thought process behind him doing what needs to be done and it isn’t always without regret and discomfort. I think this really added to the character for me. I’ve always been a tad skeptical of Bond because of his seeming lack of human connections (or should I say Bonds? HA see what I did there?) but having access to his thoughts and feelings (yes they do exist!) made me more interested than ever in Bond stories.
I feel slightly obligated to go watch the movie version of this book. I think it’ll be interesting to see how much of the emotions they choose to keep in. I’m certainly going to go back to the bookstore down the street and try to snatch up a few more Bond books before they’re sold out from under me!