Sunday, February 14, 2016

Books: The Spectre Trilogy By Ian Fleming

(Drivebycuriosity) - The world is getting more and more complicated. The danger of terror replaced the fears of the cold war era. The conflict between the Western world and the communist system is past, today we have to deal with global organizations who are threatening our existence. Ian Fleming, the father of James Bond, was a kind of visionary. In the early 1960s he wrote 3 novels where 007 fought against the fictive character Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his fictional terror organization "Spectre", an acronym  for "SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion". The British secret agent had to protect the world from "modern" threats like nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists, bio hazard and more.

The success of the movie  "Spectre" (driveby) apparently inspired the publisher Thomas & Mercer, who belongs to Amazon Publishing, to put three James Bond novels together, which all deal with Blofeld and "Spectre" (amazon):

 "Thunderball": James Bond has his first confrontation with Blofeld. The plot is mainly set on the Bahamas. Fleming (with the help of 4 co-authors) gives the reader a preview on today`s terror risks, mixed with a taste of the tropics and thrilling under water action (this is as spoiler free blog. You can find a synopsis here wikipedia).

"On her Majety´s Sectret Service": The confrontation moved to the Swiss mountains and partly into Austria. The novel starts with little action and reads like a funny satire but is gaining speed and action in an alpine setting. Fleming mixed comedy with mystery, drama, romance and hard boiled action - very unusual, but highly entertaining.

"You Only Live Twice" transfers the Bond/Blofeld conflict to Japan. The novel also takes time to speed up and the story is blended with a humorous picture of Japan´s philosophy, tradition & culture.

The reader of the trilogy will get much more than just the fast pace action of the James Bonds movies. The James Bond of these novels is more human and vulnerable than the 007 of the movies. The secret agent makes mistakes and shows a lot  of weaknesses. That makes the plots less predictable and raises the thrill.

The trilogy shows that Ian Fleming is underrated as a writer.  He was an analytical observer of the world and spiced his stories with humor and intelligent musings. I also admired his writing skills  & his style. Sentences like  "The sea was now gunmetal below a primrose horizon" and "A small, westerly offshore breeze, drawing the hot land-air out to sea, has risen and was piling up wavelets that scrolled in whitely as far as the eye could see" remind of classics like the works of Joseph Conrad.

The book doesn´t replace the movies, it is a valuable complement. The kindle version costs just $8,99 in the moment of writing  - a very good price for 834 pages of the original James Bond.

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