Who doesn't want a little British spy intelligence and James Bond action to kick off the summer?
Two agents from the British MI5 disappear in Jamaica, and it's up to James Bond to get to the island and figure it out. When his sleuthing uncovers a trail leading right to the elusive and mysterious Dr. No, Bond realizes he might be in a little over his head.
I so wanted to fall down and love this story. I really did. Even after a few days since its conclusion, I'm sort up in the air on this one and would love to get your thoughts.
I think I expected an extremely sophisticated spy-thriller, which would keep me nail-bitingly at the edge of my seat. While it certainly retained all of the key elements to nurture that expectation (and some heartfelt, sad moments to top it off), all in all, it was a story with not much thrill for me, and minus the fun gadgets shown in the films. (Listen, I really, really tried not to let my movie-watching experience taint my perspective of the book itself, but clearly it did and I can't change that initial perception.)
This was my very first time reading/listening to a James Bond story, and I think I would have enjoyed and appreciated this more had I experienced the other stories in the series first. I think it suffices as a standalone, as I wasn't terribly confused by anything, but I think part of the enjoyment of the James Bond franchise is experiencing the evolution of him as an agent to an even more experienced one. After all, in Dr. No, the book starts off with a tad bit of embarrassment for him because he didn't quite execute the previous case successfully, and M, his handler, is annoyed with Bond. That was actually quite intriguing and I enjoyed that the most overall.
When Bond flew to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of fellow agents, the case leads directly to Dr. No and a section of Jamaica called Crab Key. James Bond's reconnaissance on Crab Key results in meeting Honeychile, an orphaned island woman whose beauty and island intelligence makes her much tougher than Bond expects. I didn't mind this interaction and found it interesting, but again, it wasn't something that made me a James Bond fan.
Overall, while I was disappointed as my expectations were extremely high. I will not shy away from this series, though, and will be trying another James Bond novel again, and will definitely listen to the audio version as Simon Vance completely rocked it.
Audio Notes: For all the overall pieces of the story I didn't like... had it not been for the vocal stylings of Simon Vance, I would have stopped the story and moved on to another one. Simon Vance was impeccably engaging and his voice silkily mastered the James Bond narration. He did a fantastic job with Honeychile and Dr. No as well, and I was riveted by his voice alone. Click here for a sample on Audible.com (click the play button below the cover).
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Release Date: 10/9/06
Audio Time: 7 hours, 13 minutes
Narrator: Simon Vance
About the Author
Author of one of the best-selling fiction thriller series of all time, Ian Fleming was an English journalist and author, and also was a British Intelligence officer! The man was *the* man. I think I might like his biography much more.
Visit the author:
- On his website
This was another selection for Teresa's 2012 Audio Book Challenge.