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Reading James Bond? Start with these novels – favourite Bond classics by Ian Fleming

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Opinion articles on featured books

James Bond is a name that a large part of the world population has heard. They may not have seen the movie or read the book or even known who James Bond might be. However, everybody who knows the name knows that Bond is a spy of repute! If you are one of those who have had enough of Bond on the screen and want to observe Bond on the pages, the place where things originated, this is the right article for you. Beginning with the novels and their specialities, the James Bond novels are noted for their blend of suspense, espionage, and glamour, and they have been popular with readers for decades. Ian Fleming, just after the Second World War, took the concept of espionage and spying to the next level in literature. In this article, we will discuss the best parts of the Bond novels and also the parts that might keep them out of the radar of many readers.

Let’s begin with the best parts first. One of the things that set the James Bond novels apart is the protagonist himself. The character of James Bond is class apart – he is a suave, sophisticated, and highly skilled secret agent. He is the one who can make anything happen for M, his boss. The major task that Bond, aka agent 007, serves is protecting the interests of the British government. Movie audiences and readers know Bond for his bravery, intelligence, and charm, and he is often depicted as being an expert in a wide range of fields, including martial arts, firearms, espionage, tech, and also flirting with women (as a part of his work profile).

In addition to the character of James Bond, Bond novels are also known for their colourful villains, exotic locations, and high-tech gadgets. The plots of the novels often involve complex schemes and high stakes, and they often involve international intrigue and political manoeuvring. Overall, the James Bond novels are a classic example of the spy genre and are sure to be enjoyed by fans of action, suspense, and espionage.

On the flip side, these novels seldom offer something concrete. Going by the Structuralist approach, applied by those who practise Structuralism, these novels follow a very simple pattern – something big is about to happen, Bond involves himself, at times goes rogue, unmasks the mole and finds the villain, kills him or drags him to justice. In between, readers seldom get to find any use of literary devices or literary schemes that would give them something beyond reading pleasure and excitement. In short, Bond novels are the best examples of genre fiction (other than Spy novels).

Well, now that you have both sides visible, if you are willing to read Bond novels and start your journey in Bond’s playing field, you can start with the novels as suggested below. Do remember that you can read any of these works first. Also, you can read any other James Bond novel that is not on the list. Read books that suit your mood and preferences.

  1. Casino Royale: This is the first James Bond novel, and many consider it to be one of the best. It introduces the character of James Bond and sets the stage for the rest of the series.
  2. Goldfinger: This is another highly regarded James Bond novel that features one of the most iconic villains in the series.
  3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: This is a fan favourite and is considered by many to be one of the best James Bond novels. It features a more complex and nuanced Bond and has a poignant ending.
  4. The Spy Who Loved Me: This is a unique James Bond novel that is told from the perspective of a woman, Vivienne Michel. It is considered by many to be one of the best in the series.
  5. You Only Live Twice: This is the final novel written by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. It is a fitting end to the series and is considered by many to be one of the best.

I am sure you will enjoy reading these works by Ian Fleming and it might ignite your reading interest in Bond novels. Starting with these works will make sure you meet the best of the Bond early.


By Ashish for Featured Books

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