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  • LoeffelholzLoeffelholz The United States, With LovePosts: 8,853Quartermasters
    Blood and Ashes:
    Is an old fashioned private eye thriller, set in the 1940s. It moves along at a
    cracking pace, with every chapter ending on an exciting event. Making you
    want to quickly move on to the next chapter.
    On the character side, Oscar Jade is a brilliant concept, a flawed hero. I
    found the female characters to be very strong, it was obviously a very
    different time, and women were treated very differently than today.
    The action flows naturally from scene to scene, with a multitude of fights,
    Car chases and shootouts. With a few bits of dark humour. How Jade gets
    Information out of a couple of goons, is brutal yet amusing at the same time.
    The climax of the story, is violent but fully sensible. All brutal but believable
    Sorry about the rambling nature of this post, but I'm making it up as I go.
    The book finishes on a nice set up of Characters for another story ( And a bit
    better done than the end of Skyfall).
    So I'd happily recommend it to all AJBers. -{

    TP, I sincerely apologize for missing your very gracious review of my book. I'm very glad you enjoyef it, and am endeavouring to craft a proper follow-up. Thanks very much. Cheers! -{
    "Blood & Ashes"...AVAILABLE on Amazon.co.uk: Get 'Jaded': Blood & Ashes: The Debut Oscar Jade Thriller
    "I am not an entrant in the Shakespeare Stakes." - Ian Fleming
    "Screw 'em." - Daniel Craig, The Best James Bond EverTM
  • am747am747 Posts: 720MI6 Agent
    am747 wrote:
    ...how Fleming negotiated with the publishers and his deep involvement with publishing the book [Casino Royale] including designing its cover...
    "The Man With The Golden Typewriter" sounds like an essential supplement to the Fleming canon, abit different to the usual bio
    I didn't realize Fleming designed the cover of Casino Royale... those original hardcovers all have a consistent look, did he also design the others?
    if they were actually designed or at least approved by the author, then why hasn't there been a paperback reissue of the series using the original artwork? out of all the dozens of variations we've had over the years, I don't think its ever been done ... the original, author-approved artwork should be part of a definitive edition

    Yes, Fleming was involved with every aspect of the publication. As you are interested in the subject, I am quoting from one of his letters to Jonathan Cape for your reference - "I have designed a jacket of exquisite symmetry and absolute chastity and I am using my visual features studio here to prepare the finished product which should be ready today. When it is I will speak to Michael Howard."

    Another letter to Cape dated Oct 21, 1952

    "I have arranged to see Michael Howard on the Friday afternoon and in the meantime here is a possible jacket. I think that the idea is good, namely that the nine of hearts which plays such an important part in the book should provide the basic design and the meaning of this card in gypsy lore should appear somewhere, as it is also perhaps appropriate to the general theme of the book. I also like the colour scheme.

    On the other hand, the hearts as shown are a little too lush and perhaps too heavily outweigh the Fry's decorated which I have used for the type.

    I have shown it to Leonard Russell who is delighted with it, but suggests that the title should be made much stronger and the hearts correspondingly reduced. We both think the ribbon design round the central heart could be improved."

    I have read the book till the Diamonds Are Forever chapter. Fleming in one way or the other was involved with the design of the jackets. I plan to read other chapters in conjunction with the respective book. As you might have guessed, so far, I have read the first four books.


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  • am747am747 Posts: 720MI6 Agent
    Other covers:

    jonathan-cape-live-and-let-die.jpg


    Moonraker.jpg

    ^ Fleming wasn't too impressed with MR's jacket

    "Undoubtedly if you decide to do a reprint a new jacket would help. The one we had was, I am sure you will agree, the worst of the lot"


    15746666521.jpg

    "I am terribly sorry to hear you are having such pangs about the jacket .... I enclose a rough copy and hope it pleases you"

    After some back and forth with the publishers: To Michael Howard - "But I must congratulate you on the jacket. It's excellent, also the text, & please thank your wife for her inspiration. I feel a soupcon of cleavage would have helped, but I know your politics on that ...."


    {[]
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    Funny I actually really like the Moonraker first edition cover, simple as it is, but then it's my favourite of the Bond novels! :)
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • am747am747 Posts: 720MI6 Agent
    Funny I actually really like the Moonraker first edition cover, simple as it is, but then it's my favourite of the Bond novels! :)

    It is good. And Fleming wanted to use black, red and yellow colors. .... I think it would hv looked even better if the entire backgound had a mix of black, yellow and red instead of white, yellow and red. ... Ian Fleming could have been written in white like Moonraker
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    I'm currently re-reading Ian Fleming's last Bond novel The Man with the Golden Gun (1965) as I'm writing something on it.
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • am747am747 Posts: 720MI6 Agent
    Downloaded Thrilling Cities and The Diamond Smugglers on Kindle. I now have the complete Fleming collection except Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    Currently reading " Some kind of hero" a really interesting read
    With Loads of information. -{
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • DB6DB6 EnglandPosts: 1,081MI6 Agent
    Just finished 'Diamonds Are Forever', now starting 'From Russia With Love'...................really enjoying them!
    My name has changed! I’m no longer dufus......now I’m DB6
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I haven't read the Fleming books since I was a teenager ( which was a very
    long time ago) ;) so a couple of years ago I went back to them. Reading them
    in published order ( another first for me) .
    They really are tremendous stories and over the series you can see both Bond
    And Fleming developed as a character and talented writer. -{
    Also now being a little older ( but still an incredibly handsome sex machine)
    and having lived a little. I could appreciate the short stories like Quantum of
    Solace, which as a young teenager I hated. :)
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • BleuvilleBleuville Posts: 384MI6 Agent
    Currently reading " Some kind of hero" a really interesting read
    With Loads of information. -{

    Yes I'm reading bits of SKOHero in my lunchtimes but time only allows half a chapter.

    It's a heavy book with 700 pages-100 of which are index and references.
    One bit from YOLTwice was the Director Lewis Gilbert rejecting Jan Werich (the 1st suggestion for Blofeld)
    as he's not menacing enough -and with his white beard "he looks like Father Christmas" ! :))
    So they got Donald Pleasance instead.

    Bleuville.
  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,109MI6 Agent
    I haven't read the Fleming books since I was a teenager ( which was a very
    long time ago) ;) so a couple of years ago I went back to them. Reading them
    in published order ( another first for me) .
    They really are tremendous stories and over the series you can see both Bond
    And Fleming developed as a character and talented writer. -{
    Also now being a little older ( but still an incredibly handsome sex machine)
    and having lived a little. I could appreciate the short stories like Quantum of
    Solace, which as a young teenager I hated. :)

    I've been re-reading and reading the John Gardner books in published order over the past year or so. I'm about half way through and enjoying them more than I expected. I'd read about half when they first came out so now I'm venturing into new territory. No complaints yet.
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    I'm currently reading John Gardner's No Deals, Mr Bond (1987) and enjoying it very much! :) -{
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I liked Gardner's updated stories ( The first six or so ) :)
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    I liked Gardner's updated stories ( The first six or so ) :)

    I think many fans feel the same but I love Scorpius (1988) and many of the Gardner novels of the 1990s too. :) -{
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    and don't let anyone tell you diffetent, we all like different things -{
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    and don't let anyone tell you diffetent, we all like different things -{

    Thanks, TP. I'll stick to my guns then! :) -{
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 2,919Quartermasters
    I haven't read all of the later Gardners, but the ones that I have read, I did enjoy very much, particularly 'Scorpius' and 'Death is Forever'. Scorpius was in fact one of the first Bond novels that I ever read, so I have a touch of nostalgia for that one.
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    Golrush007 wrote:
    I haven't read all of the later Gardners, but the ones that I have read, I did enjoy very much, particularly 'Scorpius' and 'Death is Forever'. Scorpius was in fact one of the first Bond novels that I ever read, so I have a touch of nostalgia for that one.

    Yes, Scorpius is my favourite Gardner Bond novel of the 1980s. :) -{
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • stagstag Posts: 2,083MI6 Agent
    I am just about to start Octopussy (it's on audiobook though)
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    I really enjoyed the " Octopus's" story, Fleming's detail about smuggling
    Things back into Britain and the subsequent selling of them, is fantastic.
    With the Bonus of having Bond being personally involved with the story.
    I wish they could have used Bond's line from the book, about "Being a
    Father figure, at a time I needed one" -{
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    I really enjoyed the " Octopus's" story, Fleming's detail about smuggling
    Things back into Britain and the subsequent selling of them, is fantastic.
    With the Bonus of having Bond being personally involved with the story.
    I wish they could have used Bond's line from the book, about "Being a
    Father figure, at a time I needed one" -{

    Spectre would have been the perfect place for that, given the Hannes Oberhauser link there. A missed opportunity in film Bond world, yet again. :#
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,697MI6 Agent
    Even The Living Daylights is an interesting story, giving an idea of
    Bond's job. Probably like a police observation operation, showing
    the hours of boredom, before the one moment of excitement.
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 2,919Quartermasters
    The Living Daylights is one of my favourite Bond short stories. I might just re-read it this weekend. ;)
  • Mr SnowMr Snow Station "J" JamaicaPosts: 1,733MI6 Agent
    Robbo88 wrote:
    OGG007 wrote:
    I just finished You Only Live Twice that I found excellent but also a bit sad.

    I haven't read the Bond (Fleming) novels in order but not to worry. I still have four (OHMSS, GF, TSWLM and TMWTGG) to go for completion but unsure about the last two from the reviews I've read.

    As for the short stories, I thought The Hildebrand Rarity was the pick of them.

    After the Bond (Fleming) novels, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will be next.

    OHMSS I think will make you feel more sad. It did for me anyways. :(

    Finally got around to reading OHMSS and it didn't take me long to finish it, I thought it was excellent. Well written, moved along at a good pace with a good plot, action scenes, characters and descriptions of the alps and skiing.

    I didn't find it as sad as YOLT though - I'll admit to 'sparrows tears' :'( when finishing that book; I didn't know how that was going to finish but with OHMSS I knew what happened to Tracy (Teresa if you prefer).

    Goldfinger is next which will complete my Fleming (Bond) novels except for TMWTGG and TSWLM which I won't bother with unless someone can convince me otherwise. -{
    "Everyone knows rock n' roll attained perfection in 1974; It's a scientific fact". - Homer J Simpson
  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,557MI6 Agent
    OGG007 wrote:
    Goldfinger is next which will complete my Fleming (Bond) novels except for TMWTGG and TSWLM which I won't bother with unless someone can convince me otherwise. -{

    TMWTGG is pretty short and has some pretty descriptive Fleming writing despite the lack of a full polish. For TSWLM, unless you are a completist, I would just jump to the part right before Bond shows up. If you have access to audiobook versions of these, I find them nice, quasi-passive means of taking in the stories!
    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • LargosSharkLargosShark Posts: 35MI6 Agent
    I've just finished reading "Bond on Bond" from Roger Moore. A wonderful read that brings out such love for the franchise. I could listen or read to Sir Rog all day, every day. An excellent read.
  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 286MI6 Agent
    OGG007 wrote:
    Goldfinger is next which will complete my Fleming (Bond) novels except for TMWTGG and TSWLM which I won't bother with unless someone can convince me otherwise.

    I will be happy to do so! TMWTGG follows directly on the heels of YOLT--if you want to know what happened to Bond after he went to Russia in YOLT, you must read TMWTGG, whose opening chapters are among the most surprising (or simply shocking) in the series and should not be missed. Later on the setting changes to Jamaica and the book begins to sag, but there are still excellent scenes, such as the confrontation in the brothel, and the closing chapter returns to the level of the first ones, thanks to a mixture of pathos (Fleming seriously considered quitting Bond after this book) and humor (especially regarding M's final proposal) .

    As for TSWLM, it is the most underrated Bond novel of all and must be read in full to be understood. It is a fascinating look at Bond "from the wrong end of the telescope" and is told from the standpoint of Fleming's best and strongest female character, Vivienne Michel. The book is about an ordinary person briefly intersecting with Bond's violent world. The first part establishes Vivienne's history up to her meeting with Bond and show what has been lacking in her life until Bond showed up. In that section, Fleming drew on his own memories to create a devastating portrait of male sexual misconduct and hypocrisy. After meeting Bond, Viviene is reinvigorated, but in the final part of the book must examine whether her attachment to Bond is for the best. It's a fascinating book if you enter it with adjusted expectations. It's not an action novel, but rather an examination of Bond's appeal.
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,589MI6 Agent
    Revelator wrote:
    OGG007 wrote:
    Goldfinger is next which will complete my Fleming (Bond) novels except for TMWTGG and TSWLM which I won't bother with unless someone can convince me otherwise.

    I will be happy to do so! TMWTGG follows directly on the heels of YOLT--if you want to know what happened to Bond after he went to Russia in YOLT, you must read TMWTGG, whose opening chapters are among the most surprising (or simply shocking) in the series and should not be missed. Later on the setting changes to Jamaica and the book begins to sag, but there are still excellent scenes, such as the confrontation in the brothel, and the closing chapter returns to the level of the first ones, thanks to a mixture of pathos (Fleming seriously considered quitting Bond after this book) and humor (especially regarding M's final proposal) .

    As for TSWLM, it is the most underrated Bond novel of all and must be read in full to be understood. It is a fascinating look at Bond "from the wrong end of the telescope" and is told from the standpoint of Fleming's best and strongest female character, Vivienne Michel. The book is about an ordinary person briefly intersecting with Bond's violent world. The first part establishes Vivienne's history up to her meeting with Bond and show what has been lacking in her life until Bond showed up. In that section, Fleming drew on his own memories to create a devastating portrait of male sexual misconduct and hypocrisy. After meeting Bond, Viviene is reinvigorated, but in the final part of the book must examine whether her attachment to Bond is for the best. It's a fascinating book if you enter it with adjusted expectations. It's not an action novel, but rather an examination of Bond's appeal.

    Well said, Revelator. Very sound advice there that I hope all members will follow. :) -{
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,644MI6 Agent
    These days I'm reading Antony Beevor's "The second world war", "War's unwomanly face" by Svetlana Alexiyevic and "The rage of furies" by Stephen Saylor. All are highly reccomended :007)
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