Main image credit - Rolling Stone.
With the passing of the beloved Sean Connery and the delay of the upcoming movie, No Time to Die, October has been a rough month for James Bond fans. That's why we're delighted to shed a little light on Ian Fleming's literary legacy with our list of the best of Bond, covering the most popular and beloved stories of the world's greatest secret agent. With fourteen books and twenty-seven films (twenty-five if you don't include the the non-Eon productions), James Bond has become one of the most successful franchises of all time - for that, it deserves the appreciation of movie lovers and bookworms alike.
Kicking the list off at the midway point of Ian Fleming's Bond bibliography, Goldfinger is definitely one of the most well-known of all the fourteen novels. Considered one of the most fantastic and adventurous James Bond plots by some, this book has certainly cemented a legacy for itself with the titular character investigating the gold-smuggling activities carried out by antagonist Auric Goldfinger. The 1964 film adaptation is arguably just as iconic, being the first Bond film to win an Oscar and a huge financial success.
Reeling back just a little, we come to Dr. No, the sixth novel and the one which began advancing Bond's escapades into more fantastic and - dare we say - far-fetched territory. Following the titular character through Jamaica (where Fleming himself wrote the novel at his aptly named Goldeneye Estate), the plot centers around the disappearance of two fellow missing MI6 agents. Though the novel itself received significant criticism upon its release, Dr. No is the perfect example of the critics not necessarily always being right - it was, after all, the first to be adapted for the big screen, beginning one of the most iconic film franchises in the history of cinema.
You didn't think we could get through this list without mentioning the one, the only, the book that started it all, did you? The first of Ian Fleming's James Bond works (and the first with our current Bond actor, Daniel Craig, playing the character), follows a gambling-centric plot which was written using the author's own wartime experiences during his time as a member of the Naval Intelligence Division as influence. The positive reviews the novel received upon its release certainly whetted the public's appetite for more Bond thrillers from Fleming - and he certainly delivered!
Finishing the list with another one of the most well-known titles in this fantastic fourteen book saga, You Only Live Twice is actually the last Fleming novel published during the author's lifetime. Without giving away any major plot points or developments, the novel follows a troubled James Bond and, through the mouths of other characters, explores the decline of a post-World War II Britain's power and influence. The book was popular and well received, and contains arguably the most memorable quote in all of the novels - "You only live twice: Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face."
Thank you for taking the time to read our Bond blog! While you're here, be sure to check out our wide range of crime and mystery novels for all your head-scratching and action-packed literary needs.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
On a cold, wet, rainy autumn day, there’s no better feeling than hibernating indoors and curling up with a good book. So we've asked our brand ambassador, Charlie Edwards-Freshwater of @thebookboy, to recommend his top five classic comfort reads for autumn. Grab a blanket, a hot cup of tea and put your feet up with one of Charlie's favourite cosy and comforting novels...