Is there a better beach read than Fleming? It’s become a bit of a West Indies habit for us. Chill the Rose´ wade out for a swim, dry off a bit in the sun and find Bond’s mysogynistic cruelty come to life between the pulpy pages. Fleming started writing Casino Royale at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye, on February 17 1952 as an escape from his impending marriage to Charteris. He called it his “dreadful oafish opus” at the time. How could he have ever known that the pre-marital scribblings from his tropical idylll would have such cultural impact for decades to come? It’s interesting to see Fleming’s Bond begin as ” an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened” and develop into the cultural icon that we know today.
The novels are indeed a throwback in both attitude and stance as Bond traipses across some truly inspiring locales and battles the villains of the Cold War. Even after all these years there is still something magical in visiting the name checked locations and knowing that Fleming was there, spinning out his imaginary world of exotic intrigue.
Ursula Andress and Fleming on the set of Dr No.
If you haven’t read the novels before you absolutely owe it to yourself to do so for you’ll find a far different and infinitely more intriguing character than that seen on the big screen. Read them in order and immerse yourself in a by gone world that holds attention as rapt today as yesterday. Just dont forget to have a break and order the marlin finger sandwiches at tea time.
The books shown in publication order with both Michael Gilette’s re-imagined covers and the original first editions.
Casino Royale Published April 13 1953
Live and Let Die Published Apri 5 1954
Moonraker Published April 5 1955
Diamonds are Forever Published March 25 1956
From Russia With Love Published April 8 1957
Dr No March 31 1958
GoldFinger Published March 23 1959
For Your Eyes Only Published April 11 1960
ThunderBall Published March 27 1961
The Spy Who Loved Me Published April 16 1962
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Published April 1 1963
You Only Live Twice Published March 16 1964
The Man With The Golden Gun Published April 1 1965
Octopussy/The Living Daylights Published June 1966