Book Report: Thunderball by Ian Fleming (1961) (II)

Well, it would appear that I have read this book in paperback form in 2006. I didn’t mean to re-read it, but I did sometime pick up a hardback copy of it, and so I have.

I think the things I said then apply, but I’d like to add that reading it in close proximity to American pulp fiction of only a decade later shows a stark contrast in the British versus the American thriller styles. This book is very slow to develop to action, and the set pieces are interspersed with character building and scenery. I’d expect that’s why they translate better to film than some American thrillers; a lot of the thickness of the book translates into the shots and the varied action bits from the book get included more directly, whereas a slam-bang American thriller has to be cut down to size.

At any rate, to summarize the plot: James Bond becomes a health food fanatic, briefly, and meets an enemy agent at a spa. The enemy agent tries to kill him, but Bond survives and gets some revenge on the fellow. SPECTRE has a plot to steal two nuclear weapons and does. Bond is sent to the Caribbean on what he thinks is a wild goose chase, but he finds the SPECTRE agents responsible and, with the help of Felix Leiter, thwarts the plan.

A good interlude. The film follows the book pretty well, as I mentioned; however, I’m not sure how the beginning section really adds to the book other than to fluff it up, as the enemy agent from the spa is only tangentally associated with the main plot. I think Fleming is a little guilty of padding here.

Books mentioned in this review:

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