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Thunderball (James Bond (Original Series) #9)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  9,527 Ratings  ·  430 Reviews
"The girl looked him up and down. He had dark, rather cruel good looks and very clear, blue-grey eyes. He was wearing a very dark-blue lightweight single-breasted suit over a cream silk shirt and a black knitted silk tie. Despite the heat, he looked cool and clean. 'And who might you be?' she asked sharply. 'My name's Bond, James Bond ...'"

When a stranger arrives in the Ba
Paperback, 258 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1961)
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
A voice said quietly, close up against his ear, "You will not meddle again, my friend." Then there was nothing but the great whine and groan of the machine and the bite of the straps that were tearing his body in half. Bond began to scream, weakly, while the sweat poured from him and dripped off the leather cushions to the floor.

Then suddenly there was blackness.

This is a bit different from the previous 8 Bond novels. A bit more serious. SPECTRE gets hold of an atomic bomb and threatens to deton
Dirk Grobbelaar
The best part about any of the original James Bond novels is the fact that there is no “Q” (other than being mentioned peripherally, “Q Branch” and all that). That’s to say, the novels aren’t as gimmicky as the films. This is important, since it elevates the story above the zany pop culture status of the films. There is at least some gravitas here, which is as it should be in a spy thriller.

And yet, the novels are every bit as entertaining as the films.

Thunderball was recommended to me by my wi
Richard Derus
Jun 28, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

I am viewing the Bond films on Amazon Prime. 20 are available on Prime for free viewing until 1 Sept. This entry in the book series is a little odd, because the story and the book were the subjects of prolonged litigation among the writer of the story, the author of the book, and the producers of the film. As a result, this film was made again in 1983 by the title Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery's swansong as Bond.

That was a better film.

This one also has a crap theme song
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 20, 2016 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-fi
James is in poor shape it seems, 60 cigarettes a day (think of that today...where'd he even find a place to smoke that often?) do not keep the doctor away, oh and he drinks a lot to. So M sends him away on a little vacation to recuperate...again. And of course as seems to happen each time James goes away to rest, someone tries to kill him.

What a life huh?

I enjoyed these adrenaline soaked reads, they do after all have their charms. This one is no less exciting, smothered in cold war paranoia we
May 26, 2013 El rated it did not like it
Thunderball trailer.

Book #9, movie #4, we're moving right along. High hopes for this one because, according to my sources, the movie was the most successful of the Bond franchise at that point. People aren't stupid, right?

O.mi.garsh. It was really boring, guys. Really boring. The preview shows all the exciting parts from the movie, including my favorite in which Bond smacks someone with a phone and then wraps it around his neck. Yeah, you tell 'im, Bond! Kick his ass!


The book is surprisingly
Josiah Hawkins
James Bond seems to be a series that follows a pretty darn easy format, there's a plot that endangers either the whole world, or at least a part of it. That plot is being put into motion by a villain that fills the part of an evil mastermind, and then there's always a girl. Under normal circumstances that simple layout can often make a book series drab or less exciting because the readers feels as though they are reading the same book that they've read several times before. But Ian Fleming is sk ...more
Aug 05, 2016 Aaron rated it really liked it
A new group calling itself SPECTRE (the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion) steals a plane carrying two nuclear bombs and tries to extort 100m from the major superpowers or else the weapons will be detonated in unknown cities. As part of Operation Thunderball, James Bond is tapped to gather intelligence in the Bahamas where the plane might have gone down.

I watched the movie Thunderball several times during the James Bond Wednesdays on TBS of my youth. I
Sep 08, 2015 F.R. rated it liked it
The Bond originally conceived by the movies was very much a creature of the 1960s (despite his comments about having to listen to The Beatles without earmuffs), the Bond of the books however is a man of the 1950s through and through. In 1961’s ‘Thunderball’, the Second World War veteran Commander James Bond is briefly forced face to face with the younger generation and sneers at their cheap self-assertiveness, duck-tail haircuts and desire to be Tommy Steele. It seems that something I can look f ...more
Feb 08, 2016 BrokenTune rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"This is a silly plan. This is the sort of melodramatic nonsense people write about in thrillers." and that criticism straight out of the mouth of the "bond girl" in this installment is probably one of my favourite lines in the series so far. Whoever said they were all shallow?!

I must have watched Thunderball about a gazillion times since I was a kid and I still couldn't say what the film was about. Reading it, the story is still a bit tepid - bad guys steal nuclear war heads and threaten the w
Nov 03, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rewatched the Sean Connery film after finishing this and OMG, the book is soooo much better!! As I have mentioned in my reviews of some of the previous Bond books, the character in Fleming's original books is much more 3-dimensional and to my mind at least, more interesting.

The plot of the movie has only parts of the plot from the book & makes much less sense.
Benjamin Thomas
Oct 17, 2015 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-spy
The ninth James Bond book is one of the longer novels in Ian Fleming’s series. However, the first four chapters are devoted to Bond’s mandatory sentence to a health spa on the orders of ‘M’ who is concerned about Bond’s recent downward trend on his medical report, likely due in large part to smoking 60 cigarettes a day and the consumption of large quantities of alcohol. I don’t know if there was a health trend going on at the time of publication (1961) or if this was some kind of response to rea ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Jerome rated it liked it
It started off with an interesting premise with Bond being sent away to become healthier. This fascinated me because a lot of authors will never address some of the realistic flaws of their hero. After the interesting and amusing incidents in the beginning though, the novel descends into dry and boring scenes and dialog. It is by no means bad, but I expect a bit more out of Fleming who's elegant writing style always impresses me. The book picks up near the end in a climax which is almost worth t ...more
Skevos Mavros
Feb 06, 2015 Skevos Mavros rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
One of the better Bond novels so far (I'm slowly reading them in order of publication, in between other books). I finished this one a while back, but unlike some others, it has stayed with me.

As a fan of the Bond films since childhood, when I started reading the Fleming books it was very hard to let go of the movie Bonds at first - very hard not to superimpose the look, feel, and even the music of the films onto books mostly written long before the first film. But by Thunderball the Fleming Bond
Dec 04, 2007 Matthew rated it liked it
I read all the Ian Fleming James Bond novels in middle school and high school, and this year decided to revisit a few. THUNDERBALL is my favorite of the four I've re-read so far, and I should note that I didn't expect this to be the case at the outset: Not more than five pages in, M., the head of MI6, launches into an extremely weird rant on wheat germ and the inferiority of processed foods -- an odd start indeed for a spy thriller. I guess if 007 is supposed to save Miami from nuclear annihilat ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it
* The ninth Bond book.

* Fifth appearance of Leiter, first appearance of Blofeld.

* Fleming's back in top form (after the disappointment of Goldfinger) in this, the novel that introduces Blofeld and SPECTRE (though Bond doesn't get to go after Blofeld here and doesn't even know he exists).

* High stakes--two stolen atomic warheads--and a solid plot that begins on an amusing tangent as Bond is forced by M to spend a couple of weeks in a sort of health spa to clean out his system.

* Exciting climax, a
May 24, 2015 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, fiction, own
Noticing these Bond books stopped getting good after Goldfinger. This one started out good, but Then I lost a little interested afterwords. I mean some parts were interesting, but for the most peat this was a little boring. The Spy Who Loved Me (the one I'm on now) isn't any better either.

The main reason I liked this one though is threw out the book we begin to realize that Bond is a human. He's not a superhuman like the films make him look. He has his flaws as every good character should have i
Jason Reeser
I'm a bit mystified by the Fleming legend. First of all, I find his writing lacking. I can fill most of it in with my knowledge of the Bond movies, so I see it all very well, but his style is not so much minimalist as dull. There are very brief flashes of good action--stress on the brief--but these do not keep my interest. Also, the Fleming's Bond, as opposed to Broccoli's Bond, is more bumbling, unsure of himself, and most certainly a whiner. There is little about him that makes me very interes ...more
May 29, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, fiction, spy
We all have our literary prejudices: Mine is an aversion to underwater action scenes. I suppose if I were an avid skin diver, it would be a different story ... but I'm not. Other than that, the 9th novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, Thunderball, is the usual craftsmanlike product in the series.

I would probably have liked to have more background about SPECTRE, the SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. That would
Edward H. Busse, III
Mar 23, 2014 Edward H. Busse, III rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-owned
As a true fan of all things Bond, I've seen the movie Thunderball exactly 63 times. As for reading Bond novels, Thunderball was only my 2nd - I read Carte Blanche (By Jeffery Deaver) late last year. In reading this Thunderball by Ian Fleming, I was able to track along the story very well as the movie follows the novel to a great extent. However, there were many things about the novel that were perhaps more interesting than the movie. Certainly the British style of writing in the early '60s inclu ...more
Geoff Sebesta
Mar 21, 2012 Geoff Sebesta rated it really liked it
I can think of no higher praise for this book than to say that I made it almost to the end before I realized that I had seen the Bond movie "based" on this book. It was actually the exact Bond movie that made me swear off all Bond movies as pure seventies stupidity.

I'm only mentioning the movie to emphasize how it has nothing to do with the book whatsoever, and then move on.

Fleming writes some ripping good yarns. They're cynical, propagandistic bull-poop, but they aren't boring, and they're writ
Aug 28, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thunderball and Moonraker represent, for me, the quintessential James Bond novels and Thunderball may be the masterpiece of the entire series. Even if you've never seen a James Bond movie or read an Ian Fleming novel, Thunderball's story should seem familiar to you: a shady terrorist organization hijacks two nuclear bombs in order to hold the world ransom and it's up to James Bond to foil their evil plans! How much more classic of a story can you get!?! There's so much about this novel to love a ...more
Greg Z
Oct 20, 2015 Greg Z rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This Bond novel is a solid effort, perhaps with greater technical detail than others, resulting in some relatively dry passages. And to me, this one is a bit darker than the other 8 Bond novels (I'm reading them in order). Publication information states "This story is based on a screen treatment by K. McClory, J. Whittingham, and Ian Fleming" so it is hard to discern Fleming's contribution. One could argue that Fleming supplied only his and Bond's name given that this novel feels different than ...more
Oct 15, 2015 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-fiction
3.5 stars
Reading this 24-chapter “Thunderball” on Commander James Bond’s mission to see to the stolen two atomic bombs in Bahamas, I found the similarity of the hero’s rank and the author’s since he was recruited in May 1939 by Director of Naval Intelligence and served in the Royal Navy in World War II. ( Therefore, his readers can see from his experience there is no doubt why he wrote so knowledgeable and dramatic that they can’t help being impressed and
Jan 05, 2015 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THUNDERBALL (The Adventures of James Bond) - IAN FLEMING - Published by the FIRST EDITION LIBRARY HARDCOVER (FEL) 1990 - REPLICA OF 1961 ISSUE. Printed in Great Britain. FEL with Slipcase Measures 9.13" X 6.57 x 1.11". FEL Books are - EXACT, as in, same size, same type, same binding and same dust jacket as the original. Exact replicas of the First Editions right down to the first critic's comments printed on jacket flap. Printed on acid-neutral paper, cloth covers and sewn bindings.
Geoff Woodland
Nov 05, 2014 Geoff Woodland rated it liked it
Shelves: ian-fleming
As much as I enjoyed this book in the 1960’s re-reading it in today’s world leaves a lot to be desired. It is dated, but then I do like historical fiction, so perhaps it is my fault.
The novel that was originally written to be a screenplay. And it works. Blofeld's first outing as Bond takes on Spectre this time.
Jun 22, 2009 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
I think this may have been my first Bond book. I enjoyed it a lot. My second favorite.
Jan 11, 2016 Salwa rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Fun! specially if you haven't read Masud Rana before.
Jan 06, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
Thunderball has proved the longest slog of the Bond books that I've read so far. The plot is relatively weak, and the prose is leaden and bloated. Nothing seems to happen for huge sections of the book, and the final climactic scene is incredibly hurried and clumsily written.

On the plus side, this is the first time we encounter Blofeld - probably the best known of the Bond villains. However, although the reader gets to see the man at work, Bond does not. Blofeld's only appearance is at a meeting
Brad Lucht
This was a first edition, book club version of the book, published in 1961.

Seamy pulp fiction. I would image it would have been considered quite lurid for its time.

Curiously, the first James Bond film did not appear until 1962, when the 10th Bond novel was published.

I found a few things interesting about this book. One, it introduces SPECTRE.

Two, the book starts with M lecturing 007 about his health, specifically his diet. Bond has been waking up with hangovers from his heavy drinking, so he has
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Second World War Navy Commander. Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James Bond and chronicling his adventures in twelve novels and nine short stories. Additionally, Fleming wrote the children's story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and two
More about Ian Fleming...

Other Books in the Series

James Bond (Original Series) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Casino Royale (James Bond #1)
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond #2)
  • Moonraker (James Bond #3)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond #4)
  • From Russia With Love (James Bond #5)
  • Doctor No (James Bond #6)
  • Goldfinger (James Bond #7)
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond #8)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)

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“It’s just that I’d rather die of drink than of thirst.” 34 likes
“Women are often meticulous and safe drivers, but they are very seldom first-class. In general, Bond regarded them as a mild hazard and he always gave them plenty of road and was ready for the unpredictable. Four women in a car he regarded as the highest potential danger, and two women nearly as lethal. Women together cannot keep silent in a car, and when women talk they have to look into each other’s faces. An exchange of words is not enough. They have to see the other person’s expression, perhaps to read behind the others’ words or analyze the reaction to their own. So two women in the front seat of a car constantly distract each other’s attention from the road ahead and four women are more than doubly dangerous for the driver not only has to hear and see, what her companion is saying but also, for women are like that, what the two behind are talking about.” 16 likes
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