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Thunderball (James Bond (Original Series) #9)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  6,983 ratings  ·  285 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
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Paperback, 258 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published March 27th 1961)
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Casino Royale by Ian FlemingFrom Russia With Love by Ian FlemingLive and Let Die by Ian FlemingGoldfinger by Ian FlemingMoonraker by Ian Fleming
Best James Bond Books
6th out of 48 books — 47 voters
The Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe 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
Best Spy Novels
79th out of 737 books — 1,081 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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
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El
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!

Um.

The book is surprisingly
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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
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
Brian
* 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
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Jerome
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
Matthew
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
Leslie
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.
Rick Brindle
Certainly a long way from being the best Bond novel. In this story, 007 must locate two stolen nuclear bombs and foil a plot by SPECTRE, the bad guys who are holding the Brits and Americans to ransom.
OK, so that's the plot. Pretty standard Bond fare. The delivery, unfortunately, is less than previous efforts, but for some of the same reasons. The dialogue, never brilliant, is hopelessly wooden and unimaginative, and also repetitive several times, especially the Leiter/Bond sequences. There is th
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James
The novel that was originally written to be a screenplay. And it works. Blofeld's first outing as Bond takes on Spectre this time.
Edward H. Busse, III
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
Michael
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
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Skevos Mavros
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
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Mike (the Paladin)
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?), oh and he drinks a lot to. So M sends him away on a little vacation to recouperate...again. And of course as seems to happen each time James goes away to rest, someone trys to kill him.

What a life huh?

I enjoyed these adrenalin soaked reads, they do after all have their charms. This one is no less exciting, smothered in cold war paranoia we get stolen nucs here with the
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Margaret
Thunderball, the first of the Blofeld trilogy within the Bond series, derives its name from the operation that Bond and the CIA (meaning Felix Leiter) collaborate to recover two stolen atomic weapons. Wait there's more! The reader has to traverse a greatly humorous section where Bond goes to a health spa, essentially old fashioned version of detox clinic, because of M's recommendation. Of course there is some intrigue and before long Bond is back on the case (and eating red meat again).

Thunderb
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Geoff Sebesta
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
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Geoff Woodland
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.
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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Thom Swennes
Commander James Bond, as a member of the elite branch of MI6 with a 00 license to kill is faced with another world threatening attack. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Special, Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) has waylaid a RAF Vindicator on a NATO trainings mission with two atomic bombs on board. They demand a ransom from the British and American governments amounting to one hundred million pounds. Failure to comply with their demands and pay within a week will result in one ...more
Lewis Carty
When I read Thunderball, I had seen the film before reading it, and I had realised how bits of it were very different in the film, and as well as the book, and I was surprised to see how vulnerable Bond is, how full of doubt he is, I didn't expect that at all.

What I found out at first, was that it's very much of Fleming's time, so, Bond's attitude and his love for Domino, and some of the words, phrases and vocabulary is so clearly dated and surprisingly interesting, and in a way, I don't think s
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Ian Anderson
While I've seen lots of James Bond films this is the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond books that I have read. Ian Fleming has a tendency for a lot of descriptive stuff about technology in a way that reminded me of Tom Clancy. The James Bond of the book is not as smooth and classy as the film version. In fact the James Bond of the book has little personality beyond a disdain for the 'modern'. Where modern means 1960s. One thing the two versions of James Bond have in common is that James Bond goe ...more
Drew Craig
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shane
This book made two of my favorite original Bond movies "Thunderball" and "Never Say Never Again". That said, I was disappointed in the book, it was just okay at best. In a style similar to "From Russia with Love" we are filled in on the Super-Villain plot early on and it is left up to Bond to figure it out. We are also introduced to the arch Super-Villain 'Bloefeld'. Were this goes so terribly wrong I think; was the 'evil plot' portion on "From Russia with Love" was really a vehicle to introduce ...more
Stephen Herron
Once again, any book that features Bond and Felix Leiter teaming up, is going to just be that little bit better than the novels that don't match them.

The movie of Thunderball can sometimes divide Bond fans and casual watchers. Personally, I always enjoyed it well enough, though I totally understand complaints that too much of the movie takes place underwater. Given the plot of the novel, I think movie-goers got off lightly.

It's still a great plot and moves along very quickly. Felix plays skepti
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Andrew
It is interesting to see this series of books as it matures. This book was published in 1961, the year the first James Bond movie (at least in the official series) was released. it will be interesting to see if books after this are influenced by the movies in any way.
This book in itself is really good. It is one of the longer books, and takes its time to tell the story. As a result it has a much greater sense of depth than some of the others (no pun intended). It also acknowledges the passing o
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Ivy
James Bond books are always good for reading aloud in the car during a road trip. Lots of car chases that you can imitate in real-time, and lots of sex scenes to keep the driver listening. Pop a Shirley Bassey or Tom Jones tape in the stereo to set the mood.
Nathan Shumate
Who would expect a red-blooded American male (a Mormon, no less!) to be put off by the assumed sexism inherent in Bond's exploits? Yeah, me either.
Henry Cesari
I always love Fleming's curmudgeonly cultural commentary on the 60s. Thunderball opens with M sending the aging 007 to a trendy British health spa where he is forced into P.T. and a tea and broth cleanse. Bond is convinced and, despite the objections of his housekeeper continues his yogurt and whole bread diet when he returns to London -- until SPECTRE steals an atomic warhead to hold the world hostage and tries to kill Bond. He survives, books a flight to Jamaica to steal the warhead back, and ...more
Charles
I think this may have been my first Bond book. I enjoyed it a lot. My second favorite.
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FHS English 12 - ...: Week Three 6 6 Feb 14, 2014 12:46PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Thunderball by Ian Fleming 1 4 Feb 13, 2014 05:47PM  
Five Stars!!! 7 19 Jun 21, 2012 09:41AM  
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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
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More about Ian Fleming...
Casino Royale (James Bond, #1) From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5) Goldfinger (James Bond, #7) Live and Let Die (James Bond #2) Moonraker (James Bond, #3)

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“It’s just that I’d rather die of drink than of thirst.” 24 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.” 11 likes
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