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(James Bond (Original Series) #9)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  13,843 ratings  ·  713 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 Group (first published 1961)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  13,843 ratings  ·  713 reviews

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(A-) 83% | Very Good
Notes: James Bond fights a non-political criminal multinational, while scenes and concepts from past adventures are reused.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Now this is a great Bond story!

First published in 1961, this was the 9th Bond novel for Ian Fleming and is a rip roaring good time for fans.

This has it all:

Criminal villain mastermind. While Fleming has come up with several great villains before, we are finally introduced to THE criminal, Blofeld, the Number 1 of SPECTRE – and who was without a doubt the template for Austin Powers parody Dr. Evil. (especially Donald Pleasance’s portrayal of him in You Only Live Twice). We actually get a villain
Feb 09, 2014 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
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Revised review following re-read.

"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?!

In fact, Domino is another kick-ass leading lady, who first stumps Bond with her driving skills - yeah, between Domino, Ms. Galore, and Tilly Masterton, Bond may have a thing for women
Richard Derus
Aug 10, 2013 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
Dave Schaafsma
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bond
Thunderball is the ninth book in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, and the eight novel, after a seriously good collection of short stories. This book now bears the authorship of Fleming on most editions, but it was really the collaboration of several people, and a legal agreement at one time insisted that Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham be given co-author status. It is really the novelization of an unfilmed screenplay which moreover borrows scenes from and ideas from previous novels.

So we have
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, spy, ku, historic
Thundball - the Bond book so good it was made into two movies, both of which starred Sean Connery. Obviously the 1965 film of the same title and 1983's Never Say Never Again. How that happened is a fascinating story involving copyright.

Standard disclaimer: this book contains sexism, racism, colonialism and adult language.

Onto the story; Bond has been Bonding it up so M decides to send him to a health farm called Scrublands; whilst there he encounters a strange man named Count Lippi who is a to
May 15, 2013 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
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 21, 2009 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
aPriL does feral sometimes
Excellent read!

I consider the movie based (?) on the book 'Thunderball' one of the best of the James Bond movies, and I think it's because the plot of the novel is so great! There was litigation over this one, so I am uncertain which was first - screenplay, book, movie - never mind. The movie copies the action in the novel with a few scene differences, but the characters and plot of the movie and book match in spirit if not in details.

EDIT: March 27, 2019 . I was distracted, but back to my revi
Jan 05, 2015 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. ...more
Kate Hawkins
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not being a huge Bond fan I wasn’t sure I’d like this book but I enjoyed it more than I expected I would.
Lee Foust
As Bond novels go this is a pretty good one in terms of plotting. Yes, the racism, sexism, and fear mongering all go with the territory, sadly, and I officially disapprove--yet I'm still reading these damned novels, one by one. I suppose I need to ask myself why. I guess it's the films, which entranced me for their cleverness and Bond's grace when I was a kid. Despite all of the testosterone-fueled gook herein, Bond is still a thousand times less brutish than any American hero I can think of. (L ...more
May 21, 2013 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.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
In a way, "Thunderball" is absolutely brilliant. It had a ton of potential. It was supposed to be the first James Bond film, and the legal issues it faced led to years of the films not having access to SPECTRE and to the unofficial "Never Say Never Again." In short, it introduced SPECTRE and Blofeld, and kicked off an arc that continues through "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," "You Only Live Twice" and then into "The Man With the Golden Gun" which takes 007 into quite a different trajectory.

Keith Kavanagh
Jan 13, 2021 rated it liked it
racist, misogynistic but by god is bond one cool dude
Mar 02, 2010 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
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, seen-adaptation
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
David Sarkies
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Bond in the Bahamas
8 July 2020

Well, it is rather pleasing to note that the movie was pretty faithful to this book as well, though I do note that the ending of the film was done in such a way so as to not only make it somewhat more exciting, but so that Bond also gets the girl. It is noticeable that in Flemming’s novels Bond doesn’t land up alone with the girl, without realising that the British Secret Service is not all that far away.

Look, if you have seen the film you can pretty much work out
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been meaning to read an Ian Fleming book for a while now, and “Thunderball” was the first one I happened to find at the bookstore. I believe the movies often borrow only some of the premise, a few character names, or even just the title of Fleming’s books, but “Thunderball” was one that the films remained pretty true towards, minus of course a number of changes, which I won’t bother going into. But overall, the movie pretty well followed the book. This, I understand, is more of a rarity amo ...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
Benjamin Thomas
May 29, 2015 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 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
Jan 19, 2013 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
Nov 27, 2007 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 20, 2011 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
Almost as much fun as watching the Sean Connery movie (not the remake, tyvm).
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Play Book Tag: Thunderball - Ian Fleming - 2 stars 1 10 Jun 27, 2018 12:32PM  
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The Better Book C...: James Bond: Thunderball vs. SPECTRE 2 4 Feb 05, 2016 08:04AM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Thunderball by Ian Fleming 1 6 Feb 13, 2014 05:47PM  
Five Stars!!! 7 23 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. He was a grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming, who founded the Scottish American Investment Trust and the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.

Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James Bond

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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