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Octopussy and The Living Daylights (James Bond (Original Series) #14)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  5,316 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
From Jamaica, paradise of sunshine and exotic fish, to Berlin, cold grim city of stealth, James Bond pursues two strangely heroic enemies of the Secret Service. The first is a dying major whose dwindling hoard of gold conceals an act of treachery, and the second an assassin whose identity disturbs Bond's deadly aim.

These two stories, written in 1961 and 1962, were among th
Paperback, 131 pages
Published October 26th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1966)
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Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bond fans
This was going to be dirty work and Bond, because he belonged to the Double-0 Section, had been chosen for it. Perversely, Bond wanted to force M to put it in black and white. This was going to be bad news, dirty news, and he didn't want to hear it from one of the Section officers, or even from the Chief of Staff. This was to be murder. All right. Let M bloody well say so.

Four Bond short stories. None are very interesting.

This is a short story about a man, living in Jamaica, who sto
3 stars for the short stories.

5 stars for Tom Hiddleston's narrations.

The short stories were good. Here we have Octopussy, The Property of a Lady, and The Living Daylights. All three have very different tones to them and all have a different version of Bond.

Octopussy was probably my favorite. Bond is actually only a minor character and the story really centers around Major Dexter Smythe, a retired WWII hero who is implicated in a murder that involved a stash of Nazi gold. Smythe is a very intere
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When English author Ian Fleming passed away on August 12, 1964, at the age of 56, he had not yet put the finishing touches on his final James Bond novel, "The Man With the Golden Gun." Oh, sure, he'd gotten a first draft down on paper--working at his Oracabessa, Jamaica winter home called Goldeneye, as usual--but the plethora of convincing detail that had been the hallmark of the previous dozen Bond books was sadly missing from the final product. And so, when the novel was ultimately released so ...more
Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
So, when I think of James Bond, I think of this super-spy guy who solves his missions by killing enemies, while getting all the dangerous, beautiful women.

As such, this collection came as a bit of a surprise. Firstly, because it's 142 pages long (which is short) and contains three short stories and a thing (we'll come back to the thing a bit later). Secondly, because Bond falls in love with one single woman in the entire book, and she's on the other side - on the other side politically, and on t
Again, paralyzed with options! Here we have Octopussy (the movie came out in 1983) and The Living Daylights which came out... later... with Timothy Dalton. But these are novellas, they're short, and apparently they were published together in this short story collection. (Though I beg to ask - can you have a "short story collection" when said collection includes only two stories? I feel like that's cheating.)

This is an exceptionally short book, even with both stories together. I think it clocks i
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was very surprised by this audiobook. I had as certain idea of what "James Bond" is... and this wasn't it.

I've read spy stories, and thrillers, and these stories were much more like THAT. These stories are from the '60s and were more introspective and character based than I expected from a "James Bond" novel. Somehow I expected something full of mindless action, car chases and meaningless sex. I bought it because I enjoy the sound of Tom Hiddleston's voice-- I'd listen to him read the phone b
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Bond film series
Recommended to Michael by: Jeff Hancock
I really do enjoy the Bond short stories because in the absence of broad-reaching plots and numerous characters, Fleming gives us insight into the character that's difficult to convey on film.

Octopussy took me by the greatest surprise as it has nothing at all to do with the film bearing its name (although the film did happily borrow significant elements from The Property of a Lady and Moonraker), and indeed added more fuel for Spectre than anything. What we have here is a fairly dark tale that s
"Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby's auction room, Bond always closes the case—with extreme prejudice."

Ahh, the world of international espionage. Thanks to Fleming, being a spy has never been so attractive. He single-handedly painted the otherwise secret world of Mi5 operatives in gold gilt. The genre itself became synonymous with the Christian Dio
A posthumous collection of the remaining Bond short stories: "Octopussy", "The Property of a Lady", "The Living Daylights" and "007 in New York". Having read this far it would be a shame not to complete the set...
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
The final book in the original Bond series consists of three short stories. These were uneven. The least interesting as a story was the one about Bond eyeing bidders in an auction. This reads like Fleming was doing a kind of product placement story highlighting the action and intrigue of a fine arts auction. In another review I read this was originally published in an auction house magazine, so there you go.

I enjoyed the other two stories more. In Octopussy, Bond really plays a bit role – he’s
James Bond started out as a literary character and soon turned into a movie franchise, becoming a “pop culture” icon in the process. I have watched a few Bond movies, discreetly enjoying them, without really becoming a fan. Perhaps that is why I was never really tempted to explore Fleming’s originals. I now realise that this slim volume of four posthumously published short stories are quite atypical of the Bond oeuvre and possibly not the best introduction to Fleming’s work. In “Octopussy”, Bond ...more
Although I remain largely unimpressed by James Bond in the short story format, these selections are slightly better and more memorable than the ones featured in For Your Eyes Only. "Octopussy" is the sole standout, partly because of its unorthodox format of being told from villain Smythe's point of view and in flashback. "The Living Daylights" has an intriguing setup, but feels like a prologue to a much bigger story and ends before it really goes anywhere. As for the other two, meh. The best thi ...more
This audio book includes the novella Octopussy as well as three other James Bond stories. I've seen many of the films, but until now had never "read" any of the Ian Fleming novels. During a recent road trip, I decided to start with this because I'm a fan of the reader. Hiddleston reads with a clear, strong voice, changing his cadence or accent as the characters change. I look forward to hearing him read other books.

It probably wasn't a good idea to start with the very last, posthumous collection
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Tom Hiddleston really gave a fun reading to the material. He created distinct accents and personalities for each character. I liked his take on Dexter could tell he was having a lot of fun recording the stories. He reads at a slightly slower pace than I tend to like (I usually like narrators who don't pause and act out the characters' deliberations), but he injects a lot of personality in the readings and this collection is under 4 hours long.

I think each story in this collection h
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, adult, series
2 1/2 stars
This is one that I had forgotten about reading. I don't even know how I ended up reading it in the first place, but this is the only James Bond story I've read and from this story I gather that Ian Flemming's James Bond is a bit different from the one in the movies. The short story Octopussy is very different from the movie of the same name. Instead you get an okay action thriller without all of cheesiness that is the movie. That's not a bad thing, but I just thought it was a little d
Gina Boyd
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't give a DAMN about James Bond, but I listened to this audio book, and Tom Hiddleston's voice is MAGIC and should be used for everything. He should record all the audio books, provide all the narration, make all the announcements, and replace Siri and her non-Apple kin. The world would be a better place.
The other day I came across this audiobook of James Bond short stories narrated by Tom Hiddleston.

I was like, well hello there.


Had no idea that he did this! So I checked it out from my library, listened to it, and enjoyed it!

I’ve seen all the Bond films and have always thought about reading an Ian Fleming book someday. Discovering that Tom Hiddleston had narrated these short stories was all the push I needed, and icing on the cake. I was happy to see that two of the three he narrated happened to
Paul Lyons
A great improvement over Ian Fleming's last collection of James Bond short stories "For Your Eyes Only." This final publication of Fleming's James Bond series contains three engaging short 007 tales, and one odd entry that felt very unfinished.

"Octopussy" is an interesting story...that happens to feature James Bond as a marginal supporting character. That said, "Octopussy" is a fun piece of writing...portraying a selfish, and morally unsound man who past discrepancies have come back to haunt him
My foray into the world of audiobooks continues.

3.5 stars for the stories and the extra 1.5 stars for the excellent narration.

I've not ever been what one could call a James Bond fan. I'm not a James Bond hater, either. I had no strong feelings about the character/books/movies one way or the other. This was based on my trying to watch assorted Bond movies when I was younger and not being able to get into them. Therefore, I never attempted to read any of the books, assuming I wouldn't like them.

Grant Howard
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have really enjoyed both of Fleming's short story collections.
This set has three great short stories and one pointless, but inoffensive vignette.

"Octopussy" has shades of Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of Four" (and perhaps one of these in turn influenced F. Paul Wilson's "The Tomb"?). It's a Bond-lite tail of an ex-secret service man living in retirement in Jamaica who Bond visits to call out on a dreadful sin from his past. (As I write this we've had the trailer, but still await the release
Emperador Spock
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bond-novels
The last Bond book to have anything to do with Ian Fleming, and it's a short story collection, the second in the series. The first one, 'For Your Eyes Only' was quite good, so I'd had some hopes for this one as well. And what do you know -- it doesn't disappoint.

'007 in New York': 2 stars. The worst story in the book, makes an impression of its being a beginning for a scrapped up novel, and a rather trite beginning at that. On its own it's just flat and pointless.

'Octopussy': 4 stars. A solid st
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* The fourteenth Bond book.

* The last Bond book by Ian Fleming, published posthumously but including three short stories originally published (by Playboy and Argosy) between 1962 and 1965 (roughly between The Spy Who Loved Me and The Man With the Golden Gun). (Later editions than mine include a fourth story, "007 in New York.")

* Bond here gets to demonstrate an unattractive yet very human failing: having rather more sympathy for a beautiful woman than a plain one. And perhaps it is too bad: if t
Jul 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another short story collection by Fleming and also another Bond book to be published after the author's death. It contains both the worst of and the best of the Bond short stories.

Octopussy: Told from the point of view of Dexter Smythe; Bond comes along to arrest him for treason but actually gives Smythe some time to commit suicide so as not to be shamed. Smythe even privately thanks Bond for this respect. Classic Fleming chill. The story has almost nothing to do with the 1983 movie of the same
Douglas Engle
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Living Daylights is like condensed Bond mystique. At a scant 35 pages (in the Quantum of Solace collection), Fleming frames and develops his character through a simple encounter, a mission in Berlin, a shot from a hotel window. The key to this story is how much it doesn't accomplish. Bond goes nowhere. He gallivants, of course, as that's his MO, that's who he is. He gets fixed on a girl, too, naturally. But he stays on mission. He stays in the room, with one foil to bounce some very insightf ...more
My first Bond and Ian Fleming's last--I'm not a particular follower of the franchise, but I enjoyed the sparseness in the original stories. The selections have a distinctive (if dated) mood, slow and languid like cocktails on a hot summer's day.

Stories in the collection:
OCTOPUSSY: This had a nice lack of Bond, but not enough octopus, IMO. I know it's meant to be introspective or something, but I went into this for the octopus, okay.

PROPERTY OF A LADY: a.k.a. the one with the auction. Actually a
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meh, it was OK. There are 4 short stories in this book. The first one Octopussy hardly featured James Bond at all. Instead it was a story about a retired WWII British Military man who does some bad things and ends up in Jamaica where James Bond is sent to question him. A very detailed and interesting story even if James Bond had a small part.

The second story, Property of a Lady, was about identifing a Russian secret agent in the British government. Not a bad story but somewhat anticlimatic. The
Hard to rate this one, as it is a short story collection. Obviously, some are better than others. I think Bond was more "himself" in these than in The Man With the Golden Gun," but the final story in this book (and ultimately the series) was a bit anticlimactic (though ironic).

The title story is very good, with wonderful animal symbolism. The "outside" view of Bond really crystalizes the power of his personality.

Reading the Bond series this year has been such an enjoyable "study." Fleming's abi
Rob Thompson
A slender collation of Bond short stories published in 1966, two years after Fleming had died. It comprises Octopussy, The Property of a Lady, The Living Daylights and 007 In New York. Viewers of the Bond movies will recognise two of the titles and a lot of the plot elements. The character of Hannes Oberhauser, an Austrian climbing and skiing instructor who acted like a father to Bond, is also introduced. Oberhauser features in the movie Spectre.

The stories themselves are enjoyable and are some
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again a solid 3 stars for Fleming and the end of my intensive read-through of all 14 Fleming Bond books. This - the second posthumous publication - is, like For Your Eyes Only, a short story collection. However, as the original publcation only contained two stories and must have been about 120 pages of very large type, it's not really good value for money. Even adding "Property of a Lady" only brings it up to about 140 pages.

I think that the short form suited Fleming, because he could indulge hi
Well, I guess I shouldn't be too harsh on this because it was compiled from unfinished documents after Fleming died. Still, these stories are not nearly as compelling as the shorties in For Your Eyes Only.

The title story, Octopussy, really doesn't contain much of Bond at all. Now, that alone doesn't mean it's a bad story (I loved the Quantum of Solace story even though Bond was merely an audience member), but there really was nothing Bond-like to grab your attention here. It is just not that gr
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Not Impressed 11 20 Jul 21, 2012 02:37PM  
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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)
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)

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