Librarian's note: this entry relates to the collection of short stories under the title of "For Your Eyes Only." The individual stories can be found elsewhere.
Now this sounds interesting: "Bond watched her as she reached the edge of the tables and came up the aisle. It was hopeless. She was coming to meet someone—her lover. She was the sort of woman who always belongs to somebody else. What damnable luck! Before Bond could pull himself together, the girl had come up to his table and sat down. ‘I’m sorry I’m late. We’ve got to get moving at once. You’re wanted at the office.’ She added under her breath: ‘Crash dive."
Here we find sudden emergencies and beautiful girls who aren’t quite what they seem - the stock-in-trade of James Bond. When 007 is on the case there’s only one thing you can be sure of, that the result will be thrilling. Whether he’s dealing with the assassination of a Cuban thug in America, the destruction of an international heroin ring, or sudden death in the Seychelles, Bond gets the job done. In his own suave and unmistakable style!
The stories are: 1. "From a View to a Kill;" 2. "For Your Eyes Only;" 3. "Quantum of Solace;" 4. "Risico;" and 5. "The Hildebrand Rarity."
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist, and commander in the royal Navy during the Second World War. 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 and chronicling his adventures in twelve novels and nine short stories. Additionally, Fleming wrote the children's story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and two non-fiction books.
"Life is a devious business." - Ian Fleming, "Quantum of Solace"
After having read about 7 of his novels, this was the first set of Fleming short stories I ran into, as I moved up the Bond collection. For Your Eyes Only contains the following stories:
1. From A View to a Kill 2. For Your Eyes Only 3. Quantum of Solace 4. Risico 5. The Hildebrand Rarity
The first three titles would probably be familiar to anyone who has watched more than a couple James Bond films over the last 20 years. The only issue is, they are only BARELY (if at all) recognizable. They share the title with the films, but that is about it. And that isn't a bad thing. I rather enjoyed the three movies, but the stories here are (for me) more nuanced than most of his books and all of his movies. Fleming is experimenting a bit. He is upping the literary and dialing down a bit the adventure. Not so it isn't recognizable. They are still all Fleming novels and ALL James Bond stories. But they each, in different ways, bring a bit of humanity into the Bond collection.
Five short stories from the pen of Ian Fleming take James Bond across the world, using his licence to kill against new enemies. Fleming's characters are as interesting as ever & the action is plentiful. There's not as much time for characterisation in these short stories, but they still read well. For me the stand out story is Quantum of Solace, which is surprisingly different to the usual 007 adventures & very different to the lacklustre film of the same name. The story has James Bond & the Governor of Nassau left alone after a dull dinner party, trying hard to make conversation. Bond simply listens to the Governor as he tells the story of a tragic marriage. It's a sublime piece of writing, & although a long way from the world of Bond it's one of the best things that Ian Fleming (or indeed anyone) has ever written.
STORY 2: For Your Eyes Only 4 stars The bread stuck in Bond's throat. Tension was building up in him. In his imagination he could already hear the deep bark of the Savage. He could see the black bullet lazily, like a slow flying bee, homing down into the valley towards a square of pink skin. There was a light smack as it hit. The skin dented, broke, and then closed up again, leaving a small hole with bruised edges. The bullet ploughed on, unhurriedly, towards the pulsing heart – the tissues, the blood-vessels, parting obediently to let it through.
In this short story, Bond is called into M's office. He knows something is wrong, because M is addressing him as “James” instead of “007.” It turns out that M's friends, a couple living in Jamaica, have been viciously murdered. M is very hesitant to send Bond out on the case, because M doesn't want to be seeking revenge. He wants to seek justice. But he's unsure if he is being objective. He asks Bond's opinion. Bond says:
Bond said, "These people can't be hung, sir. But they ought to be killed."
Again, I adore the sweet relationship between M and Bond. They respect each other. Bond obeys M without question and M values Bond's opinion. Bond doesn't obey M or like M because he has to – because M is his boss – but instead because he respects M and thinks M is a strong, reasonable man who works hard to defend Britain.
This is another book where Bond must overcome his reluctance to murder people. Even though he knows that Von Hammerstein is a bad man who has had many people killed and is ex-Gestapo, Bond has no dog in this fight. It's easier (although still not easy) for Bond to kill people he has seen do evil things, or who have hurt him personally: for example, Goldfinger. This story focuses on how Bond has to psych himself up to kill these evil men. He knows they are evil, but has never met them and has never personally seen them do anything evil.
Bond did not like what he was going to do, and all the way from England he had to keep on reminding himself what sort of men these were.
That's why it's a good thing the woman showed up.
Even though Bond complains to no end about how she's ruining his concentration, how she's a burden, how he has to focus on the mission, blah blah blah, she's actually a great impetus for him to kill everyone he's supposed to kill. There's nothing that motivates Bond more than having someone to protect and defend. Especially if it's an attractive young lady.
So who is she? Judy She has a bow and arrow. Bond nicknames her “Robina” because she reminds him of Robin Hood. She has blonde hair and grey eyes. She is fierce and I really like her. She gets the drop on James Bond not once... but twice. TWICE. She's good. Very kick-ass. First, she sneaks up on him without him realizing and has a weapon pointed right at him before he can do anything about it. The second time, he's reaching for his gun (in what he believes is a subtle manner), but she's on to him and has her weapon trained on him before he has time to draw.
How does Bond repay her? Well, he calls her “bitch” a lot – three times in a 44-page story.
Here we need to explore yet another one of James Bond's problems. This is what I call: JAMES BOND CONUNDRUM #2 This is a disparity between what James Bond says he wants in a female, and indeed, actually believes that he wants, and what type of female James Bond actually is interested in romantically. Not sexually, because let's be honest – he'll sleep with almost any woman he meets between the ages of 18 and 35.
This is what James Bond believes he wants in a woman: servile, obedient, docile...
This is what James Bond actually responds best to: wild, fierce, capable of defending herself, familiar with and comfortable in the wilderness which Bond loves so much, or familiar with the brutal reality of crime, intelligent, and willing to fight to protect what's her's and avenge herself and others.
I've seen it time and time again. When James Bond is presented with a woman who meets his alleged criteria – he is bored. And although he'll have sex with this woman, and be in a relationship with her for anywhere from two weeks to two months, he will quickly tire of her and the relationship will come to an end. But the women who Bond ends up loving, caring about, wanting to marry, respecting (as much as Bond can respect a woman) and consequently, the ones who seem to also excite him the most sexually are the ones who are worldly in some way.
So, to sum up, even though Bond calls Judy “bitch” a few times in this book, and curses her overwhelming need and determination to , he actually is quite impressed and enchanted by her. He loves the fact that she is armed and deadly. He loves that she knows so much about the wilderness that she can move through it undetected. He loves that she is comfortable with being in nature and 'roughing it.' This woman, or I should say, this type of woman is the type of woman that makes James Bond's heart beat faster. From the minute he sees her in her tattered, ragged shirt and trousers, with blood and sweat on her face and arms, and her quiver of shining arrows – he's smitten.
One of the positive things I can say about James Bond's views on women – and trust me, there's not a long list – is that he absolutely has no concept of “slut” in his mind. He could learn anything about a woman's past and it would be fine with him. The only women he considers “whores” are women who actually physically take money in exchange for sex. Over the years, we have seen him develop relationships with women who run the gamut in regards to previous sexual partners. In this story, while talking to Bond in the forest, Judy confesses that . Bond has absolutely no reaction. He doesn't judge her or condemn her or even say anything in the way of comforting her. I didn't expect him to. He knows how the world works, and (as I mentioned in my previous paragraph, he appreciates a woman who does, too. Not to mention the fact that I think he finds it very admirable that she's obviously gone through great lengths to .
Cubans are the ones who are reviled and slurred against in this story.
MOVIE: “I adore grateful men.” So do I, Countess! :) LOL The movie does not have much in common with the story. Only that Melina In both there is a henchman named Gonzales. Both the book and the film quote the same Chinese proverb. However, they borrow the climatic finale of the book Live and Let Die for this film. It's in LALD when Bond is stripped and bound to a naked female and they are dragged through the reefs to make shark food. It's interesting that they stuck that in here. I like that Moore always plays Bond as a gentleman.
STORY #3 2 stars QUANTUM OF SOLACE A story in which Bond listens to a story about love and marriage told by a Governor. James Bond said: “I've always thought that if I ever married I would marry and air hostess.”... “Indeed,” said the Governor in the polite, controlled voice that Bond prayed might relax and become human. “Why?” “Oh, I don't know. I would be fine to have a pretty girl always tucking you up and bringing your drinks and hot meals and asking if you had everything you wanted. And they're always smiling and wanting to please. If I don't marry an air hostess, there'll be nothing to it but marry a Japanese. They seem to have the right ideas, too.” Bond had no intention of marrying anyone. If he did, it would certainly not be an insipid slave.
The excellent Craig movie has absolutely no relation to the story.
STORY 5: THE HILDEBRAND RARITY 2 stars This (and Quantum of Solace) is a rare deviation from Fleming's normal routine. Bond is not on assignment. He does not face any danger. I file James Bond books under mystery - but they are really more adventure-type books, are they not? This one strayed a bit more into "mystery" territory.
Bond is asked by a millionaire to come help him search for fish. Bond is in Africa. Well, islands off the coast of Africa.
Bond loves nature and he loves the outdoors. In this story, out swimming among the fish and getting sunburned and looking at the stars - Bond is in his element. Of course, he's bored - as he always is when Her Majesty is not using him as a weapon against her enemies. But he is in the environment he loves most - the great outdoors.
The millionaire, Krest, is a real beast. He beats his wife with a whip made from stingray tail and he aggressively berates both Bond and Bond's friend Fidele, who is a Seychellois Creole. Bond is very angry with the man, and simmers in silent fury during their trip together. He does not enjoy seeing the beautiful Liz Krest cower and cringe before her husband. And he hates hearing her screaming in the night as she is brutally beaten. But Bond does nothing. Much like a cop, he knows better than to get involved in domestic affairs.
I was really hoping Bond would murder Krest. But I knew that would never happen. They best I could hope for was for Bond to punch Krest in the face.
In the end,
One of the most disturbing things about this book, though, was the way it portrays domestic violence. While Bond hates Krest and thinks he is the lowest scum, he also blames Liz for what is happening in her marriage.
She probably likes it - masochist.
How could a girl have so little guts? Or was it that women could take almost anything from a man? Anything except indifference?
Ugh. Excuse me while I go vomit in the corner. ...
Overall, a fun book of short stories about James Bond. I enjoyed For Your Eyes Only the most out of the collection. I think Bond is better and more enjoyable in full-length novels because you get a better plot, a better relationship between Bond and the woman of the book, and you get an actual villain who is fun and off his rocker. But I liked seeing little vignettes about Bond's life. Ian Fleming is a good author. ...
Extra Bonus: This is James Bond's First Conundrum, written after I had read Goldfinger JAMES BOND CONUNDRUM #1 An interesting psychological aspect to this novel is James Bond's dichotomy between his rich tastes, and his need for simplicity and hard work. James Bond loves rich food, alcohol, smoking, and he has very expensive tastes in everything. However, there is another side of him: the side that loves the outdoors, loves 'roughing it' in the wilderness, hates 5-star hotels, hates mansions, and really in fact dislikes rich people. It's fascinating to see how these two seemingly irreconcilable parts of Bond come together to make a whole. He is (at least partially) aware of this and it gets discussed in this book a little bit. ... We see it again here, too, most notably in For Your Eyes Only and The Hildebrand Rarity.
For Your Eyes Only is the eighth book in Ian Fleming’s James Bond spy thriller series, a collection of five short stories, "From a View to a Kill," "For Your Eyes Only," "Quantum of Solace," "Risico," and "The Hildebrand Rarity,” all of which had parts to play in various film adaptations. Four of them were originally developed out of plots for a tv series that was never made. I have only somewhat enjoyed aspects of my first time run through each of the Bond books, which haven’t held up for me as well as the (fun) films—some of the plots are over-the-top goofy and the villains are cartoony, he takes time to reveal racism and sexism that are difficult to but I was happily surprised to discover that each of these stories was satisfying, sometimes revealing fictional experimentation. On the while, the prose is lean and punchy as it almost never is in the novels. Yes, there’re expert cold-blooded killings and “unbelievably” beautiful women, but the cartoonish nature of the same in the novels is largely gone. Fleming the writer takes over from Fleming the entertainer.
“Quantum of Solace” is very unusual in what I have read thus far in Fleming; written as an homage to Somerset Maugham, whose story “His Excellency, “ Fleming admired. It is basically a dinnertime story told to Bond of a civil servant, Philip Masters whose life was ruined by his marriage to stewardess. Bond, bored by his dinner party companions, had joked that if he might marry at some point, it would be to a stewardess who might wait on him at his beck and call. His companion, in his cautionary tale, reveals what became problems for another man, whose stewardess wife was unfaithful to him, and surprise (!) had been one of the supposedly boring attendees at the dinner that evening. Pretty charming story.
“For Your Eyes Only" is the story of Bond doing a favor for his boss, M, whose friends, the Havelocks, have been killed by an ex-Gestapo officer, von Hammerstein, who had wanted to buy a Jamaican estate. They are killed by two Cuban hitmen, who hide out with von Hammerstein Vermont until Bond—and the Havelocks' daughter, Judy, who is an expert marksman—show up. Judy, resisting Bond’s suggestion that such killing is “man’s work,” kills von Hammerstein with her bow and arrow, and Bond takes care of the gunmen who subsequently injure Judy, and then, you know, Bond takes care of Judy in the way that only Bond seems to be able to do.
The stories are surprisingly well done and serious literary efforts, and I’ll look forward to reading more of them from Fleming.
This is a collection of Bond short stories, set in Ian Fleming’s James Bond world of secret agents, super villains and women with colorful names. First published in 1960, this continues the exploration of the character and world building.
From A View to a Kill – Bad guys are sabotaging a British signal and message run (on motorcycles) and Bond investigates and steps in to take care of business. More examples of how Fleming’s Bond was more human, more vulnerable and ultimately more of a hero than in the films.
For Your Eyes Only – Some friends of M are murdered in Jamaica and Bond is sent over to produce some frontier justice. Fleming mixes things up: on the way Bond meets an attractive and dangerous femme fatale.
Quantum of Solace – The most intriguing entry as this is not really a Bond story. Bond listens to a domestic tale of betrayal and reprisal. Told in the style of W. Somerset Maugham, Fleming stretches his narrative skill.
Risico – Bond tackles a drug crime lord in a setting and style that made me think of the 1989 Bond film License to Kill starring Timothy Dalton as Bond.
The Hildebrand Rarity – An unusual side story: Bond is not on a mission but rather finds trouble while on holiday and gets sideways of a “Hemingway hero” a boorish American tycoon with anger issues and a pretty wife.
Wow! What a film. 1981 was quite a year at the movie-house: Arthur, Das Boot, Gallipoli, Chariots of Fire...and this. The movie doesn't follow the book's plot particularly closely, adding stuff from another short story, inventing stuff...but what the hey, why should this one be different?
It's a standard revenge-action-espionage flick. Nothing in space, some stuff underwater that makes some kinda sense, and the best Bondmobile ever: A Citroën 2CV!
from Wikimedia on a Commons license
So yeah, being a little sarcastic there, but this film brings out the snark in me. Simon Templar does his smirking best as Bond. The man's just about as sexy as beans on toast.
But the reason I watched it again, after not liking it in the theater in 1981 (a horrible year in my life, which probably had a lot to do with my response), is the fact that this is Bond as a SPY! An actual espionage agent. It's refreshing to see, after the previous decade's endless progression of villain-fighting. That got tedious. Carole Thingummy, as Melina, was ~meh~ but the story was more involving and less superhero-suspend-all-disbelief-ye-who-enter-here and so a big relief to see.
Sheena Easton sang For Your Eyes Only, another ubiquitous Bond theme. It was wearing after a while, but it was memorable. I suppose modern audiences, desensitized by the horrors of hoop-pup and elektronika and suchlike nonmusic, will feel that way about Adele's blah, forgettable Skyfall.
Bah. She's better than that.
Oh yeah, For Your Eyes Only. Decent, if only just, and worth a rental.
For Your Eyes Only is the 8th book of the James Bond series written by Ian Fleming. Whereas all the previous books were novels, this one is a compilation of five novella-length stories. The first story is From a View to a Kill which involves a plot that occurs in the forest to replace a courier with an alternate plan, but Bond figures out the plot and shows mercy. He tries not to kill the villains. In For Your Eyes Only, M asks Bond to investigate the assassination of personal friends and take revenge on the killer. In Quantum of Solace there is more of an ambassadorial feel to Bond’s responsibilities, and he listens to a story about love. In Risico, Bond is really involved in a drug smuggling operation where he is supposed to assassinate one of the ringleaders. The Hildebrand Rarity is just that because, Bond is not on assignment. He is asked to help find a rare fish off the Seychelles coast. This is more of an adventure type story, but not really a good secret agent story. The collection as a whole is pretty unique because the stories seek to demonstrate and highlight distinct aspects of Bond’s character that readers rarely get to see.
Several James Bond adventures, with some stories taking place in the forests of Canada, the seas around the Seychelles, and the cafes of France, which show readers Bond can be more than an agent on assignment, although there is that, too. Everybody likes people-watching, including Bond! - especially in observing rich psychopathic men, often indistinguishable from criminals - and having a license to kill is useful at unexpected times! A variety of strong and kept women also cross Bond's path in these stories - some of whom make his life more interesting.
These stories are surprisingly excellent! Fleming writes above his usual paygrade in 'For Your Eyes Only'. Literary quality, with only a touch of the prejudices he usually includes in his James Bond books.
Much shorter than expected and nothing like the movie. That's not a bad thing necessarily. The book takes the theme of vengeance seriously and it's nice to see a sh!tbag get his comeuppance at the hands of a woman who has trained herself up in a specific skill set...a kill set if you will...for the sole purpose of getting revenge. Bond is more of a male chauvinist than ever, but the "Bond Girl" is a righteous badass and shows him up properly.
Is it possible to write effective short stories about spies? When I started reading Ian Fleming's For Your Eyes Only, I thought, "Ho, ho! I can't see where this'll work." In fact, none of the five stories are, strictly speaking, spy stories. No SMERSH, no SPECTRE, and only a couple mentions of the big bad Soviets.
In "From a View to a Kill," James Bond patiently finds who murdered a SHAPE courier by becoming one himself and luring the assassin.
The title story is a plain and simple revenge murder at M's behest of a gangster who killed two dear old friends of his in Jamaica.
My favorite story is "Quantum of Solace," in which 007 finds out from the governor of the Bahamas why it is not such a great idea to marry an airline stewardess.
"Risico" finds Bond trying to help the Americans nail a European drug dealer -- except that the enemy turns out to be an ally; and the ally, an enemy.
Finally, "The Hildebrand Rarity" contains an unsolved but utterly deserving murder of a cruel American billionaire.
These five stories are as good as anything Fleming has written.
A compilation of short stories, this serves as a bit of a palate cleanser after I thought Goldfinger was a bit of a step backwards compared to From Russia With Love and Doctor No. These short stories are pretty creative and get to explore Bond’s character and less than epic missions.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this installment in the James Bond series. I think this is because it was 5 short stories, so there wasn’t enough to develop the side characters and plot lines that I love so much in the novels. That being said, my favourite 2 stories from the collection were: 1. Quantam of Solice (because of how unusual this was, it didn’t feel much like a bond story and delved more into the social life of others) 2. The Hildebrand rarity (because I always love how Fleming describes life under the sea, it makes me feel like I am actually there). No
Taken in isolation, the tales in this collection would probably look like shaggy dog stories. There’s some exciting action and amusing observations, but they don’t really add up too much. However looked at together, they do show some interesting things about Fleming’s conception of his lead character. For example: ‘Quantum of Solace’ – which is certainly the most passive Bond tale I’ve come across so far, in that all he does is sit there and listen to a story – sees Bond at the end gripped with ennui. He has the realisation that, for all the glamour and danger, his job is inconsequential when compared to normal people’s everyday lives. When you read that tale – placed right in the middle – you remember that sense of weariness in ‘From a View to a Kill’, before encountering the strange rumination on murder and revenge that is ‘The Hildebrand Rarity’.
Of course there are the normal Bond traits, an underground base in ‘From a View to a Kill’, exploding yachts and shoot-outs in ‘For Your Eyes Only’. And so if you just dipped into the collection and read the stories in whatever order over a long period, you might miss the changing sense of character that runs through this book. Fleming didn’t subscribe to the ‘super-hero’ Bond of the movies, but going through this collection it’s clear that he was happy to undermine a lot of that heroism which surrounded even his version of Bond.
(I saw the film of For Your Eyes Only recently, and it does mark the point where Roger Moore starts to look really old. [Anyone not in Britain, put the words “Roger Moore” and “Post Office” into Youtube and see that there are some fates which even being James Bond can’t save you from.:] The main Bond girl looks young enough to be his daughter, while the secondary Bond girl – who positively throws herself at him – looks young enough to be his granddaughter. I look forward to that amount of action when I’m a sexagenarian.)
3 Stars. This is not the James Bond of the movies. The one we have come to know from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. I enjoyed it, especially Fleming's easy writing style, the locales across the globe sixty or more years ago, its connections with historic events of the day, and a darker Bond. There's far less intrigue. I had trouble checking off "thriller" when categorizing it, although there didn't seem to be an alternative! The title seems off centre too; how about, "The Life and Times of a British Agent?" What we have is a collection of five short stories first published in 1960 although written up to a year earlier. My reviews of each can be found under their titles - "From a View to a Kill", "For Your Eyes Only", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico", and "The Hildebrand Rarity." The author describes a different time, slower with fewer gadgets. Yet the menace of Bond, as far as each set of villains are concerned, is always present. One they are often not aware of. With locales as far distant as Ottawa and Montreal, Vermont, Jamaica, Paris and rural France, Nassau, Rome and Venice, and the Seychelles, it's your turn to experience the real Bond. (October 2020)
Having grown up engrossed by the James Bond films (with one or two exceptions...you know which Bonds I mean...), I was curious as to how the original novels would rate. I have come away from my second Fleming fascinated, if not thoroughly impressed. The films accurately capture how scattershot Bond's life is--he hops the globe the same way he breathes, seemingly indifferent. However, the novel far surpasses any film in that we see Bond's logic and internal monologues, complete with banal asides and notes of the local atmosphere and environs, something sadly lacking on the silver screen. As well, (go figure) Hollywood ratcheted the sex appeal more than a few notches; at best in the novels Bond glances at a girl and analyzes her. Any reference toward sexual activity is merely hinted and left to the reader's imagination. While the story never captured my attention (Hollywood does a cleaner job of connecting all the dots of and tying them all back to one super-villain), Bond novels may become my summer reading of choice.
A collection of five short stories involving James Bond.
For me, one story stands head and shoulders above all the rest and ironically it’s the least typical. In Quantum Of Solace Bond is merely a bit player; he listens as someone tells him a story of a relationship between two people which ends sourly. It’s clearly Fleming’s shot at a Somerset Maugham character story and he makes more than a fine stab at it.
I’d place The Hildebrand Rarity second. It’s a good claustrophobic character story in which Bond finds himself on board a boat with a man who mistreats his wife.
For Your Eyes Only would come next. The opening scene, where a killer murders an old couple is particularly strong. Bond’s job is a straightforward assassination.
Frankly, I found the other two stories - From A View To A Kill (Bond hunts an assassin) and Risico (a drugs story) - to be pretty dull affairs, displaying none of Fleming’s usual creation of characters and sense of place.
NB. Though I don’t suppose they’ll be using The Hildebrand Rarity for the title of a film any time soon, Risico and The Property Of A Lady (from the Octopussy collection) sound ok to me! Not that I care much for the modern films…
The stories are good but dated. James Bond is a first class agent but a complete arse with a deplorable attitude to women (although that is mainly a front as he adores strong women with pluck!). Outrageous shenanigans in the name of saving the Brits! Enjoyable but ludicrous ;)
Fleming’s first collection of Bond short stories, several of which apparently began life as treatments for episodes of a James Bond TV show that never happened.
Two show Fleming experimenting with form and plot, something I mentioned when I reviewed Octopussy and The Living Daylights. “Quantum of Solace,” namesake of perhaps the worst Bond movie, is a frame tale in which the unnamed governor of Jamaica tells Bond a story of love, betrayal, cruel revenge, and unexpected outcomes. “The Hildebrand Rarity” is even more curious, a character-driven story in which Bond, bored with the tail end of an assignment in the Seychelles, tags along with a friend on a rich American’s yacht to find a rare tropical fish, which the American intends to donate to the Smithsonian so he can write his yacht off on his taxes. The American winds up dead—classic “asshole victim,” per TV Tropes. Bond finds the body and covers up the killing, but the question is who did it? The American’s beautiful and abused wife? Or Bond’s friend and trusted confidant? This story, even more so than “Quantum of Solace,” explores Bond’s character and finds much greater depths than he usually lets on. The story’s ambiguous ending is perfect, and unique among the Bond stories.
“From a View to a Kill” is part Cold War espionage, part detective story. Bond must find the killer of a military intelligence courier and prevent the same thing from happening again. It’s strongly written but not my favorite of the bunch. “Risico” has an interesting setting—the Adriatic coast of Italy, unusual for Fleming’s Bond—and sees Bond assigned to help cut a deal with a mob boss to help restrict time flow of illegal narcotics into Britain. The morally hazy terrain of organized crime and drug smuggling is an unusual challenge for Bond and he ends up helping someone he had neither expected nor intended to.
My favorite story in the book is the title story, “For Your Eyes Only,” which begins with the murder of an English couple by men trying to extort them out of their Jamaican property. The couple were close friends of M, and M, burdened by personally investigating the murder and worried about abusing his authority, hands the case over the Bond and gives him authority to resolve it at his discretion. Bond tracks the man responsible down to an isolated cabin in Vermont, infiltrates from Canada, and has an unexpected run-in that complicates his mission of revenge. This story is especially suspenseful and well-written and has a strong plot and climactic action.
A solid collection. The stories in this volume are good enough that elements and characters from them were mined for several of the Roger Moore films, with mixed results. Nevertheless, I’d definitely recommend the stories.
Update: Listened to the audiobook performed by actor Samuel West (currently playing Siegfried Farnon on the delightful new All Creatures Great and Small TV series), which was very good. West's reading of "For Your Eyes Only" is particularly good.
These short Bond stories show a more complex character, and a man who may be near the end of his useful field service. He is also a bit softer about women, and some of the political incorrectness has been toned down. I rather liked For Your Eyes Only, Quantum Of Solace and The Hildebrand Rarity, as they were also a rather different tone than the Bond novels, while still being clearly Bond. From A View To Kill and Risico are both pretty standard, action packed Bond. Overall, a good collection of stories, and maybe even a good starting point, as there are no spoilers for previous adventures. Also- no gambling for once!
Collection of 5 stories, 3 of which have been made into movies. Enjoyed them but Bond is quite different from the suave man portrayed in the movies. I really disliked the Bond in the "The Hildebrand Rarity". In 2 of them, Bond is not on an assignment which is different.
To commemorate what would have been Ian Fleming's 100th birthday, on 5/28/08, and in anticipation of the latest James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," I recently reread Fleming's 1960 offering "For Your Eyes Only" for the first time in 30+ years. Of the 14 Fleming books featuring the exploits of the world's best-known secret agent, only "For Your Eyes Only" and the author's posthumous "Octopussy" (1966) consist of short stories, and the five collected in this earlier volume are a particularly good batch indeed. Two of them had been published previously; the other three were originals for this volume. All feature what is popularly known as the "Fleming Sweep"; the ability of the author, through fast pacing and a remarkable amount of picturesque detail, to make the reader accept even the most improbable of scenarios. And although two of these stories are not exactly espionage tales per se, they all provide insights into the fascinating character that is the literary 007.
The collection starts off strongly with "From a View to a Kill," in which Bond is given the task of finding out who has been murdering governmental dispatch riders on their motorbikes and stealing top-secret documents. The tale takes place in the suburbs of Paris and features some exciting gunplay at the conclusion, as well as an intriguing female ally, Mary Ann Russell, who we unfortunately do not get to know overly well.
In the title story, "For Your Eyes Only," Bond goes on a personal mission for his boss, M, whose old friends, the Havelocks, have just been killed by an ex-Gestapo agent named von Hammerstein and his Cuban hitmen. In the northernmost wilderness of Vermont, Bond finds these men in a mountain lodge, and (as in the 1981 film, which otherwise is completely different from this story) encounters the Havelocks' daughter, hot on the vengeance trail herself. The suspense quotient in this tale is very high, as Bond uses all his commando skills to sneak up on the villains' lair, and, as in the collection's first story, an explosive finale caps things off. A most satisfying tale indeed.
The book's third offering, "Quantum of Solace," originally appeared, of all places, in the May 1958 issue of "Cosmopolitan" magazine. This is a most unusual story in the Bond canon; indeed, it is one that is narrated TO Bond by the governor of Nassau, where 007 had just completed an assignment involving Cuban revolutionaries. The governor's after-dinner tale concerns a couple that he once knew in Bermuda society; one whose marriage went sour after infidelity, jealousy and bitterness poisoned it. It is a fascinating story of domestic hell, and one that makes Bond realize that his (previously regarded) exciting life may be a little dull when compared to some others'.
In "Risico," M, much against his will, condescends to involve his Secret Service in drug busting, and sends Bond on a mission to Rome and Venice to smash the heroin ring that had recently started to corrupt British youths. Bond encounters two rival smugglers in Rome, Kristatos and Colombo (again, two characters that feature in the "For Your Eyes Only" film, in a wholly different context), as well as the mysteriously motivated Austrian Lisl Baum (ditto), and participates in a ship raid on a drug-storage warehouse. The story is fast paced and generally exciting, and features an incredible amount of travelogue detail to add to its realism.
The collection concludes with "The Hildebrand Rarity," which initially appeared in the March 1960 issue of "Playboy." Like "Quantum of Solace," this is not really a secret agent tale, but rather an adventure that Bond is involved in, after investigating certain security arrangements in the Seychelle Islands for the British Admiralty. He and his friend Fidele Barbey (similar to the Quarrel character in 1958's "Dr. No") are hired by a boorish American millionaire, Milton Krest (a completely different character than the one portrayed by Anthony Zerbe in 1989's "Licence to Kill"), to go on an expedition to capture a rare tropical fish for the Smithsonian. Aboard Krest's luxury yacht, Bond meets Krest's attractive and abused wife and gets involved in a sudden murder. Fleming's love of scuba diving yields effective results here; his detailed descriptions of undersea life are both gorgeous and evocative. This story, although lacking any real action per se, features wonderful characters, great suspense and a nicely ambiguous conclusion. Like "Quantum," it is an unusual Bond story that succeeds marvelously, bringing to a conclusion this rather winning collection of (as the book's subtitle puts it) "Five Secret Exploits of James Bond." The book should serve as proof positive that novelist Ian Fleming had a sure hand with the shorter form as well. It is required reading, needless to say, for all fans of 007.
It was bound to happen eventually during this Bond-a-thon movie/book project of mine. It was bound to happen that eventually there would be a collection of stories that included titles of movies my brother and I haven't (re)watched yet. As I held this in my hand, flipping through it, I panicked. How do I do this? I wondered. Do I read just For Your Eyes Only since that's the movie we most recently watched? And then check the book out again for, say, A View to a Kill? And then again for Quantum of Solace?
It was a bit overwhelming. So I didn't read this for a while. Because I was paralyzed with options.
In the end, I just sucked it up and read the whole book because a) it's not like I'm being graded on this project and b) this is for my own shits and giggles, no one else's and c) I fail miserably at not finishing a book once I've started it. So, whatever, I'll figure something else out after we watch A View to a Kill and Quantum of Solace and whatever else is totally ruined for me because I read the story first which is not what this project is about anyway.
I really sort of liked the movie of For Your Eyes Only. It's painfully 1981, but Carole Bouquet is absolutely stunning, and I dunno, there's something about watching men in Members Only jackets running through the woods that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Oh, and Julian Glover. I mean, really.
From what I understand (ie, Wikipedia), the movie was based on two stories in this collection - obviously the title story, but also Risico, in which Kristatos (Glover in the movie) really shines.
The stories in this collection are actually rather good, which is surprising because that's hardly what I expect from Fleming these days. I would probably argue that these stories are stronger than his longer novels. That's unusual, right? Maybe because they're shorter stories, Fleming needed to really focus on what he wanted to portray, what he wanted to say, and how he wanted to execute those thoughts. They felt like tight little packages.
I actually like what the movie folks did with this film, combining those two stories. I would have liked to have read the book that I feel should have been For Your Eyes Only and Risico together. The movie combined them so well that I'm sure the story as a whole would have been pretty fantastic as well.
Did I mention the movies was undeniably 80s? The theme song was sung by Sheena Easton. I think that says it all, doesn't it?
In For Your Eyes Only, the eighth book published in the 007 series, we get a mixture of five Bond short stories. Most of the stories are standard adventures but a couple are more experimental tales. For example Quantum of Solace and The Hildebrand Rarity.
- From A View To A Kill is about the routine life of a spy. It sees Bond on a minor mission which doesn't include world domination. - Quantum of Solace is a non-spy related story. Bond listens to a story of a disaffected marriage . This gives an insight into Bond's psyche and mindset. - Risico sees Bond blocking the flow of heroin into England. - In "For Your Eyes Only", Bond takes a personal assignment from M tracking the killers of his friends. - The Hildebrand Rarity is like For Your Eyes Only. It reduces Bond to an observer. The stories are all entertaining enough and show Fleming trying out different ideas and styles. Fleming seems to paint a more rounded picture of Bond as he deals with a variety of situations. He also explores the compassionate and human side of Bond too
Justice and revenge are themes that run through two of the stories. In "For Your Eyes Only" Fleming examines revenge from several angles: Bond's, M's and Judy Havelock's and each has a different interpretation. Bond's approach to killing is also dissected in "For Your Eyes Only" whilst the morality of killing is a theme in "The Hildebrand Rarity".
Bond's relationship with M is studied in "For Your Eyes Only", with Bond taking a difficult decision for M. This shows that even M has to grapple with the uncertainties related to the weight of command. It also highlights that Bond respects M as he understands that he’s trying to do his best for his country.
He comes across as almost an environmentalist in "The Hildebrand Rarity". Contrast this to Bond’s love of the finer things in life.
As a fan of the Bond movies I could recognise the story elements and titles which ended up in the films For Your Eyes Only (1981), A View to a Kill (1985), Licence to Kill (1989) and Quantum of Solace (2008).
So in summary, while these stories are out of the ordinary they could have been better. For example, they could have filled in some of Bond’s back story: what did he do in WW2 or flesh out the details behind his 00 status, for example. There is less racism and sexism than previous books but I think this just because there are less words! I definitely preferred the longer Bond novels. The plots are better, the villains are crazier and character interactions and relationships better explored.
Unlike the previous Bond books, this one is a collection of short stories rather then a novel. It collects five stories all in different locations, but all with similar plots. For the most part I wasn't a fan of these stories. Not much happens in them and some are kind of boring. I only found the title short story interesting.
The short story "For Your Eyes Only" is only one I liked in this collection. I didn't so much like the first part of the story, but I loved the fact that most of the story took place in Vermont. I live in Vermont, so reading one of my favorite action heroes kicking ass in my home state definitely made my night. Fleming seemed to write a more accurate version of the Vermont woods then most people too. Comes to find out he spent many summers in Vermont.
"Quantum of Solace" kind of brought down this book. In my opinion it was a very boring story. Not sure how they made a movie of it because all it seemed to talk about was a married couple and how Bond couldn't get married. This was information that I thought we already knew and didn't need to read about again; it's obvious he can't be a married man a sleep with all these beautiful women.
The other stories were a little better, but again they just didn't grab my attention. I baffled by the fact that they made some of these movies. They are all about 35 pages each and the movies are about two hours. Seems to me like they just used the titles and some names and changed the plot around.
I wish I could give this a higher rating. If this was just the story "For Your Eyes Only" and with more about Vermont, then I'd be in love with this book. Yet there is only one story I really liked. If you want to read Bond this one isn't necessary, but I'm reading them all.