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Live and Let Die

(James Bond (Original Series) #2)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  22,201 ratings  ·  1,401 reviews
"Her hair was black and fell to her shoulders. She had high cheekbones and a sensual mouth, and wore a dress of white silk. Her eyes were blue, alight and disdainful, but, as they gazed into his with a touch of humour, Bond realized that they contained a message. Solitaire watched his eyes on her and nonchalantly drew her forearms together so that the valley between her ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published April 5th 1954)
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(A-) 80% | Very Good
Notes: James Bond gets educated in numismatics, anthropology, marine biology and voodoo, while the series gets formula.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen - we're in for another wild ride of racism and misogyny in the second James Bond book.

James Bond dives into the world of "Negro criminals," traveling from New York City to Florida to the grand finale in Jamaica. All this is on account of some old gold coins from a legendary pirate treasure showing up. The British and American governments have the idea that Mr. Big is in possession of the treasure - a huge, towering black man whose nickname comes not
Joe Valdez
There are moments of great luxury in the life of a secret agent. There are assignments on which he is required to act the part of a very rich man; occasions when he takes refuge in good living to efface the memory of danger and the shadow of death; and times when, as was now the case, he is a guest in the territory of an allied Secret Service. From the moment the BOAC Stratocruiser taxied up to the International Air Terminal at Idlewild, James Bond was treated like royalty.

So begins Live and Let
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: spies, book-to-film
”He held the tip between finger and thumb and very deliberately started to bend it back, giggling inanely to himself.
Bond rolled and heaved, trying to upset the chair, but Tee-Hee put his other hand on the chair-back and held it there. The sweat poured off Bond’s face. His teeth started to bare in an involuntary rictus.
The finger stood upright, away from the hand. Started to bend slowly backwards towards his wrist. Suddenly it gave. There was a sharp crack.
‘That will do,’ said Mr. Big.
David Schaafsma
Live and Let Die is the second novel in Ian Fleming’s spy thriller series about James Bond, 007 (he gets one of these numbers because he has killed people in the line of duty), and is not set as others later in the series in some “sophisticated” or “exotic” setting, but primarily in the US (Harlem and Florida) and Jamaica. Published in 1954 to widespread critical and popular acclaim, it was written at Fleming’s Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. The main idea is that Bond is trying to catch the truly ...more
Jason Koivu
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
It might have been For Your Eyes Only...


...or more likely Octopussy...


...but I want to say Live and Let Die...


...may have been the first James Bond movie I ever saw. Regardless, it stands as one of my first recollections of the thrilling spy and his over-the-top escapades.

I LOVED these movies as a kid. As an adult my fervor wore away, but remnants of that love never left me and eventually I became intrigued enough to check out the novels out of a curiosity to see how true the movies were to
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Voodoo, buried treasure, sharks and alligators and poison fish – and Mr. Big.

007 returns to the Caribbean in Ian Fleming’s second Bond novel, first published in 1954. The author was still learning to deal with his success from the first book, Casino Royale, and so some time is spent developing the character and the world building and introducing readers to his secret agent spy network and to Bond in particular.

Fleming’s casual racism will turn some modern readers off, but he does a better than
I have always been a big fan of the James Bond movies and I read a couple of the books years ago. I actually got in trouble in high school for bringing one of the books to school with me. I can't even remember which one. The principal said it was a "dirty'' book. Some of my other classmates had Steven King novels that had much more graphic things in them, but I had no choice but to leave James at home from then on. I never read the entire series. In 2018 I have made a personal promise to read ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
If read through the wrong prism, much like the notorious Tintin In The Congo, Live and Let Die will appear very racist. It is interesting that, despite being the second Bond book, it took so long to become a movie. Consider this: the book was released in 1955, five years before The Beatles formed. The song for the 1973 film was performed by a Wings-era Paul McCartney.

But more telling is Fleming's choice to make Bond's first true nemesis an African American, blending Voodoo and the mystery of
James Bond on the page certainly comes across a lot different than James Bond on the big screen and LIVE AND LET DIE only serves to further hammer this point home. Ian Fleming has created a debonair masterpiece, with more than a hint of chauvinism. Sure, he uses terms then that he probably couldn’t get away with today, but this book was first published in 1954, so you have to roll with it a bit. If you’re a woman, or you’re easily offended, you might want to hesitate before picking it up.

Richard Derus
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

It's the 1973 first outing by Simon Templar...I mean Roger Moore!...that I review here.

Holy pimpmobile! I'd forgotten this was the blaxploitation Bond flick. Appallingly racist. Horrifyingly insultingly so. And may I just say, "INTRODUCING JANE SEYMOUR" is the most chilling phrase I've ever in all my life seen on a movie screen?

Introducing. Jane. Seymour. As in, "not seen on the big screen before?" She was in some other stuff...but nothing as big as Bond. And the horrible
2.5 stars

***2018 Summer of Spies***

Wow, this book has not aged gracefully. The casual racism really overwhelmed everything else for me. The dust jacket stated that Fleming had spent some time with the NY police as research. He seems to have absorbed their attitudes towards African-Americans without any reservations. All the black characters seem to be superstitious, criminal, or both. At least he allows Mr. Big to be a really talented criminal, not a push-over.

Fleming’s own attitudes towards
Gary M.
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
To charge this book with racism, as many reviews have done so, is absurd. The book and attitudes were of the time and obviously these views are expressed within the pages. The same charges could be aimed at Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Bulldog Drummond and any classic character.Or what about Shakespeare - could we call the bard homophobic for not representing gay characters in his plays? Do we start judging classic works by modern standards? The book uses the word Negro a lot but at the ...more
Dec 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
Okay, I'd known that Ian Fleming is on record as having been a racist and sexist bastard, but somehow I had managed to not really notice that much the first time I'd taken a spin through the Bond novels. And there were a couple of bits I took issue with in my recent re-read of Casino Royale, sure, though they were few and far between.

But Live and Let Die? Wow, chock full of extremely blatant racism. Enough that it actively interfered with my ability to enjoy the story at all, and made it
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
JAMES BOND: "Oh, Solitaire, I really want to make love to you right now in this hot, cramped compartment on a moving train with someone right outside the door trying to kill me, but---I have this broken finger, you see, which makes sex absolutely out of the question, so I'll have to exploit you at a later date."

SOLITAIRE: "Oh, James, I don't mind, because I always dreamed of being kissed exactly the way you just kissed me. And I only met you a couple of days ago, but I wanted to tear my
aPriL does feral sometimes
Edit: December 19, 2018 This novel is really two and a half stars, not three, but Goodreads doesn't let me give half stars.

‘Live and Let Die’, the second book in the James Bond series, is both fun and awful at the same time. It is definitely a book written to satisfy the entertainment values of most male readers, particularly war veterans of the 1950’s. Political correctness was not yet invented when the novel was written, and education and general knowledge of other cultures was sparse then,
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I was told that "Live and Let Die" was slightly racist as a movie, but I figured I'd read the book before watching. To be honest, I've never seen a Bond movie from beginning to end (and am somehow, indeed, alive. Shocking, no?)

But seriously, ignore these claims of overt racism I see in the other reviews. The most racist thing I found in this book is the use of the word "negro." It was not an ethnic slur until a decade later; as a matter of fact, it was the most polite and neutral term of the
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-spy
This second book in the James Bond series was quite exciting. Full of dangers from poisonous fish, voodoo and a sophisticated crime syndicate based in Harlem. I found the action in this one (especially at the finish) to be raised several notches above the previous book (Casino Royale). The setting moved from NYC to St. Petersburg to Jamaica which kept things interesting. Bond remained the vulnerable hero that Fleming created in the first book, even to the point of shedding a tear after a ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This review was first posted on BookLikes:

When a few years ago I was told that my work was sending me to New Orleans, my immediate need was to find a copy of Live and Let Die, because, well, a part of the film is set there and the surrounding swamps of Louisiana - and I like a Bond story.

So, I got comfortable in my seat on the cross-Atlantic flight and opened my book. A few chapters into the story it suddenly dawned on me...
The book is totally

The literature version of Bond pales in comparison to the movie version, or certainly is the case here. The literature Bond also doesn't have a cool theme tune unlike the movie version.

I vaguely knew the plot down to watching the movie (multiple times as a child) but also noted a couple of pieces of information used in other movies. Things moved along relatively slow throughout with Bond starting out in New York and learning of Mr Big and his crime enterprise and ending in Jamaica with
This is a significant improvement over Casino Royale, except in one major respect which nobody reading the book is likely to miss. Bond is much less unpleasant this time round - without ever being someone you'd actually want to spend time with - and the prose is much improved, though rarely rising above the functional. The adventure sequences have the requisite modicum of tension, and when the action reaches Jamaica, Fleming's love for the place leads him to render it vividly.

(Bond remains a
Better than the first, but it has the same issue as the first book, which is that the later portion drags. Not nearly as much as book 1, but still, I found my attention wandering.
Quentin Wallace
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars with an asterisk. I just couldn't go without mentioning the blatant racism in this one. It would be comical if it wasn't such a serious subject. Then again, the Bond books have racism, sexism, elitism, really runs the gamut. Keeping in mind these were written in the 50s, some of it was just a sign of the times, but still, I had to at least call attention to it rather than ignore it.

That being said, at its heart this was a good adventure novel. Live and Let Die is one
Without any doubt this one is much better than the predecessor: faster and with a more interesting plot (more action).

I am glad I began reading James Bond series.
Eric Farr
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Live and Let Die, James Bond comes to America to investigate the gold-smuggling ring of the African-American crime boss Mr. Big, who also happens to be an agent of SMERSH. Bond is at first interested in the case because of the chance for revenge, but he becomes more invested as he is reunited with his friend, Felix Leiter, and encounters the lovely Solitaire.

I might as well deal with the elephant in the room immediately: this book is certainly part spy thriller, but it is also part racial
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it

Quality of writing: 3
Plot development: 4
Pace: 3
Characters: 3
Enjoyability: 3
Ease of reading: 3

"You start to die the moment you are born. The whole of life is cutting through the pack with death. So take it easy. Light a cigarette and be grateful you are still alive as you suck the smoke deep into your lungs."
As far as the movies go, we have moved beyond Sean Connery and we are now in the Roger Moore years, a surprisingly refreshing change, I must admit. Younger, fitter, less embittered (which is the impression I was feeling from Sean Connery in the last movie).

Bond returns to America in this book and I am still amazed (yet amused) at how Fleming viewed Americans. He makes comments about the food (Americans can't boil eggs), the cars, the people, the accents. In the movie we see bumbling American
Jan 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Growing up, my father was a huge James Bond fan. I have an early memory of him taking my cousin to see a re-release of Thunderball in the theater. Dad used to talk about how much he'd loved the Bond novels when he was younger, and any time a Bond movie was on television he would watch. I never quite got it. I couldn't get into the movies and the books bored me terribly. (To be fair, I think I only tried On Her Majesty's Secret Service; and I was eleven.) The Bond I remember most vividly is ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
It is tough to rate this one. I kept having to remind myself that it was written in the 50's before the Civil Rights movement. The entire first half of the book referred to anyone of color using a derogatory word, the stereotyping was horrendous, plus the entire network of bad guys was black which was a little much. But....if you are able to look past all that, the plot that James Bond faces was exciting.

Bond is sent to NYC to try to figure out how a bunch of ancient coins from a pirate
Ming Wei
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story, love the thrill of the ride, enjoyable
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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

Other books in the series

James Bond (Original Series) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
  • 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)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)
“The gain to the winner is always less than the loss to the loser.” 30 likes
“And don't get hurt,' [Dexter] added. 'There's no one to help you up there. And don't go stirring up a lot of trouble for us. This case isn't ripe yet. Until it is, our policy with Mr Big is 'live and let live'.'

Bond looked quizzically at Captain Dexter

In my job,' he said, 'when I come up against a man like this one, I have another motto. It's 'live and let die'.”
More quotes…