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I have to say I disagree with the reviews they call this book racist. The book was written in 1954. The language it uses it typical of that time. rather than being racist, this book is actually very Pro African American, as its antagonist is a brilliant, powerful man whose organization proves more capable than the combined resources of the FBI, CIA and MI6. All this in a book that was written while Jim Crow laws were still in effect. Rather than being reviled as racist, this book should be recognized as an early piece of civil rights literature.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
If your only experience with this title is through the Roger Moore film, then this will be a refreshing change. This is James Bond at his most realistic, without the puns, innuendos, and humorous asides to anyone listening. (Don't get me wrong - I love the films, but these novels are the real deal from which all those ideas sprang.) Here is an, admittedly, dated spy novel with some great elements. If you enjoyed the films you will see plot points that show up in several different films that you probably did not realized originated here. If you enjoy spy novels in general this is a good one.
I should state that when I mentioned that it was dated, it primarily relates to issues relating to black characters. Terminology is of-it's-time referring to them simply as negroes and it makes some very broad racial characterizations that were thought of as accurate back in the day when this was written. I do not get the sense that Ian Fleming was racist in any way. He simply wrote what to the current beliefs and societal views were at that time. Take that into account if you are sensitive to these matters. The novel is approximately 60+ years old.
Bottom line: If you like spy novels in general or James Bond in any form, you owe it to yourself to see how they all began and read Flemings works. This is the second of the series but stands pretty well on it's own. There are a couple minor references to Casino Royale but that is not required reading to enjoy this novel.