On Her Majesty's Secret Service : James Bond (Celebrity Performances)

  • by Ian Fleming
  • Narrated by David Tennant
  • Series: James Bond (Celebrity Performances)
  • 8 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In his Alpine base, Blofeld is developing biological weapons that will devastate Britain. Unaware of the danger, James Bond is about to marry Teresa di Vicenzo, the daughter of a Corsican Mafioso. But then he is sent to Switzerland. Bond's marriage and Blofeld's schemes disintegrate in a blizzard of gunfire and high-explosives from which neither man emerges the victor.
This audiobook includes an exclusive bonus interview with David Tennant.
Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Real Treat

If you could sum up On Her Majesty's Secret Service in three words, what would they be?

Delightfully Sexist Bond

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bond, James Bond.

Which character – as performed by David Tennant – was your favorite?

David's James Bond, thanks to his Scottish accent and natural charisma, is a throw back to Sean Connery's and it is delightful. Tennant may never get to play him on the big screen, but listening to him play him in this book was a real treat.

Any additional comments?

Much has been made about the sexism is the Bond films. So much of his attitude towards women, it turns out, comes from the books! This was my first outing with a Bond novel and I was a little shocked at how (A) close it was to the movie and (B) how casually sexist it is. It was such a strange anachronism that I found myself just laughing at Bond and how he described and looked at women. The book is a product of its time and would not be written this way today (which I am thankful for), but that doesn't mean I didn't also enjoy it.

The story never stops moving forward, but that being said, it's plotted deliberately and almost slowly. I was constantly riveted, but was surprised at how it took its time to ramp up to the big action set pieces. Thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to my next Bond outting.

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- Scott Fogg "ScottishFogg"

Bond Comes Full Circle

By the time On Her Majesty's Secret Service is published, James Bond is making waves internationally, both in print and on the big screen, partly propelled by John F. Kennedy's endorsement of Fleming's From Russia With Love, and partly from the world's need to embrace a hero of this kind in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis less than three months previous. And by this point in the game, Fleming was looking to take Bond in new directions, as many writers do once they've been writing their trademark characters for a while. This began with The Spy Who Loved Me, which was different in style and format, but didn't take truly take Bond himself in any new directions. For Bond to truly evolve as a character, old wounds would need to be addressed, and his greatest nemesis would need to return.

If it can truly be said that Bond has a weakness, it's boredom. The story takes place in the wake of Operation: Thunderball, wherein Bond has been assigned to basic detective work involving the possible re-emergence of SPECTRE and its chief mastermind, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Bond is unhappy with this assignment, convinced that SPECTRE is smashed, and Blofeld, no matter how ingenious, is incapable of recreating an organization of SPECTRE's caliber. After repeated ignored requests to be reassigned, Bond finds himself at the precipice of boredom, drafting his resignation letter from the Service.

In the world of James Bond, there are a number of standout women who have known him, but only two define him. The first is Casino Royale's Vesper Lynd, to whom he gave his heart, only to end up betrayed, leading to the string of heartbreaks and one-night stands for which he is known. The second takes the stage here: Teresa di Vincenzo, Tracy to her friends. Tracy's father turns out to be one of the most powerful mafia bosses in the world, with connections enough to learn the whereabouts of Blofeld in exchange for Bond helping to lure Tracy away from her personal death wish. While Bond stalks Blofeld, Tracy is using her father's resources to track down Bond.

In my mind, this is the most important entry in the original Fleming series, the point where Bond truly becomes the Bond everyone thinks they know, as opposed to merely just a shell for the writer's alter ego to inhabit. The English cold war spy becomes the British superspy capable of transcending the ages yet to come. In tribute to Connery, we are finally given some of Bond's backstory, wherein he is listed as Scottish on his father's side (his mother is Swiss), though ironically Connery would become disenfranchised with the role and stepped down by the time the movie version would come to pass. More importantly, we reinforce the character traits that would push Bond through this story. As I mentioned before, boredom drives him into danger, and his need to pursue his targets to the very ends of the earth causes him to ally himself with forces of which queen and country would certainly not approve. The cost of this dogged pursuit echoes the events of Casino Royale. It's this pursuit that will define Blofeld as Bond's greatest enemy, the Moriarty to Bond's Sherlock Holmes. In trying to take Bond in a new direction, Fleming brings his creation full circle.

In honor of Bond becoming Scottish, it's only fitting that we get a Scottish narrator who is more than capable of delivering both the worldliness and gravitas needed to present this story to the fullest. "Who" better than David Tennant? With a list of stage, screen, and voice acting credits as long as your arm, Tennant brings his considerable talents to this narration with an understated dignity and charm. He switches between characters, languages, and accents effortlessly in way that will impress if you stop to take note of them. At times, you're tempted to believe he's a completely different person. The cherry on top is that he correctly says "double-oh," regarding the running gag in my reviews of how to correctly pronounce "007."

Bottom line, this is quite possibly the best novel in the series, made better by a superior presentation.
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- Troy "Say something about yourself!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-29-2014
  • Publisher: Ian Fleming Ltd.