On Her Majesty's Secret Service; Reviews & Ratings
Posted 21 October 2005 - 06:20 PM
This thread is intended for reviews and ratings of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by members of the The Blades Library Book Club here.
Please do not reply directly to reviews in this thread, rather start a new thread to ask questions or post comments about reviews.
Posted 21 October 2005 - 09:58 PM
Not only is this my favorite Fleming but quite possibly my favorite (nudging Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six out of the top spot).
This was the first of any Bond books I read and I can still remember the day I got it. My friend and I were at Barnes and Noble, said what the hell let's buy some Fleming. It was early December so I picked up OHMSS with Christmas in mind. I've since added it to the tradition of watching OHMSS every Christmas day.
I remember being blown away by the descriptiveness masked in the simplicity of the first line. It was one of those Septembers when it seemed like the summer would never end. I know it seems a bit silly but I've always loved that line.
That of course leads right into a familiar Bond spinning round on the beach with PPK drawn only to be disarmed and reflect on the events of the day past as he shivers next to Tracy. The book begins with Bond, bored and at the end of his ropes, ready to pack it in and ends with him in just the same situation. Though the arc is incredible. Just as he finds something to fight for and sees life as worth it all again...it's ripped from him and he's left sobbing in the shell of a Lancia.
The sequences on Piz Gloria show Bond at his crafty finest, escaping detection for as long as need be, even at the expense of a fellow agent and finally fleeing with more information than he had dreamed to find.
Though the action is much more tame than in the movie, the ski chase is extremely well done and just like the rest of the book, positively drips suspense.
I advise anyone with the ability to read this book. You won't be disappointed.
Posted 22 October 2005 - 04:16 PM
Not only was Tracy written as such a real, tragic human being, Fleming actually managed to elicit sympathy from the reader for Draco, her father, the most dangerous crime lord in Europe. I always found his character to be on the same level as Darko Kerim in terms of how much I grew to like them by the end.
Bond himself is the most human in this story that he has ever been, before he goes off the deep end into full blown depression in the next story. I love that Fleming continued to show how much Bond wanted out, but still needed to stay in because that was the only way of life he was prepared for. And the strong choices Fleming made here, to show Bond coming closer than ever before to finally leaving the service, made me think that finally the character had evolved as a man to the point that he was finally ready to embrace life outside the existence as an assassin. Which makes the ending scene all the more tragic and difficult for even the toughest guy to handle.
This leads to just how well Fleming wrote his great villain, Blofeld. Through Tracy's murder, Fleming catapulted Blofeld from his station as an extremely cunning criminal to a ruthless, heartless beast who would actually murder this man Bond and his wife on their very wedding day. As we get into the next story, of course, all of that will come to a head; in this story, however, these fantastical events will be the ones that shape the rest of Bond's life.
Fleming truly hit his stride in writing suspense and humanity here, and I only wish that he'd been around longer! This book is definitely and must-see, as Sharky said, and you can surely get it at just about any used bookstore or national retail chain, as well as Amazon and Ebay. I promise, it's worth it!
Posted 24 October 2005 - 12:40 AM
I generally agree but would only give it 4 stars.
The beggining was slightly tedious, although the pace of the book did pick up.
I liked it, its probably in my top 5 but not my favourite.
Posted 27 October 2005 - 05:57 PM
Posted 27 October 2005 - 08:15 PM
I've been very busy with school and other novels as of late, so I will have to finish this one up soon. I'll try to remember to post a review then. I haven't read this one, yet, so it should be a delight.
Plenty of time. The club moves onto the next book in about two months from now.
Posted 08 November 2005 - 06:53 PM
The opening chapter is grabbing and in my view, the book never lets you go until the very end with that certain shock finale. The action sequences are written very well; skiing anyone? The characters shine as well. Blofeld back and definitely a force for Bond to reckon with. Irma Bunt evokes that sickening sense one can associate with Rosa Klebb a few novels earlier, and Tracy di Vincenzo is a very real Bond woman.
In all, one of Fleming's best. (And often cited by some to be the best along other masterpiece's such as From Russia With Love and You Only Live Twice.)
If you haven't read Thunderball however, don't read this one yet. It's true that the continuity is not as important here as it is between On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice for example, but still - treat yourself, read them in order.
Posted 29 November 2005 - 05:00 AM
The skiing scenes were well-done, Blofeld's plot was completely ludicrous but nicely detailed, the assault on Piz Gloria during the finale was good, and the sharply sad ending was still a blow to me, regardless of how far away I saw it coming.
One thing I noticed is that it had some really good dialouge. One of my biggest complaints about most of Fleming's novels is that the conversations just never seem right; like that's not how people actually talk (the biggest offender I can think of is Diamonds Are Forever) but OHMSS avoids this. And nuts to what Benson said, Draco IS a nice guy.
All in all, one of my new favorite Fleming books. It's not going to replace Casino Royale or Moonraker at the top of my lists, but it's still a great book. Now, for another stab at YOLT...
Oh, and Sharky? For the record, Rainbow Six is quite possibly my all-time favorite book as well.
Edited by Flash1087, 29 November 2005 - 05:02 AM.
Posted 23 June 2006 - 04:19 AM
BTW Will the pillock who rated OHMSS with one star reveal himself???
Edited by manfromjapan, 23 June 2006 - 04:24 AM.
Posted 22 March 2008 - 08:31 PM
As usual, the descriptions Ian Fleming provides are extremely detailed and very interesting to read. The action scenes in this book are exciting and keep you turning the pages. The dialogue is great, probably the best written dialogue out of all the Bond novels that I have read so far. Having seen the movie first, I knew how the book was going to end, however, that didn't stop the impact of the scene. A great ending to an extremely well-written novel. This is easily the best of the Bond novels that I have read so far.
Five out of five stars.
Posted 28 February 2009 - 03:46 PM
The suspensful action moments in the novel come later, while Bond infiltrates Piz Gloria (Blofeld's lair at the top of the Swiss Alps) posing as Sir Hilary Bray, a friend of Sable Basilik of the College of Arms, whom Blofeld contacted to claim for the autentication of his title of Count de Bleuville. After one of his contacts is captured and his identity is blown, the agent escapes with his skis down the slope of the treacherous mountains surviving to avalanches and lots of dangerous situations. Soon, as he tries to hide from Blofeld's men, he's saved by Tracy, who leads him to the airport, where he says he wants to marry her. It's a very nice touch to see how Bond feels dull of bedding lots of women as he discovers true love.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service is undoubtely the best James Bond novel after Casino Royale, the action sequences are breathtaking, a delight for the spy thrillers lovers, and it's really difficult to put the book down. Still, the descriptions of the escenarios are boring, and chapter twenty-two is full of ununderstandable biologycal subjects (is recommended to skip most of this chapter). But, besides that, in the last chapter, titled "All the time in the world", we see a really heartbroken, and human Bond. The conversation between James Bond and Griffon Or about the Bond family to Bond Street is clever.
To summarise, a quintaessential Ian Fleming novel.