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Topic: Finished all the books. My ranking.

Spent the last seven months reading all the books, between the Fleming originals, Colonel Sun, the Gardner and Benson novels, and the efforts of several stand alone authors & Anthony Horowitz' duo-logy.

With 40 books obviously the quality would be wild, but after Fleming the books are insanely varying in effort and quality. I did find them all enjoyable in some way (you have to enjoy a book somewhat to at least finish it)

These are the results of my ranking, things might move and the ratings of Gardner and Benson's efforts probably should rank lower but I enjoyed most of them ajb007/martini :


1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service | 1963 | 10/10
2. You Only Live Twice | 1964 | 10/10
3. From Russia With Love | 1957 | 10/10
4. Moonraker | 1955 | 10/10
5. Casino Royale | 1953 | 9.5/10
6. Solo | 2013 | 9.5/10
7. For Your Eyes Only | 1960 | 9.5/10
8. Dr No | 1958 | 9/10
9. Goldfinger | 1959 | 9/10
10. Trigger Mortis | 2015 | 9/10
11. Thunderball | 1961 | 8.5/10
12. Live and Let Die | 1954 | 8/10
13. The Man with the Golden Gun | 1965 | 7.5/10
14. Colonel Sun | 1969 | 7.5/10
15. Octopussy and the Living Daylights | 1966 | 7.5/10
16. Diamonds Are Forever | 1956 | 7/10
17. Forever and A Day | 2018 | 7/10
18. Icebreaker | 1983 | 7/10
19. For Special Services | 1982 | 7/10
20. License Renewed | 1981 | 7/10
21. SeaFire | 1994 | 7/10
22. The Man with the Red Tattoo | 2002 | 7/10
23. Doubleshot | 2000 | 7/10
24. Nobody Lives Forever | 1986 | 6.5/10
25. Zero Minus Ten | 1997 | 6.5/10
26. Devil May Care | 2008 | 6/10
27. Carte Blanche | 2011 | 6/10
28. Cold Fall | 1996 | 6/10
29. Scorpius | 1988 | 5.5/10
30. Death is Forever | 1992 | 5.5/10
31. The Man from Barbarossa | 1991 | 5/10
32. Brokenclaw | 1990 | 4/10
33. No Deals, Mr. Bond | 1987 | 3.5/10
34. Win, Lose or Die | 1989 | 3/10
35. Hight Time to Kill | 1999 | 3/10
36. Never Send Flowers | 1993 | 2/10
37. The Facts of Death | 1998 | 2/10
38. Never Dream of Dying | 2001 | 1/10
39. Role of Honor | 1984 | 1/10
40. The Spy Who Loved Me | 1962 | 1/10

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

welcome Philip Jeffries

what do you like about some of those non-Fleming books that cause you to rank them higher than some of the Flemings?
and is the Spy Who Love Me really worse than the absolute worst of the continuation novels?



...and, the really important question...
are you named after David Bowie's character from Twin Peaks?
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/twinpeaks/images/2/24/DavidBowie.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/350?cb=20160925015838

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

I might bump up TSWLM's score up higher -- as I enjoyed it plenty reading it initially, but because of the plot (2/3s missing Bond, and when he shows up it's really just a gangster story) it's the last book I'd grab if I was in the mood for a Bond adventure.
I actually did read the movie novelization and found it pretty solid, very Fleming-esque.

As for the novels I thought beat Fleming in places for me -- Trigger Mortis is a really fun adventure that fits right in with Goldfinger. Horowitz nailed the right tone that most of the continuations get close to but no cigar. |
Colonel Sun is somewhat similar, being written in the same era and by Fleming's friend. It's a bit more mean spirited and Bond working with the soviets is definitely different for the time.

Solo on the other hand is extremely different for a Bond story, however I loved Boyd's prose, characterization and the setting.
I could see Bond fans not digging it, but I loved the moral ambiguity of it.

AND YES!  ajb007/lol  Next to Bond, Twin Peaks is my favorite franchise. And, for his brief appearance, Jeffries is one of my favorite characters.

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

ha ! I knew I'd seen that name somewhere before.
So you wont mind if I point at you and say in an overdubbed Louisiana accent "Who do you think that is there?!!?"
https://welcometotwinpeaks.com/wp-content/uploads/wpforo/default_attachments/1502682244-who-do-yall-think-that-is-there.jpg
... and an appropriate name for a spy-themed forum, since Bowie is playing an FBI agent, albeit a rather weird one.
We have a Twin Peaks thread here, mostly discussing The Return, you should share some of your thoughts.

40 books in seven months is an impressive feat (though time undoubtedly moves differently in The Red Room). If you read Christopher Wood's novelization, where would you place that one? did you also read the Moonraker novelization?

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

"overdubbed Louisiana accent"  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol

Thanks for the heads up. I'm gonna give that thread a look through and see what I can add.

Hmmm, for TSWLM... I might put it between Licence Renewed and SeaFire. It's pretty solid. Haven't gotten to Moonraker yet, though I plan to get through all the novelizations (at much more leisurely pace).

Once NTTD was delayed I figured I might as well read past the Fleming novels. Thought it would take longer.

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

Thanks for the share of your list. 7 months and 40 books! Wow. I struggle with 1 every few months.

I haven't gotten to The Spy Who Loved Me yet but I can't believe that a Fleming made your absolute worst. Interesting.

1. Goldfinger 2. Skyfall 3. Goldeneye 4. The Spy Who Loved Me 5. OHMSS
"I never joke about my work, 007."

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

I enjoyed looking through your ranking PhilipJeffries8. A few surprises there for sure!

The biggest one for me is probably Solo being at #6. I enjoyed the novel but certainly not more than any of the Flemings.

A pleasant surprise was to see that COLD/Cold Fall is not too close to the bottom of the ranking. That novel tends to be surrounded by nothing by negativity, however I was pleasantly surprised by it when I finally got to the end of the Gardner series.

If I may add my own ranking, by way of comparison... Please note that I still haven't got round to reading all of the Benson novels so a few of them are missing from my list.  ajb007/embarrassed

1. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE   
2. CASINO ROYALE   
3. DR NO   
4. ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE   
5. MOONRAKER   
6. LIVE AND LET DIE   
7. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE   
8. THUNDERBALL
9. GOLDFINGER   
10. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY   
11. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER   
12. ICEBREAKER   
13. OCTOPUSSY AND THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS   
14. NOBODY LIVES FOREVER
15. NO DEALS MR BOND   
16. COLONEL SUN   
17. TRIGGER MORTIS   
18. FOREVER AND A DAY   
19. FOR SPECIAL SERVICES   
20. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME   
21. LICENCE RENEWED   
22. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN   
23. SCORPIUS   
24. COLD   
25. WIN, LOSE OR DIE   
26. ZERO MINUS TEN   
27. ROLE OF HONOUR
28. HIGH TIME TO KILL   
29. NEVER SEND FLOWERS   
30. DEATH IS FOREVER   
31. SOLO   
32. THE FACTS OF DEATH   
33. DEVIL MAY CARE   
34. BROKENCLAW   
35. THE MAN FROM BARBAROSSA   
36. SEAFIRE   
37. CARTE BLANCHE   

When I re-read the novels the rankings to sometimes shift a bit, but this is how I see it at the moment.

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

Out of interest, why did you place SeaFire so low? I always thought it was one of the more competent Gardners...

On another note, nice to see Fleming's YOLT in the top ten...

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

Out of interest, why did you place SeaFire so low? I always thought it was one of the more competent Gardners...

On another note, nice to see Fleming's YOLT in the top ten...

To be honest, I thought SeaFire was not bad but just a slightly less entertaining read than some of the others I read around that time. There is every possibility that a re-read would affect my ranking and put SeaFire higher on the list.

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Re: Finished all the books. My ranking.

PhilipJeffries8.
Love the post. I did a similar task way back when Devil May Care was due for publication and created a couple of threads on here which reviewed the novels and gave them a score from 10. Young Bond too

I never really ranked them as such.

I was pleasantly surprised to see most of your opinions were similar to mine.

I was surprised Solo was so high. I didnt enjoy it at all. Of the recent novels Carte Blanche ticked the boxes IMO, but I subscribe to the "many Bond's - same number" theory, so Deaver's premise worked for me. Like all modern authors though, he has no idea how to call a halt to his story. It does go on and on.

I see you enjoy Horowitz. He's okay  but I dislike the mining of Fleming's stories and timelines. It plays with what I consider sacred.

Regards the Master  I'm not surprised most of his novels top the list.  However, I didn't like Moonraker. I found the stiff Britishness of it quite disturbing. Golden Gun is poorly described.

I was pleased you picked the first three Gardner's as the best of his output. I agree entirely and Icebreaker would beat a few if Fleming's pieces. I would have bumped No Deals Mr Bond, one of Gardner's more worthwhile efforts. Glad you also hated Role of Honour - a truly dreadful sham of a book.

I didnt like The Man with the Red Tattoo as much as you. Zero Minus Ten started Benson's tenure well, but only Doubleshot clinched it for me. Maybe I'm a sucker for twins!

If I did the whole process again, I think I'd score Colonel Sun quite high, but the only books to receive a 10 would still be From Russia With Love, Dr No & You Only Live Twice.

I didn't score anything for the abomination that is Never Dream of Dying. I'm not sure I ever want to read it again.

I notice you didn't included any film adaptations. This is a pity as Chris Wood's JB, TSWLM is better written than most continuation novels. Also, why did you miss out Pearson's The Authorised Biography? That too in parts is exceptionally well written.

Thanks again for the thread.

You can still find my reviews on here somewhere if you have a few spare hours.