1

Topic: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

I own all of the Fleming novels (in Dutch however), and I must say, they are a joy to read! As much of a huge Bond fan I am, I must say I haven't read all of the Fleming novels yet. So far I've read:

Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, From Russia With Love. (And Dr. No very long ago)
Currently I have started reading them all in order and I am now reading Diamonds Are Forever.

I know that there are countless members out here who have read them all, and I'm very curious to see how you guys rank the novells and would love to hear your oppinion on them! Whenever I have read them all myself, I will do a little ranking of my own. From what I gather On Her Majesty's Secret Service is often regarded the best Fleming novel, so I'm very curious about that one!

From Russia With Love was the best one I've read so far. And since I am reading them in order, I am probably going to be reading it a second time. I almost dare to say the novel was even better than the movie! The plot got explained in so much more detail. The SMERSH villians seem so much more of a threat compared to the movie versions of SPECTRE. I loved the way Grant got even more dangerous whenever a full Moon was arround. Once I read that you could pretty much guess that there was going to be a full moon when Bond was going to meet him. There were also small details that should have been in the movie. Like the explanation of why Bond took the train instead of the plane. Seems pretty minor, but I tend to notice that a lot of newbee friends that I show the movie to tend to get lost with the whole plot, and reading the book really helps you out. I do like the way the actually used Kerim Bay's underground bomb in the movie, it was only mentioned in the novel. Lots of suspense, great read!

I also really enjoyed Casino Royale and Moonraker. I think Live and Let Die wasn't as good. (Racists in some parts and never really liked the voodoo stuff in neither the movie nor the novell.)

I would love to see some oppinions and rankings from the experts out here!

Better known as DutchBondFan on YouTube. My 007 movie reviews:  Recapping 007   
YouTube channel  Support my channel on Patreon  Twitter   Facebook fanpage

2

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

No expert here, but the first one I read was DR NO about a year before the movie came out. What with the setting , the Roseate Spoonbills,and general plot, I thought it was great.I still like it, and it may be my personal favorite. I do think FRWL is the best of the series, and I like Thunderball
alot,for the same reasons as DR NO. As for LALD, yes it is racist in some parts,but that was the accepted reality at the time it was written. I do not see how Bond managed to stay alive in Goldfinger(the novel or the movie),but the idea of knocking off Ft. Knox was great,although I prefer the movie's dirty bomb to the novel's actual theft of the gold. TMWTGG is the weakest of the series, I suspect due to Fleming's declining heath. All in all , Fleming was a very good story teller; I'm not a golfer or card player,but he was able to make stuff like that interesting and part of the storyline.Even now I will occaisonally pull one of the battered Signet 50 cent paprbacks out and reread the whole thing.
I'm also interested in hearing others' opinions.

Regards,

Tecolote

3

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

I agree the Man with the Golden gun is one of the weaker novels
but still a good read. I never warmed to The Spy who loved Me.
The same with the two books of short stories. As for the rest I think
Moonraker, Goldfinger, OHMSS, are my favourites. Although they're
all good really.

"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."

4

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

1. Moonraker
2. Casino Royale
3. From Russia With Love
4. Thunderball
5. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
6. Dr No
7. Live and Let Die
8. Goldfinger
9. Diamonds are Forever
10. The Man with the Golden Gun
11. For Your Eyes Only
12. The Spy Who Loved Me
13. Octopussy and The Living Daylights
14. You Only Live Twice

"Watch the birdie, you bastard!"

Favourite Bond films list

5

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Generally, for me, the early novels are better than the later ones.  A little closer to the bone.  Dr. No was excellent.  The torture tunnel at the end was, in the book, exactly that, with No watching Bond's progress along the way.
I like Thunderball, but because of the McClory connection felt it was never a solo effort on Fleming's part.  Good read, nonetheless.
They all have insights into Bond's character that reveal a little more as the books progress.
Today, I'll go with Dr. No as my favorite (the first one I read).

The scent smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling - a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension - becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.

6

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Tecolote wrote:

but the first one I read was DR NO about a year before the movie came out.

LOL am I reading this right?

1: Casino Royale  2: Goldeneye  3: Skyfall  4: Octopussy  5: Goldfinger  6: Tomorrow Never Dies  7: The World Is Not Enough  8: The Living Daylights  9: From Russia With Love 10: The Spy Who Loved Me

7

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Well, if he was alive and able to read in 1961, I would say yeah, you're reading that right!

8

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

davidelliott101 wrote:

Well, if he was alive and able to read in 1961, I would say yeah, you're reading that right!

Indeed.

9

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Since you started reading the novels, you may or may not be aware that Fleming actually was beginning to grow tired of Bond by the time he wrote FRWL and due to it and his health problems he had decided to kill him off at the end of the
novel.  He changed his mind when the book was so well received and also because his publisher and friends like Noel Coward reminded him that he now had
a son and the books were a good source of extra income.  The possibility they might be produced for television or films in the future providing even more income probably made him realize he needed to keep Bond alive.

10

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

For me, Dr. no is in a class by itself.  The next 4-5 in my rankings are excellent.  I read it least 5 a year, usually on vacation.  I really like MWTGG, although most don't!!

1. Dr. No
2. Live and Let Die
3. Man with the Golden Gun
4. Moonraker
5. Goldfinger
6. Thunderball
7. You Only Live Twice
8. Diamonds Are Forever
9. Casino Royale
10. On her majesty's secret service
11. The spy who loved me
12. Octopussy and the living daylights
13. For your eyes only
14. From russia with love

Yes, From Russia with Love, last!! In my opinion not a Bond novel and highly overrated!!

This is where we leave you Mr. Bond. (Pilot, Apollo Airlines)

11

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

I have just read them all in order and finished TMWTGG yesterday. I'd rank them as follows:

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
2. From Russia, With Love
3. Moonraker
4. Casino Royale
5. Live and Let Die
6. Goldfinger
7. Thunderball
8. You Only Live Twice
9. The Spy Who Loved Me
10. Dr. No
11. Diamonds are Forever
12. The Man with the Golden Gun

1- CR. 2- OHMSS. 3- FRWL. 4- GF. 5- DN. 6- TLD. 7- SF. 8- TSWLM. 9- GE. 10- LTK.
11- TB. 12- OP. 13- LALD. 14- TMWTGG. 15- FYEO. 16- YOLT. 17- TND. 18- QoS.
19- TWINE. 20- AVTAK. 21- MR. 22- DAF. 23- DAD.

12

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Novel:
Live and Let Die
Moonraker
From Russia with Love
Casino Royale
Diamonds Are Forever
The Man with the Golden Gun
Dr. No
The Spy Who Loved Me
Goldfinger
You Only Live Twice
Thunderball
On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Shorts:
Quantum of Solace
Risico
The Living Daylights
The Hildebrand Rarity
Octopussy
For Your Eyes Only
From a View to a Kill
007 in New York
The Property of a Lady

Last edited by Juraquagmire (14th Apr 2014 16:09)

Dalton is the Bond! Lazenby is the other fella.

13

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Have only read first four so far. I'll continue to update my rankings as I read them:

1.) Live and Let Die
2.) Moonraker
3.) Casino Royals
4.) Diamonds are Forever

14

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Tough question can't rate them all but my top Five would be :

1, OHMSS
2, Moonraker
3, Thunderball
4, Dr No
5, Diamonds are Forever

Although they are ALL worth reading.  ajb007/martini

"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."

15

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Tecolote wrote:

No expert here, but the first one I read was DR NO about a year before the movie came out.

Hey, Tecolote, Blackleiter and I are used to being the oldest ones here! Not fair!!!  ajb007/lol

16

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Hmmm. Tough one.

1) Dr No
1a) OHMSS
1b) From Russia With Love
1c) Moonraker
1d) Thunderball
1e) Diamonds Are Forever
1f) Live and Let Die
1g) For Your Eyes Only
1h) The Man With The Golden Gun
1i) Casino Royale
1j) Octopussy and The Living Daylights
1k) Goldfinger
1l) You Only Live Twice
1m)The Spy Who Loved Me

http://flemingsbond.com

Twitter: @FlemingsBond

17

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

OHMSS for me is excellent, It still annoys me to this day that it probably ended up being the worst film as it has great locations, a great story.

You only live twice: Once when you are born. And once when you look death in the face.

18

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

James007Sweeney wrote:

OHMSS for me is excellent, It still annoys me to this day that it probably ended up being the worst film as it has great locations, a great story.

You are in the minority there though...OHMSS regularly comes out top in fan lists of best Bond film...

YNWA: Justice For The 96

A spectre of my mortal soul

19

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Barbel,us old folks are not known to be fair ajb007/smile .
DR NO, in the form of the old Signet paperback edition, was left by a family friend, mainly for my father to read. I found it and read it one night. I thought after reading the chapter "Choice of Weapons" that Fleming really knew his musketry; of course in due time I learned just how much he fouled that up...

Regards,

Tecolote

20

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

I ashamed to say I still have not read them all - I have been trying to go through them in order but got stuck on The Spy Who Loved Me  and never went back!!!!

The highlights for me so far though was prob:  Moonraker / FRWL and Casino Royale.   Did not enjoy LALD that much

Instagram - bondclothes007

21

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Stick with it welshie - they get MUCH better after TSWLM, especially Thunderball, OHMSS and YOLT  ajb007/martini

"How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."

22

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Tecolote wrote:

Barbel,us old folks are not known to be fair ajb007/smile .
DR NO, in the form of the old Signet paperback edition, was left by a family friend, mainly for my father to read. I found it and read it one night. I thought after reading the chapter "Choice of Weapons" that Fleming really knew his musketry; of course in due time I learned just how much he fouled that up...

Regards,

Tecolote

You're stealing our thunder as the "Elder Statesmen" of AJB, Tecolote! But you're right, we senior citizens are too old to worry about fairness! ajb007/lol

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

23

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Charmed & Dangerous wrote:

Stick with it welshie - they get MUCH better after TSWLM, especially Thunderball, OHMSS and YOLT  ajb007/martini

Ive done Thunderball - did I read one in the wrong order? 

Yeah maybe try again this weekend - looking forward to reaching OHMSS!

Instagram - bondclothes007

24

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Oops my bad, you're right. I should be excommunicated for getting the novels in the wrong order  ajb007/crap

"How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."

25

Re: How would you rank the Fleming novels?

Charmed & Dangerous wrote:

Oops my bad, you're right. I should be excommunicated for getting the novels in the wrong order  ajb007/crap

Your punishment - watch Never Say Never Again!

Instagram - bondclothes007