The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond)
Hardcover – 208 pages
ISBN: 0718153936 / 9780718153939
This is the story of Vivienne Michel, a Bond Girl with a difference, whose first-person narration moves through three sections: "Me", describing her childhood, unhappiness and disastrous love affairs; "Them", in which she escapes the past only to find herself caught up in a life-threatening insurance job at the Dreamy Pines Motel Court; and "Him", where Bond enters and the story moves rapidly towards its resolution. There's a mythical quality to James Bond's appearance and disappearance from the action, but Fleming explores his character with great realism, enjoying the freedom to observe his hero objectively.
In many ways this is barely a Bond story at all--the book is firmly in Fleming's gangster tradition and Bond is not even on a mission, just stepping by chance into someone else's nightmare--but The Spy Who Loved Me is nonetheless one of the most exciting and skilful additions to the 007 canon. --Iain Campbell