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Live and Let Die

Narrated by: Rory Kinnear
Series: James Bond: The Collection, Book 2
Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (714 ratings)

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Summary

When 007 goes to Harlem it’s not just for the jazz. This is the kingdom of Mr Big, master of crime, voodoo baron and partner in SMERSH’s grim company of death. Those who Mr Big cannot possess, he crushes – like his beautiful prisoner, Solitaire, and her would-be saviours James Bond and Agency man, Felix Leiter. All three are marked out as victims in a trail of terror, treachery and torture that leads from New York’s underworld to the shark-infested island in the sun that Mr Big calls his own.

Ian Fleming was born in London in 1908. He was educated at Eton and worked as a journalist in Moscow and a banker and stockbroker in London before becoming personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence during the Second World War. He wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952 at Goldeneye, his home in Jamaica. Since then James Bond has gone on to become a global phenomenon.

Rory Kinnear, a renowned theatre actor, won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for his performances as Angelo in Measure for Measure and the title role in Hamlet, and gained an Olivier Award for his portrayal of Sir Fopling Flutter in The Man of Mode. His TV credits include Count Arthur Strong, Lucan, Women in Love and Black Mirror, and he played Bill Tanner in the Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.

©1954 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd (P)2013 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. © AudioGO Ltd, 2012. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under licence by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd

Critic reviews

"Speed… tremendous zest… communicated excitement. Brrh! How wincingly well Mr Fleming writes." ( Sunday Times)
"Tense; ice-cold, sophisticated." ( The Evening Standard)
"Don’t blame me if you get a stroke." ( The Observer)
"This is an ingenious affair, full of recondite knowledge and horrific spills and thrills." ( The Times)
"The second adventure of his Secret Service agent fully maintains the promise of his first book…containing passages which for sheer excitement have not been surpassed by any modern writer of this kind." ( Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about Live and Let Die

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great writing, Bond as a human!

I'm a bit late to the party, but having grown up with the Bond films I decided to try one of the books. After finding the first one (Casino Royale) hugely enjoyable, I downloaded five in quick succession. Fleming is a great scene setter, and the action is a little slower (and more realistic) than in the films. Each book is read by a different narrator, but so far I haven't had a duff one. The books are far better st showing you the character of Bond - in the books he is far more human (he gets tired, and feels pain) whist (in the cinematic equivalents) he was often reduced to a 2D wisecracking lothario. Great reading a voice acting by Rory Kinnear. Would definitely recommend.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Proper Bond

This is a fantastic bond story. From America to Jamaica its a page turning adventure. Roy kinnear does a great job reading it coping well with a variety of US accents

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good Bond yarn... But of its time..

This is well read and interesting for any lover of Bond but... The language and choice of words are a little hard to palate at times. It is of the era it was written and therefore must be listened to accordingly.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Different

It's been aimed time since I watched the film of this book, but it's great to see that the otherness of the Voodoo feeling comes through just as strong as in the film, gives the book quite the creepy feel. It's also very enjoyable that the story isnt about world ending megalomania as has so often been the case with many of the films now.

One of the things that I found jarring was the non-pc-ness of the writing, obviously it was written and set some time before certain words and phrases were understood to be offensive. Fair warning to anyone who is easily offended, it's of it's time, not ours.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Pointless

Came to this off the back of a very enjoyable casino Royale performance and although Rory does a very convincing Bond and Solitaire, his American accent is... lacking, to say the least. If it wasn’t set in America primarily, it wouldn’t be an issue!

Although there were some really gripping, flinch worthy scenes/chapters, the story as a whole is long, drawn out and quite frankly pointless. We find out the “how” about half way through, then there’s a bizzare 2 hour epilogue that, spoiler alert


Results in the bad guy being killed. Why he couldn’t have been taken out at any earlier point doesn’t seem clear, there are plenty of chances.

This book also suffers from its age - racist/stereotyped depictions riddle it.

Disappointing overall and puts me off moving on to the next.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Such flat delivery

I've heard this as an audiobook before, with David Rintoul narrating. He's perfect. This version comes up very short in comparison.

Rory Kinnear's delivery is wrong on so many levels. For the most part, he sounds like he's voicing a travelogue. There's no excitement in his voice, just a very bland delivery. When there's a fight scene, Kinnear merely reads out the lines from the page - there's no sense of tension, no atmosphere.

When it comes to doing the characters, he attempts different voices and different accents -- with varying degrees of success. His Bond is limp and lifeless. He's just a posh guy. There's nothing in his voice that would charm a woman into bed at 50 paces. His Felix Leiter is also wide of the mark. First of all, he is supposed to be Texan, but there's no hint of an accent there. Even his bland, generic American accent doesn't fit. The vowels are often wrong and the T is pronounced where an American would have a D or just drop it (at the end of a word). That said, I did enjoy him doing the Tee Hee giggle.

As for the story, it's long and rambling. We spend an interminable time with Bond in the Caribbean doing nothing of importance.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Boring story

While I enjoyed the narrative, This story does not compare in excitement to the previous Casino Royale. This has put me off proceeding with the third story for now.

2 people found this helpful

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One of Fleming's best

Probably the best paced Bond novel and one of his best adventures. Be warned, it's very much of its time, and written in 1953 is permeated with the casual racism you would expect from that era. Bond's support of the emancipation of black people and Fleming's love of Jamaicans was probably politically positive for its time, but Fleming still exploits certain tropes for the sake of a good story.

Mr Big is a little bland in character but clearly a super-intelligent mastermind with a huge machine of an organisation for Bond to put his wits against. There is a horror element too, including some of the most grisly fates and injuries to characters in all of the Bond books. Overall a great adventure, blending all the sights and sounds of East coast USA and Jamaica of the 1950s with a taut fantasy of Russian agents, gold smuggling, voodoo, ancient pirate treasure, and a psychic damsel in distress, with plenty of sharks and guns thrown in.

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A bit racist

Generally based on very outdated views of black people. Story was engaging but the old timey racism is quite distracting.

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Excellently read, content warning

Read very well, clear without over-enunciation, but book is a product of its time re racial terminology & thinking and treatment of women. Bear that in mind but can still be enjoyed as a well paced novel!

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  • Michael
  • 23-09-13

A product of its time

Nicely performed and written. Rory Kinnear sounds a little condescending but JB is not a boy scout. He is a cold blooded killer who is very professional and lucky. He gets hurt, he feels pain and he has ambition. He is human, something the movies seem to only touch on as they need Bond to have sex. A little hard if you don't feel. Yes this book is dated in language and attitude, but it was written back in 1954. I am so glad they didn't update the language as it would be all wrong. Would be nice to see Ian Fleming's James Bond novels made into a TV series set in the 1950s without all the stupid gadgets and over the top explosions.

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  • Todd
  • 19-05-13

A decent read to pass the time

Ian Fleming's second 007 novel is probably not the most intense or action-packed of his repetoire, but it is a fairly enjoyable read. Bond's investigation into illegal currency trafficking leads him into a culture entrenched in voodoo superstition.

Rory Kinnear does a great job of narrating the story. His crisp British tones are perfect for the story and he brings Bond to life superbly. His voicework for Mr Bigg's goons is a joy to listen to, however his attempts at American accents are terrible and thankfully infrequent.

One thing this audiobook has done is instill in me an incentive to get the next in the series. I've always been a huge fan of the Bond films, but never read the books. While it is hard to listen to the story without thinking of the films that were based on them, they are worth the time.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacobus
  • 22-09-12

Cast in the prejudice of the 20th Century

The second James Bond novel surprised me a bit. It felt like walking into a word attic with a lot of old idea cobwebs. This novel is squarely a child of its time. M and even Bond's racial prejudice shines through as Ian Flemming sets the scene in the beginning of the book.

You do get the idea that Black people are playing a catch-up game with White people. Also on the criminal front, a certain Mister Big, has become prominent through illegal gold coins (stolen by the pirate Captain Morgan) he smuggled to the USA from Jamaica. Using Voodoo to mask his activities, he sounds like a true arch-enemy.

Solitaire is the name of the Bond girl in the book. Like always he saves the damsel in distress and everybody lives happily ever after... or at least until the next assignment.

In a way this is typically James Bond, but the racial undertones alienated me from the story.

Rory Kinnear offers a fair reading of the book.

I would recommend it to staunch Bond supporters.