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The Spy Who Loved Me (with Interview)

Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
Series: James Bond: The Collection, Book 10
Length: 4 hrs and 51 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (245 ratings)

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Summary

When 007 turns up at a sleepy American backwoods motel, it doesn’t take him long to realise that Vivienne Michel is in a tight spot, and that Sol Horror and Sluggsy Morant are hardened killers bent on destruction. Escaping from a past she doesn’t want to relive, Viv turns to James Bond to save her.

Includes an exclusive bonus interview with Rosamund Pike.

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.

Rosamund Pike is a contemporary and multifaceted actress who has earned international acclaim for both her stage and film roles. She is soon to take the lead as Amy Dunne in the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of Gone Girl, and will also star in the upcoming BBC comedy What We Did On Our Holiday. She recently starred in Hector and The Search For Happiness and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. Past film credits include Jack Reacher, Wrath Of The Titans, Die Another Day, An Education and Made In Dagenham, among others. On television, Pike has been working on the upcoming re-invention of classic children’s series Thunderbirds Are Go! in which she will voice International Rescue agent Lady Penelope.

©1962 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

"Ian Fleming keeps you riveted. His narrative pulls with the smooth power of Bond's Thunderbird." ( Sunday Telegraph)
"Ruthlessly, fashionably efficient in both love and war." ( The Times)
"Muscularly brilliant...not for prudes." ( Evening Standard)
"If there’s a better writer of pure thrillers than Fleming, the name escapes me" ( The Boston Globe)
"Mr. Fleming is splendid; he stops at nothing." ( New Statesman)

What listeners say about The Spy Who Loved Me (with Interview)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not a 'typical' Bond book...

So let's set out a few things about the book: # Bond doesn't appear until part 3 (90 odd pages in) # When Bond does appear, he's not there in any official capacity (it's pure luck he turns up and saves the day) # The whole book is written in the first person perspective of Vivienne Michel # Part 1 is about Viv's previous life and lovers, Part 2 is about 2 low life crooks who show up at a Motel she's looking after # There is no "villain", no plot to foil, and very little Bond action. Bond saving the day is basically rescuing Viv from being sexually assaulted and preventing an insurance scam. That's it. Nothing else. And as much a I like Rosamund Pike, her narration as Canadian Viv is OK but once she's gets to Bond, the crooks or the police, the accents and narration are just terrible (verging on sounding like she has cotton wool in her mouth at times). Her Bond particularly is bland, boring and flat. Overall the story is interesting, but it is in no way a James Bond novel, or even a spy novel. Fleming himself admitted to copying the style of an author he liked, and tried to stop the book being re-published (even denying he wrote it). When he sold the film rights, he stipulated that no part of the book could be used apart from the title. I knew most of the above before downloading, and I listened to the book as part of wanting to complete all of Fleming's work. If you're wanting a James Bond action adventure novel, stay clear.

3 people found this helpful

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Very good!

interesting book by Fleming told from the girls point of view. Rosamund Pike is excellent particularly doing a Canadian accent (as opposed to the usual US accent "who'll know the difference" approach) Also interesting to see the male characters voiced by a woman and the different interpretation that makes.

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Bond Cameo Gem

This is an unusual Bond example as Fleming writes from a female perspective (of the time in which it was written) and despite the views of some misguided detractors (imho) I think he pulls it off with style and aplomb. I think it's a brilliant listen with Rosamund Pike performing superbly in the first person narration role. Okay, the villains are a bit thinly drawn but a very suave if fallible Bond and lovely but vulnerable Vivienne more than make up for it with their dynamic sexual chemistry. Listen without prejudice and enjoy.

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Read the other reviews

I only made it as far as part one - Pikes' American 'lilt' is enough to put me off, but then the book is plain boring - I am tempted to skip towards the end but think I'll just return it and put it down to a lesson learned.....

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Excellent - but make sure you know what to expect

This is not a James Bond adventure, but rather an adventure in which James Bond appears. He turns up in time to play a crucial role in the denouement but the rest of the book is just as interesting...if you're open-minded enough to try out Ian Fleming's idea of writing from a female viewpoint. I read this book many years ago and liked it a lot more the second time, in audio form, than I did then - partly because I knew what to expect in terms of its structure and partly because of Rosamund Pike's performance. Perhaps she flatters Fleming's writing but he seems to pull off the sad and rather fraught experiences of a single girl in late 1950s / early '60s England pretty well. He certainly writes about America with his familiar mix of expert observation and waspishness. If you can see past the cartoonish names of the bad guys, you have a couple of chilling villains, but it's the female view of Bond that's we're here for and it's satisfying enough. The pleasant surprise for me was Rosamund Pike's performance of Bond himself: she talks quickly in clipped, matter-of-fact tones that worked very well. She's excellent throughout though, keeping up Viv's Canadian accent consistently well and doing as much with hoodlums' voices as anyone could. Give it a try for Fleming's writing, and not just the female POV, but his usual strong imagery - ill-feeling from the villains seeping across the room like poison gas - and also for Pike's reading of it. If only all of Audible's Bond books were done this well.

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very unexpected view

a James bond book where he appears later on in the story and is seen from a female point of view. Excellent narration and a well worth experience.

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JB shows up in the 3rd Act

Pike does a great job of carrying 2/3ds of a story where the main female protaganist is only recounting her failed sexual mis-adventures as a later base-comparison for JB. If anything, when JB shows up it'll only make you appreciate him more.

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Fancy Something a bit Different you Could do Worse

This is the one you've herd is 'The Worst Bond Book Ever!' well it's not. what it is is a sub-pa noir story where James Bond turns up at the end to save the day. I'm not sure why Fleming was thinking when he wrote this because he cant write women very well however Rosamund Pike really elevates the material also she has a beautiful voice and its a joy to listen to. For the record It starts slow but really kicks it up when the (admittedly rather cliché) gangsters show up. Now if you want an actual Bond story give this a miss but if you fancy something a bit different you could do worse.

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My least favourite of the Fleming books. Well read

I have been loving the "James bond collection" but this one was hard to get through. It was worth it for the last 3 chapters, but if I had my time again I'd skip this book

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female psychie from a Male

Firstly, I have to say Rosamund is brilliant reading this book and does a fantastic job of creating a character with her voice throughout the book. without her talent I believe my review wouldnt have been as positive. the book is fascinating as its Flemings attempt to write a James bond story from the view of the "bond girl" and I'm sad theres never been a script writer, director or film company brave enough to make this book into a movie other than using its name. It would be particularly effective today considering the me2 movement in LA. having said that it is definitely a man's perception of the female mind and Flemming often makes Vivian sound obsessed with sex and love as many males are. Although a male myself I felt at certain points throughout the story that the narrative strayed from what I would imagine the female psychie actually is and instead projects male values. This fact actually makes the book all the more interesting to read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in bond novels but its wholly important to know that the entire book is not a classic bond story as the others are.

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  • Craig Jenkins
  • 26-03-20

Old fashioned but good

Wonderfully written and beautifully narrated. The story feels the years, but don't forget it was cutting edge at the time.