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Thunderball (with Interview)

Narrated by: Jason Isaacs
Series: James Bond: The Collection, Book 9
Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (540 ratings)

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Summary

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, leader of the terrorist organisation SPECTRE, has hijacked an American plane loaded with atomic weapons. Unless his demands are met he will destroy one of the world’s major cities. With only one week to locate the missing bombs, Bond goes to the Bahamas where he encounters Blofeld’s right-hand man, Emilio Largo and his mistress Domino. With time running out, Bond learns that sharks are not the only killers in the Caribbean Sea.

Includes an exclusive bonus interview with Jason Isaacs.

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.

Jason Isaacs is a BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor. His film work includes playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, Colonel Tavington in The Patriot, Captain Hook and Mr Darling in Peter Pan, as well as starring in the war movies Black Hawk Down and Green Zone. On TV his credits include Jackson Brodie in Case Histories, Sir Mark Brydon in The State Within, Michael Caffee in Brotherhood and Michael Britten in Awake. He is currently filming the action-adventure event series “DIG” for USA Network from the minds behind “Heroes” and “Homeland,” to premiere in late 2014.

©1961 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

"A highly polished performance, with an ingenious plot well documented and plenty of excitement" ( The Times)
"A mystery story, a thriller, a chiller and a pleasure to read." ( New York Times)
"Fantastic… how persuasively Mr. Fleming writes about it all" ( Oxford Times)
"The mixture—of good living, sex and violent action—is as before, but this highly polished performance, with an ingenious plot, well documented, and plenty of excitement" ( The Times)
"Springing from a sensational imagination, but informed by style, zest and—above all—knowledge." ( Sunday Times)

What listeners say about Thunderball (with Interview)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thunderball: An entertaining spy listen

Thunderball by Ian Fleming So...now that I’ve successfully hidden from the Ordo Hereticus I can finally start my next review. As for my topic however? I think I will discuss Mr James Bond. I’m sure my readers will be familiar with the film series based on the original Ian Fleming books. But there is quite a discrepancy between the Bond of the films and the Bond of the books. The best way to explain this is to review the original Thunderball. Thunderball the book was originally released in 1961 and is somewhat famous as the beginning of the ‘Blofeld Trilogy’ of novels. The admittedly well known plot is as follows: Bond is – somewhat against his will to put it mildly – sent to a relaxation and recovery home of sorts for a mandatory holiday. After a few incidents at that home, Bond returns to the 00 section only to find they are on all systems go. While he was away the Prime Minister and US President received a threat letter from the so-called SPECTRE group. Two nuclear explosive devices are in possession of the group and they are attempting to blackmail these nations in order for the bombs to be returned. The Bond of the books is considerably more callous than you might expect. There are not nearly as many quips or ridiculously cheesy moments as you get in the Bond films across the decades. His attitude to people in general with a few exceptions – even noted by Bond himself in some cases – could potentially be considered some form of sadistic. Yet interestingly despite the book version being a lot rougher around the edges and much closer to what you assume an actual spy would have to act like, he also seems like more of a fully developed person. He seems to have actual limits to his capabilities, has moments where he questions a lot of the assumptions he’s made up to that point in the narrative, genuinely seems to have SOME level of affection for the ‘Bond Girl’ of the story and in lots of small ways feels more human. I’m not exactly saying I like this version of Bond (There are a few points I’d be more than willing to punch him in the face...or somewhere lower.) but there is still more to this version than there is to the Bond of the earlier films. Being a book from 1961 and a Bond story at that, I’m sure my readers can guess the language isn’t exactly polite or what would be considered the right terms today. For some of my readers or fellow potential listeners that could easily be a massive issue. I appreciate that however at the same time this was a book written in a different age which had its own much different standards. I won’t hold the book to our current standards as that wouldn’t be fair. For all my issues I may have with Bond as a character once I was able to get myself in the right mind set it became oddly easy listening. There are some issues I had personally with the narrative I can’t really spoil – so it can’t be a perfect book – but it was enjoyable enough for what it was. The narration comes courtesy of Jason Issacs an actor of reasonably high renown who has been in several series or projects ranging from playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series to playing Captain Gabriel Lorca in the recent Star Trek: Discovery series. Issacs is actually a surprisingly good fit for the series. He manages to maintain Bond’s roughness without him coming across as completely heartless. He can pull off being professional as befits M or Blofeld whilst also performing Largo with distinction. I would be quite enthusiastic if I was to hear that Issacs would be performing audiobooks on a more frequent basis. There are possibly a few accents for various characters throughout the book that may seem somewhat over the top but in all honesty I think it suits the story. Just because Bond is a bit more sadistic doesn’t mean that this isn’t a fantasy wish fulfilment spy story. I would say this audio version is worth your time provided you either already enjoy Bond stories or you can get in the right mindset to enjoy it personal tolerances permitting. Have fun should you join me in listening and I’ll see you all soon. Sayonara! Nephrite

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hello to Jason Isaacs!

Sorry...



I could listen to this narrator for a long time, Great story and perfect narration. Probably my favourite narration so far, I'm listening to these Audio Go releases in order of the original releases.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 24-02-13

Dark Bond

Having never read the books and only watched the movies, I was surprised at how dark and cynical this novel was. It is well narrated and worth listening to, but it is also a novel of its time too.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best Bond. Brilliantly Read by Isaacs.

One of the best Bonds. Brilliantly read by Jason Isaacs. Deeper than the movie version.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Supremely well read and written.

Absolutely loved it from start to end, and Jason Isaacs was incredible! Well worth the purchase.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A modern classic.

Classic Bond story which any fan of the genre should know well. Fleming does a great job of explaining what is never acknowledged in the films: why is Bond on his own? why can't he call in the whole British military? Issacs is a great choice for the narration, British and just upper class enough without being pompous.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The best Bond yet!

Exceptionally well written & performed. My favourite bond so far. Jason Isaacs does a terrific reading too.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A more vulnerable Bond

I found this book just as good as the others. Some parts fast paced and other where Bond is more thoughtful and introspective. Will certainly read the entire Ian Fleming series eventually

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great performance by jason Isaacs.

Great performance by jason Isaacs. Interesting interviews at end but quite short. Much better story and characterisations than the films

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid but not the best Bond

Would you consider the audio edition of Thunderball (with Interview) to be better than the print version?

I'd put the audio and print versions about level. I think it is read slightly slow for my taste but I think both the character voices and the tension Isaacs puts into certain scenes very good.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I think Felix was my favourite character. I think he's strong and comical at times but mainly he is loyal to Bond. Even on crazy hunches and ideas, Felix always trusts in and goes along with Bond and Bond can always rely on Felix. They also have a great relationship and genuinely enjoy working together.

Which character – as performed by Jason Isaacs – was your favourite?

Isaacs' Blofeld was probably my favourite. Every attribute Blofeld possesses came across in the voice. His confidence, his intellect and his cruelty.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Felix made me laugh many times. His turn of phrase rather than particular jokes. As always with Fleming, many sections make me laugh almost out of disgust. Horrendous racism and sexism is always expected and does not sit well when read more than 50 years on. But it must be ignored as just a terrible sign of the times.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I thought this was a solid entry in the Bond series and is certainly middle of the pack. The only real problem for me was a sense of anticlimax in the last couple of chapters. The partnership of Bond and Felix is easily the strong point through a great chasing-down of the unknown baddies.

1 person found this helpful

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  • puertofrican
  • 01-04-19

Good to the last.

Ian is the master at painting the story in your head. Bringing a writing style from the past to modern times.

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  • Easy Seventy
  • 26-04-17

Best Bond audiobook - Most up to date story and great performance

This book is spectacular. The best Fleming book in the series. It feels very up to date in many aspects and the characters are round and have depth in them.

Jason Isaacs performance is superb and enjoyable.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Quentin
  • 29-01-13

Terrific!

Would you consider the audio edition of Thunderball to be better than the print version?

Yes

What about Jason Isaacs’s performance did you like?

Jason's ability to capture the accents and personalities for all of teh characters added so much to the enjoyment of this book.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 08-10-12

Great story, well read...

Would you consider the audio edition of Thunderball to be better than the print version?

I read all the original book as a teenager, what a treat to hear it again in my 40's on my daily commute. Jason Isaacs does a wonderful job.