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Summary

James Bond seems unable to function after the death of his wife. Determined to restore 007 to the effective agent he used to be, M sends him on a mission to Japan, to the mysterious ‘Castle of Death’ and into the lair of an old and terrifying enemy. For Bond and Blofeld, this will be their final encounter. Only one of them can survive.

Includes an exclusive bonus interview with Martin Jarvis.

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.

Martin Jarvis OBE has recorded more than 150 Just William stories for the BBC. These have become international audio bestsellers. He won the Theatre World Award for his starring role on Broadway in By Jeeves; his West End appearances include works by Ayckbourn, Frayn, Pinter and Wilde. Screen successes include everything from Stargate Atlantis, Dr Who and Numb3rs to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Oscar®-winning Titanic.

©1964 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

"Must rank among the best of the Bond tales." ( Bookman)
"As damnably readable as ever." ( Daily Herald)
"Rich, wonderful stuff, Fleming at his flaming best." ( New York Times)
"Fleming doesn’t waste a word… his sense of surprise is perfect" (BBC)
"Escapism in the grand manner." ( Boston Globe)

What listeners say about You Only Live Twice (with Interview)

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A major blip in the Bond canon

You Only Live Twice is not very good. It has many things wrong with it, so let's name a few. It's too close to caricature and even to spoof, at times. Bond drinks and smokes more than ever (he is sad, you see) and must be on the point of alcoholic brain damage because he fails to suspect the identity of the mysterious European with immense wealth who turned up in Japan a few days after Tracey Bond's death, accompanied by a squat female companion, and proceeded to establish a macabre garden of death. Then we have the long discussions with Tiger Tanaka and Dicko Henderson about the state of the world, and mainly Britain. These seem to be included to allow Fleming to let off steam about all the bloody workshy young beatniks and the moral collapse of the old world. Which is, quite frankly, boring. There's also the business of disguising a strapping six-foot Scots-Swiss fellow as a Japanese man by shaving the ends of his eyebrows and dying him with walnut juice, the one aspect of the book that the movie (regrettably) got right in its patent absurdity. And the dialogue handed out to the main villain is some of the worst stuff Fleming ever wrote - real Dr Evil from Austin Powers kind of stuff. If you can see past the sheer implausibility of Kissy Suzuki, a kind of Japanese peasant fisher-girl version of Esther Williams who has learned English from one trip to Hollywood, you then have to cope with the ballooning, the amnesia and the cage full of electrocuted sex toads. I'm not making this up. Finally we have the performance of this recording. I'd be interested to know what American listeners made of it, but as a Brit, I cannot imagine why anyone thought Martin Jarvis was right for a Bond book. Just William, yes. Bertie Wooster, okay. But Bond? And as well as Bond, all the Japanese and German voices. It's a massacre. Tiger Tanaka sounds like Lionel Jefferies voicing Winnie the Pooh and Blo - sorry, Dr Shatterhand - sounds like one of the German officers from Allo Allo. Jarvis reads with a smile in his voice which is why he suits some things so well, but this was all wrong. A major key performance when some minor key threat and drama was vital. It's all a bit of a shame. The risky policy of going for a different actor for every Bond novel almost paid off, with some notable high points - Jason Isaacs, Bill Nighy, Rosamund Pike - and only one wrong turn with Rory Kinnear being cast adrift in the African-American and white American voices of Live and Let Die. But that was a joy compared with You Only Live Twice.

3 people found this helpful

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You only live twice.

The only Bond book that I have not enjoyed up to now. It has a slow pace compared to all the others and this may have somethingvto do with it following on from the death of Bonds wife. Theres plenty going on but the action all comes very late on. Once again, nothing at all like the film. A must from the point of view of working through the series but not the
best by a long chalk.

2 people found this helpful

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Last book

This book was very well read by Martin, I felt it took a very long time ,up 12 chapters before the story really began follow just like the old James Bond books.

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Another Great Bond

Though this is far from your typical Bond and far from the movie I cannot but reccomend it. Jervis gives a truly great performance and the more human Bond out for revenge makes for a truly gripping tale.

1 person found this helpful

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So much better than the film!

It’s an absorbing story and the narration is superb (as you would expect from Martin Jarvis). The material is dark in a way that is different from most of the Bond novels and, certainly, from the films. Jarvis manages a very difficult task in voicing Tiger Tanaka without sounding like a comical parody of a Japanese accent and I loved every minute of this book. I’ll return to it again for sure.

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thoroughly engaging thriller

as always Ian Fleming delivers with a marvellous and slightly macabre tale ..it's almost depressin g to see what Hollywood did to these finely taut thrillers

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent story and superb narration

This is a classic Bond and far better than the film. This is a faithful unabridged version with a superb narrator. You really get a feel for the ‘true’ Bond in this ‘book’- one of Flemings best!

1 person found this helpful

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Fleming at the height of his power as an author

This is a brilliantly realised story of Bond, vulnerable and yet vengeful, and ultimately adding the poignancy of new love discovered and then, as the reader, must ultimately conclude, to be lost in the recovery of memory. I loved this book!

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Great listen, well presented and very different from the film

I've been working my way through the James Bond audiobooks over the last few months and I was not expecting this story to have anything original to grab my attention. I was pleasantly surprised to find it contained a great many new ideas, was as beautiful as the earlier books and seemed rather less racist to boot. It's still not politically correct but it is certainly less unkind than the previous books.

I enjoyed listening. The action takes a little time to bring but the build up is interesting and Bond's exploration of and immersion in Japanese culture is quite deep and thoughtful. There's nothing worth skipping over and I highly recommend this book.

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One of the weaker bond Novels with one of the weaker narrations

I have listened to most of the bond novels either on audible or through Apple Books (all have been the current edition) and this has been the hardest listen so far! The story is weaker overall (although having read the Novel in the past, I was aware of this). but the narrator who has a pleasant voice and style while in his natural tone of voice, falls very short in a few areas. His voices of accented characters are overly caricatured and borderline offensive (tanaka and Henderson being examples of the latter). His reading of bond is overly enthusiastic at moments and words are mispronounced (geisha is pronounced as guy-sha rather than the more common gay-sha, and tanaka is usually pronounced tan-ah-ka.) this is still A solid novel and the reading is fine but I have come to expect more from the high standard set by this series

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  • Da'lo
  • 15-07-19

impeccable story of another 007 adventure

First the reading: you can perceive the different characters as being told and imagine their appearance in your own visual mind as the reader portrays the different vocal expressions of the characters in the story. second the story: amazing and incredible. taking my mind across a world never imagined and yet giving my visual references to relate to the scenery. leading the reader to the last word. which I can only imagine if one was reading the physical book would want to turn the last page for more. thank you to the reader and audible and Ian Fleming for this book. thank you