Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Doctor No, by Ian Fleming

(pb; 1958: sixth book in the original 007/James Bond series)

From the back cover:

“Doctor No, a sinister recluse with mechanical pincers for hands and sadistic fascination with pain, holds James Bond firm in his steely grasp. Bond and Honey Rider, his beautiful and vulnerable Girl Friday, have been captured trespassing on Doctor No’s secluded Caribbean island. Intent on protecting his clandestine operations from the British secret service, Doctor No sees an opportunity to dispose of an enemy and further his diabolical research. Soon, Bond and Rider are fighting for their lives in a murderous of Doctor No’s choosing...”


When Strangways (an agent of her Majesty’s Secret Service, seen in Live and Let Die) and his female assistant (Mary Trueblood) disappear, Bond returns to Jamaica to investigate why. It’s been three months since the events of From Russia with Love, and this is meant to be a routine investigation, as Strangways is known to be a womanizer.

Bond quickly realizes that mission is far from routine. A mysterious, rarely-seen man named Doctor No owns Crab Key, a nearby island where several people have disappeared; even Quarrel, a Jamaican boatman and Bond ally who also appeared in Live and Let Die, is terrified at the thought of going there.

Not only that, somebody – Doctor No? – has made two low-key attempts on Bond’s life since his arrival in Jamaica, and Bond is being shadowed by Chigro (Chinese-Negro) spies, who may or may not work for Doctor No.

With Quarrel, Bond goes to Crab Key, encounters Honeychile Rider, and that’s when the trouble really starts.

Like the five preceding books in the Bond series, Doctor No is exciting, fast-paced and hard to put down. Doctor No is the perfect megalomaniacal villain, whose cold charm masks murderous, vengeful intentions.

Honeychile Rider isn’t book-smart like many of Bond’s previous women, as she’s lived in the jungle all of her life, but she is practical and courageous – the perfect foil for Bond, given the nature of this adventure.

Another winning entry in the Bond series, followed by Goldfinger.

Doctor No, the first James Bond film, was released stateside on May 8, 1963.

Sean Connery played James Bond. Ursula Andress played Honeychile "Honey" Rider. Joseph Wiseman played Doctor Julius No. Jack Lord played Felix Leiter (whose character is not in the book version). John Kitzmiller played Quarrel.

Terence Young directed the film, from a script by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather.

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