Having only been exposed to the movie Bond, the book was a revelation. For example, Quantum of Solace? Nothing to do with the desert. A View to a Kill? Nothing to do with Duran Duran (or the Golden Gate Bridge). In fact, I found little similarity between my movie image and the template that created him.
It was all about the writing. The writing is what I like to call “classic.” It’s not fancy, it’s not frilly, heck, it’s not even that action-packed; but it’s solid. This is huge because while the movie Bond is all about the action, the written Bond is all about the plot. Fleming’s journalism background gives him a “just the facts” prose that is straightforward and recalls other greats of detective fiction (note: not spy fiction): Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
Fleming’s Bond has a soul that wrestles with his chosen profession, weighing out murder and loyalty. He’s a detective that visits scenes of the crime and is polished at the boring old stakeout.
In other words, this was a refreshing breath of fresh air. I saw Bond in a way that Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig (I won’t mention the other three … I’ll leave that to you) could NEVER replicate.
Sometimes, knowing the copy is nice, but getting to know the template makes the copy look pale.
Have you ever experienced that?