Live and Let Die
3.25 / 5
Typical Bond: Up against cunning foe and saving a damsel
The second James Bond book written by Ian Fleming, written in 1954, details the story of Bond’s assignment that he has been given, which concerns a famous Black, underworld Voodoo leader, Soviet-trained, SMERSH agent called Mr Big. Bond has been sent to New York City, Harlem, Florida and Jamaica to investigate the flow of 17th century gold coins that have found their way into Harlem and Florida. The British Secret Service and CIA work together on this project as they suspect that Mr Big is using this process to finance Soviet spy operations.
Bond finds himself tumbling down the rabbit hole of the Black underworld powerhouse where Mr Big is feared and respected in equal measure by his followers, as he is seen as the zombie of Baron Samedi. He uses this image, the beliefs of his people and his business links along the east coast and in Jamaica to exert influence on masses of people. Bond witnesses Mr Big’s influence frequently in; Mr Big’s nightclub, the train along the coast, the injuries done to his friend and CIA agent Felix Leitner, the treatment of love interest Solitaire and the thrilling finale on Jamaica.
Live and Let Die has a decent structure as Fleming takes the reader closer to the centre of Mr Big’s web, we work our way down the coast with Bond encountering obstacles along the way. The closer Bond gets, the more threatened Mr Big feels, and therefore he ensures Bond has to deal with his cronies more often and Bond finds himself in deeper danger the longer his mission progresses. One of the differences that were better than the previous book, Casino Royale, was his female love interest. Solitaire has been more deeply described than Vesper Lynd was, and the rapport between Bond and Solitaire was evident throughout the book, especially on the train and in Jamaica.
However, I did feel that the book fluctuated in its intensity and that it became a little stilted between action scenes, in particular was when Bond was in Florida and there were copious amounts of dialogue and descriptions of the old people that live there. I found this a frustrating contrast to Bond’s character of fast living and thrill seeking British spy we all love him for. Though it was a predictable ending, it was still a good read and I will continue reading the rest of the James Bond books.
Having watched all the Bond films, I have now decided I wanted to read the books that made it all possible. Though I expected changes between the book and the film, I had not expected to see such a lot of changes. One action sequence in the film, was when Bond (Roger Moore) is stranded on a rock and he escapes by running over the crocodiles bodies onto dry land, is unfortunately not in the book. L However, those who enjoy the films will find the books equally enjoyable to read and for those who enjoy espionage and thrilling books, look no further than Ian Fleming.