Dr. No Book Review


Dr. No
Ian Fleming

Genre(s) | Espionage, Thriller, Adventure, Mystery.
Goodreads Rating | 3.76
My Rating | 3.5 

James Bond is sent to Jamaica for some R&R, instead of rest and relaxation he gets a riotous and rip-roaring reception. He faces a calculating and menacing villain in the form of Dr. Julius No, who has acquired Crab Key island off the coast of Jamaica, and his intentions and actions are shrouded in secrecy. Bond, accompanied capably by the beautiful Honey and the fiercely loyal Quarrel, visit the private island where they encounter an abundance of obstacles in their attempts to bring the undoubtedly evil Dr No down. 

After his near death experience at the end of From Russia With Love, we find Bond still recovering from his exertions but eager to get back into the thick of it, but the Doctors explicitly tell M. that Bond needs an easy assignment to recover. James is dispatched to Jamaica to deal with what appears to be a minor problem of one of the Secret Service’s agents having skipped off with his attractive assistant with no word. Of course, things turn out to be more complicated and exciting once James arrives in Jamaica to investigate the truth of the matter.

Standard Outdated Notice: Dr. No contains the usual sexist, racist, chauvinistic, misogynist and narrow-minded worldviews of the time. But with this being the sixth Bond book I have read, it has become easier to take in the spirit of the time that it was written. The outdated beliefs and values do not compromises the story, the realities and dangers of spy-craft, or the vivid imagery of mid-twentieth-century Jamaica.

Fleming’s descriptions are once again ‘on point’. A trilogy of hallmarks from James Bond novels are illustrated exceptionally well in Dr. No, descriptions of food, weaponry and women. However, despite Fleming’s usual descriptive brilliance, his best literary device was dialogue…Dr. No’s dialogue in particularly. Below is a paragraph of dialogue which helped to build an identity of this villainous man.

“All the greatest men are maniacs. They are possessed by a mania which drives them forward towards their goal. The great scientists, the philosophers, the religious leaders – all maniacs. What else but a blind singleness of purpose could have given focus to their genius, would have kept them in the groove of purpose. Mania … is as priceless as genius.”
Dr. No continues on the same steady form that Fleming’s Bond has shown thus far. One theme that seems to hold it back from my perspective, is the convulated openings that draws out the story. Fleming is excellent at describing, however he goes overboard sometimes and with meaningless things that have no relevance to the story, without such descriptions the story could accelerate more quickly to the superbly written action sequences. I am however, looking forward to the next novel in the series…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              .
Next in the Bond collection: Goldfinger

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