Bond. James Bond. I am not even close to as cool as that. I don’t even think I could be friends with Ian Fleming, who created James Bond. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get lured into the world of Secret Service, beautiful ladies and high-stakes card games. And, in a few short pages, Fleming does just that. In fact, all of the Fleming’s Bond novels are quite short (which makes me wonder about the new Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks, Devil May Care, which appears to be about three times as long). They feature big lettering on merely 150 or so double-spaced pages. They are great stories, though.
There is one thing I must point out, in case anyone has seen the movie prior to reading the book. They don’t play poker in the book. No, Bond is too classy to play poker. In fact, it was a real shame they played poker in the movie, although, I guess I understand given that the World Series of Poker on ESPN was being watched by more people than any number of real college sports. Ok, so in the original book, they play Baccarat. I didn’t know much about it before the book, but you get enough from Fleming to follow along.
So, how on earth could a Secret Service agent with a license to kill now sitting around a Baccarat table playing cards with his enemy be at all interesting? Here’s where Fleming’s magic begins (and why when you’re done with one Bond book, you simply want to pick up another one). He doesn’t mince words like Faulkner. He doesn’t provide an overwhelming vision of detail of the likes of Dumas or Dickens. He doesn’t even wait for you to take a breath. The details that are used are precise and neat, like Bond’s drinks: “‘A dry martini,’ Bond said. ‘In a deep champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of Vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake I very well until it’s ice cold, then add a thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’” Seriously, when you are done, there is no reason why you won’t go looking for the next Fleming on the shelf (in his case Live and Let Die).
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