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For Your Eyes Only | Short Story Collection | Ian Fleming Book Reviews

As it is a well known fact that Ian Fleming wrote James Bond stuff in the format of short stories and then novels, based on his real life experiences and mixing them with the fantasy. Some of the people he met in his real life also left remarkable impact on the characters of his books (including James Bond himself). For Your Eyes only is a collection of 5 short stories by Ian Flemming which can be distinguished into two distinct parts:

  1. The James Bond Adventures
  2. The James Bond Experiences

3 tales of the collection are definitely James Bond adventures when the rest two more focuses on the human side of him. Let us look at the briefing of the same:

From a View to a Kill

This story belongs to the time when James Bond was new to his duties as 007. He was in Paris and have to left for London office the next day and he was just thinking to how make this last night memorable there when he was fetched by a lady working at the station of British Intelligence in Paris.

A dispatch rider of SHAPE was en route to his delivery destination. It is usual for him, as it is his regular duty to courier the important documents to the destined location every week. He took is regular way as usual and he was going to the speed he goes as usual. He had seen someone in the SHAPE dispatch rider uniform coming from the same direction he came on the motorcycle similar to him, now this was unusual. He thought might be some fellow dispatch rider on duty due to some special requirement. He slows down and let him come so they can talk. But thing went wrong. When the other dispatch rider came near enough, he shot him to the death. He then went back by cleaning the stuff and till the authority have known the facts the hours were passed and there were no trace or evidence left on the road.

This was looked a simple case when we compare it to be allotted to spy of 00 rank, but SHAPE meant Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. And the documents sent by them to the destination are high ranked top secret documents and the security precautions they take in their head-quarters and activities were too good. (Even James were annoyed by the security measure when he passed through them (and for many times till he was working on the case.) Hence James was allotted the work to find out the maximum he can about the stuff and go to the root of the same. The place where the incident was happened was surrounded by forest for a remarkable distance and James paid the visit to the place. By investigating the near-about of the place where the dispatch rider was killed. He found some unusual stuff in the grass. And he thought to give a chance to the investigation procedure initiated by and performed by him only. He came visit the place in the late night in the disguise so he can make himself the part of the darkness. And he found… well it was some big conspiracy as he thought. We are not going to discuss it here to keep your interest unspoiled when you read the book.

So he visited “A View To A Kill’, find out and solved the big conspiracy by taking the risk to his life and that is the short story.

I like the following (not word to word of course) stuff bring to attention by Ian Fleming a lot that “There is always an invisible man working at such places (or the matter of fact each and every place) who remained unnoticed, like a servant, a gardener, a cleaner or someone like that (even the pizza delivery guy, or in the country like India, the ChaiWala!!). Who usually have access to a lot of secured places and still was considered as the person who can make no harm. This invisible man can be a spy from the opponent which can do his/her work in the disguise without someone even notice it. We consider him/her a poor fellow, which he or she is certainly not.” This shows that working in the field make Ian Fleming think like a pro-spy.

The other thing Ian excels at is the explanation of a technical device which usually is the heart of his story. Here also the technical device which remain hidden the forest, how it can hold the motorcycles and three people without being noticed, the snow-boots used by them to walk on the grass… all this stuff is a mixture of science, fantasy, imagination and of course good writing skills.

Though if you have watched a lot of James Bond movies (who didn’t!?), you may find the stuff is not that much thrilling and interesting.

A comic strip based on this short story was published from 25 June 1961 to 9 September 1961. The comic strip adapter was Henry Gammidge and illustrator was John McLusky.
was initially intended to be the backstory for Hugo Drax, the villain of the novel Moonraker.

The next tale is… on the next page… 🙂

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