London: Jonathan Cape, 1965. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's black cloth, spine gilt, plain endpapers, original illustrated dust jacket.
First edition of the twelfth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, published eight months after his death. "There are few more atmospheric literary routes into the misery...as well as the reliably exciting paranoia of the Cold War years. Thanks to the cartoon violence of the films it's also easy to forget just how effective the sadism in the novels can be. Fleming's books are creepy and chilling and this graphic cruelty, combined with painstakingly accurate descriptions of high-living, fine eating and the pleasures of quality consumer goods must make Bond a direct ancestor to characters like Patrick Bateman and the unnamed protagonist of Fight Club as much as the promiscuous father of so many lesser pulp-thriller spies... Fleming also has perhaps the greatest benchmark of writerly talent in spades: unputdownability" (The Guardian). The plot of the novel (which was originally serialized in the Daily Express and Playboy) turns on a brainwashed Bond back from Japan, after having been presumed dead, being de-programmed by MI6 and dispatched to Jamaica to regain his stripes in a face-off with Cuban assassin Scaramanga. Assumed identities, shady real estate deals, gambling and prostitution, silver-jacketed solid gold bullets, and the colonial sugar enterprise vie for the reader's attention. The 1974 film adaptation (Roger Moore's second outing as Bond) featured numerous kung fu set pieces not in the book, and a memorable turn by Christopher Lee as baddie Scaramanga, the man with the supernumerary nipple. Dust jacket illustrated by Richard Chopping. Stated "First published 1965" to copyright page with no mention of additional printings, and correct price of "18s net" to front flap of dust jacket, but with plain endpapers, used towards the end of the print run, when the publisher ran out of the more commonly seen green patterned endpapers. Second state binding, without golden gun stamped to upper board. Slight roll to spine, faint foxing to top edge of textblock; unclipped dust jacket with very light rubbing to joints. An all but fine copy. Item #2175