London: Jonathan Cape, 1964. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's black cloth, spine stamped in silver, upper board gilt, woodgrain-patterned endpapers, original illustrated dust jacket.
First edition of the eleventh novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, the last published in the author's lifetime. "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 novel (which was originally serialized in the Daily Express and Playboy) concludes the so-called "Blofeld Trilogy" (preceded by Thunderball and On Her Majesty's Secret Service). In it, a glum and increasingly bumbling Bond, mourning the recent murder of his new wife, is sent to Japan to re-focus his skills on an impossible diplomatic mission, which turns into an opportunity to exact revenge. High Orientalism ensues. The 1967 film adaptation, starring Sean Connery, was scripted by Roald Dahl, who scrapped most of the book for his own original screenplay, the first in the franchise to significantly depart from the source material. Dust jacket illustrated by Richard Chopping. Second state, with statement "First published March 1964" to copyright page. Owner inscription to front free endpaper dated in the year of publication. Light rubbing and very faint dampstaining along top edge of unclipped dust jacket. Near fine. YOLO. Item #2176