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At-A-Glance


Mission: For Your Eyes Only
Author: Ian Fleming
First Published: April 11, 1960

Villains: Herr von Hammerstein, Aristotle Kristatos, Milton Krest (the novel also contained various unnamed villains)

Organizations: Various

Bond Girls: Mary Ann Russell, Judy Havelock, Lisl Baum, Elizabeth Krest

Allies: Colonel Schreíber, Governor of Nassau, Enrico Colombo, Fidele Barbey

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For Your Eyes Only Book Cover


 For Your Eyes Only Book Jacket Summary:

"Sudden emergencies and beautiful girls who aren't quite what they seem are the stock-in-trade of James Bond. And when 007 is on the case there's only one thing you can be sure of - the result will be thrilling. Whether he's dealing with the assassination of a Cuban thug in America, the destruction of an international heroin ring, or sudden death in the Seychelles, Bond gets the job done. In his own suave and unmistakable style."
-From the 2002 Penguin Edition


 Universal Exports' Review:

For Your Eyes Only is probably the most overlooked of all of the Ian Fleming Bond novels due to the fact that it is a collection of short stories. However, this should not be the case as many of the characters and plot points from the films For Your Eyes Only, A View to a Kill, Licence to Kill and Quantum of Solace first appear here. Personally, I had never given this book much of a chance until the title of Bond 22 was announced, but am now here to recommend that all Bond fans pick it up and give it a read.


 From a View to a Kill

The shortest of the short stories in the book, From A View to a Kill, shares nothing with its movie counterpart and suffers the most from a lack of fleshing out the characters. After a governmental messenger from SHAPE is murdered and the secret documents he was transporting are stolen, Bond is called in to investigate the case. Over the next 37 pages, Bond proceeds to infuriate the higher-ups at SHAPE, find a love interest in one of SHAPE’s employees, discover a hidden underground base and solve the case that had been deemed unsolvable. It seems like the perfect formula for a Bond adventure, but with so little time to tell the story it all seems rushed and empty.


 For Your Eyes Only

Much like the teaser of the film, the short story For Your Eyes Only begins with the murder of the Havelocks, who we learn are close personal friends of M. With no one else to turn to, M asks Bond to carry out a personal vendetta for him by tracking down and eliminating the Havelocks’ killers. The assignment takes 007 to Vermont and Canada where he runs into Judy Havelock, who is there with her crossbow to avenge her parents’ death. Needless to say, the two complete their mission and leave together to begin yet another sordid romance for 007.

For Your Eyes Only Book Cover
2003 Penguin Books paperback edition

For Your Eyes Only Book Cover
1962 Pan Books paperback edition.
Where the story truly succeeds is in the scenes between M and Bond. M never comes out and asks Bond to do the job, but knows that there is no way Bond would turn it down. The mission also shows more of the cold-blooded killer side to Bond: something often missing from the movies and other novels. It would have been interesting to see the film version use the same concept. In reality, the only similarities are the murdered parents and the name Havelock, Judy’s crossbow and the fact that one of the henchmen is named Gonzales.


 Quantum of Solace

Unlike the other stories in the book, Quantum of Solace is not about James Bond at all. The reader finds 007 in the middle of a boring dinner party when the Governor of Nassau tells him a story about a governmental employee’s relationship with an airline attendant. Despite not involving a mission in any way, Quantum of Solace may be the most interesting story in the book, as it is a fascinating look at human interpersonal relationships. As for what a quantum of solace is, check out a page dedicated to that question.


 Risico

Despite its title, Risico is actually the story that most closely resembles the plot of the film For Your Eyes Only. Bond is sent to investigate a drug ring in Italy where he comes into contact with Columbo, Kristatos and Lisl. Although some of the minor plot details are different, Kristatos is still the double-crosser, Colombo is a smuggler who helps Bond stop Kristatos’ drug ring and the ending is in a port warehouse. Maybe it is because I was envisioning scenes from the film while I was reading the story, but Risco stands out more than any other Bond adventure in For Your Eyes Only. Other elements that were in the story that made it into the film include the hidden tape recorder at dinner, Lisl becoming “enraged” at Columbo at dinner and, to a lesser extent, the beach as a backdrop.


 The Hildebrand Rarity

The Hildebrand Rarity is, at its core, a story about Bond going fishing. In an attempt to kill some time before going back to London, Bond finds himself on the Wavekrest with Milton Krest, trying to find an extremely rare fish. Perhaps my largest issue with the story is that while Bond is in the middle of everything, he is merely an observer of a not-too-exciting story. By the time the final period appears, the reader is ready to close the book and move on to Thunderball.


Also in Universal Exports' Literature Section
Ian Fleming John Gardner Raymond Benson

Charlie Higson Samantha Weinberg
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