Quick Big Mi6 Fleming Novel Ranking

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  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited September 2022 Posts: 3,389
    Gold: Moonraker (It's the favorite of the majority here, I know).

    Silver: FRWL (this could also be a Gold, but I think many members here would favored Moonraker more).

    Bronze: OHMSS (I put it at #10, so it loses a bit of points 😅).
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    Posts: 13,888
    Gold for MR; then OHMSS; FRWL.
  • Posts: 12,248
    Guessing…

    3. FRWL
    2. OHMSS
    1. MR
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 2,161
    FoxRox wrote: »
    Guessing…

    3. FRWL
    2. OHMSS
    1. MR

    Probably.
  • 3. OHMSS
    2. FRWL
    1. MR

    Which is also my own order, btw (though not placement).
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,687
    MR (my favourite novel) will emerge victorious.
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    Posts: 4,343
    3. OHMSS
    2. FRWL
    1. MR

    Yeah at this point that seems the likeliest result.
  • Gonna guess
    3.OHMSS
    2. MR
    1. FRWL
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,389
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,523
    MI6HQ wrote: »

    No need to rush this.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,389
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    MI6HQ wrote: »

    No need to rush this.

    I'm just excited.....😅
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,775
    Ladies and gentlemen, our bronze medalist:

    FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE

    frwl.jpg

    Famous for being a favourite of JFK, in this contest FRWL received three gold medals, three silvers and three bronzes.

    It is also a favourite amongst us Bond fans it seems since we all placed it in our top 10, with a single 10th place being its lowest finish.

    In total FRWL obtained 188 points.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited September 2022 Posts: 3,389
    What?!

    What's happening here?! What's going on?!

    Don't tell me OHMSS will even beat MR?! (Fleming's best novel by mile)

    Are many people here sure that OHMSS is even that better than FRWL?!

    Okay, I give up.....

    It's probably Fleming's realistic novel, I don't know why many people refer to Le Carre while ignoring this most realistic spy thriller Fleming novel.

    I don't know what people saw in OHMSS (The novel), is it the brainwashing plot (which many people find weird)? The invisible ink? Tracy being a damsel in distress and doing nothing to help Bond and is not relevant to the plot?

    It's a bit weird because I though love the film OHMSS (in fact it's my favorite).

    Is it really better than FRWL?

    I'm the one who puts OHMSS at #10

    FRWL is Fleming's best along with MR.

    This really ruffles my feathers.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    Posts: 13,888
    It's a fine novel, I enjoy it as much as MR.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 2,161
    I have it as my # 2 (my 2-5 are pretty much interchangeable, my # 1 is pretty well set). I love the way it's constructed, and I love all of the characters.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,523
    Great novel, no doubt about it.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 4,384
    FRWL is my number one and I expected it to win. It is as an extremely well written plot with so many great and interesting characters on both sides. The ultimate spy thriller.
    The only negative point for me are some of Kerim's comments about how women should be treated. But this is nitpicking. It really is one of my favourite books in general and it is unexpected how interesting it can be to describe the villains and see their plan evolve without even write about the agent for around 100 pages.

    @MI6HQ : I planned to rank OHMSS as #2 but read the novel again and had to change my ranking. I felt some lengths I never felt before and dropped it to #6. OHMSS is very good but not as smart as FRWL. The tension gets lost sometimes.
  • edited September 2022 Posts: 2,857
    I'd say FRWL is Fleming's most well crafted book. It definitely has an unconventional structure for a Bond novel. Heck, Bond himself doesn't show up until a good chunk into the book, but his presence is certainly felt in the first part.

    It's really interesting seeing the inner workings of SMERSH. I always felt it read as this odd parallel to M/Bond's briefings in MI6, except that everything feels a bit more formal, with fear being deployed more often within the dynamics of this organisation (absolutely Soviet one could say). Even the opening chapter with the masseuse looking at Grant's bronzed, muscular body bears some resemblance to how Bond is introduced at times in Fleming's novels from the perspective of women - ie. as this mysterious, handsome stranger. Of course, Grant is obviously a monster, and one whose psychopathic tendencies are vividly written.

    The plan to kill Bond keeps the reader hooked, and considering Bond's exploits from the previous novels it makes a lot of sense that SMERSH should try to cause a scandal involving him. It doesn't quite have the layers of elaborate deception that the film would add to it, but it works. Once we get to Bond, we as readers begin to interpret parts of the later passages in a more foreboding manner - a storm as Bond flies to Istanbul, Loelia's warnings for Bond not to travel on Friday the 13th etc. Even Bond's instincts throughout the novel seem to tell him that something is wrong. It's actually why the ending is shocking - convention dictates that Bond always defies these omens. The final paragraphs describing the effects of Klebb's poison - Bond's fingers feeling like cucumbers, the sweat on his brow - hit even harder with this in mind. It's a hell of a cliffhanger.

    Apart from that there are some great additions to this novel. The final confrontation with Bond and Grant on the Orient Express is one. One of Fleming's great skills as a writer was to take these rather silly concepts and depict them in a manner which made it seem real. The idea of Bond using a cigarette case and a book to stop a bullet to the heart was a cliched idea at the time, and certainly sounds cartoonish on paper. Hell, the fact that Grant elaborately tells him he's going to shoot him through the heart is cartoonish too, but the descriptions we get are brilliant. Fleming describes how Bond's entire body feels like it's on fire, the horrific pain in his ribs. It never anything other than tense.

    Apart from that, Darko Kerim is a character who stands out. While I love the film, I do feel this character was whitewashed to some extent, which is understandable given the character's faults in the source material (not only does he seem to have imprisoned a woman as his 'slave' as a young man, but he also drags Bond into his feud which results in him killing a man in cold blood). He's a character with genuine warmth, but he's not a necessarily a good man. It's interesting to read.

    FRWL is a Bond novel I often come back to when I want to re-read the Fleming books, and I know that for readers at the time it proved one of the most popular. I can see why it came so high in this ranking.
  • Posts: 12,248
    @MI6HQ You and others can direct your hate at me. I placed FRWL at #7. I think it’s an excellent book, just happen to find several others more entertaining.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited September 2022 Posts: 3,389
    FoxRox wrote: »
    @MI6HQ You and others can direct your hate at me. I placed FRWL at #7. I think it’s an excellent book, just happen to find several others more entertaining.

    No, I'm not going to blame it on you.
    It's fine.
    Not your fault.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    Posts: 13,888
    FoxRox wrote: »
    @MI6HQ You and others can direct your hate at me. I placed FRWL at #7. I think it’s an excellent book, just happen to find several others more entertaining.
    What is this, if not betrayal?
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,687
    FRWL was very good, but it always seemed to me to be the novel with the least amount of the fantastical. OHMSS was a bit crazier, although it retained a very realistic feel for Bond himself. I guess that's why MR is my favourite... as Robinson said in Somewhere in Time, "Excess within control."
  • From Russia with Love is just a terrific book. Makes my 5th place, and as with all of Fleming's best I only wish I could place it higher. That he's able to keep Bond off the page for so much of the novel just speaks to the strength of all the other characters he creates here. Had Fleming decided to leave Bond bleeding out on that wine-red carpet after all he certainly would have ended on a high.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited September 2022 Posts: 3,389
    From Russia with Love is just a terrific book. Makes my 5th place, and as with all of Fleming's best I only wish I could place it higher. That he's able to keep Bond off the page for so much of the novel just speaks to the strength of all the other characters he creates here. Had Fleming decided to leave Bond bleeding out on that wine-red carpet after all he certainly would have ended on a high.

    So you mean, had he not followed this novel? I mean he would retain Bond's dead forever.

    As much as I liked Dr. No and Thunderball, I think FRWL would be better as his penultimate novel.

    So would it be better if he'd stopped there?

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    From Russia with Love is just a terrific book. Makes my 5th place, and as with all of Fleming's best I only wish I could place it higher. That he's able to keep Bond off the page for so much of the novel just speaks to the strength of all the other characters he creates here. Had Fleming decided to leave Bond bleeding out on that wine-red carpet after all he certainly would have ended on a high.

    You and me both.
  • MI6HQ wrote: »
    From Russia with Love is just a terrific book. Makes my 5th place, and as with all of Fleming's best I only wish I could place it higher. That he's able to keep Bond off the page for so much of the novel just speaks to the strength of all the other characters he creates here. Had Fleming decided to leave Bond bleeding out on that wine-red carpet after all he certainly would have ended on a high.

    So you mean, had he not followed this novel? I mean he would retain Bond's dead forever.

    As much as I liked Dr. No and Thunderball, I think FRWL would be better as his penultimate novel.

    So would it be better if he'd stopped there?

    I just mean it would have been a great final novel. I for one am glad Fleming did not stop there.
  • I had FRWL as #1. I didn’t totally love it the first time around, probably because of the structural gambit I now hold in such high esteem, but the second time it really opened up to me. It’s patience and more-detailed-than-average plot pay dividends as the most suspenseful Bond book. It keeps the same slow, travelogue heavy pace that most of the other Bond books have for their first 2/3rds but it’s all colored by the trap that Bond is walking into so danger feels pervasive. And the payoff, all the Red Grant stuff on the train, is just as tense as it is in the movie.

    Beyond that, Istanbul makes for a great location — it feels both exotic and slightly seedy, which makes perfect sense for this book which *is* a bit seedy, and has all sorts of wonderful inner monologues from Bond about his feeling on being essentially pimped out for his country. And all the side characters, from the array of Russian villains, to Darko Karim, are pretty indelible. It’s a colorful and suspenseful spy thriller, with all the right amount of flourishes we expect in a Bond novel. While there are a couple other Fleming books that I could fairly easily swap for the top spot, FRWL just feels the most “complete”.
  • ThunderballThunderball playing Chemin de Fer in a casino, downing Vespers
    edited September 2022 Posts: 776
    I come in here at just about the end, having not voting before this. Just as well I guess, I haven't yet read them all, but I'm getting there, slowly. Well, I've read everything but Goldfinger, Live And Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Man With The Golden Gun and Octopussy (I'm currently reading For Your Eyes Only).

    I'll just say that FRWL was outstanding, my second favorite, so for me it deserves the silver. Moonraker was killer, but it's not my bronze, that would be Dr. No. What absolute blasts FRWL and DN were to read. And then On Her Majesty's Secret Service is my gold. A phenomenal read I was rather sad to get to the end of.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,775
    Okay folks, tomorrow I'm going to reveal who ended up on top!

    A domani!!
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,523
    I can't wait. 😌
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