Anatomy of a Book: Live and Let Die, by Ian Fleming

leldFrom the moment the BOAC Stratocruiser taxied up to the International Air Terminal at Idlewild, James Bond was treated like royalty. (p.1)

Government terms, specific, foreign places, and James Bond. This is an Ian Fleming 007 novel.

It was not louder than a 12-bore cartridge, but in the confined space it was an impressive explosion. (p.31)

There is destruction and criminals.

One of the most beautiful women Bond had ever seen came slowly in… (p.69)

And women. These elements are some of the basic reasons these are popular books. They also contain some basic hooks to reading.

Changing Status:

Bond is wounded a few times. This hampers his skills, and so impacts his ability. It is only in the last third that he feels recovered, but again he strikes a new wound.

High Stakes:

The death of Bond is constant, and the injury of a colleague makes Bond’s own death seem more plausible.

Page Turner:

The secret of the treasure, the defeat of a great criminal, the smashing of a Communist spy ring, and the destruction of a tentacle of SMESH, the cruel machine that was his private target. (p.190) Add to this the girl, and Bond is constantly facing and combating trials.

Believable Characters:

There are some cliché character elements, but the main ones are fleshed out and are consistent in their behaviour. This is important. They also have their own knowledge to impart, which gives them purpose in the story.


There are many elements of the secret service and cold war that are interestingly revealed, as Fleming was involved as a journalist during this time. Also, Fleming writes with knowledge on the areas he’s characters visit, giving a local’s insight. This travel and service experience is an advantage and one reason for the series’ success.


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