So two Bond novels in a row. I don’t know if I’m spoiling myself, or setting myself up for a disappointment, because I’m now going to reach the end of my “guilty pleasure” series that much sooner. Ah well. Too late now, either way. I’ve been told by various folk that until the recent production of Casino Royale, this was the Bond novel that made it to film with the least radical changes, and that seems like it could still be a pretty fair assessment.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a slightly atypical Bond adventure, in the sense that he was genuinely undercover, right down to the fake name, and so there are a number of different challenges in this book; it’s interesting to note that Bond may shy away from false identities simply because it is too difficult to play out convincingly, even with major preparation. The other atypical aspect of the book was of course the fact that Bond finally gets married (to a young woman named Tracy, daughter of the Capu of the Union Corse). Though much of the first third of the book is dedicated to Bond meeting and developing feelings for Tracy, the marriage still seems forced and rather rushed. I was not entirely convinced by it, and it’s no surprise that she was killed in the last pages.
Alright, no more Bond for a while. Next up: Invitation to a Beheading, by Vladimir Nabokov.