Series: James Bond (Original Series) #6
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Released: March 31, 1958
The sixth James Bond thriller from Ian Fleming’s typewriter.
Dispatched by M to investigate the mysterious disappearance of MI6’s Jamaica station chief, Bond was expecting a holiday in the sun. But when he discovers a deadly centipede placed in his hotel room, the vacation is over.
On this island, all suspicious activity leads inexorably to Dr Julius No, a reclusive megalomaniac with steel pincers for hands. To find out what the good doctor is hiding, 007 must enlist the aid of local fisherman Quarrel and alluring beachcomber Honeychile Rider.
Together they will combat a local legend the natives call ‘the Dragon,’ before Bond alone must face the most punishing test of all: an obstacle course-designed by the sadistic Dr No himself-that measures the limits of the human body’s capacity for agony.
If I had to sum up this book in one sentence it would probably be: “Wait… what…?”
Not only does the plot seem to be made up of scraps of paper picked from the Big Hat Of Ideas Too Fantastical To Be Permissible In Non-Fantasy Literature, but the way they are tied together seems so incredibly contrived that I find it hard to believe it’s unintentional.
I know that this is a Bond book, and my expectations of these books are… well, what anyone would expect. Still… this seems like a parody of the series rather than a part of it.
This could all be fine though! Give me an exciting, fast-paced, thriller with gadgets and excitement and suspense and drama, and I’ll forgive just about anything. This book doesn’t even have that. The first chapter is good, there’s a few good pages featuring a scorpion, and there is a chapter towards the end which is at least somewhat exciting. Otherwise Doctor No manages to be formulaic and boring while also being unbelievably far-fetched.
I will, of course, be reading the rest of the Bond-books in spite of this one. I did really enjoy Casino Royale, and I’m still holding out hope of finding at least one more Bond book I enjoy as much.