The Spy Who Loved Me is the ninth novel and tenth book in the James Bond series by Ian Fleming, first published in 1962. It is also the title of the tenth James Bond film and the third to star Roger Moore as Commander James Bond, British Secret Service agent 007. The Spy Who Loved Me was made by Albert R. Broccoli's EON Productions and was released in 1977.
Fleming was never happy with the plot of the book and so only gave permission for the title to be used for any future film adaptation. Consequently the film tells a very different story, and was subsequently novelised by Christopher Wood. As such, it is considered the first wholly original Bond film and was the first Bond film to be novelised, instead of vice versa.
The shortest and most sexually explicit of Fleming's novels, it was banned in some countries and was not released in a paperback edition in Britain until several years after Fleming's death (Fleming had, in fact, requested that no paperback ever be published of the text). In the United States, a condensed version of the novel was published in the men's magazine Stag under the title "Motel Nymph".
The Spy Who Loved Me is a clear departure from previous Bond novels by Ian Fleming, in that the novel is told in the first-person by a young woman named Vivienne Michel. James Bond himself actually doesn't appear until two-thirds of the way through the book and the novel itself breaks up Fleming's "Blofeld Trilogy" of books. In order to maintain the fiction of the book's central character, Vivienne Michel (and, some critics suggest, distance himself from a book with which he was unsatisfied), Fleming gave "Michel" co-author credit on the title page and later claimed that he had found the manuscript "lying on his desk one morning" with a note signed by "Vivienne Michel". Fleming writes in his foreword:
- "I was much interested in this view of James Bond, through the wrong end of the telescope, so to speak, and, after obtaining clearance for certain minor infringements of the Official Secrets Act, I have much pleasure in sponsoring its publication."
The central character and narrator of The Spy Who Loved Me is Vivienne Michel, a young Canadian woman who ends up running a cheap motel in the Adirondack Mountains to pay for a trip through America. The novel is broken up into three parts.
The first section of the book deals with Michel's past love affairs, the first being Derek Mallaby who took her virginity in a field after being kicked out of a cinema for indecent exposure. The relationship ended that night and Michel was subsequently dumped later when Mallaby sent her a letter from the University of Oxford saying he had met someone else and had recently gotten engaged. Michel details her second love affair to her German boss, Kurt Rainer, whom would eventually get Michel pregnant. After learning of her pregnancy and informing Rainer, he subsequently dumps her and pays for her to go to Switzerland to have an abortion.
The second section of the book details Michel's journey through America and how she came to work at "The Dreamy Pines Motor Court" in the Adirondack Mountains for Jed and Mildred Phancey, the managers. After a while of working for them the Phancey's take a vacation and leave her in charge for one day until the owner, Mr. Sanguinetti, arrives to resume business. In the meantime, however, two mobsters, "Sluggsy" Morant and Sol "Horror" Horowitz, show up under the guise that they work for Sanguinetti and are there to look over the motel for insurance reasoning. In truth, the two were hired by Mr. Sanguinetti to burn down The Dreamy Pines Motor Court so that Sanguinetti can make a profit on the insurance. The blame for the fire would fall on Michel, who would perish in the fire. The mobsters, specifically "Sluggsy", are very cruel to Michel, threatening to rape her later that night and when she attempts to escape she is captured and beaten.
The two mobsters are however stopped in the third part of the book when British secret service agent James Bond appears, blaming his being there on a flat tire while passing by. He later details to Michel why he's actually in America saying that after Operation Thunderball was completed, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. was pretty much finished except that the allied nations were still searching for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who had gotten away. The book ends with Bond protecting Michel through the night and later killing Sluggsy and Horror in a gun battle and alerting the authorities to Mr. Sanguinetti's plan, resulting in his arrest.
Comic strip adaptation
Fleming's original novel was adapted as a daily James Bond comic strip which was published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated around the world. The adaptation ran from December 18, 1967 to October 3, 1968. The adaptation was written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Yaroslav Horak. It was the last Ian Fleming work to be adapted as a comic strip, although the comic strip took great liberties with Fleming's novel, substituting a S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-related storyline involving Bond for the novel's autobiographical chapters involving Vivienne; the actual adaptation of the novel doesn't begin until the 2/3 point of the strip. The strip was reprinted by Titan Books in the early 1990s and again in 2004.
Although S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is referenced briefly, this novel is generally not considered part of the story arc that includes the previous novel, Thunderball, and succeeding books On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice.