Publication date: 1961
Villain: Largo & SPECTRE
Villain’s Plot: Stealing two atomic bombs from the RAF in order to extort £100 million from the British Government.
Main locations: Shrublands health farm in England and the Bahaman islands.
Some of the more memorable scenes include Bond being forced to go to a health farm by M, followed by his encounters with Count Lippe. The theft of the bombs is described believably. The first descriptions of SPECTRE and Blofeld are in this book.
It is one of Fleming’s best, but will be forever surrounded by controversy. He adapted the novel from yet another unused film treatment but did not credit the co-writers. A lengthy court case ensued which would entangled the film rights for decades.
Despite this fact two Thunderball movies have been made: the original 1965 version (the Bond movies started getting a bit bloated with this one, but it was still a fairly faithful adaptation) and Sean Connery’s 1983 non-series remake, Never Say Never Again. For years a third version was rumoured.