You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

Published July 13, 2021

You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

Book info

  • Title You Only Live Twice
  • Author Ian Fleming
  • Year 1964
  • Genre Espionage

The Castle of Death shelters a poisoned garden, curated by a criminal mastermind and set atop a rocky Japanese island. Bond is shattered by the murder of his wife at the hands of Ernst Stavro Blofeld but M. gives him one last chance. To save his job, James Bond needs to infiltrate and destroy the Castle of Death in exchange for top-secret Japanese intelligence. 007 must learn the skills of ninja warriors and face his ultimate enemy in a battle to the death.


Not a bad entry in the Bond canon, this book delves very deep into Japanese culture with a lot of detail about how James has to try and adapt to fit in with a whole new world to him. It feels like Fleming was leaning in to having a more over-arching series in the last few books - Blofeld has become a running theme, and in this book we find Bond dealing with the death of his wife which we witnessed in the previous book. Earlier novels felt more standalone but now we’ve got a character who is learning and growing.

Super interesting ending too, with Bond left adrift in a foreign country having lost his memory. What will happen next?

Rating: 4 / 5

← Previous Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
Next → The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger