This was such an awesome read. Wonderfully descriptive writing, by descriptive I don't mean hundreds of pointless words I mean, beautifully crafted and to the point, not a wasted word in sight.
It follows the tale of Ian Fleming - a young intelligence officer during World War II. The novel starts at a frenetic pace and never lets up until the very last page, very James Bondish!
I'm not usually one who likes historical novels, but this one just didn't read like a 'boring history retelling of factual events' at all.
Fleming is sent, laden with gold, to France with a tempting offer for the commander of the French navy. The question is whether Fleming will get there before the devious commander sells out to the Germans. Really don't want to say more except read it for yourself to see what happens next.
Twists and turns ensue that usually feature in a Bond movie. If you love great thrillers you'd be foolish to miss out on this one.
Phenomenal. I am a huge James Bond fan and a student of World War 2. Some reviews have pointed out anachronisms but I didn't find any. I think these reviewers don't really know the subject. One reviewer said this was a `rip off' of early James Bond movies. Which Bond movie is set in World War Two and centers on the negotiation of France's navy?? There isn't anything ripped off here. I found this book to be beautifully written and utterly original. Author Stevenson's one-liners sound like something Bond might say but they are all original jokes (I laughed out loud at several, especially the scene at the `Ministry of Supply' chapter which was a wicked parody of the `Q' scenes) and every line is fresh and clever. I think some reviewers didn't really get it - this is a sly, tongue in cheek parody of Bond while also being a historical novel that holds up on its own. I loved the Nazi characterizations. It's so easy to fall into cartoon or stereotype but General Bock and Captain Speer read like fully dimensional individuals. The descriptions of the scenery and characters are outstanding. The prose is eminently readable - smart and evocative, without the use of flower language or obvious metaphors. Here's a typical example from the memorable chapter one sortie seeking the French fleet's hiding place:
"Cotton was in his element, hotdogging around the towering funnels of the epic Strasbourg, careful to avoid the swivel guns of her deck and water line as he bobbed and weaved, windmilling and snapping outrageous half turns before rotating 360 degrees and ascending skyward with a barnstorming flourish. Gunners scrambled to man the skyscraper's 3.5 inch howitzers and its four barrel heavy machine-guns. But Cotton was too fast and gnat-like and by the time the brigadiers and bombardiers were assembled he was gone."
Simple, effective, moves the story forward.
I wish more books were written like this. There is a lot of detail here, which is great if you like historical novels that showcase time and place. I think this is the whole point of a historical novel and so I loved every word. Needless to say, this writer is an expert at crafting action. The ski chase, the bomb attack on London and the boat chase are as good as if not better than anything by Ian Fleming. It's clear this author cut his chops in Hollywood. I can't wait for the next book by this incredibly talented writer.
I was offered an ARC (advanced reader copy) in return for an accurate review. Without a doubt... a MUST for any Bond fan! The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Armada by Damian Stevenson is fantastic. The book has intelligent detail to history and complete with fun characters throughout. Naval intelligence, Commander Fleming, 1940 and World War 2... what more could you ask for?
"The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Armada" by Damian Stevenson is based on a simple but brilliant idea: To use the creator of the James Bond series and make him the hero in his own James-Bond-style adventure. Set in 1940 it shows Fleming as a Naval commander who is on a secret mission in France regarding the French Navy. As Fleming used to be an navy officer in real life this has an excellent real feel to it, an idea so simple and genius, you wonder why nobody has thought of doing it before Many have written James-Bond style books, but few have thought of going to the root of the creation itself. Very authentically written the story has everything that you would expect from a James Bond story: thrilling action scenes, gadgets, women and cars. I am a big fan of history and absolutely loved the idea of bringing Bond into the past rather than the future. For me James Bond is a cult figure and I find that the recent film instalments with the ever increasing pyrotechnics and technology advances take the fun out of the original idea. Stevenson has done a fantastic job at extracting the essence of Bond and choosing an excellent setting for his novel. I hate to use this phrase in reviews but I really am looking forward to a series of these books.
The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Armada follows Naval Commander Ian Fleming as he attempts to gain control, on behalf of the British Government, of the French Fleet after the German occupation of France during World War Two.
This was an intriguing look into the lesser known side of Ian Fleming. A well researched and brilliantly written novelisation of Ian Fleming's experiences during the early part of World War Two. Filled with scenarios that feel familiar, as Ian Fleming had used his own experiences, such as those featured in this book, as inspiration for his world famous Bond novels. The Ian Fleming files are filled with detailed descriptions and fast paced action. The author's attention to detail in regards to setting the scenes and describing equipment and authentic WW2 attire really helps to place you into the historic era in which this book is set. I hope to read more from this author and follow Ian Fleming further into his wartime experiences.
I read Operation Parsifal first, which is the second book in the series, and it was a great read. I'm pleased to say Operation Armada, book one, was just as enjoyable. It appears that The Ian Fleming Files work well as standalone books, so it doesn't really matter what order they are read in, and that's a good thing. Damien Stevenson has a real talent for balancing just the right amount of detail and description so none of it gets in the way of the plot. The end result is a compelling story, rich in the imagery of the World War Two period, complete with all the technology and gadgetry of the time as well as the thrills and spills one would expect from a spy novel about the man behind the one and only James Bond. Highly recommended, especially if you like to curl up in bed on a cold, dreary night and be transported to exotic locations on an adventure! An excellent book.
I just finished this book and was compelled to tell everyone how much I loved it. My friend read it first and then gave it to me and we both couldn't put it down. We loved `Skyfall' and were curious about Ian Fleming. It's astonishing that he created James Bond in 1953 based on his own experiences in World War 2 because the James Bond character is still so popular 60 years later! This book details all the inspiration that went into creating 007 by recreating the adventures Ian Fleming (or `17F' as he was known) went on as a spy fighting the Nazis when they invaded France. The research is incredible. I loved all the period gadgetry and hardware. There's something here for everyone. There's a great romance sub-plot and lots of sharp humour. My favourite scenes were the ski chase and the helicopter sequence.
This is a really exciting piece of military literature! If you're looking for a perfect piece of can't-put-it-down airport fiction, then definitely read "The Ian Fleming Files: Operation Armada." The pristine visuals, the thoroughly researched technology and people and places, the easy one-liners, and the action-adventure tone make it feel like -- you guessed it -- a great James Bond movie. Which is no surprise, considering Ian Fleming based his James Bond character on his own exploits with Naval Intelligence. The best part is, reading this, you can't help but wonder whether it's fact or fiction. I kept running off to Wikipedia to research little details that cropped up here and there in the story.
If you're a fan of James Bond and the novels of Clive Cussler, you will read this book in one sitting!
Everyone has seen at least one Bond movie, but not everyone knows that Ian Fleming, the creator of 007 was a real life spy. Even if you did, Damian Stevenson’s research and daring storytelling provide for an exciting and fascinating read.
The author introduces us to the extraordinary characters that populated Fleming’s life while painting the scenes as if he were there himself. He gives details that make you smell the smoke and taste the cocktails and yet, never lets them slow the action.
It’s quite a trick for an author to combine historical events, dialogue that sounds like he secretly tape-recorded the conversations, and action that never lets up but Stevenson has done it! Highly recommended to everyone.