For Your Eyes Only (short story collection): Wikis


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For Your Eyes Only  
First edition cover - published by Jonathan Cape.
Author Ian Fleming
Cover artist Richard Chopping (Jonathan Cape ed.)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series James Bond
Genre(s) Spy novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date 11 April 1960
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Preceded by Goldfinger
Followed by Thunderball

For Your Eyes Only is a collection of James Bond short stories by Ian Fleming. It was first published by Jonathan Cape on April 11, 1960. It marked a change of pace for Ian Fleming, who previously had written only full-length novels featuring James Bond.

The collection contains five short stories "From a View to a Kill", "For Your Eyes Only", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico", and "The Hildebrand Rarity".

The title story of the collection lent its name to the 12th official James Bond film in the EON Productions series, For Your Eyes Only. Released in 1981, it was the fifth film to star Roger Moore as the British Secret Service agent, Commander James Bond and the first to move the title "Ian Fleming's" from above to title to above "James Bond 007". The film used some obvious elements and characters from the short stories "For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico" from this collection as well as elements from other Fleming novels. Some slightly similar ideas from the remaining short stories, "Quantum of Solace" and "The Hildebrand Rarity" might also be considered to have been incorporated into the movie of the same name, though in very oblique fashion. "From a View To a Kill" also lent part of its title (but no characters or plot elements) to the 14th Bond film, A View to a Kill (1985). Plot elements from "The Hildebrand Rarity" were incorporated in the 16th Bond film, Licence to Kill (1989). "Quantum of Solace" was used as the title for the twenty-second Bond film.[1]

The title of the collection is derived from a piece of jargon often used in government circles with regards to classified information. An "Eyes Only" notification indicates either a) the information contained is for the knowledge of authorised readers only; b) information contained is not to be discussed with anyone; or both of these.


Publication overview

In 1958, CBS made an offer to Ian Fleming to write 32 episodes over a two-year period for a television show based on the James Bond character. This deal came about after the success of the 1954 television episode adaptation of Casino Royale on the CBS television series Climax!. Fleming agreed to the deal and began to write three outlines for the series; however, CBS later dropped the idea. Henry Chancellor's book, James Bond: The Man and His World claims that the deal was for 13 episodes, and that Fleming had written seven; a compilation of original and reused stories from his already published novels at the time.

In 1959 Fleming gathered his outlines and novelised them for a collection he originally titled The Rough with the Smooth. The title was changed for publication to For Your Eyes Only and was also published with the subtitle "Five Secret Occasions in the Life of James Bond". In America the subtitle was changed to "Five Secret Exploits of James Bond". In later editions, the subtitle was dropped. The story "For Your Eyes Only" was originally written as the third episode in the James Bond TV series, first titled "Man's Work", later "Rough Justice" and "Death Leaves an Echo" before finally settling on "For Your Eyes Only". "Risico" (originally spelled "Risiko") and "From a View to a Kill" were two other stories from the aborted CBS television series.

Out of the five short stories included in the book, two were added in addition to the outlines Fleming had previously written for the proposed television series. The first, "The Hildebrand Rarity", was first published in Playboy in March 1960. It provided the character of Milton Krest for the 1989 Bond film Licence to Kill. In the story, Krest uses a stingray's tail to whip his wife, an idea that reappears in the film Licence to Kill, though in that film the weapon is brandished by the main villain, Franz Sanchez, against his unfaithful girlfriend. The second story, "Quantum of Solace", was an experimental piece Fleming had previously written for the May 1959 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Except for its background set-up (which brought Bond to the Caribbean on a mission to sabotage some drug-running boats), the short story has no secret agent elements. Its title was used for the 22nd Bond film released in 2008, although that film used none of the plot elements from the short story.

"From a View to a Kill"

"From a View to a Kill" sees Bond investigating the murder of a motorcycle dispatch-rider, and the theft of his top-secret documents, by a motorcycle assassin, en route from SHAPE (central command of NATO in Europe, then located in Versailles) to his base, Station F, in Saint-Germain, France. Since Bond is already in Paris, M sends Bond to assist in the investigation in any way he can. To unravel the mystery, Bond disguises himself as a dispatch-rider and follows the same journey as the previous rider to Station F. As expected, the assassin attempts to kill Bond. Bond, however, is ready and ends up killing the assassin. He then uncovers the assassin's hidden base of operations.

The title is taken from a version of the words to a traditional hunting song, "D'ye ken John Peel?": "From a find to a check, from a check to a view,/ From a view to a kill in the morning". Part of the title "From a View to a Kill" was later used for the 1985 Bond film A View to a Kill, starring Roger Moore. Originally, the film was to be titled the same as the short story, and was named as the title of the next Bond film at the end of the closing credits of Octopussy, but was changed just prior to release. The title, plus the fact that part of the film takes place in France, is where any similarity between the short story and the film end.

"From a View to a Kill" was initially intended to be the backstory for Hugo Drax, the villain of Moonraker. The similar story would have taken place during World War II and featured Drax as the motorcycle assassin who crashes his bike and is taken to an American field hospital. Later the hospital is bombed leaving Drax with amnesia and a disfigured face.[2]

The idea of an enemy motorcycle assassin (in fact, two of them) figures prominently in the movie version (where Bond kills one and escapes the other in a chase sequence).


Characters in "From a View to a Kill"

"For Your Eyes Only"

"For Your Eyes Only" begins with the murder of a Jamaican couple who had refused to sell their estate to Herr von Hammerstein, a former Gestapo officer who is the chief of counterintelligence for the Cuban secret service. When they refuse they are killed by two Cuban hitmen at the direction of Major Gonzales, all three of whom work for von Hammerstein. The Havelocks turn out to be close friends of M, who served as the groom's best man during their wedding in 1925. M subsequently gives Bond a voluntary assignment, "off-book" from sanctioned Secret Service duties, to sneak into Vermont via Canada, track down von Hammerstein at his rented estate at Echo Lake, and prevent further harm to the Havelocks' only daughter by any means necessary. When Bond arrives on the scene, however, he finds the Havelocks' daughter, Judy, intends to carry out her own mission of revenge. Judy kills von Hammerstein from 100 yards by shooting him in the back with a bow and arrow at the exact moment he dives into a lake. A shootout then occurs between Bond and Major Gonzales and the two Cuban gunmen. Bond kills all of them.

Many of the details of this story are used in the film For Your Eyes Only, including the fact that a couple named Havelock are murdered by a hitman named Gonzalez. In the film, though, the daughter's name is Melina and the murder takes place in Greece. Melina Havelock does take her revenge in the film very much as Judy Havelock does in the story, but the subject of Melina's crossbow assassination is Gonzalez and he is killed while diving into his swimming pool.

Characters in "For Your Eyes Only"

"Quantum of Solace"

"Quantum of Solace" is not a spy story and James Bond appears only in the background. Told in the style of W Somerset Maugham[3], the tale has Bond in Nassau, Bahamas after completing a routine assignment and attending a dinner party at the Government House with a group of socialites that he finds boring.

Bond makes a remark after dinner when the other guests have left in order to stimulate conversation, about always having thought it would be nice to marry an air hostess. This elicits a careful reply from the elderly Governor of the Bahamas who tells 007 the story of a relationship between a former civil servant he calls Philip Masters, stationed in Bermuda, and air hostess Rhoda Llewellyn. After meeting aboard a flight to London the two eventually married but after a time Rhoda became unhappy with her life as the wife of a minor civil servant of limited means. She then began a long open affair with the eldest son of a rich Bermudian family. As a result Masters' work deteriorated and he suffered a nervous breakdown. After recovering he was given a break from Bermuda by the governor and sent on an assignment to Washington to negotiate fishing rights with the US. At the same time the governor's wife had a talk with Rhoda just as her affair ended. Masters returned a few months later determined to end his marriage; he divided their home into two sections, one half for each of them, and refuses to have anything to do with her in private, although he and Rhoda continued to appear as a happy couple in public. Masters eventually returned alone to the UK, leaving Rhoda penniless with unpaid debts and stranded in Bermuda, a cruel act which he would have been incapable of carrying out just a few months earlier. This is a major point that the governor sets out to Bond: when the "Quantum of Solace" drops to zero, humanity and consideration of one human for another is gone and the relationship is gone. Despite the success of Masters' plan to take revenge on his unfaithful wife, he never recovered emotionally, nor recaptured any spark of vitality. The governor goes on to tell Bond how after a time Rhoda married a rich Canadian and seems to be happy. When Bond remarks that she hardly deserved her good fortune, the governor says that Masters had always been rather weak, and that perhaps Fate chose Rhoda as its instrument to teach him a lesson. The governor then reveals that the dinner companions whom Bond found so boring were in fact Rhoda and her rich Canadian husband. Bond then tells the governor that Rhoda was much more interesting than he had thought.

While the story does not include action elements (other than a throwaway reference to a mine Bond plants on a boat) as other Fleming tales do, it attempts to posit that Bond's adventures pale in comparison with real life drama. Bond reflects that the lives of the people he often passes somewhat superficial judgments upon can in fact hide poignant episodes.

Quantum of Solace was chosen as the title of the 22nd Bond movie, although it only shares the story's title, and nothing else.[4]

Characters in "Quantum of Solace"

  • James Bond
  • Rhoda Llewellyn
  • "Philip Masters" (a false name for the civil servant mentioned in the Governor's anecdote)
  • Governor


In "Risico", James Bond is sent by M to investigate a drug smuggling operation based out of Italy that is pumping narcotics into England. M instructs Bond to get in touch with a CIA informant, Kristatos, who in turn tells Bond that a man named Enrico Colombo is behind the racket. When Bond sets out to find more information on Colombo, he is captured by him and brought aboard Colombo's ship, the Colombina. Colombo then informs Bond that Kristatos is actually the one in charge of the drug smuggling operation and that he is being backed by the Russians. Colombo agrees to help Bond by providing information about things "as long as none of it comes back to Italy," and Bond agrees to help Colombo eliminate Kristatos — who had set up Colombo as the target of Bond's investigation. Bond, Colombo and his men sail the Colombina to Santa Maria when Kristatos' men are loading another shipment of drugs. Bond, Colombo, and the crew of the Colombina attack Kristatos' ship and adjascent warehouse and discover Kristatos inside the warehouse. Kristatos tries to escape but is killed by Bond.

The characters of Colombo and Kristatos, and the initial confusion as to which one was really the target of Bond's investigation, are central to the plot of the film For Your Eyes Only. The morning raid on Kristatos' warehouse serves as a central action sequence in the film, as well.

Characters in "Risico"

"The Hildebrand Rarity"

In "The Hildebrand Rarity", Bond is on an assignment in the Seychelles Islands. Through Fidele Barbey, his influential and well-connected local contact, Bond meets an uncouth American millionaire named Milton Krest who challenges the two to aid him in the search for a rare pink and black fish with spiny fins named "The Hildebrand Rarity" after the scientist who discovered it. Krest wants to collect the fish for scientific purposes — and, it turns out, to justify the tax-exempt status of his yacht (the Wavekrest) and the Krest Foundation.

Bond, Barbey, Krest and his English-born fifth wife, Elizabeth, set off aboard the Wavekrest in search of the fish. During the journey Bond learns that Milton verbally and physically abuses everyone around him, especially his wife, whom he punishes with the use of a stingray tail he dubs "The Corrector". Krest punishes his wife at least once while the group is on their way to the atoll where the fish is expected to be found.

Krest finds the Hildebrand Rarity and kills it, along with many other fish, by pouring poison into the water instead of trying to catch it in a net.

After finding and killing the Hildebrand Rarity, the party returns to the Wavekrest and sets sail for port. Along the way Krest gets very drunk, insults Bond and Barbey, and also schedules another appointment for his wife with "The Corrector".

Krest sees Bond talking to his wife shortly afterwards and tells Bond that all he has to do is blow his whistle and the yacht's crewmen will throw Bond overboard and then run the yacht over him while attempting to "save" him.

Later that same night Bond hears Mr. Krest choking and goes on deck to find that Krest has been murdered — apparently by having the rare fish stuffed down his throat so that he suffocated. So as not to be entangled in an investigation for the murder of Krest, Bond throws Krest overboard and cleans up the scene of the crime, making it look as though Krest fell overboard after one of the ropes holding his hammock broke.

The following day, after the Wavekrest has reached port, it is assumed that Krest fell overboard after his hammock rope broke. Bond investigates both Barbey and Mrs. Krest and finds reasons to suspect both of them. His suspicions lean toward Mrs. Krest, whom he suspects murdered her husband in an act of revenge for the way in which he had treated her. However, when Mrs. Krest invites Bond to sail with her aboard the Wavekrest to Mombassa, his next destination, he accepts her invitation, although apparently with reservations.

There is one oblique connection between the short story and the film of the same name, as both feature yachtsman antagonists and involve underwater diving. A more obvious connection, however can be made with another Bond movie, entirely. Milton Krest, his "foundation", the "Wavekrest" and "the corrector" make appearances in the 1989 Bond film Licence to Kill.

Characters in "The Hildebrand Rarity"

Comic strip adaptations

Four of the five short stories in For Your Eyes Only were adapted into comic strips which were published in the British newspaper, the Daily Express, and subsequently syndicated around the world:

  • "Risico" (April 3 to June 24, 1961)
  • "From a View to a Kill" (June 25 to September 9, 1961)
  • "For Your Eyes Only" (September 11 to December 9, 1961)
  • "The Hildebrand Rarity" (May 29 to December 16, 1967)

The first three stories were adapted by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky and are largely considered a departure from what readers of the comic strips were used to, focusing more on character details and the plot of the story. More so than any other adaptation, "Risico", "From a View to a Kill", and "For Your Eyes Only" are considered to be the most faithful adaptations of Ian Fleming's original work. All three comics were reprinted in 2004 by Titan Books and are included in the Goldfinger collection.

The fourth adaptation, "The Hildebrand Rarity", did not appear until six years after the comic strip versions of the other stories. It was adapted by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Yaroslav Horak. This adaptation was reprinted by Titan Books in the early 1990s and again in 2004 as part of the Octopussy collection.

The remaining story in the collection, "Quantum of Solace", is one of only three Ian Fleming James Bond stories that has never been adapted as a comic strip. (The other two are "The Property of a Lady" and "007 in New York.")

Publication history

  • April 11, 1960, Jonathan Cape, hardcover, first British edition.
  • 1960, Viking, hardcover, first American edition.
  • June 1961, Signet Books, paperback, first American edition.
  • May 11, 1962, Pan Books, paperback, first British edition.
  • February 22, 1979, Triad/Panther, paperback, British, ISBN 0-586-04596-1
  • 1981, Triad/Granada, paperback, British, ISBN 0-586-04596-1
  • June 1989, Coronet Books, paperback, British, ISBN 0-340-42572-5. Introduction by Anthony Burgess.
  • April 4, 2002, Viking/Penguin, hardcover, British, ISBN 0-670-91041-4
  • April 2003, Penguin Books, paperback, American, ISBN 0-14-200327-1
  • October 26, 2006, Penguin Books, paperback, British, ISBN 0-14-102826-2. Introduction by Barry Eisler


Penguin Books issued a compilation, Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories, which also includes the contents of Octopussy and the Living Daylights. It was released as a tie-in with the film Quantum of Solace on 26 August 2008.[5]


  1. ^ "New Bond film title is confirmed". BBC News Online. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-01-24.  
  2. ^ Chancellor, Henry (2005). James Bond: The Man and His World. John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6815-3.  
  3. ^ Ben Macintyre. 'Ian Fleming’s reflection on the limitations of love'. The Times. January 25, 2008
  4. ^ Chris Tilly (2008-01-28). [One may find an oblique connection between the cheating wife in the short story and the figure skating girl sponsored by Kristatos in the movie of the same name, as both are promiscuous women, who inspire jealousy in the men they are close to, and both seem to serve as allusions to some sort of life morale. Some oblique connection might be made between the wife in the short story and a promiscuous figure skating girl (sponsored by Kristatos) in the movie version of "For Your Eyes Only", as both are rampantly unfaithful women who inspire jealousy in their male benefactors. "Bond Interview"]. IGN. One may find an oblique connection between the cheating wife in the short story and the figure skating girl sponsored by Kristatos in the movie of the same name, as both are promiscuous women, who inspire jealousy in the men they are close to, and both seem to serve as allusions to some sort of life morale. Some oblique connection might be made between the wife in the short story and a promiscuous figure skating girl (sponsored by Kristatos) in the movie version of "For Your Eyes Only", as both are rampantly unfaithful women who inspire jealousy in their male benefactors. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  
  5. ^ listing


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