James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me

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James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me is the novelisation of the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me. It was written by Christopher Wood. It is notable for being the only novelisation written for a movie that also shares the name of an Ian Fleming novel -- The Spy Who Loved Me


British and Soviet ballistic-missile submarines mysteriously disappear. James Bond—MI6 agent 007—is summoned to investigate. On the way he escapes an ambush by Soviet agents in Austria, killing one during a downhill ski chase, and escaping via a Union Flag parachute. Bond learns that the plans for a highly advanced submarine tracking system are on the market in Egypt. There, he encounters Major Anya Amasova—KGB agent Triple X—his rival for the plans. They travel across Egypt together, tracking the microfilm plans, meeting Jaws—an unnaturally tall assassin with steel teeth—along the way. Bond and Amasova later team up, due to a truce supported by their respective superiors, and identify the person responsible for the thefts as shipping tycoon, scientist, and anarchist Karl Stromberg.

While travelling by train to Stromberg's base in Sardinia, Bond saves Amasova from being killed by Jaws, and their rivalry changes into affection. Posing as a marine biologist and his wife, they visit Stromberg's base and discover that he has a mysterious new supertanker, the Liparus. After they leave the base, Jaws and other armed men, including a helicopter pilot named Naomi, chase them, but all attempts fail due to Bond's driving skills and fact that his car – a Lotus Esprit from Q Branch – can convert into a submarine. Jaws retreats once again while Naomi and her other allies are killed. Bond later finds out that the Liparus has never visited any known port or harbour, and Amasova learns that Bond killed her lover in Austria; she promises Bond that she will kill him when their mission ends.

Later, while aboard an American submarine, Bond and Amasova examine Stromberg's underwater Atlantis base and confirm that he is operating the tracking system. The Liparus then captures the submarine, just as it captured the others. Stromberg sets his plan in motion: the launching of nuclear missiles from the submarines, to destroy Moscow and New York City. This would trigger a global nuclear war, which Stromberg would survive in Atlantis, and subsequently a new civilisation would be established. He leaves for Atlantis with Amasova. Bond frees the captured British, Russian and American submariners and they battle the Liparus's crew. Bond reprograms the British and Soviet submarines to destroy each other, saving Moscow and New York. The victorious submariners escape the sinking Liparus on the American submarine.

Bond insists on rescuing Amasova before the submarine has to follow its orders and destroy Atlantis. Bond confronts and kills Stromberg but again encounters Jaws, whom he drops into a shark tank. Jaws escapes from the shark tank (after fatally biting the shark) and swims off into the sunset. Bond and Amasova flee in an escape pod as Atlantis is sunk. In the pod Amasova reminds Bond that she has vowed to kill him and picks up Bond's gun, but admits to having forgiven him and the two make love.

Differences to the film

The novelization and the screenplay, although both written by Wood, are somewhat different. In the novelization SMERSH is still active and still after James Bond. Their part in the novelization begins during the "pre-title credits" sequence in which Bond is escaping from a cabin on the top of Aiguille du Mort, a mountain near the town of Chamonix. After the mysterious death of Fekkish, SMERSH appears yet again, this time capturing and torturing Bond for the whereabouts of the microfilm that retains plans for a submarine tracking system (Bond escapes after killing two of the interrogators). The appearance of SMERSH conflicts the latter half of Fleming's Bond novels, in which SMERSH is mentioned to have been put out of operation. Members of SMERSH from the novelization include the Bond girl Anya Amasova and her lover Sergei Borzov as well as Colonel-General Niktin, a character from Fleming's novel From Russia, with Love who has since become the head of SMERSH.

Other differences include the villain, Karl Stromberg, being renamed as Sigmund Stromberg. The change of Stromberg's given name as well as the existence of SMERSH may be in some way due to the controversy over Thunderball, in which Kevin McClory was made aware of certain plot points of the film The Spy Who Loved Me. At one point the villain of the film was to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his organisation SPECTRE; however, this was changed to avoid a possible lawsuit over the rights to this character, which originated from the novel Thunderball.


When Ian Fleming sold the film rights to the James Bond novels to Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, he only gave permission for the title The Spy Who Loved Me to be used. Since the screenplay for the film had nothing to do with Fleming's original novel, Eon Productions, for the first time, authorised that a novelization be written based upon the script. According to Ian Fleming's literary agent Peter Janson-Smith, "We had no hand in [the Christopher Wood novelizations] other than we told the film people that we were going to exert our legal right to handle the rights in the books. They chose Christopher Wood because he was one of the screenwriters at the time, and they decided what he would be paid. We got our instructions on that, but from then on, these books-of-the-films became like any other Bond novel—we controlled the publication rights."

This would also be the first regular Bond novel published since Colonel Sun nearly a decade earlier. Christopher Wood, himself a novelist, and who co-authored the screenplay with Richard Maibaum, was commissioned to write the book, which was given the title James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me. Wood would also novelize the screenplay for the next Bond film, Moonraker in 1979.


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