Thunderball by Ian Fleming, First Edition with Original Dust Jacket, 1961

This is a first edition of Ian Fleming’s ninth Bond novel, Thunderball. Ian Fleming (1908–1964) was an intelligence officer, journalist, and creator of the fictional British Secret service agent James Bond. Beginning in 1939, he served as a liaison between the Navy and the other secret services, where he was privy to the highest levels of intelligence and became known for his creativity in planning operations, work that inspired his later novels.

After the war, Fleming became a journalist and in 1953 published his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. It was a success, and Fleming wrote a new book each year until his untimely death in 1964.

Thunderball features the first appearance of the super-spy’s memorable nemesis, Ernst Blofeld, whose theft of two nuclear warheads threatens the world. “Thunderball represented a new departure [for the Bond series], with the introduction of Spectre and of Ernst Blofeld, a commanding villain who was to reappear. This gave a measure of continuity to the later Bond novels… Thunderball worked well as an adventure story… the theme of the theft of atom bombs seemed pertinent and modern”. 

As he had in From Russia, With Love (1957) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1962), Fleming considered permanently doing away with his super-spy character: “I shall definitely kill off Bond with my next book—better a poor bang than a rich whimper!” Bond, of course, survives this adventure, which, due to credit and rights controversy, was adapted twice to the screen: under the present title in 1965 and as Never Say Never Again in 1983—both times starring Sean Connery; in the 1965 film Claudine Auger played Domino.

This first edition copy was published in 1961 by Jonathan Cape, London. The book features its original first edition dust jacket, designed with a skeletal hand, and all corresponding identification points.


This is the scarce first edition of this work, with the blindstamped skeletal hand on the front cover and the original illustrated dust jacket. The jacket is clipped, with a new Jonathan Cape price sticker reading "16s 0d net" affixed to the bottom of the front flap.

This first edition is solidly bound in the publisher's cloth covers with light shelf wear. The pages show mild toning, with some light foxing to the edges of the text block. The original dust jacket shows light edge wear and foxing.

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