Thunderball by Ian Fleming, First UK Edition, 1961

Fleming, Ian. Thunderball. London: Jonathan Cape, (1961). First edition, first printing. Octavo, in full, custom leather binding with decorative gilt spine, blind embossed skeleton cover, and matching quarter leather clamshell case. 

This is a first edition printing of Ian Fleming’s ninth Bond novel, Thunderball, published by Jonathan Cape in London, 1961.

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.

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.


A stunning "one off" Bond collectible. Book is in very good condition. First edition pages. Internally clean and healthy pages, with publisher and title page intact.

Book is bound in full blue calf leather, with exquisite marbled endpapers. Book's spine has gold tooled titles and raised bands; tooling also to inside covers. Front cover has exact replica blind embossed skeleton hand, as original. All edges are gilt. Octavo, book measures 7 5/8" H x 5 1/4" W x 1 1/8" D. 

Book is housed in a matching blue quarter calf clamshell box, with “Bond” embossing on interior suede lining. The clamshell's front has a miniature of the original "Thunderball" movie poster inlayed. Clamshell measures 9"H x 6 1/2" W x 1 7/8" D. 

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