Nobody Lives For Ever
Nobody Lives Forever
Author: John Gardner
Cover artist: Trevor Scobie
Published by: Jonathan Cape
Pages: 192
Release date: 1986
Alternate title: Nobody Lives Forever
Publication order
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Role of Honour No Deals, Mr. Bond

Nobody Lives For Ever (published in American editions as Nobody Lives Forever), first published in 1986, was the fifth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Putnam.

Nobody Lives For Ever was the last novel to have its first edition cover designed in the style of Richard Chopping. Chopping had previously drawn nine Ian Fleming novels from 1956 to 1966 as well as Gardener's Licence Renewed in 1981.


En route to retrieve his faithful housekeeper, May, from a European health clinic where she is recovering from an illness, Bond is warned by the British Secret Service that Tamil Rahini, the current leader of SPECTRE, now dying from wounds suffered due to his last encounter with Bond, has put a price on Bond's head. "Trust no one," Bond is warned. Soon after, May and Miss Moneypenny, who had been visiting his housekeeper are reported missing, and Bond finds himself dodging would-be assassins while searching for his friends, assisted by a young debutante, Sukie Tempesta and her capable, yet mysterious, female bodyguard Nannie Norrich.

The price on Bond's head is a competition orchestrated by Rahani and SPECTRE known as 'The Head Hunt', and is an open contest to anyone willing to capture, kill, or present Bond to Rahani, where he would be subsequently decapitated by guillotine. Along Bond's journey of attempting to rescue Moneypenny and May, Bond is betrayed and chased by a number of people and organizations, including his own British Secret Service ally, Steve Quinn who has defected to the KGB, corrupted police officers, and agents of SPECTRE in disguise.

When Bond locates SPECTRE's headquarters on Shark Island, Bond purchases a scuba diving suit, and abandons Tempesta and Norrich at the Pier House Hotel to pursue the organization. When he prepares himself to kill a sleeping Rahani, he is prevented by Norrich. When Rahani awakens from his sleep, Norrich reveals to Bond that she is an operative of SPECTRE, and she informs the dying leader that he has delivered Bond onto him.

Bond is escorted to the dungeons where he is to executed via guillotine, and is stripped of Q'ute's toolkit and weaponized belt to escape. However, Bond escapes thanks to unlocking the control lock through a pin. Then, Bond enters Rahini's room, and cuts a cord on Rahani's electric bed. When Bond is about to executed, Rahani requests his bed to be raised in order to witness it. When Norrich raises the bed, the bed explodes killing Rahani, Norrich, and two unnamed henchmen. The headquarters then erupts into an inferno where Bond, Moneypenny, and May are rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.


The novel's original title, chosen by Gardner, was You Only Die Once.

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