|Author:|| Ian Fleming|
(with "Vivienne Michel")
|Cover artist:||Richard Chopping|
|Published by:||Jonathan Cape|
|Release date:||16 April, 1962|
|Alternate title:||Motel Nymph|
|Thunderball||On Her Majesty's Secret Service|
The Spy Who Loved Me is the ninth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, first published by Jonathan Cape on 16 April 1962. It is the shortest and most sexually explicit of Fleming's novels, as well as a clear departure from previous Bond novels in that the story is told in the first person by a young Canadian woman, Vivienne Michel. Bond himself does not appear until two thirds of the way through the book. Fleming wrote a prologue to the novel giving Michel credit as a co-author.
Due to the controversial reactions by critics and fans, Fleming was not happy with the book and attempted to suppress elements of it where he could: he blocked a paperback edition in the United Kingdom and only gave permission for the title to be used when he sold the film rights to his novels to Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, rather than any aspects of the plot.
The central character and narrator of The Spy Who Loved Me is Vivienne Michel, a young Canadian woman who ends up running a cheap motel in the Adirondack Mountains to pay for a trip through America. Fleming structured the novel in three sections—"Me", "Them" and "Him" to describe the phases of the story.
Viv, a French-Canadian orphan, was sent to finishing school in London by her Aunt to learn to be a "Lady". Once there, she had some trouble fitting in, and stayed in London after graduating. She met a boy, Derek Mallaby, at a party, and fell for him. They ended up spending every Saturday together and fooling around; Derek eventually convinced her to go all the way before he leaves for university. They got caught in the theater, and ended up going to a park; the emphasis is on Viv's feelings of shame and use. Viv was subsequently dumped later when Derek sent her a letter from the University of Oxford saying he had met someone else whom his parents had approved of and had recently gotten engaged.
Disillusioned, she became a career girl working on a newspaper, and gained the attention of Kurt Rainer, her German boss. They grew close, and the cold, modern, professional Kurt appealed to her new career-girl mentality. They ended up having a casual-sex relationship after Kurt's German fiancee left him, which ended after Viv got pregnant and Kurt rather cruelly sent her off to Switzerland for an abortion. She got it, but decided to leave London and sort her life out with a trip down the American east coast by moped, from her Canadian aunt to a new life in Florida.
using a large sum given to her by Rainer, purchased a motor scooter and started a road journey through North America headed for Florida, stopping to work as a receptionist at the Dreamy Pines Motor Court in the Adirondack Mountains for managers Jed and Mildred Phancey for a few weeks to help work her way along her road trip. After a few weeks of working for them the Phancey's take a vacation and leave her in charge for one day until the owner to give the keys to the owner, Mr. Sanguinetti, the next morning.
As Viv huddles up in the motel during a storm, two men knock on the door and come in, claiming to be insurance men sent by Mr. Sanguinetti to check over the property. Almost immediately, the two men, Sluggsy" Morant and Sol "Horror" Horowitz, under the guise that they work for Mr. Sanguinetti and are there to look over the motel for insurance reasoning, reveal themselves as clearly some kind of criminals, menacing Viv, threatening her, and threatening to rape her.
Her attempts to resist are futile, and she's stuck making them food as they wait in the dining room/lobby of the motel. She attempts to escape, but they catch her. They're about to go ahead and rape her then when they are halted by the sound of the door bell.
Everyone is taken by surprise when a stranger shows up at the door: James Bond, who had a punctured tire while driving from Toronto to Washington, and wants help. Bond quickly realises that Horror and Sluggsy are mobsters and that Viv is in danger. Pressuring the two men, he eventually gets the gangsters to agree to provide him a room there for the night. The gangsters become openly hostile when it becomes clear that Bond knows what's going on, but send Bond and Viv to sleep locked in separate motel rooms
Bond explains to Vivienne that he is in America in the wake of Operation Thunderball. He was detailed to protect Horst Uhlmann, a Russian nuclear expert, who defected to the British and who now lives in Toronto, as part of his quest to ferret out SPECTRE and find Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Bond is bothered by the bloody mess the operation turned into. Bond gives Viv a spare gun and helps her secure her room, planning to act during the night.
Viv wakes up to find Sluggsy in her room, who knocks her out when she tries to fight back. She then wakes up again to find Bond rescuing her from the motel, which is now burning. Horror and Sluggsy were supposed to burn down the motel for the insurance money, with Viv as a convenient scapegoat for the fire. Bond escaped the fire and then saved Viv, and now he tries to take on the gangsters. The result is a lengthy gun battle on the grounds of the burning motel, which ends when Bond shoots both the gangsters as they try to escape in their car, which crashes into the lake behind the motel.
Bond and Viv go into an unburnt unit for the rest of the night. They shower and then make love. Viv describes it as being a different experience with Bond compared to that of Derek and Kurt. They then fall asleep in each others embrace. However, they are awoken to find Sluggsy, who survived inside the car, at the window. He makes a further attempt to kill them, before Bond shoots him dead for good. The pair once again go to sleep together.
Viv wakes up to find he's left after changing his tire to alert the authorities. He left a note wishing her well and promising to use his pull to make sure she's let go with the minimum of fuss. Viv talks with the police, who let her go, but not before the captain warns her that men like Bond may seem heroic, but she should remember that he's ultimately the same type of man as Sluggsy and Horror, a cold-hearted professional killer who's dangerous and unsuitable to make a hero out of. Viv, however, is too far gone in love for the man who was in and out of her life, and believes he had to have been a good man anyway.
Viv reflects on this as she motors off at the end of the book, continuing her tour of America, but despite the officer's warning still devoted to the mere memory of the "spy" who loved her.