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courtesy AudioGo (now merged with Download)

Back in 2013, I ran across some audiobooks that sent my inner Bond and audiobook fanboy into a near ecstatic thrill: Ian Fleming’s books were being narrated by some of the best contemporary English actors, some of whom had Bond connections like Rory Kinnear and Rosamund Pike. As quickly as the excitement built over this new, “reloaded” set of recordings, it died. AudioGo (purveyors of BBC audio books) didn’t publish them in the US, only the UK. So, I could pay more money than I had to import the box CD set, but otherwise, I was out of luck. So close and yet so far.

Recently I was on Audible’s site and, lo and behold, I saw one of the audiobooks on the front page. WHAT? When did this happen? I dug a bit deeper – the whole set was there. It turns out that AudioGo was merged into Downpour and, somewhere during that time, Ian Fleming’s estate must have negotiated audio rights to the US.


courtesy AudioGo (now merged with downpour)

If you like the hard, gritty cold war Bond of Mr. Fleming’s books and you like audiobooks, you’re in for a serious treat. (if you only know the films, this Bond’s a bit more real, a bit less humorous and a whole lot of fun. You still wouldn’t want your sister to date him.) I know I stumbled upon this, so I really wanted to get the word out. (Also, they’re on sale for 1/2 off at Audible until April 20th)

In all of this excitement, I do want to make clear that my excitement does not diminish my appreciation of Simon Vance’s versions. Even though I’ve listened to Mr. Vance’s prolific narrations of many other books, his voice is always the one that is home for me for Mr. Fleming’s novels. I still love his narration for Bond, my excitement is for some of my favorite actors, many of whom have not had previous connection to Bond, join their voices of narration for the Bond series.

Here’s the entire set with links to the Audible versions. Happy listening.

Title Narrator
Casino Royale Dan Stevens (Sense and Sensibility, Downton Abbey
Live and Let Die Rory Kinnear (Richard II, Skyfall, Imitation Game)
Moonraker Bill Nighy (Underworld, Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Wild Target, Best Marigold Hotel)
Diamonds Are Forever Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers, Homeland)
From Russia With Love Toby Stephens (Die Another Day, Jane Eyre)
Dr No Hugh Quarshie (Star Wars: Phantom Menace, Casualty, White Heat, Holby City)
Goldfinger Hugh Bonneville (Tomorrow Never Dies, Notting Hill, Downton Abbey, Paddington)
For Your Eyes Only Samuel West (Van Helsing, Fleming,
Thunderball Jason Isaacs (The Patriot, Peter Pan, Harry Potter series)
The Spy Who Loved Me Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day, Jack Reacher, Pride & Prejudice, Gone Girl)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service David Tennant (Blackpool, Dr. Who, Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire, Hamlet)
You Only Live Twice Martin Jarvis (Dr. Who, Titanic, Girl with the Dragon)
The Man With The Golden Gun Sir Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Wallander)
Octopussy and The Living Daylights Tom Hiddleston (Wallander, Thor, War Horse, Avengers, Henry IV, Henry V)

Lucy Fleming (Cold Warrior, Pirate Radio) Ian Fleming’s niece