Chopping, Richard. Hard Cover. London: Jonathan Cape, 1961. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition, first impression, first issue, binding A, of the ninth novel in the James Bond series. Publisher's dark brown cloth with skeleton hand in blind to front board, spine lettered in gilt; in the original pictorial dust jacket designed by Richard Chopping, with an illustration to the front panel of a skeleton's hand holding a blackjack hand with a knife affixing the cards to the table, lettered in black. Fine book; about fine unclipped dust jacket, with light toning to spine, a touch of rubbing to corners and foot of spine, and small Jonathan Cape price sticker to bottom of front flap over original price. Overall, a remarkably fresh copy. Gilbert A9a (1.1). Thunderball is the first of Fleming's novels to involve the notorious villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of the secret spy organization SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). In this novel, Bond is in the Bahamas at a health clinic when SPECTRE steals two atomic bombs. The British and American intelligence agencies team up to launch Operation Thunderball in an effort to recover the weapons. Published only a few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Fleming draws a parallel to pre-existing Cold War tensions to heighten the suspense of this novel. Thunderball culminates with a memorable underwater fight scene from which 007 only narrowly escapes. The Blofeld trilogy is continued in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963) and You Only Live Twice (1964).