I'd only read one of Ian Fleming's 'Bond' books before, and I really didn't like it. (It was 'Goldfinger', I believe). But, since I like all the movies so much, and I came across this book for free somewhere or other, I thought I'd give another try.
Well, although this one didn't actively offend me, it's still not the best-written example of literature. However, it was quite interesting to me for a couple of reasons.
First, it was UTTERLY different from the movie of the same name. I wouldn't have recognized one as being based on the other. The bad guy creates a poisonous garden which lures Japanese citizens to suicide, hoping to create a big enough social disturbance to get kicked out of the country and be able to demand a big payoff, all the while satisfying his psychotically sadistic urges... It's ridiculous, over-the-top - and Very, Very Bond-esque!
As I indicated above, the majority of the story is set in Japan. It was VERY VERY obvious that Ian Fleming went on a typical first-time vacation to Japan, and jammed most of the things on the must-see tourist list into the book, along with a few of his own observations. As I also did a similar trip, I found it fascinating - and surprisingly accurate, in some regards, although not wholly so (for example, Japanese people disrespecting and shoving old ladies? From my observance, the opposite is true! The elderly women Demand respect and are quite pushy themselves!).
Some bits of the book are quite dated... especially the concept that Bond could masquerade in Japan as a Japanese man by dying his skin darker and shaving his eyebrows. Very weird concept, since many Japanese have lighter skin than your average Brit, and I've never noticed anything remarkably distinctive about the Asian Eyebrow. It does make me suspect that people in the 50s and 60s who saw movies with Westerners playing Asian roles in movies might have thought they were somehow convincing, however... ???