Bond Behind the Iron Curtain is a fascinating new book that looks at the world's most famous secret agent from a completely different angle, through the eyes of the communist bloc.
Even before the film of Dr No was released, the Bond phenomenon was being attacked as pornography, capitalist filth and anti-socialist poison. Its popularity in the West only stoked Russian derision. This new book perfectly captures the political face of Bond through rarely seen images and a variety of texts translated into English for the first time. What makes it of exceptional interest is that much of the Russian ridicule of the figure of Bond in the 1960s has turned out to be extremely accurate.
Nor is it without humour: how the KGB tried to sell a novel in London in which Bond is killed, how the 007 trademark came to be downgraded to 07, how much he was paid for Dr No – in short, Bond Behind the Iron Curtain is introducing readers to a completely unknown side of Bond.
The book is written and edited by James Fleming, one of Ian Fleming's nephews, an author in his own right and editor of The Book Collector, the literary quarterly Ian set up around the same time as he created Bond.
James says: "I think I have been aware for some time that a review of one of Uncle Ian's books had appeared in Izvestiya. At the end of May 1962, before the Dr No film came out, this extraordinary review appeared in the Soviet newspaper denouncing 007 and Fleming, but it was only when I started researching for this book that I finally managed to lay my eyes on a copy of it. Interestingly, Ian's publisher Jonathan Cape considered printing the review on the dust wrapper of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and a proof copy was printed, but in the end, I believe, they were all binned."
The book starts with this full-page attack on James Bond, Ian Fleming and the film of Dr No that appeared in Izvestiya even before the film had been released. The book also includes the first ever translation of the long Russian critique of the Bond films by Maja Turovskaya published in 1966, and the extremely interesting account that appeared in Prague the following year of Sean Connery’s rise to fame. A bonus is the Bulgarian attempt to publish a novel in which Bond was killed.
Featuring 16 rarely seen illustrations and an essay by Błażej Mikuła, the book is 128pp, cased, (jacket design by Sarah Bennett) and is available from The Book Collector from 20th October for £25 plus p&p, pre-orders can be taken now.
The official making of book for No Time To Die will be published by Titan Books (UK) on October 12th.
This lavish 192-page coffee table hardback takes readers behind the scenes of the 25th official James Bond film and reveals the locations, characters, gadgets, weapons, and cars of No Time To Die, with exclusive on-set photography, concept art, costume designs, stunt breakdowns, and more, accompanied by cast and crew interviews.
Author Mark Salisbury is a former editor of Britain's Empire film magazine. He has written numerous movie books, including Burton On Burton, Crimson Peak: The Art Of Darkness, and Prometheus: The Art Of The Film.
The book is currently available for pre-order from Amazon with the price reduced from £39.99 to £28.79.
To mark Ian Fleming’s birthday today, Jonathan Cape, Vintage and Ian Fleming Publications have announced that Anthony Horowitz has been asked to write a third official James Bond novel.
Anthony Horowitz said: “I am very excited to have started my third Bond novel with the continuing support of the Ian Fleming estate. Forever and a Day looked at Bond’s first assignment. Trigger Mortis was mid-career. The new book begins with the death of Scaramanga and Bond’s return to Jamaica to confront an old enemy.”
Corinne Turner, Managing Director of IFP, said: “We’re delighted and excited that Anthony is writing his third Bond novel. From the nuggets we’ve seen so far, we are confident it will be another best-selling episode in the adventures of 007.”
The untitled book will be published in May 2022 by Jonathan Cape in the UK, Commonwealth and EU, and by Harper Collins US in the United States.
A special exhibition is set to celebrate the illustrator of the original James Bond book covers.
This summer, The Salisbury Museum in England celebrates the life and work of writer, illustrator and teacher Richard Chopping (1917 – 2008), best-known for illustrating the original book covers for James Bond.
Richard Chopping was a master of the trompe-l'œil technique, producing highly realistic three-dimensional images, and it was this distinctive style that led him to be commissioned by Ian Fleming to illustrate nine of the James Bond book covers from 1957 to 1966.
The exhibition features some of the original working drawings for the books, including the striking skull design for Goldfinger– one of Chopping’s personal favourites, and a commission that had been declined by his former friend and subsequent arch-rival, Lucien Freud.
The exhibition looks at Chopping’s entire output, positioning his work for Fleming firmly within the context of his 40-year career. Highlights from his early years include his illustrations for Butterflies in Britain (1943) and the collection of children’s short stories Mr Postlethwaite's Reindeer (1945). There are also delicate wild flower drawings, prepared for an ambitious 22 volume series on British wild flowers by Penguin, which was abandoned due to spiralling costs, and Chopping’s original design and preparatory studies for the book cover of his first novel The Fly (1965) which was a success despite being described by one reviewer as a ‘just about the most unpleasant book of the year’.
With many works which have never previously been displayed, this exhibition will be a genuine treasure-trove for the Chopping cognoscenti and for those discovering his work for the first time. They reveal a talented artist whose work should perhaps be as well-known as the fictional spy he helped make famous.
The exhibition runs from Monday, May 17, 2021 to Sunday, October 3, 2021. For more information visit https://salisburymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/richard-chopping-original-bond-artist
A complete set of first edition, first printings of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series has gone on sale for £475,000.
The collection is being sold by John Atkinson Books, and eleven of the fifteen novels are signed with inscriptions to associates or intimate friends of Ian Fleming. Also included is a signed copy of James Bond’s ‘Birds of the West Indies’.
Each book is contained in the original dust wrapper and each in custom made solander boxes.
The collection consists:
Casino Royale – Signed and inscribed to Lisl Popper, lover of Ian Fleming and one of three people Fleming left £500 to in his will.
Live and Let Die – Signed and inscribed to Muriel Williams, secretary to Fleming at Kemsley Newspapers.
Moonraker – Signed and inscribed to Joyce Emerson, Fleming’s ghost writer on his ‘Atticus’ column
From Russia With Love – Signed and inscribed to Fleming’s chiropractor Raymond Singleton-Ward
Goldfinger – Signed and inscribed to the golfer Sir Henry Cotton
Thunderball – Signed and inscribed to Wing Commander Dobson, who advised Fleming on Vulcan bombers used in the book
The Spy Who Loved Me – Signed and inscribed to William Plomer, friend of Fleming and responsible for having Casino Royale published
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Signed and inscribed to Joss Pender, golding friend at Royal St. George’s golf club
You Only Live Twice – Signed and inscribed to Aubrey Forshaw, managing director at Pan paperbacks
Octopussy – Signed by actors Roger Moore, Maryam D’Abo and Maud Adams
Birds of the West Indies – Signed by James Bond
John Atkinson, the rare book dealer based in Harrogate, England, told the Financial Times: “Along with Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, Bond is one of the best-known characters from 20th-century literature. The books are just very popular and probably always will be, given the success of the films.”
"The books are like works of art, and the collection gives you an insight into Fleming's lifestyle."
You can splash out on the collection here.
"Ian Fleming: The Brain Behind Bond" was the final interview recorded with the author. It was first broadcast as a half hour documentary by CBC-TV's Explorations on August 17th, 1964 - just five days after Fleming died.
Th interview was carried out by Munroe Scott, a Candian writer and director, at Goldeneye in Jamaica. With the Caribbean sea in the background, a chain-smoking Fleming appears relaxed as he speaks candidly, articulately and intimitely about his own life and that of his fictional super-spy.
You can now watch the full interview below.
By Matthew Blackman
On May 12, 1952, Ian Fleming was having lunch at a restaurant in London with the South African writer William Plomer. The two had been friends for years and had worked together in Naval intelligence during World War II. “How,” Fleming suddenly asked, “do you get cigarette smoke out of a woman once you’ve got it in?”
Plomer, bemused, carried on eating, unsure what Fleming was talking about. “You can’t use ‘exhales,’ while ‘puffs out’ sounds silly.” According to Plomer’s biographer, Peter Alexander, Plomer looked up sharply and exclaimed: “You’ve written a book!” After a pause, Fleming admitted that he had. The book was Casino Royale, and Plomer would ultimately be the man who would get it into print, despite the fact that even Fleming’s publisher hated it.
In many ways Plomer was an unlikely person to steer the world’s most famous secret agent into being. Born in 1903 in the tiny dusty colonial outpost of Pietersburg, in northern South Africa, Plomer was bookish and reclusive. And, very un-Bond-like, he hated gadgets — he refused to have even a telephone in his house. But there was another side to him, a side that sustained friendships with people of diverse backgrounds and vastly different personalities.
Like George Orwell, Plomer was the son of a colonial civil servant and grew up between places. He was partly educated in Great Britain, partly in South Africa. And, also like Orwell, he diverged from his social set, avoiding college for a career as a sheep farmer in South Africa, even though all he ever wanted was to be a writer.
After a year of apprenticing on a sheep farm, Plomer went to Zululand to help his father, who had bought a broken-down old trading station in a beautiful, extremely remote part of the region. There, the 19-year-old Plomer sat down many nights with an oil lamp and a pencil to write his first novel, as well as try his hand at poetry.
The poetry he sent to a man by the name of John Langalibalele Dube, who lived about 80 miles away. Dube was the founding president of the African National Congress — the political party later led by Nelson Mandela — and editor of the Black-focused newspaper Ilanga Lase Natali (The Natal Sun).
Dube liked the poetry and published it. More than that, the two men became friends. Through this friendship and others with activists of colour, Plomer developed loathing for white South African racists, a feeling he expressed through satire in his first novel, Turbott Wolfe. When the 21-year-old Plomer finished Turbott Wolfe, he sent it unsolicited to Britain’s Hogarth Press, the publishing house run by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Plomer claimed that the two were drawn to the manuscript, which dealt frankly with interracial love, only because it was written “with hard pencil on thin paper” — he had no typewriter and ordinary paper was heavy and expensive to mail.
The Woolfs decided to publish the novel immediately, and it was well-received in Britain and the United States. In South Africa, though, it was a different story: Many white racists in the country were horrified by the plot. Under considerable social pressure, Plomer — who at 22 had begun to realize and accept his homosexuality — jumped on a ship bound for Japan and wound up settling in London, in 1929. In later life, he wrote of his native country, which had by then begun the policies of apartheid: “I could not imagine living there in a state of tension that I should only find endurable if bent on martyrdom.”
While living in England, Plomer continued to write, publishing several novels, but he had no steady income until, a decade later, he was offered the position of literary adviser to the publisher Jonathan Cape. The job was not an easy one, as Cape, a tall and forbidding figure with iron-gray hair, was known to be a hard-nosed businessman from a tough working-class background. What’s more, Cape had a passionate dislike for fictional thrillers, which Plomer enjoyed. Plomer is said to have found it hard to work for Cape although he respected him as a publisher.
In 1929, Plomer received a party invitation from a man he had never met who professed to have enjoyed Turbott Wolfe — aspiring writer and journalist Ian Fleming. The two would strike up a lasting friendship. Although Plomer never shared Fleming’s passion for women, fast cars and gambling, their mutual enjoyment of witty conversation is what kept the friendship alive for more than 30 years, until Fleming’s death in 1964.
When Fleming finally gave Plomer Casino Royale to have a look at, Plomer “was greatly impressed by it,” Alexander says. The same could not be said for Plomer’s publishers. None of the company directors enjoyed the book or wanted to publish it, with one decrying the novel as “deeply shocking” and cynically violent. Cape himself only read it because of Plomer’s insistence that it had to be published, and would would never read another Bond novel again.
Still, Cape ended up publishing it in 1953 and in doing so created a cash cow for the publishing house. Throughout their friendship, Plomer continued to offer Fleming literary support: The novel Goldfinger, which has never gone out of print, is dedicated to him.
From The Sun newspaper
A collection of James Bond books, including one that seems to show Ian Fleming’s love of kinky sex, are set to sell for more than £1 million.
A first edition of From Russia, With Love is inscribed to his wife: “To Annie. With love — and lashes — Ian.”
The book, one of 114 being sold by a private collector, has a £35,000 estimate at a Sotheby’s auction in London.
One of the lots, priced at £120,000, is a final revised typescript of Diamonds Are Forever.
A copy of Live and Let Die presented to Winston Churchill has a note which reads “from whom I stole some words”.
Another Diamonds Are Forever copy is inscribed to Biffy Dunderdale, a spy who influenced the creation of Bond.
Altogether 114 books will be sold. A display at Sotheby's Bond Street gallery in London will run from November 6 to 10 and includes books, watches and an Aston Martin.
There is also a first edition of Moonraker inscribed to Raymond Chandler, the American detective novelist, who urged Fleming to keep writing about Bond. According to Sotheby's, Chandler's coaxing meant that Moonraker was the third story of 14, rather than the last.
Many fans know that Ian Fleming named his fictional spy after real-life ornithologist James Bond, but how many people know where the number 007 originated from?
Well, it turns out that Bond’s licence to kill number was named after a London bus.
Between 1934 and 1945, Ian Fleming lived at 22b Ebury Street, London, which later became a home of villain Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, as well as the starting point of a car chase to Dover.
Ebury Street is directly behind what was then the brand new Victoria Coach Station, which had opened in 1932.
In the early 1950s, when Fleming was forming the idea of Bond, he moved out of London to Kent. However, he would regularly travel back to London by a bus from either Dover or Canterbury.
And the number of this bus route was…007.
Casino Royale was published in 1953, and the rest is history. The bus was taken over by National Express in 1973, and a 007 coach service now runs nine times a day between Deal in Kent and London Victoria Coach station.
Nathan Rushton, the driver of the 007 bus, said: “While James Bond is more likely to be seen behind the wheel of a Bentley, it’s a massive honour to drive the 007 and it certainly attracts a lot of attention.
"People in Kent have always believed James Bond was named after this local service and I personally think the fact Ian Fleming also previously lived so close to the coach station at Victoria proves it – it’s just too much of a coincidence otherwise.”
Sights that can be spotted while aboard the 007 include Canterbury’s city walls, Dover and Deal castles and even France over the English Channel on a clear day.
Nathan added: “Bond is suave, sophisticated and devastatingly cool, so it’s quite funny to think he could have been named after a bus, but then again what could be more quintessentially British?”
If you have just robbed Fort Knox and have a cool £19.5 million in the bank, how about this for A View to a Kill!
Apartment 0.07 at Twenty Grosvenor Square, London, is named after Ian Fleming's super spy. The 5,863sq ft triplex has a double garage for both your Aston Martins, a lift, games room and private bar.
This Four Seasons residence is part of Finchatton's luxury 37-unit develoment in the heart of Mayfair - handy for a game of bridge at Blades, but a solid 50-minute walk to MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross.
Visit 20gs.com/ to register your interest!
Photos copyright Simon Brown.