The Bond character is a Secret Service agent, code number 007, residing in London but active internationally. Bond was a composite character who was based on a number of commandos who Fleming knew during his service in the Naval Intelligence Division during World War II, to whom Fleming added his own style and a number of his own tastes; Bond's name was appropriated from American ornithologistJames Bond. Bond has a number of character traits which run throughout the books, including an enjoyment of cars, a love of food and drink, and an average intake of sixty custom-made cigarettes a day.
Since Fleming's death in 1964, there have been other authorised writers of Bond material, including John Gardner, who wrote fourteen novels and two novelizations and Raymond Benson, who wrote six novels, three novelizations and three short stories. There have also been three authors who wrote one book each, Kingsley Amis (writing as Robert Markham), Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver. Additionally a series of novels based on Bond's youth—Young Bond—was written by Charlie Higson.
As spin-offs from the literary works, there was a television adaptation of the first novel, Casino Royale, in which Bond was played as an American agent. A comic strip series also ran in the Daily Express newspaper. There have also been twenty-four Bond films, with a twenty-fifth due for release on 26 October 2012; seven actors have played Bond in these films.
James Bond is the culmination of an important but much-maligned tradition in English literature. As a boy, Fleming devoured the Bulldog Drummond tales of Lieutenant Colonel Herman Cyril McNeile (aka "Sapper") and the Richard Hannay stories of John Buchan. His genius was to repackage these antiquated adventures to fit the fashion of postwar Britain.... In Bond, he created a Bulldog Drummond for the jet age.
During World War II, Ian Fleming had mentioned to friends that he wanted to write a spy novel. It was not until 1952, however, shortly before his wedding to his pregnant girlfriend, Ann Charteris, that Fleming began to write Casino Royale, to distract himself from his forthcoming nuptials. Fleming started writing on his first book, Casino Royale, at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica on 17 February 1952, typing out 2,000 words in the morning, directly from his own experiences and imagination. He finished work on the script in just over a month, completing it on 18 March 1952. Describing the work as his "dreadful oafish opus", Fleming showed it to an ex-girlfriend, Clare Blanchard, who advised him not to publish it at all, but that if he did so, it should be under another name. Fleming went on to write a total of twelve Bond novels and two short story collections; he died on the morning of 12 August 1964. The last two books—The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy and The Living Daylights—were published posthumously.
[[File:Ian Fleming 007.jpg|thumb|right|150px|[[Ian Fleming]], the creator of James Bond]]
Fleming based his creation on a number of individuals he came across during his time in the Naval Intelligence Division during World War II, admitting that Bond "was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war". Amongst those types were his brother, Peter, who Fleming worshipped, and who had been involved in behind the lines operations in Norway and Greece during the war.
Fleming took the name for his character from that of the American ornithologistJames Bond, a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guideBirds of the West Indies; Fleming, a keen birdwatcher himself, had a copy of Bond's guide and he later explained to the ornithologist’s wife that "It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born".
When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument...when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, [James Bond] is the dullest name I ever heard.
On another occasion Fleming said: "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, 'James Bond' was much better than something more interesting, like 'Peregrine Carruthers'. Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure—an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department." After Fleming met the ornithologist and his wife, he described them as "a charming couple who are amused by the whole joke".
Bond's number—007—comes from the English spy and polymath John Dee, who would sign his letters to Elizabeth I with 00 and an elongated 7, to signify they were for her eyes only. The number was also assigned by Fleming in reference to one of British naval intelligence's key achievements of World War I: the breaking of the German diplomatic code. One of the German documents cracked and read by the British was the Zimmermann Telegram, which was coded 0075, and which was one of the factors that led the US entering the war.
Facially, Bond resembles the composer, singer and actor Hoagy Carmichael. In Casino RoyaleVesper Lynd remarks, "Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless." Likewise, in Moonraker,Special Branch Officer Gala Brand thinks that Bond is "certainly good-looking . . . Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold." Others, such as journalist Ben Macintyre, identify aspects of Fleming's own looks in his description of Bond. General references in the novels describe Bond as having "dark, rather cruel good looks".
In the novels (notably From Russia, with Love), Bond's physical description has generally been consistent: slim build; a three-inch long, thin vertical scar on his right cheek; blue-grey eyes; a "cruel" mouth; short, black hair, a comma of which falls on his forehead. Physically he is described as 183 centimetres (6 feet) in height and 76 kilograms (167 lb) in weight. After Casino Royale, Bond also had the faint scar of the Russian cyrillic letter "Ш" (SH) (for Shpion: "Spy") on the back of one of his hands, carved by a SMERSH agent.
In Ian Fleming's stories, James Bond is in his mid-to-late thirties, but does not age. In Moonraker, he admits to being eight years shy of mandatory retirement age from the 00 section—forty-five—which would mean he was thirty-seven at the time. Fleming did not provide Bond's date of birth, but John Pearson's fictional biography of Bond, James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, gives him a birth date of 11 November 1920, whilst a study by Bond scholar John Griswold puts the date at 11 November 1921. According to Griswold, the Fleming novels take place between around May 1951, to February 1964, by which time Bond was aged 42.
If the quality of these books, or their degree of veracity, had been any higher, the author would certainly have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. It is a measure of the disdain in which these fictions are held at the Ministry, that action has not yet—I emphasize the qualification—been taken against the author and publisher of these high-flown and romanticized caricatures of episodes in the career of a outstanding public servant.
It was not until the penultimate novel, You Only Live Twice, that Fleming gave Bond a sense of family background, using a fictional obituary, purportedly from The Times. The book was the first to be written after the release of Dr. No in cinemas and Sean Connery's depiction of Bond affected Fleming's interpretation of the character, to give Bond both a sense of humour and Scottish antecedents that were not present in the previous stories. The novel reveals Bond is the son of a Scottish father, Andrew Bond, of Glencoe, and a Swiss mother, Monique Delacroix, of the Canton de Vaud. The young James Bond spends much of his early life abroad, becoming multilingual in German and French because of his father's work as a Vickers armaments company representative. When his parents are killed in a mountain climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges near Chamonix, eleven-year-old James is orphaned.
After the death of his parents, Bond goes to live with his aunt, Miss Charmian Bond, in the village of Pett Bottom, where he completes his early education. Later, he briefly attends Eton College at "12 or thereabouts", but is removed after two halves because of girl trouble with a maid. After being sent down from Eton, Bond was sent to Fettes College in Scotland, his father's school. On his first visit to Paris at the age of sixteen, Bond lost his virginity, later reminiscing about the event in "From a View to a Kill". After leaving Fettes, Fleming used his own upbringing for his creation, with Bond alluding to briefly attending the University of Geneva, (as did Fleming) before being taught to ski in Kitzbühel (as was Fleming) by Hannes Oberhauser, who was later killed in "Octopussy".
In 1941, Bond joined the Ministry of Defence and became a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves, ending the war as a commander. Bond applied to M for a position within the "Secret Service", part of the Civil Service, and rose to the rank of principal officer.
At the start of Fleming's first book, Casino Royale, Bond is already a 00 agent having been given the position after killing two enemy agents, a Japanese spy on the thirty-sixth floor of the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in New York City and a Norwegian double agent who had betrayed two British agents; it is suggested by Bond scholar John Griswold that these were part of Bond's wartime service with Special Operations Executive, a British World War II covert military organisation. In 1954, according to the Soviet file on him in From Russia, With Love, Bond is made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.
Tastes and style
Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett noted that, "within the first few pages [of Casino Royale] Ian had introduced most of Bond's idiosyncrasies and trademarks", which included his looks, his Bentley and his smoking and drinking habits. The full details of Bond's martini were kept until chapter seven of the book and Bond eventually named it "The Vesper", after Vesper Lynd.
'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
<p>'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'
<p>'Certainly monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
<p>'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
<p>Bond laughed. 'When I'm...er...concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I think of a good name.'
Bond's drinking habits run throughout the series of books. During the course of On Her Majesty's Secret Service alone, Bond consumes forty-six drinks: Pouilly-Fuissé, Riquewihr and Marsala wines, most of a bottle of Algerian wine, some 1953 Château Mouton Rothschildclaret, along with Taittinger and Krug champagnes and Babycham; for whiskies he consumes three bourbon and waters, half a pint of I.W. Harper bourbon, Jack Daniel's whiskey, two double bourbons on the rocks, two whisky and sodas, two neat scotches and one glass of neat whisky; vodka consumption totalled four vodka and tonics and three double vodka martinis; other sprits included two double brandies with ginger ale, a flask of Enzian Schnaps and a double gin: he also washed this down with four steins of German beer.
For his non-alcoholic drinks Bond eschews tea, calling it "mud" and blaming it for the downfall of the British Empire. He instead prefers to drink coffee.
When in England and not on a mission, Bond dines as simply as Fleming did on dishes such as grilled sole, oeufs en cocotte and cold roast beef with potato salad. When on a mission, however, Bond eats more extravagantly. This was partly because in 1953, when Casino Royale was published, many items of food were still rationed, and Bond was "the ideal antidote to Britain's postwar austerity, rationing and the looming premonition of lost power". This extravagance was more noteworthy with his contemporary readers for Bond eating exotic, local foods when abroad, at a time when most of his readership did not travel abroad.
On 1 April 1958 Fleming wrote to The Manchester Guardian in defence of his work, referring to that paper's review of Dr. No. Whilst referring to Bond's food and wine consumption as "gimmickery", Fleming bemoaned that "it has become an unfortunate trade-mark. I myself abhor Wine-and-Foodmanship. My own favourite food is scrambled eggs." Fleming was so keen on scrambled eggs that he used his short story, "007 in New York" to provide his favourite recipe for the dish: in the story, this came from the housekeeper of his friend Ivar Bryce, May, who gave her name to Bond's own housekeeper.
Bond is a heavy smoker, at one point smoking 70 cigarettes a day. Bond has his cigarettes custom-made by Morland of Grosvenor Street, mixing Balkan and Turkish tobacco and having a higher nicotine content than normal; the cigarettes have three gold bands on the filter. Bond carried his cigarettes in a wide gunmetal cigarette case which carried fifty; he also used a black oxidised Ronson lighter. The cigarettes were the same as Fleming's, who had been buying his at Morland since the 1930s; the three gold bands on the filter were added during the war to mirror his naval Commander's rank. On average, Bond smokes sixty cigarettes a day, although he cut back to around twenty five a day after his visit to a health farm in Thunderball: Fleming himself smoked up to 80 cigarettes a day.
Bond occasionally supplements his alcohol consumption with the use of other drugs, for both functional and recreational reasons: Moonraker sees Bond consumes a quantity of the amphetaminebenzedrine accompanied by champagne, before his bridge game with Sir Hugo Drax (also consuming a carafe of vintage Riga vodka and a vodka martini); he also uses the drug for stimulation on missions, such as swimming across Shark Bay in Live and Let Die, or remaining awake and alert when threatened in the Dreamy Pines Motor Court in The Spy Who Loved Me.
According to academic Jeremy Black, Bond is written as a complex character, even though he was also often the voice of Fleming's prejudices. The output of the prejudices, combined with the tales of Bond's actions, led journalist Yuri Zhukov to write an article in 1965 for the Soviet daily newspaper Pravda, describing Bond's values:
James Bond lives in a nightmarish world where laws are written at the point of a gun, where coercion and rape are considered valour and murder is a funny trick….Bond's job is to guard the interests of the property class, and he is no better than the youths Hitler boasted he would bring up like wild beasts to be able to kill without thinking.
Black does not consider Bond to be the unthinking wild beast Zhukov writes about, however.From Russia, with Love sees Bond watching Kerim Bey shoot the Bulgarian killer Krilencu and Bond observing that he had never killed anyone in cold blood. In "The Living Daylights" Bond deliberately misses his target, realising the sniper he has been sent to kill is a beautiful female cello player. Bond settles this in his mind by thinking that "It wasn't exactly murder. Pretty near it, though."Goldfinger opens with Bond thinking through the experience of killing a Mexican assassin days earlier. He is philosophical about it:
It was part of his profession to kill people. He had never liked doing it and when he had to kill he did it as well as he knew how and forgot about it. As a secret agent who held the rare double-O prefix—the licence to kill in the Secret Service—it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional—worse, it was a death-watch beetle in the soul.
Goldfinger, Chapter 1: Reflections in a Double Bourbon
Another general attitude and prejudice of Fleming's that Bond gives voice to includes his approach to homosexuality. Despite a number of gay friends, including Noël Coward and his editor, William Plomer, Fleming said that his books were "written for warm-blooded heterosexuals". His attitude went further, with Bond opining that homosexuals were "a herd of unhappy sexual misfits – barren and full of frustrations, the women wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied", adding that "he was sorry for them, but he had no time for them."
Bond lives in a flat off the King's Road in Chelsea. His flat is looked after by an elderly Scottish housekeeper named May. May's name was taken from May Maxwell, the housekeeper of Fleming's close friend, the American Ivar Bryce. In 1955 Bond earned around £2,000 a year net (£Template:Inflation in 2018 poundsTemplate:Inflation-fn), although when on assignment he worked on an unlimited expense account. Much of Fleming's own daily routine whilst working at The Sunday Times was woven into the Bond stories and he summarised it at the beginning of Moonraker:
...elastic office hours from around ten to six; lunch, generally in the canteen; evenings spent playing cards in the company of a few close friends, or at Crockford's; or making love, with rather cold passion, to one of three similarly disposed married women; weekends playing golf for high stakes at one of the clubs near London.
In the penultimate novel of the series, You Only Live Twice, Bond suffers from amnesia and has a relationship with an Ama diving girl, Kissy Suzuki. As a result of the relationship Kissy becomes pregnant, although she does not reveal this to Bond before he leaves the island.
From Casino Royale to From Russia, with Love Bond's preferred weapon is a .25 ACPBeretta automatic pistol carried in a light-weight chamois leather holster. However Fleming was contacted by a Bond enthusiast and gun expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, who criticised Fleming's choice of firearm for Bond and suggested a Walther PPK 7.65mm instead. Fleming used the suggestion in Dr. No, also taking advice that it should be used with the Berns-Martin triple draw shoulder holster. By way of thanks, the MI6 Armourer who gives Bond his gun was given the name Major Boothroyd, and is introduced by M as "the greatest small-arms expert in the world".
I wish to point out that a man in James Bond's position would never consider using a .25 Beretta. It's really a lady's gun - and not a very nice lady at that! Dare I suggest that Bond should be armed with a .38 or a nine millimetre - let's say a German Walther PPK? That's far more appropriate.
Geoffrey Boothroyd, letter to Ian Fleming, 1956
Kingsley Amis, in The James Bond Dossier, noted that although Bond is a very good shot and the best in the Secret Service, he is still beaten by the instructor, something that added realism to Bond's character. Amis identified a number of skills where Bond is very good, but is still beatable by others. These included skiing, hand-to-hand combat, underwater swimming and golf. Driving was also an ability Amis identified where Bond was good, but others were better; one of those who is a better driver than Bond is Sir Hugo Drax, who causes Bond to write off his battleship-grey Bentley 4½ Litre with an Amherst Villierssupercharger. Bond subsequently drives a Mark II Continental Bentley, which he uses in the remaining books of the series, although he is issued an Aston Martin DB Mark III with a homing device during the course of Goldfinger.
Continuation Bond works
In 1981 writer John Gardner was approached by the Fleming estate and asked to write a continuation novel for Bond. Although he initially almost turned the series down, Gardner subsequently wrote fourteen original novels and two novelizations of the films between Licence Renewed in 1981 and COLD in 1996. With the influence of the American publishers, Putnam's, the Gardner novels showed an increase in the number of Americanisms used in the book, such as a waiter wearing "pants", rather than trousers, in The Man from Barbarossa. James Harker, writing in The Guardian, considered that the Gardner books were "dogged by silliness", giving examples of Scorpius, where much of the action is set in Chippenham, and Win, Lose or Die, where "Bond gets chummy with an unconvincing Maggie Thatcher". Ill health forced Gardner to retire from writing the Bond novels in 1996.
Gardner stated that he wanted "to bring Mr Bond into the 1980s", although he retained the ages of the characters as they were when Fleming had left them. Even though Gardner kept the ages the same, he made Bond grey at the temples as a nod to the passing of the years. Other 1980s effects also took place, with Bond smoking low-tar cigarettes and becoming increasingly health conscious.
The return of Bond in 1981 saw media reports on the more politically correct Bond and his choice of car—a Saab 900 Turbo; Gardner later put him in a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo. Gardner also updated Bond's firearm: under Gardner, Bond is initially issued with the Browning 9mm before changing to a Heckler & Koch VP70 and then a Heckler & Koch P7. Bond is also revealed to have taken part in the 1982 Falklands War. Gardner updated Fleming's characters and used contemporary political leaders in his novels; he also used the high-tech apparatus of Q Branch from the films, although Jeremy Black observed that Bond is more reliant on technology than his own individual abilities. Gardner's series linked Bond to the Fleming novels rather than the film incarnations and referred to events covered in the Fleming stories.
In Bond novels and their ilk, the plot must threaten not only our hero but civilization as we know it. The icing on the cake is using exotic locales that "normal people" only fantasize about visiting, and slipping in essential dollops of sex and violence to build interest.
Benson followed Gardner's pattern of setting Bond in the contemporary timeframe of the 1990s and, according to Jeremy Black, had more echoes of Fleming's style than John Gardner, he also changed Bond's gun back to the Walther PPK, put him behind the wheel of a Jaguar XK8 and made him swear more. James Harker noted that "whilst Fleming's Bond had been an Express reader; Benson's is positively red top. He's the first to have group sex...and the first to visit a prostitute", whilst Black notes an increased level of crudity lacking in either Fleming or Gardner.
In 1967, four years after Fleming's death, his literary executors, Glidrose Productions, approached Kingsley Amis and offered him £10,000 (£Template:Inflation in 2018 poundsTemplate:Inflation-fn) to write the first continuation Bond novel. The result was Colonel Sun published in 1968 under the pen-name Robert Markham. Journalist James Harker noted that although the book was not literary, it was stylish. Raymond Benson noted that Bond's character and events from previous novels were all maintained in Colonel Sun, saying "he is the same darkly handsome man first introduced in Casino Royale.
After Gardner and Benson had followed Amis, there was a gap of six years until Sebastian Faulks was commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications to write a new Bond novel, which was released on 28 May 2008, the one hundredth anniversary of Ian Fleming's birth. The book—entitled Devil May Care—was published in the UK by Penguin Books and by Doubleday in the US.
Faulks ignored the timeframe established by Gardner and Benson and instead reverted to that used by Fleming and Amis, basing his novel in the 1960s; he also managed to use a number of the cultural touchstones of the sixties in the book. Faulks was true to Bond's original character and background too, and provided "a Flemingesque hero" who drove a battleship grey 1967 T-series Bentley.
On 26 May 2011, American writer Jeffery Deaver, commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, released Carte Blanche. Deaver restarted the chronology of Bond, separate from the timelines any of the previous authors, by stating he was born in 1980; the novel also saw Bond in a post-9/11 agency, independent of either MI5 or MI6.
The films didn't influence me at all and nor did the continuation novels. I wanted to get back to the original Bond who's dark and edgy, has quite a sense of irony and humour and is extremely patriotic and willing to sacrifice himself for Queen and country. He is extremely loyal but he has this dark pall over him because he's a hired killer - and he wrestles with that. I've always found him to be quite a representative of the modern era.
Whilst the chronology changed, Deaver included a number of elements from the Fleming novels, including Bond's tastes for food and wine, his gadgets and "the rather preposterous names of some of the female characters."
On 11 April 2012, the Fleming estate announced that William Boyd would write the next Bond novel, due for release in the autumn of 2013; the publishers will be Jonathan Cape.
I deliberately steered clear of anything post Fleming. My books are designed to fit in with what Fleming wrote and nothing else. I also didn’t want to be influenced by any of the other books...for now my Bible is Fleming.
Higson stated that he was instructed by the Fleming estate to ignore all other interpretations of Bond, except the original Fleming version. As the background to Bond's childhood, Higson used Bond's obituary in You Only Live Twice as well as his own and Fleming's childhoods. In forming the early Bond character, Higson created the origins of some of Bond's character traits, including his love of cars and fine wine.
Adaptations of Bond started early in Fleming's writings, with CBS paying him $1,000 ($Template:Inflation in 2018 dollarsTemplate:Inflation-fn) to adapt his first novel, Casino Royale, into a one-hour television adventure; this was broadcast on 21 October 1954. The Bond character, played by Barry Nelson, was changed to "Card Sense" Jimmy Bond, an American agent working for "Combined Intelligence".
In 1957 the Daily Express newspaper adapted Fleming's stories into comic strip format. In order to help the artists, Fleming commissioned a sketch to show how he saw Bond; illustrator John McLusky considered Fleming's version too "outdated" and "pre-war" and changed Bond to give him a more masculine look.
In 1962 Eon Productions, the company of Canadian Harry Saltzman and American Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli released the first cinema adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No, featuring Sean Connery as 007. Connery was the first of seven actors to play Bond on the cinema screen, six of whom appeared in the Eon series of films. As well as looking different, each of the actors has interpreted the role of Bond in a different way.
↑Benson, Raymond (November 2010). "The 007 way to write a thriller: The author of 6 official James Bond novels offers a process for building a compelling tale". The Writer123 (11): 24–26. ISSN0043-9517.
↑ 112.0112.1Hickman, Angela (25 June 2011). "In others' words; Many iconic literary characters outlive their creators, presenting a unique challenge to the next authors in line". National Post: p. WP4.