What do you know about the world's favorite spy?
With Spectre, the latest film in his 62 year history on page and screen, being released this weekend, you've got to wonder...how much do I really know about MI-6's Golden Boy?
For many of us, James Bond's story begins with Dr. No, the 1962 film starring Sean Connery. But to readers and aficionados, his journey really starts with Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, which was first published ten years before in 1952. Himself a British intelligence officer during World War II, Fleming used his own experience, opens a new window to set the basis of a reader's ideal spy story. We won't go into the fact that Fleming's Bond was a misogynistic chainsmoker who didn't really do all the spectacular things that Daniel Craig (or even Pierce Brosnan) does to defeat the Big Bad. Maybe that's just the way spies were in Fleming's time.
But back to Dr. No. The interesting thing about Dr. No is that while the film was released in 1962, the novel was not published until 1968. Six novels precede it in the series, including Live and Let Die, Diamonds are Forever, and From Russia, With Love.
Actually, if you look at the alternating list of movies and books, that is a recurring theme with Ian Fleming. Casino Royale might have started it all, but without the movies, the series might not have gone on as long as it did.
And of course, James Bond, even on the page, doesn't stop at Ian Fleming's death in 1964 (a few of his books were published posthumously). Even as early as 1968, other people were taking up the pen to tell stories of the superspy. From 1981 to 1996, John Gardner wrote sixteen books in a Bond series, which was taken over by Raymond Benson. The Young Bond series, by Charlie Higson, sends Bond on adventures in his Eton days. The series ran from 2003-2009 and was picked up again in 2014 by Random House and Steve Cole. Higson was instructed by the Fleming Estate to ignore any factors brought to the Bond universe by the movies or anything not Fleming's own novels, opens a new window. Don't know if they told Random House the same.
James Bond has had many faces and attitude adjustments over the last six decades, but his name and favorite drink will never be lost.