The Man and His World
This book is a literary companion to Bond, The Official Companion to Ian Fleming’s creation. It’s lavishly produced, lots of colour photos, and in a nice format, too. In a nutshell, this book is about the origins of Bond: the plots, the characters, the locations, the villains, the restaurants, the cars, the girls, the guns … Fleming was a man who never threw anything away, and his archive contains a small mountain of ephemera he collected to put into his novels. Everything from notebooks to maps, menus, car reviews, train tickets, casino stubs, jottings on the back of hotel notepaper … at the time this treasure trove lurked in a phalanx of box files in the basement of Fleming’s bank in London. I spent four months trawling through it all, looking for clues. My task was to turn this material into a book not only for ‘bondologists’, who are already well-served with websites and forums, rather for anyone with a passing interest in the literary 007, the original incarnation. Someone who’d maybe read a novel or two, seen the films: much like myself before I began.
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An illuminating insight into an author’s life Publishing News
It’s really beautifully and intelligently written. Most Fleming lovers won’t know what's hit them! There are some wonderful turns of phrase, Henry Chancellor really get under his skin and brings so much sympathy and dry wit to it. Alain de Botton
Henry Chancellor has produced an amazingly rich volume that uses the life of Fleming to shed light upon his creature Bond with an intelligence unusual in even a serious biographer. The illustrations are a wonderful bonus. The whole maybe referred to or, as I recommend, read from cover to cover at once, twice. It is a reflection upon a time and a class as well as upon the nature of secret worlds that have much in common, the worlds of the writer and the spy. Candida McWilliam
The Spectator 17th December 2005