As a die hard Ian Fleming fan, here’s some news that excites me. Come May 2011, we can expect to see one more re-incarnation, as it were, of James Bond. This will be in a new novel called ” Carte Blanche.”
This is being written by one of America’s best known thriller writers: Jeffery Deaver. He has been tasked to bring out another James Bond novel on May 28. This day being significant as the birthday of Ian Fleming, the original creator of James Bond.
It was around 1964-65 that I read my first James Bond novel. I was soon engrossed in the series and amongst the books of that era I still vividly remember “Dr. No”, “Moonraker'”, “Live and Let Die” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. For me, James Bond was the ultimate man. The characters were so alive that over time one felt one knew “M”, “Q” “Miss Moneypenny” and the others in “Universal Exports”. It was also fascinating to see the villains, ranging from a Dr.No to a Ernst Blofeld.
Remember this was before we saw the Bond movies. It was much later that I came to know that Fleming who served as a Commander in the Royal Navy during World War II portrayed Bond very much on the lines of his own life. There are many similarities between the real life Fleming and the fictitious Bond. Those were the days of the Cold War and the Russians were the enemies in many of the Bond novels.
Right from the signature introduction of ” My name is Bond, James Bond” Fleming created a character about whom so many books have since been written! To chronicle the life of a fictitious character! I remember a prized possession was a book gifted to me called “James Bond, 007- A Dossier”.
Apart from the music which again caught the imagination of an entire generation of movie fans, the Bond series saw a number of actors play the British secret agent on-screen. Each has his/her own preferences but for me and I guess for many others too, the moment you say “James Bond” the image that flashes in our mind is that of Sean Connery, the first of the screen Bonds. I don’t think any of his successors as James Bond came anywhere close to him. But then, I might be biased!
I have often wondered how difficult it is to have one character in all your books. It must be pretty exciting to remember what you have said in the past about him when you sit to write the next novel. Over time, some fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes have become cult figures. James Bond is clearly one of them.
Fleming’s description of Bond was not limited to his physical characteristics though one does remember the hair that fell on his forehead like a comma! Fleming skillfully brought out different facets of Bond the man: as a lover, as a devoted subject of the Queen and a connoisseur of good living.
It remains to be ben seen how Jeffery Deaver rises to the occasion. I have read many of his books and look forward most eagerly to his version of a James Bond thriller. The problem about continuing someone else’s creation need hardly be commented upon. How do you balance what people have come to expect and your own creativity?
Here’s wishing the very best to Jeffery Deaver. May his version of James Bond stand up to the high standards set by the original creator. So, for me today, J is for James and J is for Jeffery!