The Authorised Biography of James Bond
At the very beginning I was put off by the whole idea, I just did not want any writer to spoil the wonderful job that Ian Fleming had been doing with his universal agent, James Bond. A biography about Bond! What might that be? I read a bit about the book and knew that the plot was all about Ian Fleming writing about a real British agent named Bond after taking the permission of M, the head of the service. This sounded completely uninteresting because why would I need to read a fictional biography that would spoil all the amazing events I encountered in Fleming’s novels?!! I simply did not want anyone to take that away from me. This made me go ahead to Christopher Wood’s two Bond novels and followed that by thirteen of John Gardner’s. However, before I decided to read the last three Gardner’s novels, I had this feeling that I needed to read a different writer’s style. A change was what I really wanted and this was when I made the decision and got my kindle version of the book.
When I started reading, I was really anxious that I would be bored easily and here was the big surprise. The book was a very genuine piece of literature, lovely in every way. The writer, John Pearson, did his best to maintain the main Bondish characteristics described by Ian Fleming. He also did not abolish Bond’s adventures in Fleming’s writings. On the contrary, he stressed how great these operations were and added a lot to what Bond did before and after them. But this is not only the great thing about this novel; what I really liked was how James was depicted and how authentic the writing was. It felt as if the writer were talking about a real human being not a fictional icon. The way the narrative was structured made everything look so existent. The writer provided a detailed account of James’ childhood and how his parents were. He also mentioned how James grew up in Egypt, Russia and France and gave an account of how his character was shaped through the different stages of his life. These social sides were dealt with professionally and the writer knew how to get the readers to dive deeply into Bond’s consciousness.
And from Bond’s childhood, Pearson took the reader to women and casinos introducing how James Bond got into these two. He described James’ encounters with women and experiences with cards and how all that opened the door to James’ first adventure with the British secret service, which was another amazing feature of this wonderful book. The readers were awarded with a good number of interesting operations that shed the light on Bond’s early stages of work as an agent for his country. In addition, the novel gave details about Bond’s romantic adventures and how his love for women caused him a lot of trouble and nearly made him lose his job.
Another feature of this novel is revisiting some of the unforgettable characters in Bond’s life like the Bond girl from the novel ‘Dr. No’, Honey Ryder. Pearson showed how she played a very important role later in Bond’s life and as a writer, he was successful in making the readers feel nostalgic about this part especially because Honey was the main Bond girl in the first Bond movie: ‘Dr. No’. Another character that John handled was James’ wife from the novel ‘You Only Live Twice’. The author narrated how things went for her after Bond left and rejoined the service and a lot of interesting details where mentioned about James junior or Bond’s son. Pearson explicated the relationship between the father and the son and displayed the human side of Bond in a very good way. He also portrayed the work relationship between Bond and Sir. Miles, the head of the secret service known as M. He was capable of adding a lot of exciting particulars about their ups and downs.
I have refused considering this book one of the canonical Bond novels for a long time but not anymore. Contrariwise, I do regret delaying the decision of reading it because it has given me deep understanding of James Bond’s character and I do agree with the Pan Books, the British publisher of Bond novels, in considering ‘The Authorised Biography of James Bond’ one of the official Bond novels.