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James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007

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James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 is a fictional biography of Ian Fleming's famous secret agent, James Bond, which was published in 1973. The book was written by John Pearson, who had published a well-received biography of Fleming in 1966.

Overview

The novel's premise is that James Bond is based upon a real MI6 agent. Fleming, himself, had hinted at this in the novel You Only Live Twice, wherein he mentions (in an obituary for 007 near the end of the book) that Bond's adventures were the basis of a series of "sensational novels"; illustrating this contention, the James Bond comic strips adaptation of that novel used covers from Fleming's James Bond novels. There has been much speculation over whether Fleming actually did base the character on a real person, or possibly even after himself.

Writing autobiographically, Pearson begins the novel's story with his own recruitment to MI6. Already, the department had assigned Ian Fleming to write novels based upon a real-life agent James Bond, but, rather than write fiction, Fleming was to be truthful about agent 007's adventures. The idea, MI6 felt, was to hide the truth, of Bond's exploits, in plain sight; along the way, Fleming created a few fictions, such as Moonraker, to keep the Soviets guessing. Pearson's tale also incorporates Fleming's tongue-in-cheek claim that he never wrote the manuscript for The Spy Who Loved Me, but rather that it was mysteriously sent to him by Vivienne Michel, the heroine of that book.

In the book, MI6 asks Pearson to write agent 007's biography, and is introduced to Bond, now in his fifties but still healthy, sun-tanned, and in the company of Honeychile Ryder, the heroine of the novel Dr. No. Most of the novel is about Bond telling his life story, including the school years as well as his first missions for MI6. Along the way, there are references to virtually every Ian Fleming novel and short story, as well as the Robert Markham novel, Colonel Sun. At novel's end, Pearson is invited to take over from Fleming and write future Bond adventures, much as Dr. Watson wrote about Sherlock Holmes.

In reality, Glidrose Publications actually considered having Pearson become the writer of a new series of Bond novels based upon the Watson-Holmes premise of this book, but, despite good reviews and sales, no follow-up novel was ever published. James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 holds a unique place among James Bond readers, many consider it canon alongside the rest of Ian Fleming's James Bond novel series, while others consider it apocryphal. At least one British publisher of Bond novels, Pan Books, included Pearson's book as an official entry in the series at least for its first paperback edition. Some elements of this book have been contradicted by other official Bond fiction, such as Charlie Higson's SilverFin which suggests that Bond was born in Switzerland, as opposed to Pearson suggesting Bond was born in Germany.

Out of print since the 1980s, a reprinting of the book was released in 2006.[1]

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