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James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father by Len Deighton

This fascinating story would make a good film, though after reading it you might decide that in that way lies madness.

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The James Bond we know and mostly love was a creation as much of the movies as of the books by Ian Fleming. Len Deighton, author of the classic espionage novel 'The Ipcress File', knew both sides intimately. An acquaintance of Ian Fleming’s (who had praised Deighton’s debut novel in the 'Sunday Times') Deighton was also close to the man who was to become Fleming’s nemesis – Kevin McClory, a veteran of the British film industry.

The history of Bond’s development under the arc lights becomes, in Deighton’s expert hands, a saga-like story of inflated egos and poisonous vendettas, exotic locations and claustrophobic court rooms, all involving household names. As an eye witness to the protracted disputes that complicated Bond’s depiction both on screen and on the page, Deighton is in a unique position to tell what he saw. Candid, comical, always steely-eyed, this hefty slice of cinematic memoir reads with all the high-powered pace of a Len Deighton thriller.

Len Deighton is the bests selling author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. He is perhaps most famous for his spy novel 'The Ipcress File' which was made into a film starring Michael Caine. .

free books for kindleJames Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father (fiction)
Len Deighton (Author)
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Print List Price: £1.49
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Reviews from Amazon:
In the year which saw the cinematic James Bond reach new heights (the record-breaking "Skyfall", the Olympics, the merchandising, etc.), the BBC Radio 5 weekly movie show hosted by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo asked listeners to nominate their "best Bond Villain". All the usual suspects were named (though probably not shamed): Blofeld, Goldfinger, Scaramanga, Rosa Kleb, Dr No, as you might expect; but one wag suggested "Kevin McClory". Who? You might well ask, but you don't have to puzzle for too long as the incomparable Len Deighton reveals the role played by that extraordinary figure in the birth of the movie version of the iconic Bond over 50 years ago. Was the cavalier film producer McClory really the true, if not only, be getter of the cinematic Bond, or was he an Irish wide boy who pursued Ian Fleming and then the Bond franchise through the courts in search of - well one isn't quite sure: fame, fortune, revenge, recognition?

'James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for his Father' offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the battlefield that saw James Bond brought to the big screen, a process which began in 1958 with the development of a script for what was to become known as "Thunderball" and was planned to be the first Bond film, but which, for legal reasons, turned out to be the fourth in the series in 1965, though to this day one of the most profitable ones. But the battles did not end there, and this short, sharp, pistol-whip of a book follows the story of legal wrangles and remakes ("Never Say Never Again") and planned remakes ("Hammerhead"/"Warhead") and then more legal wrangles. It is a labyrinthine tale and those uninitiated in the rules of the guerilla warfare which govern film-making need a solid guide to lead them through the maze. 

Fortunately,the reader has just that in the form of Len Deighton, whose first close encounter with the Bond juggernaut came when he was asked to write a script for "From Russia With Love". He knew most of the protagonists in this drama: Ian Fleming, Sean Connery, Harry Saltzman and, of course, Kevin McClory; and he was a film producer in his own right; but the major asset of having Deighton explain (often fondly, always politely) this tangled web is that he is, after all, the man who wrote The Ipcress file one of the seminal spy stories of all time. It was probably good training for his involvement in the Bond legend and at times this reads like the plot of one of his intricate and convoluted thrillers. In fact, this fascinating story would make a jolly good film, though after reading it you might decide that in that way lies madness. .
Len returns to the world of the published author with a fascinating tale of how one of cinema's iconic figures came to be. In a year that has seen the 50th anniversary of Ian Fleming's James Bond and the release of Skyfall to universal acclaim, he has chosen to look at the origins of this most famous of screen characters and make a further contribution to the Bond mythos. It reads like a long article that one might read in The Sunday Times Magazine or an essay in The Literary Review. As someone who was acquainted with Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory, the film producer who is one of the important figures who has a significant part in the development of the Bond mythos through his work on early drafts of From Russia With Love and subsequently on Never Say Never Again (the Thunderball remake), Len provides an unrivalled insider's view of the development of Bond as the character moved from page to screen.

Len was an insider and witness to much of what went on as the character made this transition to cinema. It is his attention to detail, and his capacity to recall in detail many of the meetings and anecdotes which, story by story, gives this book a ring of authenticity. The book goes on to recount the efforts to get Bond onto the big screen, and it is here that the story becomes interesting as it looks at the myriad elements behind Bond's creation - on screen and on the page - which have kept writers, fans and fiction historians entertained and intrigued. It provides an extensive re-telling of the whole story which has been document elsewhere by other authors and Bond fans in great detail. While some of the stories are familiar from previous articles, much of it seems new and refreshingly honest.

In a year in which Bond has shown himself to be the 'King of all Cinema', Deighton maps out, through utterly compelling details - such as a hint at the origin of the 007 moniker - and fascinating perspectives from Bond ground-zero, the bumpy road by which Bond moved from page to screen. The last paragraph, in particular, is a real peach! 

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