Having told a friend that he intended to produce "the spy story to end all spy stories," Ian Fleming sat down at his typewriter in January 1952. Some eight weeks later, the former naval intelligence officer had banged out the first draft of Casino Royale, which introduced the world to a British Secret Service agent named James Bond, described by his creator as "an anonymous blunt instrument" with a license to kill.
Casino Royale and books that followed sparked a global sensation, selling tens of millions of copies in Fleming's lifetime and launching the longest-running film franchise in history. Fleming himself could be dismissive of his famous creation—"I can’t say I much like the chap," he once remarked—but Bond's admirers included not only Noel Coward and Raymond Chandler, but also President John F. Kennedy, who would rank From Russia With Love among his favorite novels.
Through it all, Fleming remained a quietly disciplined writer, though he now set to work each day on a gold-plated typewriter. Along with 13 additional Bond books, Fleming produced a pair of nonfiction volumes as well as the beloved children’s classic Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. "I think it’s an absolute miracle that an elderly person like me can go on turning out these books with such zest," he declared near the end of his life. "It’s really a terrible indictment of my own character—they’re so adolescent. But they’re fun."
Join the fun as author Daniel Stashower explores Ian Fleming's life and legacy, while actor Scott Sedar, aka The Man with the Golden Voice, reads from Fleming's most popular works. Vodka martinis (you know the rest), Beluga caviar, and Morland cigarettes optional.
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