This is the “other side” of the 007 story. John Pearson takes Ian Fleming’s fabled spy and fleshes him out, if that was possible. He works on the premise that James Bond really did exist, and the novels by Ian Fleming were a clever ploy by the Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI6, to throw their Russian counterparts off balance.
The Book starts with John Pearson being commissioned for some top secret work by MI6. He’s shown a few tantalizing clues that give him the idea that James Bond might just be a real man. Then he is hit with it. James Bond does exist, and he’s now shouldered with the responsibility of bringing the whole truth out into the open. He travels to the Caribbean to the hotel James Bond is staying in. He’s recuperating from an illness and is impatient to get back on the active roster. The Service is planning to retire him The first time he catches a glimpse of the cold eyes, the signature comma of black hair falling over the right eye, the hard, cruel mouth is a moment of nostalgia for any fan of the Fleming novels. Then comes the part where James Bond sits down with Pearson, albeit reluctantly and proceeds to tell the story of his life. He gets used to the idea and finally starts liking it as the days progress.
We also get to meet a favourite, Honeychile Ryder, now married to a wealthy man during the course of the book. James Bond’s exploits were becoming alarmingly well known, so MI6 hires a young Journalist, Ian Fleming to write a series of novels on a “fictitious spy” called James Bond. This makes the Russian spy masters doubt the very existence of James Bond, thereby remving the danger posed on him. The books signs off in style by telling us how James Bond goes away with Honeychile.
Instead of retelling the story that takes place through the course of 14 novels, Pearson takes a few small, but significant bits from the novels and then makes them into a full blown story. The ease with which he writes the back stories to various obscure anecdotes from the novels is laudable, the style of writing, the acute attention to detail reminiscent of Ian Fleming himself. The book is what the title claims to be. The authorized Biography of a fictitious character.