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Topic: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Anyone read Pearson's "James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007"? If so, how is it? As I read through the Fleming novels and a handful of the Gardner novels some years ago, I came across Pearson's book at the library once and, though I never got around to reading it, have always been intrigued by it.  Can anyone out there vouch for it (or not as the case may be)?

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I thought it was very good, very much in the Fleming style.  ajb007/martini

"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I still have yet to read it.

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Me too, TP - I loved it. I first read it in the early 80s as a teenager and have read it subsequently.

It does much to 'fill in the blanks' using the patchy information about Bond from Fleming's novels. And it's a fascinating read in the insight it gives, written (as TP says) much in. Fleming's style. Pearson was one of Fleming's biographers so he knows what he's on about.

Give it a go!  ajb007/martini

"How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

ajb007/biggrin  I too found it in my teens, Found it in a market book stall and had never
Heard of it before ( I was still picking up the Fleming books at the time ).
  As C&D points out it " Fills in the blanks"  ajb007/martini
In fact the last time we got a dog, I pushed like mad to get him called Drax.  ajb007/wink
Sadly my daughters out voted me.  ajb007/crap

"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

It's one of my favourite Bond books, dovetails perfectly into Fleming's novel canon.

..................http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I've only read it once, a long time ago, but from what I do recall, it does a very good job of creating the literary Bond's background story. Now, I don't know how 'Authorised' it is, and whether Bond's background in that book was created by Pearson or from words that Fleming had previously written (or both), but thankfully I don't recall any inconsistencies between the two.

But it is accepted as canon and I would recommend this for any Fleming purist.

"Watch the birdie, you bastard!"

Favourite Bond films list

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I've read it several times...it's a good read, I'd recommend it  ajb007/martini

YNWA: Justice For The 96

The Joy Of 6

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I'm halfway into it.  I really am enjoying it.

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Very good. Fun and enjoyable and as others have said, it compliments Fleming's work rather than contradict it. Pearson knew Fleming, was a biographer and was authorised by his estate to write it which was not that long after Fleming's death. He did a good job of weaving the various plots from the books together and filling in the extra bits. I would put it second to Colonel Sun amongst the continuation novels...if you can call it that.

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I had a reread of Pearson's Bond Biography, following the new Horowitz. I had already skimmed through Fleming, making note of all the biographical clues, and specifically meant to compare what Pearson wrote with all those clues. I ended up with 12 pages of notes, and believe me its hard to judge a book on its own merits when reading like that. Most of Fleming's clues do get expanded here, a few dozen stories-within-the-story of varying length, as well as much that is all new. Pearson also deliberately contradicts Fleming almost as much as he follows the continuity, as this is part of the central conceit.

This book was published 1973, same year as Live and Let Die, for context. Just as the films themselves were shifting to a new, increasingly ironic and cartoony tone for the seventies.

When I was a lad, I had the PAN edition, which has a beautiful cover that matches perfectly the messy desk editions of Fleming's books then in-print. Unfortunatley I have long since lost that one, and this books turns out to be very scarce in any edition. The version i now have is the 1985 British Grafton printing. I don't imagine the pagination is the same.
Those mid-seventies PANs listed both the Bond Biography and Colonel Sun as being part of the official series of 16 books, so it is a shame it is now so hard to find.


This book purports to be a sequel to Pearson's Fleming Biography, with Pearson discovering new information about the existence of a real James Bond after his previous book's publication. But that one was a conventional biography told in the objective third person voice. This one is told in the first person, and it's framing device takes the form of a novel, a thriller in fact, with "Pearson" himself a character following up and consequently being introduced to the "real" James Bond. The rest of the book is the first person narrative of "Pearson" interviewing Bond, intercut with increasingly lengthy flashbacks, much like the dissolves back and forth in time in a movie. After a certain point the flashbacks settle into the pacing of short stories.

(Fleming, Pearson, and William Stephenson are all characters in this book, coexisting in the same world as Bond, M, Honey Rider and the whole gang. I shall put their names in quotes when referring to the fictionalised versions of their characters within Pearson's book, as it can get confusing.)

The first chapter, leading up to the introduction of Pearson's Bond, is itself a decent pastiche of Fleming's style, with an opening sequence on an airplane and a flashback to "Pearson" receiving his own mission in the same Secret Service offices where Bond worked.

"Fleming" is an ongoing character throughout the flashbacks, an acquaintance of Bond's who was personally responsible for much of Bond's career in the Secret Service. It was "Fleming" himself who suggested to M the plan to fictionalise Bond's adventures, to somehow fool SMERSH.
(I cannot believe a word of this, and the conceit undermines my belief in this book as a whole. Why would M agree to this? He insists Bond have plastic surgery to remove an identifying scar, why would he then publicize Bond's existence? and why would someone known only by an initial agree to publicize his own?)
By the time of FRWL, SMERSH have figured out the scheme, and destroyed their files on Bond out of fear of reprisals from above, which is the real reason "Fleming" seems to end that book with Bond's death. But then M himself insists "Fleming" continue, as the series is good P.R .for an increasingly controversial Secret Service department.
Then the very book we are reading is yet another Secret Service scheme, as for some reason they now wish to set the record straight.
(It'd be so much easier to accept the actual biographical flashback parts of the book if it had all been written as a conventional biography, instead of using this high concept framing device, which makes so little sense.)

At the end, "Pearson" mentions Colonel Sun, but only when Bond is offstage and unable to verify whether that adventure really happened, or if "Robert Markham" also was trying to fool Britain's enemies (because why? the hugely popular film series wasn't confusing Britain's enemies enough?)


Can this book be considered in continuity with what Fleming wrote? Unfortunately, by definition no, at least as a whole.
This book takes place on a seperate level of reality than do Fleming's books. Bond is a more realistic character in this book, and living in the same world as fictionalised versions of Pearson, Fleming, and William Stephenson. The 14 Fleming books, which we are familar with, exist as popular fictional books within this level of reality, books-within-the-book.
This is what DC Comics continuity used to call Earth Prime, a parallel dimension more convincingly similar to our reality, but not quite because the fictional hero also lives within it, and the real life characters are somewhat fictionalised versions of themselves.
(And therefor, in YOLT, when the Obit tells us there has been a series of popular books within the world Fleming has been describing to us, the contents of these books-within-books are themselves yet another level of reality we know no other details of. An infinite regression)

We are told "Fleming" employed artistic license to embellish what really happened. Pearson adds to this effect by repeatedly and explicitly contradicting what Fleming wrote (when did Bond get the Bentley? when did he lose his virginity? how many cigarettes a day does he smoke?), and having both Bond and Honeychile Rider complain about how "Fleming" misrepresented them.

At the very beginning, Urquhart (a new character working for the Secret Service) tells "Pearson" "Fleming" knew very little about wine, undermining "Fleming"'s credibility. This is a reversal of the wellknown Fleming trick where he would demonstrate his expertise by babbling persuasively about wines or motor cars for pages on end, before introducing something fantastical. In Pearson's version, "Fleming" is revealed to be a poseur, thus every word he wrote about James Bond is open to doubt.

One very cool and subtle touch: at one point, Bond trails off telling his story, more interested in observing some hummingbirds. In this reality, since Bond is a real person, "Fleming" did not have to search for name for his fictional hero. Therefor he was not named after a published ornithologist (who so far's we know never existed in this reality), and instead Bond the secret agent is a bit of an amateur ornithologist himself.


On the flip side, isolated fragments can be read out of context and they will serve as satisfying expansions of some of the cryptic clues Fleming gave us as to Bond's life. For example, when reading Casino Royale, upon coming to the all-too-brief reference to the Monte Carlo mission before the war (PAN ed., pgs 24/25), you can flip to precisely that section of this Biography and read Pearson's version (Grafton ed., pgs 73-94), and it will fit in seamlessly without significant contradiction.
In these sections the pace slows down and they read like proper short stories, and some of them are quite imaginative. There is even one all new mission that seems to be the inspiration for the next year's movie!

These are the best bits of the book, and what makes it essential, but I will have to take time to prepare another post in which I corelate Fleming's various clues to specific passages in Pearson's book, because there are several dozen that get nicely expanded, and as many all new Previously Unseen Missions.


Aside from all the continuity stuff, there are some themes Pearson develops throughout his story.

Les sensationes fortes: Bond is addicted to danger, an addiction he first discovers as a teenager when he skis a very dangerous hill he has not adequately trained for. This addiction is recognised and exploited by Maddox (another new character) to draw Bond into working for the Secret Service when he is still a teenager.

Women: Bond's mother Monique Delacroix was dissatisfied with her marriage and had affairs, and rejected Bond when he recognised her in public with another man. This rejection was the reason for his inability to form healthy relationships with women as an adult.

What other life could he lead? Pearson tells us that after the Hildbrandt Rarity Bond settled down to a gigolo's life, helping Liz Krest spend her husband's money while living on the yacht (this story happens much earlier in Pearson's version, before Bond becomes a double oh). His lifestyle with Liz Krest  parallels the life Honeychile Rider is preparing for him in the story's framing sequence, she also is now a fabulously wealthy widow with an 80 foot yacht, a crew of twelve, and lots of money Bond can help her spend.

Spoiler Bond is about to marry Honey the very next day as the story is ending, when Tanner arrives at the very last minute with a new mission, to save our hero from a fate worse than death just in the nick of time.

Last edited by caractacus potts (3rd Feb 2019 14:51)

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I found Pearsons book to be, I don't know, not quite what I expected. For some reason the feeling I got from it was like it was the "James Bond: The Authorized Biography of the Movie 007" more than that of the Bond of the novels.

Something about the way the described escapades of the Young Bond in the turmoils of prewar Europe that reeked of a script for a bad Saturday morning kids cartoon.

Pearsons Bond is very much The Super Spy of the screen; he knows everything and is indispensable to Her Majestys Government and the security of the world. Ian Flemings Bond is a civil servant, one who is willing to do the rough stuff for his service with a limited capabilities and certainly a limited survivability.

"I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
-Mr Arlington Beech

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

I enjoyed the odd framing device because it calls into question the perceived time-line / history and Fleming's interpretation of them. It's a double deceit as we already know Bond is a fictional character so he thus becomes a fictional-fictional character. As you say, Caractacus, it allows Pearson to not follow established history or personas and twist what we know. I thought it a clever and well written novel. I don't remember many of the short story escapades, one was a gambling expose (The Luminous Reader?) which takes place in Monte Carlo, I think, and another a weird voodoo thingamajig which I thought was almost the worst of the novel. I remember being disappointed Pearson hadn't appropriately followed up the Irma Bunt-plague-infested-rats story he was describing.... It ended rather well I thought, neatly echoing Casino Royale, "That's it, the bastard's gone."

All in all for me, one of th best continuation novels. I must re-read it. It's been a while.

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Read it twice, or thrice if the audiobook counts as a read.  Loved it.  Interesting how this and the young Bond novels were creative in their embellishments on Bond’s origins stories like the 4.5 Litre Bentley and Bond’s parents considering how the film series is beginning to encroach in that territory with much artistic license. 

What’s interesting is that with the above mentioned premise that the Authorized Biography is the reality, it likewise authenticates the codename theory as the codename fact.  This is also the premise of the Bond character in Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” in which Bond at anytime resembles the Bond actor in residence...all as part of the ploy to thwart the UK’s enemies.  In 2019 as we await Bond 25, the truth of the matter is that James Bond is real!

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

the Various Adventures Told in Pearson's Bond Biography

I would like to summarise the major sections of this book, as...
(1) there are a lot of new adventures deserving more discussion,
(2) the book is now very hard to find and many would never otherwise know of all this content,
(3) as seen above, even those who have read the book do not clearly remember all these new adventures once they reach the end, and
(4) I want to corelate Pearson's many new adventures with the clues Fleming gave us, including where they contradict and which ones are entirely new.
Where there is a correlation, I shall use my own pseudo-titles from the Unseen Missions thread, just for clarity's sake.
As there are literally dozens of Unseen Missions mentioned, ranging from one clause in a sentence up to a full chapter, I shall only include the adventures that are more than a page of prose, or those that corelate to something Fleming wrote.

all page references to Pearson, title implied: Grafton 1985 edition
all page references to Fleming, titles acronymed: mid-60s PAN editions

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Bond is born Nov 11, 1920, in Germany. (pg 29)
NOTE: Pearson has invented this birthdate. The year is an approximate compromise between the 1916 implied in MR, and the 1924 implied in YOLT.
This date agrees with the estimate of 30 in 1950 from Forever and a Day

I will leave chapter 1 to the end, as it happens chronologically after all the others.

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chapter 2: Boyhood of a Spy, pgs 25-48
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Ancestry, pg 31
There is a full page of ancestry, since year 1692, with various ancestors named. This page reads almost like Tolkien, and a future continuation author looking for ideas could tell the stories of some of Bond's ancestors.
Also this section introduces the big ancestral house in Glencoe (pg 30), which will be mentioned several more times throughout the book. When Uncle Gregor contemplates selling the house decades later, Bond realises he does not care. But then he takes James Suzuki to visit the ancestral house in the final pages, so it must still be in the family.
Fleming had mentioned Glencoe several times, but I think this ancestral house is new. I imagine Skyfall.
(see OHMSS pg 59, where Bond's ancestry is guessed at but not confirmed)
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story of Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix's unhappy marriage, pgs 32-45
Monique was disinherited for marrying a common engineer, which affects her for the rest of her short life. Andrew bond's work takes the family to Germany, Egypt,  Paris and Moscow. She becomes mentally ill, and climbs the mountain in Aiguilles Rouges in a suicidal impulse. Andrew tries to coax her down and they both fall to their deaths.
(see YOLT pg 179-80, the Obit)

Years later, Bond will climb the same peak (pg 57), to conquer his feelings over their deaths. (see FRWL pg 93, where Bond reminisces while flying over the Alps)
I'm sure this was a coincidence in Fleming, when he wrote that passage in FRWL he surely did not already have in mind the details of the Obit to be written seven years later. But Pearson cleverly spots and connects the two mentions of the Aiguilles Rouges.
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Bond expelled from Eton, pg 48
Bond is friends with another student "Burglar" Brinton, and Burglar has an unnamed older half-sister. Bond secretly leaves campus to takes her out, and is expelled for returning after curfew.
(see YOLT pg 179-80, the Obit)
Person explicitly contradicts Fleming: she was not a chambermaid.

Burglar takes Bond home to visit his wealthy family in Paris. It is Burglar's father who introduces Bond to martinis, Morland's cigarettes, fast cars and gambling, and a few years later Burglar will take Bond to Harry's Bar and the bordello.

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chapter 3: Les Sensations Fortes, pgs 49-67
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Bond relocates to Geneva, where his mother's family live, and has his own apartment. pgs 53-57
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the Affair with Marthe de Brandt, pgs 58-68
Burglar takes Bond to Harry's bar and the bordello in Paris, when Bond is 16 (1936). (see FYEO pg 11, where Bond reminisces about losing his virginity one memorable night in Paris)
After Bond's wallet is stolen, he meets Marthe de Brandt, the tiny, doll-like 29 year old bordello madame. She is also an amateur spy. They begin a very public and scandalous affair.  She buys Bond his Bentley and introduces him to the racing scene
(see MR pg 129, where Bond reminisces about his youth on the fringes of the racing circuit).

Enter Maddox, local section chief for British intelligence, who has evidence on de Brandt and persuades Bond to kill her. Bond does, crashing the Bentley on her 30th birthday (this is how he gets the scar). She turns out to have been innocent, but Bond does not second guess what he has done and continues to work for Maddox.

Pearson contradicts Fleming: Bond claims he had had already lost his virginity (to who? I'm guessing the butcher's daughter on pg 37).
Also, Fleming stated Bond bought his Bentley almost new in 1933 (see CR pg 36).

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chapter 4: Luminous Reader, pgs 68-94
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The Roumanians, pgs 73-94
Bond's first mission for the British secret service. Maddox's reputation within France suffered as a result of the de Brandt debacle, so he tries to solve this gambling crime as a favour to the French government, otherwise there is no proper Secret Service aspect.
Bond spends months learning how to cheat at cards from Steffi Esposito, and they travel to Royale les Eaux, stay at the Splendide, and gamble at the Casino.
Then Bond travels alone to Monte Carlo to gamble against the Roumanians. The leader of the Roumanian team is named Vlacek, and he has a very young English girlfriend named Pamela whom Bond seduces, and she helps him defeat Vlacek.
(see CR, pgs 24/25, and MR pg 20, which already gave most of the details of this previously Unseen Mission)

Pearson contradicts Fleming: Pearson places this in 1937, while Bond is still 17. Though he does seem to get mixed up about Bond's age and the year round this part.

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chapter 5: Eve of War Games, pgs 95-117
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Bond is now officially employed by the Secret Service, where he is based out of Station P (Paris). pg 98
(see FRWL pg 45, the zapiska stated Bond joined the British Secret Service in 1938)
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smuggling & courier work, pgs 100-113
Most of Bond's earliest work for the Secret Service involves couriering documents and sometimes people across borders. There are a long series of missions briefly described, some with more detail than others.
(see DAF pg 21, where the description of diamond smuggling remind Bond of his own early jobs)
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Bond meets Oberhauser in Kitzbuhel, 1938. He also meets "Fleming" here and Maria Künzler. pgs 115-116
(see OP pgs 44-45)
Pearson contradicts Fleming: Oberhauser did not need to teach Bond to ski but was more of a father figure to the troubled youth.

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chapter 6: Bond's War, pgs 118-165
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Bond has trouble enlisting because he was born in Germany. But his old friend "Fleming" recruits him to Naval Intelligence. pgs 121-122
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the submarine,  pgs 124-135
Bond camps out on a sandbar off the German coast, to monitor their fleet. He is delivered by sub.
(see TB pg 195, Bond is asked if he has ever been on a sub before)
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all new:
14 months at sea on the HMS Sabre. More unseen missions. pgs 135-136
Bond meets "William Stephenson" and trains in Camp X. pg 139
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the first kill, pgs 140-151
"Fleming" gives the order. The victim is named Shingushi. Bond first travels to Shingushi's home on Long island, but passes up an easy shot when he sees the victim has a small child. The subsequent details of the kill are much as Fleming described.
(see CR pg 64, pgs 141/142)
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More unseen missions. pg 151
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the second kill, pgs 152-158
"Fleming" again gives the order. Bond knows Svenson personally, the two have worked together before. When Bond breaks into the victim's house, he accidentally kills the victim's girlfriend first, then has to talk to his victim before killing him in an even fight.
(see CR pg 64, pgs 141/142)
Pearson contradicts Fleming: Fleming said Bond used a knife and the victim took a long time to die. But he does get the point that the second time was more difficult than the first (which the Craig film got wrong).
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More unseen missions. pg 158
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the Ardennes, pgs 159-165
Bond is parachuted into a forest behind enemy lines, just prior to the Battle of the Bulge. He discovers a phony hospital, which the Germans are using to hide troops and equipment beneath, so that a "secret army" will be left behind should the Allies succesfully advance.
(see DN pg 77, where Bond reminisced about the sound of machine gun fire in the Ardennes)

NOTE: Kingsley Amis is actually named here (pg 159), and therefor exists in this reality. So does the Bond Dossier (the book I think being referenced) also exist in this reality? why? at the very end Colonel Sun will be briefly mentioned, but neither the name Amis nor Robert Markham is attached to it.

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chapter 7: Scandal, pgs 155-194
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First Attempt Working with M, pgs 170-176
all new.
Bond is hired by M after the war, and sent to Washington DC, to help establish the CIA. There Bond is bored and uncooperative and more interested in seducing the Washington wives. After a Senator's wife is killed in a drunken plane crash, Bond is brought home and fired, in 1946. 
(in Live and Let Die pg 11, we learned Bond had been posted to Station A during the war. This may be meant to correspond to that reference?)
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Private Sector Work with Maddox, pgs 180-193
all new.
Bond then works for Maddox again. Maddox is now a private security consultant for the French banks, and there is a list of Unseen Missions Bond does for Maddox and the banks in the late 1940s. After Bond falls in love with Maddox's wife, Maddox sets him up for murder and terrorism charges in Algeria. Bond quits his job with Maddox, and begins a period of wandering, travelling through Kenya, then the Seychelles in 1949.
"Fleming" discovers Bond leading a gigolo's life and persuades him to join the new double oh department. pg 193

Pearson  contradicts Fleming: Pearson places the Hildebrand Rarity nine years earlier (~1949), before Bond becomes a double-oh.
Bond is not working for the Secret Servce at the time, therefor Fleming's Unseen Mission in the Seychelles did not precede this adventure (see FYEO pg 156) in Pearson's reality.

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chapter 8: 007 is Born, pgs 195-227
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Becoming a Double Oh, pgs 198-200
M agrees to rehire Bond for his new department. There are already several other double oh's. Bond meets Tanner, and his secretary Una Trueblood (a new character).
Once rehired by M, Bond moves into his apartment (30  Wellington Square, off King's Road) and acquires his housekeeper May McGrath (who had previously worked for Uncle Gregor in Glencoe). pgs 203-205
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the First Jamaican Mission, pgs 208-227
Bond's first mission as a double oh.

Bond is sent to Jamaica to deal with Communist infiltration of the unions. He meets a man named Charles Da Silva. The goddess Kull, known by emblem of the Vagina Dentata, is promoted as a threat to any Jamaican who will not cooperate. Bond takes Da Silva's place and is presented to Kull in an underground chamber beneath the red light district if Kingston, in front of hundreds of onlookers. Kull turns out to be a deafmute woman exploited by the villain.
(see CR pg 10 & 27, and LALD pg 180)

Pearson contradicts Fleming: Fleming described this as a long, untidy, inconclusive job just after the war.

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chapter 9: Casino, pgs 228-244
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Demetrious, pgs 231-238
all new.
Bond is sent to Greece to end an arms smuggling operation. He blows up a boat in the harbour, after inadvertently befriending its Captain Demetrious.
Compare with Craig's Casino Royale film: Dimitrious is the name of the bad guy Bond is pursuing immediately prior to his mission vs le Chiffre, and he gets blowed up too.
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all new.
Bond takes his Aunt Charmian on a vacation to the Mediterranean, visiting all the casinos and sailor's bars. She gets on famously with the roughest toughest smugglers he knows, and asks why he never introduced her to his friends before. pgs 238-240.
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(Casino Royale happens here,  pgs 240-243.
Pearson contradicts Fleming: Bond disputes "Fleming"'s claim he fell in love with Vesper.
Then, when we get to the bit about OHMSS, we learn he'd only visited Vesper's grave ten years later by chance, he did not visit once a year.)
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(Live and Let Die happens here, pg 244)

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chapter 10: Vendetta, pgs 245-264
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Pearson contradicts Fleming: Moonraker does not happen. We will see Bond and "Fleming" brainstorm the book's plot together two years later (pgs 279-280).
By removing this mission, Pearson is able to free up a big chunk of time and insert other missions.
The three married women are the only part that really happened (see MR, pg 10). One of the women takes a bullet meant for Bond. pgs  246-247.
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Oborin, pgs 250-260
all new:
Oborin is the assassin who killed le Chiffre, and now he is known to be after Bond. Bond is sent to Finland, to meet a defector whom he assumes is a phony. The meeting is to take place on an island next to the Russian border. Bond is captured, and wakes up in an abandoned German navy battlecruiser named the Lublin, tilting half-sideways next to the island. Oborin gives Bond a chance to escape in the dark interior of the boat, and the two assassins stalk and outwit each other alone in the hallways.

This section very strongly resembles next year's Man with the Golden Gun film, in the news there is a rival assassin after Bond, the leaning abandoned ship, and the two assassins cat-and-mouse duel at the climax. This is the one bit of Pearson's book that I would say has been unofficially adapted to film.
Also the phony defector ruse foreshadows the Living Daylights film.
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More unseen missions. pgs 260-261

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chapter 11: Superbond, pgs 265-280
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all new:
Why "Fleming" Wrote the Books, pgs 265-271.
Bond is being repeatedly targeted by SMERSH, and M is tempted to fire him again. Instead, "Fleming" suggests to M that they can really fool the Russian this time by pretending Bond is a fictional character.
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Many more very briefly described missions. pgs 273-278.

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chapter 12: Bond Cocu, pgs 281-296
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(Diamonds are Forever happens here, pg 283)
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CoHabitation, pgs 283-296.
Further details about the year Bond spent living with Tiffany. (see FRWL pgs 81, 85)
Pearson contradicts Fleming: Bond is sent on a brief mission to France during this time.

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chapter 13: The Soft Life, pgs 297-329
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(From Russia, with Love happens here. Pearson tells us the real reason this happened is SMERSH figured out the truth behind the books, then when it failed they burned all their files on Bond out of fear of reprisals from above , pgs 300-302.)
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(Dr No  happens here, pg 308)
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The Hungarian Uprising , pgs 308-329
Bond sent to Budapest during the uprising. 009 has been murdered and missing is a list of Resistance agents. Heinkel, the villain, kidnaps Bond and takes him to his headquarters in an abandoned zoo. Heinkel locks Bond up in cage with a gorilla, also a woman named Nashda, who has the list memorised. The two escape to Vienna, where they catch a train and Heinkel reappears, which is when Bond and Nashda jump from the train and Bond sustains his injury.
(see TB pg 21, where the doctor at Shrublands asks about an old injury)

Despite passing through Vienna twice in this mission, Bond does not follow a man into a play.
(see FYEO pg 85, where Bond recalls an Unseen Mission in Vienna that would have happened around this same time)

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chapter 14: The Truth about M, pgs 330-352
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(Goldfinger happens here, pg 333. Pearson does not mention the Mexican Drug Job, from GF's chapter 1)
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(For Your Eyes Only happens here, pg 335. Pearson confirms there were missions to four of the locations in this book. We already know the Hildebrand Rarity, the fifth story, happened years earlier. Pearson does not mention the three Unseen Missions that preceded some these short stories)
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(Thunderball happens here, pg 338. There is no mention of anybody called "Kevin McClory" in this reality.)
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the Toronto mission
The contents of chapter 10: Bedtime Story from the Spy Who Loved Me are recapped. So in this reality, that mission definitely did happen. pg 339-340

Vivienne Michelle really did write that book. "Fleming" is sick in the hospital that year (recovering from a real world heart attack), and M wants a new book out on schedule anyway. So Michelle's book is published under "Fleming"'s name. pg 342
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all new:
M is being blackmailed, and Bond and Tanner deal with the blackmailer without M's knowledge. Turns out M has been visiting a nudist colony! pgs 342-352

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chapter 15: ‘The Bastard's Gone’, pgs 353-382
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(On Her Majesty's Secret Service happens here, pgs 356-360. Pearson gives no further detail about the year of false leads attempting to find Blofeld)
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the Prenderghast Affair, pgs 362-365
Prenderghast is Bond's friend, the station head of Rome, and is outed as a homosexual and accused of selling secrets to the Russians. Bond challenges the credibility of his accuser, who loses his job and commits suicide. But Prenderghast attempts to flee to Prague, and in his subsequent trial is found guilty.
This is therefor a mission Bond bungled. Fleming mentioned the Prenderghast Affair as a scandal that had upset M, but not Bond's personal involvement. In YOLT M said there were two Unseen Missions where Bond's mistakes endangered others lives, so there is still one other Pearson has not revealed.
(see YOLT pg 29)
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(You Only Live Twice happens here, pgs 365-366)
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Bond specifically states the short story Octopussy happens after the Man with the Golden Gun (did Pearson not know Fleming had written the short story three years earlier?). The other Octopussy stories are not mentioned at all. pg 369
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Bond accompanies "Fleming" to the premiere of Dr No, pg 370
(actually I think Bond would have been busy being brainwashed in Russia the date of the film's premiere, but Pearson does get mixed up as to what year it is at various other points)
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"Pearson" then mentions Colonel Sun (pg 373), but only when Bond is off stage, meaning there is no confirmation that mission really happened or if "Robert Markham" just made it up, let alone why "Robert Markham" would have written yet another pseudo-fictionalised Bond book after "Fleming"'s death.
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There is therefor an eight year gap between OP and/or CS (~1964) and the modern-day framing sequence (~1972), during which Bond is still employed a double oh, but no further missions are hinted at.

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chapter 1: ‘This is Commander Bond’, pgs 7-24
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The framing sequence takes place approximately 1973 (Bond is 52, and was born Nov 11 1920, and his son is ten, born the year after YOLT, ~1963), and continues throughout the book (usually the first two pages of each chapter) then concludes the last several pages (pgs 370-382).

"Pearson" is contacted by Maria Künzler in 1970, then in her mid60s, who sends him proof Bond was a real person. The Secret Service find out about "Pearson"'s inquiries, and send him on his own mission: to interview the real James Bond, publish his biography, and set the record straight.
"Pearson" finds the real Bond in Bermuda, living in "William Stephenson"'s penthouse above a hotel.
Bond has been working continuously the last eight years, but is now sick with hepatitis and fears retirement.

Mrs Honey Schultz (nee Rider) is also present, with her inherited money and 80 foot yacht. Honey is very different than the character Fleming described, and she complains about Fleming's description of her in Dr No. She did marry a Philadelphia doctor as Fleming stated (tMwtGG pg 41-42) but divorced young (her two children are not mentioned), remarried to elderly millionaire Schultz, and is now a fabulously wealthy widow aiming to make Bond her third husband.
Bond and Honey become formally engaged, while Bond nervously checks for phone calls, desperately hoping for one more mission.

The night before the planned wedding, Tanner arrives accompanied by Dr Molony and an Australian scientist, and gives Bond his next mission vs Irma Bunt and the infamous giant rats of Australia. This is a cliffhanger, and whatever happens next, is yet another Unseen Mission left to our imaginations.

Last edited by caractacus potts (22nd Jun 2019 17:12)

16

Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Wow, very thorough cp! There's a lot to take in there.

17

Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Bloody hell, Caractacus, a thorough post indeed.

18

Re: Anyone read Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007

Thanks fellers!
As I say I took 12 pages of notes and thought the results would probably be of interest to my fellow Bond-geeks who also obsess about this stuff, and maybe serve as a handy reference.
I know we've had indepth discussions of the content of Colonel Sun and other continuation novels, but for this book the discussions usually don't go beyond the high concept framing device … I think all the little adventures within the flashback sequences are worthy of discussion too, as hastily sketched as most of them are.

I also made a list of all the BondGirls within this book, I could post as well, if anyone cares. Pearson introduced about a dozen new Bondgirl characters and gave new info about some of the classic Fleming characters.

Last edited by caractacus potts (23rd Mar 2019 15:01)