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    First James Bond Book, Inscribed by Ian Fleming to "M" and in a Superb Dust Jacket

    Ian Fleming. Casino Royale. London: Jonathan Cape, [1953].

    First edition. Provocatively inscribed by Fleming on the front free endpaper, alluding to the enigmatic head of the British Secret Service: "To M. These pages from my memoirs! Ian." Octavo. 218 pages.

    Publisher's black cloth with front and spine stamped in red. Book has just a slight lean and minimal foxing to the endpapers. Dust jacket is evenly toned with modest rubbing. There is a one-eighth-inch tear to the upper edge at the front joint. Housed in a beautiful custom clamshell box by The Dragonfly Bindery. The box front reproduces an image of bleeding hearts from front panel of jacket in intricate, multicolored leathers. A stunning example of the first Bond novel in fine condition.

    Ian Fleming, though born into a wealthy, respected British family, struggled in his early years with finding a career in which to distinguish him. Living in the shadow of his father and older brother, he tried banking and journalism without ever being known as anyone more than the "younger Fleming." It wasn't until the war years that Fleming found something that he both excelled at and had passion for. In 1939 Fleming was recruited into the Naval Intelligence division of the British Navy to be the personal assistant to Rear Admiral John Godfrey. (Incidentally, the character "M" in the James Bond movies is believed to have been an amalgam of Godfrey, English spymaster Maxwell Knight, and other intelligence figures Fleming knew and worked with.) As an officer in Naval Intelligence and the right hand to Admiral Godfrey, Fleming discovered that he had a gift for creative thinking within the structured environment of intelligence work. His ability to plot ingenious intelligence operations became known as the "Fleming flair." The "'Fleming flair" extended to his writing of memos and reports within the intelligence field. For his memos written to William "Wild Bill" Donovan on how to set up the OSS, forerunner of the CIA, he received a revolver from Donovan engraved with the thanks: "For Special Services." During the final year of the war, Fleming was sent to Jamaica for a naval conference. Falling in love with the locale, he would return after the war to build his retreat, Goldeneye. Writing from this exotic location and drawing on his military experiences, he would create the character of secret agent James Bond and return yearly to write all of the Bond novels.

    Zeiger, The Spy Who Came in with the Gold. Lycett, Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
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