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Fleming heck, it's the centenary celebration for 007 Daddy, Ian

23/05/2008. Contributed by Jessica Martin

Buy Devil May Care in the USA - or Buy Devil May Care in the UK

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Ian Fleming, the writer who created James Bond, was born 100 years ago on May 28th 1908. A year-long program of spy-fi fun is underway to celebrate his life and the impact that Bond has had around the world. Ah, the centenary, come on in ... we've been expecting you.

Fleming started writing as a young journalist at Reuters, but it wasn't until 20 years later, at the age of 43, that he wrote his first novel, Casino Royale, and James Bond was born - immediately followed by many oddball characters such as M, Miss Moneypenny, and grisly villains such as Blofeld and Dr. No.

Much of the inspiration for the characters and incidents in the Bond novels came from his experience at the Admiralty during World War II. Ian Fleming had been recruited in 1939 as personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, and remained in this post throughout the war, privy to many secrets and reaching the rank of Commander.

After the war, he joined the London Sunday Times and acquired a small plot of land in Jamaica, where he built his house, Goldeneye. There, he retained a deep love for the island and its people, and wrote the Bond novels, one a year until his death.

Today, over 100 million copies of the books have been sold, with fourteen Bond titles still available from Penguin Books from Casino Royale (1953) to Octopussy & the Living Daylights (1966).

Meanwhile, back at Nick Landau's secret lair, the cat-stroking sci-fi industrialist's firm, Titan, is pumping out library collector's editions for the James Bond comic strips that were a feature of Britain's Express newspapers from the late 50s until the early 80s. With 13 volumes already available, this Centenary year will see the release of two new editions featuring James Bond: The Paradise Plot in July and James Bond: Polestar in November.

Thomas Dunne Books recently launched the first title in the The Moneypenny Diaries. Edited by Kate Westbrook, (aka Samantha Weinberg) the series follows the adventures of James Bond's right-hand woman, Jane Moneypenny, and offers a female perspective on the world's best known secret agent.

Devil May Care, the new James Bond book by Sebastian Faulks, will be published by Doubleday. Set in the Cold War, the new Bond adventure spans two continents, exotic locations and several of the world's glam. cities. A limited edition of Devil May Care bound in Bentley leather and containing a pewter replica of the car featured in the book will also be published on May 28th 2008. Only 300 copies of the limited edition will be produced worldwide, of which only 100 will be available for purchase in the US.

Last month, Disney Publishing Worldwide released the third title of the Young Bond series, Double or Die. This prequel to the James Bond dynasty shows young James as a schoolboy in the 1930s, where he spent his formative years. Author Charlie Higson plants the seeds to show how young James learns the skills that will eventually make him history's most formidable and suave super spy.

To honor the centenary, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 will help celebrate with several Ian Fleming onboard offerings on their October 10th-17th 2008 crossing. Departing from Southampton, UK, the voyage will include 007-themed activities, an exhibit and a panel of guest authors, speakers, and experts. Details will be announced at a later date.

On October 18th 2008, Bond Bound: Ian Fleming and the Art of Cover Design opens at Bonhams in New York City. The exhibition will chart the role of artists and designers in creating and defining the Bond look over the last fifty years. The exhibition will also cover all Ian Fleming's other books, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Thrilling Cities - his collected travel journalism.

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