Field Report: Alice Dryden

We are delighted to welcome in from the January cold, Alice Dryden to talk about her Bond collection and why she could still be the first woman to write an official Bond novel!

1. What is your favorite Chopping cover and why?

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I love the detailed crest, and unless you know the story it’s a strange image to find on a thriller. No violence or death here!

1st edition On Her Majesty's Secret Service

1st edition ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’

2. Do you own any 1st editions?

Only two: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice. Both sniffed out by my mum, who is also a keen book collector, though not of Bond, and finds me a lot of good stuff. Paperbacks take up less space and are easier on the wallet, is my excuse.

You Only Live Twice

3. What is on your literary 007 wishlist?

Casino-RoyaleI still harbour the dream of finding that Casino Royale first edition at the bottom of a dusty old box at a flea market! I was allowed to hold one briefly, in a London bookshop, which is probably the closest I’ll get.

I spend my holidays motorcycling in Europe, and if I happen across a secondhand bookshop I’ll always check it out for Bond in translation. So I’m going to say more foreign Bonds, to give me an excuse for more travel! This year, it’s Spain…

4. When did you read your first Bond novel and which is your favorite?

I must have been 14 when I picked up a secondhand paperback of Dr No (film tie-in cover, recently replaced because I had literally read it to pieces). It didn’t take long to assemble a collection. I was at boarding-school, and delighted to escape into Bond’s world. I used to read the books aloud to my friends after Lights Out, with much giggling at the naughty bits.

Photo: Alice Dryden

Photo: Alice Dryden

My favourite is Moonraker, for the setting; the county of Kent is on my doorstep, so it feels more exciting and real than the exotic locales. A couple of years ago I led a Bond-themed motorcycle ride from Maidstone to Dover, taking in the village of Pett Bottom amongst other sites of interest. It always pleases me that Bond doesn’t quite get his own way at the end, too.

The Duck Inn, Pett Bottom

Photo: Alice Dryden

5. Do you have any favorite Bond dust jackets in paperback or by continuation authors?

I love the boldness of Raymond Hawkey’s 1960s Pans – Casino Royale is probably my favourite – and I also collect film tie-in editions.


Dick Bruna, most famous for the Miffy picture books, produced some simple but striking cover images for the Dutch editions, like this one for Moonraker (bought in Utrecht, Bruna’s hometown).

Dutch edition of Moonraker

The cover for Anthony Horowitz’s Trigger Mortis, with its rocket blueprint to cut out and make (as if you would!) is gorgeous.


Incidental Intelligence

Alice Dryden

Alice Dryden

Alice Dryden is a writer, biker, and fan of fictional spies in all their guises.

She’s @Huskyteer on Twitter, and Bond-related blog posts can be found at

At the time of writing, she could still be the first woman to write an official Bond novel. Here’s hoping.

2 thoughts on “Field Report: Alice Dryden

  1. It’s great to hear from a female Bond aficionado.
    I laughed out loud when I read the bit about Alice reading the books to fellow pupils at a boarding school.
    This was exactly my experience.
    Fleming’s books were a huge comfort to me at school.
    I’d have loved to accompany her on the Bond motorcycle ride albeit I’d have had to follow on behind in my Jag!
    One thing I have to violently disagree with alice on is the ‘TM’ cover art. Sorry, didn’t like that one at all.

  2. Good to hear from you, as well, David! I did turn green with envy when I read about Alice’s first edition finds at a local book store…seems that’s the dream of us all! Then there’s the magic of the Duck – what a pub! Here in the states it would have been razed and turned into a Starbucks coffee (burnt & bitter) shoppe – with the requisite double “p” and accented “e” on the end. For local colour, don’t you know! It would be an interesting take to have a female aficionado and writer to tackle a Bond continuation novel…And speaking of tracking Alice on her cycle…I’ll take the passenger seat in your Jag any day! Hope it’s an “E” Type? Concur on your assessment of TM cover…even worse was the US paperback ed. Gave me a case of the staggers!

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