Literary 007 Timeline

This literary 007 timeline is a cursory list of important dates in the history of the literary James Bond franchise and the life of Ian Fleming.

1910s

1908

  • May 28: Ian Fleming is born at 27 Green Street in Mayfair,Mayfair, London, to Valentine and Eve Fleming.

1914

  • Ian Fleming and Ivar Bryce become friends while holidaying in Bude, Cornwall

1915

  • Ian Fleming attend Durnford School in Dorset

1917

  • Valentine Fleming is killed in action in France during WW1

1920s

1921

  • Ian Fleming starts at Eton

1924

  • Peter and Ian Fleming stay with Ernan Forbes Dennis at the Tannerhof in Kitzbuhel, Austria

1926

  • Ian’s nose was broken in a rugby game by Henry Douglas-Home, brother of the future Prime Minister.
  • Ian while an officer cadet at Sandhurst, sends a fan letter to William Plomer

1927

  • Leaves Sandhurst early and goes to Kitzbuhel

1929

  • Carl Jung delivers a lecture that Ian Fleming later translates

1930s

1930

  • Ian attends the University of Geneva

1931

  • On failing his Foreign Office exams, Fleming joined Reuters as a journalist and gets engaged to Monique Panchaud
  • Ian covers the Alpine Motor Trials for Reuters

1932

  • Ian covers the Vickers espionage prosecution trial in Moscow
  • Robert Fleming dies

1933

  • Peter Fleming published Brazilian Adventure
  • Resigns from ‘Reuters’, instead joining ‘Cull and Company‘, merchant bank (October)

1934

  • Ian Fleming buys a flat from Oswald Mosley at 22 Ebury Street, Belgravia, where Moonraker villain Sir Hugo Drax would also live. In the book, Bond chases Drax down Ebury Street, all the way onto the A20 to Dover, on which he loses his Bentley.

1935

  • Ian Fleming meets Muriel Wright in Kitzbuhel
  • Goes to work for Rowe & Pitman stockbrokers
  • Ian commissioned the rare book dealer Percy Muir to assemble over a thousand volumes of pioneering texts (on subjects ranging from science and technology to politics and sports) which were undervalued by fellow collectors.

1937

  • Ian moves into Tom Mosley’s flat at 22B Ebury St. He writes his first short story A Poor Man’s Escape.

1938

  • Ivar Bryce moves to the US. Ian visits Nw York for the first time.

1939

  • Admiral Godfrey, Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI), introduced to Fleming by Admiral Aubrey Hugh-Smith (brother of senior partner in stockbroking firm ‘Rowe and Pitman’, where Fleming was working at the time) at the Carlton Grill. Fleming earmarked as his personal assistant when war breaks out
  • War breaks out – Fleming was recruited by Naval Intelligence to work in the Admiralty’s Room 39. He went on missions throughout Europe, America and Africa, coordinating special operations for the Allies. By the end of the war, Fleming, codename 17F, had been promoted to commander. His wartime work brought him to Bletchley Park where Alan Turing cracked the Enigma Code. Fleming had earlier cooked up his own code-breaking attempt, ‘Operation Ruthless’, without any joy.
  • He is appointed Lieutenant (Special branch) in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (July 26, 1939)
  • Ian meets Ann O’Neill

1940s

1940

  • Ian’s younger brother Michael dies as a POW in Germany.
  • Flies to France to help try to persuade the French Navy to withdraw to the safety of England – Admiral Darlan refusing to withdraw (June 1940)

1941

  • While working for Naval Intelligence in World War II, Ian Fleming wrote a memorandum with recommendations on how to set up the CIA.

1942

  • Ian Fleming watches the Dieppe raid from HMS Fernie
  • He attends an Anglo-American Naval Intelligence conference in Jamaica

1943

  • Ian attends the TRIDENT conference in Washington D.C.; QUADRANT conference in Quebec and SEXTANT conference in Cairo

1944

  • Muriel Wright is killed in an air raid

1945

  • Officially released from his Majesty’s service (November 10, 1945)
  • Ian joins Kemsley newspapers as foreign manager

1946

  • Ian buys a property on Oracabessa in Jamaica and names it Goldeneye

1947

  • Completes an article for the magazine ‘Horizon’, an island guide to Jamaica (1947)
  • Moves into 21 Hays Mews, Mayfair (late 1947)

1948

  • Ian and Ann Rothermere’s daughter Mary is still-born

1950s

1950

  • Fleming moves to 24 Carlyle Mansions, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea (August 1950)

1951

  • Ian loses his Royal Navy Reserve commission
  • Burgess and Maclean defect
  • Ian and Ann take over Noel Coward’s lease of White Cliffs in St. Margaret’s Bay in Kent
  • Ian writes The Shameful Dream and has as its hero a journalist named Bone – a year and a letter-change later the hero would be Bond.
  • The Queen Anne Press was created by Lord Kemsley, proprietor of The Sunday Times, to publish the works of contemporary authors. In 1952, as a wedding present to his then Foreign Editor, Kemsley made Ian Fleming its managing director. The press concentrated on producing finely printed and bound editions, often with small limitations.

1952

  • August 12th: Caspar Fleming is born
  • February 17: To distract himself from his forthcoming nuptials, Fleming starts writing Casino Royale at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica.
  • March 18: Fleming finishes work on the Casino Royale script and shows it to an ex-girlfriend, Clare Blanchard, who advises him not to publish it at all, but that if he does so, it should be under another name.
  • March 24: Ian Fleming marries Ann Charteris in Jamaica.
  • Kemsley started publishing the “Book Collector” with Fleming on the editorial board alongside Percy Muir.
  • Buys Glidrose Productions to ease tax burden for forthcoming book(s) (October 1952)

1953

  • Ian and Ann move into 16 Victoria Square
  • April 13: Fleming publishes his first novel, Casino Royale, establishing the character of James Bond. It was a success and three print runs were needed to cope with the demand.
  • Ian goes scuba diving with Jacques Cousteau in Jamaica

1954

  • April 5: The second Bond novel, Live and Let Die, is released.

1955

  • April 5: Fleming’s third novel, Moonraker, is published. The original title for the book Moonraker was Mondays Are Hell.
  • Accompanies Sir Ronald Howe, Assistant Commisioner of Scotland Yard, head of CID, to the Interpol Conference, that year held in Istanbul. After the week is up, returns on the Simplon-Orient Express: Istanbul to Paris (September 1955)
  • Release of Burgess and Maclean White Paper. Kim Philby cleared
  • Ian undergoes treatment at Enton Hall
  • Accepts proposition as one of the governors of the Royal College of Art (Autumn 1955)

1956

  • Moonraker is retitled Too Hot to Handle for its release in the U.S.
  • March 26: Fleming’s fourth novel, Diamonds Are Forever is published.
  • Buster Crabb goes missing in Portsmouth
  • Suez crisis and Anthony Eden vacations at Goldeneye
  • Fleming’s contribution to book design was recognised by the Royal College of Art where he was elected to the governing council in the mid-1950s. At this time he discovered the work of water-colourist (and future RCA tutor) Richard Chopping whose macabre trompe-l’oeil illustrations, combined with the stencilled tea-chest type designed by Robert Harling, established a distinctive identity for the Bond novels’ dust jackets.

1957

  • April 8: The fifth Bond novel, From Russia with Love, is published. Fleming toys with the idea of killing off the James Bond character, unsure of whether he should write another Bond novel or not.
  • Ian meets John Collard in Tangier for research on The Diamond Smugglers, which is published the same year.
  • Ian and Ann move into The Old Palace at Beke
  • Writer Geoffrey Jenkins collaborates with Fleming on a James Bond story between the years 1957 and 1964. Glidrose Publishers contracted Jenkins to develop the story into a full novel after Fleming died in 1964. The book was entitled “Per Fine Ounce” but it has never been available to readers and published.

1958

  • March 31: Fleming’s sixth novel, Dr. No, is published. The novel was originally a screenplay written in 1956 for what would have been a television show entitled Commander Jamaica. It marks the first appearance of both Major Boothroyd and Bond’s signature weapon, the Walther PPK.
  • Summer: Fleming and his friend, Ivar Bryce, begin talking about the possibility of a James Bond film.
  • Autumn: Bryce introduces Fleming to a young Irish writer and director, Kevin McClory, and the three of them, together with Fleming and Bryce’s friend Ernest Cuneo, form the partnership Xanadu Productions.
  • John McLusky drew the first face of Bond for the strip cartoon in the Daily express in 1958. The strip feature ran for many years, John McKlusky providing the artwork up to 1983.
  • Ian Fleming goes on a fruitless treasure hunt in the Seychelles, later written up as Treasure Hunt in Eden

1959

  • March 23: Goldfinger, the seventh novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series is published.
  • Fleming flies around the world for the Sunday Times for research of his Thrilling Cities
  • May: Fleming, Bryce, Cuneo and McClory come up with a story outline based on an aeroplane full of celebrities and a female lead called Fatima Blush. Over the next few months there are ten outlines, treatments and scripts.
  • Ian and Ann Fleming buy Sevenhampton Place. He had the 16th-century manor pulled down, creating a modern home in its place. It was here that Fleming enjoyed his last and wealthiest days, living to see the first two Bond films released, and writing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He is buried with his wife and son in St James Church, Sevenhampton. The Swindon connection has even survived Fleming’s death: in 1984, Roger Moore shot scenes for A View to a Kill in the Renault Building, and in 2000, the Motorola factory
  • Ian writes If I Were Prime Minister for The Spectator, originally published on Oct. 9
  • In 1959 Fleming was commissioned by The Sunday Times to write a series of articles based on world cities, material for which later was collected into a book entitled Thrilling Cities; whilst travelling through New York for material, Fleming wrote “007 in New York” from Bond’s point of view.

1960s

1960

  • American copies of Moonraker are reverted to the original title.
  • January-March: Fleming writes the novel Thunderball at Goldeneye, based on the screenplay written by himself, Whittingham and McClory.
  • April 11: A collection of short stories by Ian Fleming are published under the title For Your Eyes Only.
  • Ian stays with MI6 chief Nicholas Elliot in Beirut
  • Completes his European leg of his research for Thrilling Cities
  • Fleming was commissioned by the Kuwait Oil Company to write a book on the country and its oil industry. The Kuwaiti Government disapproved of the typescript, State of Excitement: Impressions of Kuwait, and it was never published.

1961

  • March 17: In an article in Life Magazine, US President John F. Kennedy lists From Russia, with Love as one of his ten favourite books.
  • March 26: Thunderball, the eighth novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series is published. Notably, it introduces Bond’s nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
  • Ian Fleming sells the film rights to his novels to Harry Saltzman.
  • While working for the Sunday Times, Fleming suffered a massive heart attack aged 52, during their weekly conference. Writes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from hospital for his son Caspar.

1962

  • Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli co-produce the film version of Dr. No. Sean Connery is cast as Bond, and the film is an instant success.
  • April 16: The Spy Who Loved Me, the ninth novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series is published. It is the shortest novel in the series, and is told from the first-person perspective of a woman named Vivienne Michel, rather than the third-person used in the other books.
  • The October 26, 1962 issue of The Spectator contains a charming letter to the editor from Ian Fleming
  • Ian writes How to Write a Thriller, first published in August 1962 in American magazine Show
  • Ian writes the foreword to Montgomery Hyde’s Room 3603

1963

  • April 1: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the tenth novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series is published. It is the first Fleming novel published after the release of the film Dr. No.
  • October 10: The film version of From Russia with Love is released. Notably, it is the first time the character of Ernst Stavro Blofeld appears on screen.
  • Publication of Thrilling Cities in the UK in November
  • November 19: McClory takes Fleming to court over the publication of Thunderball, suing him for plagiarism. They settle out of court. McClory gains the literary and film rights for the screenplay, while Fleming is given the rights to the novel, although it has to be recognised as being “based on a screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and the Author”.
  • Kim Philby defects to Moscow and Guy Burgess dies in Moscow
  • In October Ian Fleming was interviewed by Roy Norquist for a publication called Counterpoint.
  • In 1963 bibliographer John Carter and Percy Muir arranged the celebrated “Printing and the Mind of Man” exhibition at the British Museum and Earl’s Court, to which Fleming lent 44 books, the second largest contribution after King’s College, Cambridge.
  • On Monday, August 5 1963,  Ian Fleming appears as Roy Plomley’s castaway on BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs
  • “007 in New York” is published. It was originally titled “Reflections in a Carey Cadillac” and it contains a recipe for scrambled eggs which came from May Maxwell, the housekeeper to friend Ivar Bryce who gave her name to Bond’s own housekeeper, May. The story was first published in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963 as “Agent 007 in New York“, but was subsequently renamed as “007 in New York” for the 1964 US editions of Thrilling Cities.

1964

  • March 16: You Only Live Twice, the eleventh novel (and twelfth book) in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of stories is published. It is the final Bond novel to be released in Fleming’s lifetime.
  • The Booker Prize for fiction, now called the Man Booker Prize, was created with copyrights shared between Ian Fleming and Booker brothers, a large agro-industrial company.
  • Approached by producer Norman Felton to write a spy series for television, Fleming provided several ideas, including the names of characters Napoleon Solo and April Dancer, for the series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. However, Fleming withdrew from the project following a request from Eon Productions
  • Ian Fleming writes an introduction to a guidebook to Jamaica called Ian Fleming introduces Jamaica
  • Ian’s mother, Eve Fleming dies
  • Ian grants Playboy an Interview, published in December. It would be his last.
  • August 12: Fleming dies of a heart attack in Canterbury, Kent, England. This was also the same date as his son Caspar’s twelfth birthday.
  • Ian’s last novel – The Man with the Golden Gun is left unfinished. He was dissatisfied with it and wrote to William Plomer, the copy editor of his novels, asking for it to be rewritten.
  • The movie Goldfinger is released
  • For the US market, Thrilling Cities was released in June 1964 through New American Library

1965

  • April 1: The Man with the Golden Gun, the twelfth novel (and thirteenth book) of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series is posthumously published. It is the first and only novel published after Ian Fleming’s death.

1966

  • Octopussy and The Living Daylights, a collection of Fleming’s short stories, is published posthumously on June 23, 1966.

1968

  • March 28: Colonel Sun – the first continuation James Bond novel published after the death of Ian Fleming – is published by Glidrose Productions.
  • His nephew, Nichol Fleming, wrote an adventure story in the Bond style titled “Counter Paradise”

1970s

1973

  • Ian Fleming biographer John Pearson, writes a fictional biography of James Bond. Pearson begins the story with his own discovery that James Bond exists; MI6 had assigned Ian Fleming to write novels based upon the real agent. MI6 instruct Pearson to write 007’s biography; he is introduced to a retired James Bond — who is in his fifties, yet healthy, sun-tanned, and with Honeychile Ryder, the heroine of Dr. No. Bond tells his life story to Pearson; this includes the death of Bond’s parents, his first MI6 missions and Bond’s own reaction to Fleming’s books and the films about his adventures.

1974

  • Casper dies of a drug overdose in Jamaica.

1977

  • Gildrose produced the novelization of the EON film, James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me written by Christopher Wood.

1979

  • Gildrose produced the novelizations of the EON film, James Bond and Moonraker by Christopher Wood

1980s

1981

  • After a thirteen year hiatus of original content (and recently after the death of Anne Charteris, Fleming’s wife) Gildrose contracted John Gardner to scribe several Bond novels and to bring Bond in the modern 1980s. In 1981 Licence Renewed was published to mediocre critical response and sales. Nevertheless Gardner wrote a total of 16 Bond novels, including two novelizations of feature films.
  • Ann Fleming dies

1983

  • October 5: A newly discovered asteroid is named 9007 James Bond in honour of Ian Fleming.

1989

  • Goldeneye: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, 1989. A television film starring Charles Dance as Fleming is released.

1990s

1990

  • Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, 1990. A television film starring Jason Connery (son of Sean) as Fleming.

1992

  • Fleming’s Scrapbook was sold at a charity auction in December 1992 by his step-daughter, Fionn O’Neill. Reportedly, it was acquired for £30,000 by Fleming’s nieces Lucy, Kate and Nichol. Proceeds went to the London Library.

1995

  • In 1995, the gold-plated “Royal” typewriter on which he hammered out many of his 007 novels, was auctioned by Christie’s of London for £50,000 to a buyer who still remains anonymous. This is the most expensive typewriter to date.

1996

  • John Gardner published his last Bond book, COLD.

1997

  • Raymond Benson was contracted by Gildrose to continue the Bond story.  Benson wrote six original Bond novels, starting with 1997’s Zero Minus Ten. Benson’s novels, like Gardner’s, featured James Bond in a modern year. He also wrote three film novelizations and three Bond short stories.

2000s

2002

  • Raymond Benson left the Bond series.

2005

  • Ian Fleming: Bondmaker, 2005. A television drama-documentary, first broadcast on BBC in on 28 August 2005. Ben Daniels portrayed Fleming

2005-2008

  • The Moneypenny Diaries – Set in the 1960s continuity of Ian Fleming’s original novels, this trio of books was an authorized spin-off, focusing on M’s loyal secretary/personal assistant Miss Moneypenny. These were set in the original 1960s continuity of the Fleming novels and included: Guardian Angel, Secret Servant, For Your Eyes Only, James, Moneypenny’s First Date With Bond and Final Fling

2005-2009

  • Young Bond: Charlie Higson’s Young Bond novels take the limited references to Bond’s pre-spy life that are scattered throughout Fleming’s novels, and place James at the Eton boarding school, where he has a number of adventures that help him formulate the personality and behavior that he later exhibits in Fleming’s original novels. These stories are set in the 1930s, and remain remarkably true to the spirit of Fleming’s hero, albeit in teenaged form. They were: SilverFin, Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold, By Royal Command and Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier, a Non-fiction look at the world of Young Bond, with art by Kevin Walker. Includes an all-original short story, “A Hard Man to Kill”.

2007

  • The Queen Anne Press was acquired by Ian Fleming’s literary estate.

2008

  • Ian Fleming Publications asked British author Sebastian Faulks to pen a new Bond novel and Faulks delivered a novel set in the 1960’s in 2008 titled Devil May Care.
  • Ian Fleming: Where Bond Began, 2008. Television documentary about the life of Ian Fleming, broadcast 19 October 2008 by the BBC. Presented by former Bond girl, Joanna Lumley.
  • Inspired by the centenary of Ian Fleming, the Queen Anne Press published a limited high quality edition of his complete works, including Talk of the Devil; a posthumous volume of rarely seen material, some of it unpublished, the title being taken from a list that Fleming kept in his notebook.

2010s

2011

  • American author Jeffery Deaver who penned Carte Blanche in 2011.
  • The film Age of Heroes is based on the exploits of 30 Commando; James D’Arcy played Fleming

2013

  • In 2013 Ian Fleming Publications announced that William Boyd would pen the thirty-eighth Bond book in time for the 60th literary anniversary. Solo was released in September 2013 in the UK and October 2013 in the US.

2014

  • Shoot to Kill is a novel written by Steve Cole, being the first continuation entry in the Young Bond series, taking over from Charlie Higson who left the mantle ever since the previous installment A Hard Man to Kill back in 2009. It features Ian Fleming’s superspy, James Bond in his teenage years, finding himself troubled in the outskirts of Los Angeles, having recently dismissed from Eton.
  • Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, a BBC America television four-episode mini-series, broadcast in January and February 2014, starring Dominic Cooper in the title role
  • Jon Gilbert was presented in April 2014 with the 16th ILAB Breslauer prize for Ian Fleming: The Bibliography.
  • Announced that Anthony Horowitz would write the thirty-ninth Bond novel. He would be using previously unreleased material by Fleming as an inspiration. This would take the form of several plot treatments for a James Bond television series that was never made and ended up turning most of the plots into the short stories that formed the collections For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. The piece has the working title “Project One”.
  • Matthew Parker’s book Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica is published on June 14.
  • Dynamite Entertainment announced plans to publish monthly James Bond comics as part of a ten-year licensing deal with Ian Fleming Publications in 2015.

2015

  • Anthony Horowitz’s continuation novel Trigger Mortis is published to positive reviews.
  • Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir by the late Robert Harling is published.
  • The first James Bond comic by Dynamite comics is published to coincide with the film Spectre.
  • Kingsley Amis’ Colonel Sun is re-issued in paperback for the first time since the early 1990s.
  • Ian Fleming’s nephew Fergus Fleming publishes The Man with the Golden Typewriter, Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters

2016

  • Peter Janson-Smith dies. Peter became Ian Fleming’s agent for foreign rights in 1956 on the recommendation of Eric Ambler.
  • Ian Fleming’s step-daughter and Ann Fleming’s daughter Fionn Morgan, attends the WhitLit festival in Kent to talk about her life growing up with them.
  • John Griswold, the author of ‘Ian Fleming’s James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming’s Bond Stories.’ dies.
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