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The Moneypenny Diaries Appreciation Thread


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#1 MkB

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 08:10 PM

We've had some appreciation threads running for the Bond actors, but I think The Moneypenny Diaries deserve their own!

My opinion is that TMD are by far the cleverest and best written continuation novels. Arguably it's a spin-off more than a continuation, but I find them so intelligently faithful to the original novels that I can't help myself considering them continuations.

Not only Sam Weiberg did an impressive research work, but she captured the spirit of Bond / Moneypenny.

I particularly enjoyed the first novel, Guardian Angel. Maybe because Bond was more present, but maybe also because Weinberg did a wonderful job at introducing the characters, and slipping her own creation into Fleming's one. I also very much appreciated the footnotes, and regretted their disappearance in the last novel: this is how an academic would have edited the diaries - well not reall, there would have been ten times more footnotes, but it was a nice nod anyway :tup:

But it's up to you now, fans of the series!

#2 ImTheMoneypenny

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 10:50 PM

I hadn't heard about The Moneypenny Diaries until I started coming around CBn. They look pretty interesting. :tup: I think I'll start adding them to my Bond collection as soon as I can.

#3 zencat

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 05:48 AM

They are excellent. I'm a big fan of the books and the author.

#4 Qwerty

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 02:42 PM

"Clever" and "best written" are definitely two fitting ways to describe these books. Well worth giving a try.

#5 ImTheMoneypenny

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:23 PM

Thanks! I look forward to getting my first one. Should I start at the beginning or buy the first one in the series I find? Anyone have a particular fave? :tup:

#6 Bryce (003)

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:32 PM

They are excellent. I'm a big fan of the books and the author.


What he said. I didn't think I'd like them, but was pleasantly surprised and have enjoyed what followed. Zencat and I had the great pleasure of meeting Samantha this last week during the DMC launch party in London. She's a gem.

:tup:

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#7 MkB

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:39 PM

Thanks! I look forward to getting my first one. Should I start at the beginning or buy the first one in the series I find? Anyone have a particular fave? :tup:


My favourite is the first one, Guardian Angel! :tup: The others are quite good too, but as there is a progression in the series it would be better to read the books in order, IMO (that is: Guardian Angel, Secret Servant, and Final Fling).
By the way, if you are in the US, Guardian Angel has just been released (it was about time...)! But the book is not subtitled "Guardian Angel", it is just "The Moneypenny Diaries", and the cover is different from the UK one (as usual). Anyway, if you're impatient, you can order the UK editions of the following two novels, or find second-hand copies.

#8 ImTheMoneypenny

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:42 PM

They are excellent. I'm a big fan of the books and the author.


What he said. I didn't think I'd like them, but was pleasantly surprised and have enjoyed what followed. Zencat and I had the great pleasure of meeting Samantha this last week during the DMC launch party in London. She's a gem.

:tup:


Great picture! Thank you for your input. I wasn't sure what I'd be getting into with the series, because I do love the Fleming books, and haven't enjoyed the continuations as much as I'd hoped and I have a hefty reading addiction. So many of you regard The Moneypenny Diaries highly, so I am putting myself in your hands and I going to see where I can get the books this weekend. They'll help me pass the days until QoS. :tup:

#9 Brisco

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 06:10 PM

Thanks! I look forward to getting my first one. Should I start at the beginning or buy the first one in the series I find? Anyone have a particular fave? :tup:


My favorite is the second one, Secret Servant, with an excellent Kim Philby plot. But you should definitely start at the beginning, and they're all great!

I wish this thread could be in the general literary discussion or even the hopping DMC section, because I feel like the only people likely to even check out the Moneypenny Diaries threads are MOSTLY people who've already discovered them, and I really, really want ALL Bond fans to discover them! I think there's still a feeling among lots of Bond readers that these aren't "real" Bond novels. Not only ARE they, but, as MkB says, they're among the VERY BEST!

Brisco

#10 ImTheMoneypenny

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:43 AM

Thanks! I look forward to getting my first one. Should I start at the beginning or buy the first one in the series I find? Anyone have a particular fave? :tup:


My favorite is the second one, Secret Servant, with an excellent Kim Philby plot. But you should definitely start at the beginning, and they're all great!

I wish this thread could be in the general literary discussion or even the hopping DMC section, because I feel like the only people likely to even check out the Moneypenny Diaries threads are MOSTLY people who've already discovered them, and I really, really want ALL Bond fans to discover them! I think there's still a feeling among lots of Bond readers that these aren't "real" Bond novels. Not only ARE they, but, as MkB says, they're among the VERY BEST!

Brisco

I braved the weather ( my county was declared a disaster area due to flooding, but my side of town wasn't so bad. And it was sunny by the time I got out.) and rode my bicycle to the bookstore and just got the first one and so far I'm really enjoying it! Unfortunately for me they only have the first one at my local bookstore, so I'll have to track them down online. It is quite good, solid writing. It's a flip side to the novels which to me make them a very viable Bond book filling in the little gaps between adventures. :tup:



#11 Qwerty

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 02:23 AM

It's definitely best to read these in order if you're able to. The events coming to a close in The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling make for much more enjoyable reading if you've already checked out the first two novels.

#12 ImTheMoneypenny

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:15 PM

It's definitely best to read these in order if you're able to. The events coming to a close in The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling make for much more enjoyable reading if you've already checked out the first two novels.


Thanks! Since I have to get the rest online, it'll be easier to read them in sequence. I really am enjoying the book so far!

#13 MkB

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:19 PM

It is quite good, solid writing. It's a flip side to the novels which to me make them a very viable Bond book filling in the little gaps between adventures. :tup:


Glad to see you're enjoying the first instalment :tup:

#14 Pete

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 08:00 PM

I've just finished "Final Fling" and I found all three books worthy of being part of the Bond legacy. I think they are better than some of Gardners entries into the world of Bond and they work well alongside OHMSS - YOLT & TMWTGG. IMO three excelent books.

#15 MkB

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 01:20 AM

For those of you in the US who experience difficulties finding Secret Servant, this US online bookstore has 5 copies at a very good price (less than $9 shipping to the US included):
http://www.alibris.c...rtt7h2rPNVL8wew

Enjoy! :tup:

#16 Trident

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 03:49 PM

So now I'm through with 'Guardian Angel' and I have to say ab-so-lute-ly fabulous material! Really outstanding, got me hooked with line and sinker. Others have stated it before me, this really has the potential to be the Ace Of Continuations.

Two things stand out for me particularly prominent with this book. First of all, while in fact a Bond novel it also has a really intriguing plot that works quite fine even if it wouldn't engage Bond at all. There is a lot of substance there that would make a decent plot in any literary universe, not just necessarily Fleming's. The mixture of real-life events, diary entries and present day comment by Mrs Westbrook is splendidly done and works just fine.

That said, I feel especially the dialogue of Fleming's other characters, M, Bill Tanner and Moneypenny most convincing. Here I think Fleming's own dialogue he wrote for these characters is captured spot on. And I seldom have that feeling with the continuations. Perhaps it's easier with these characters as in Fleming's books they really only have rather little dialogue. Still, I can't say that I ever had this impression of 'This is M/Tanner/Monepenny speaking' when reading Gardner or Benson. To some extent Amis got it almost right to my ear. But only just almost; may be to do with the unfamiliar circumstances Tanner and M speak in 'Colonel Sun'. Anyway, in 'Guardian Angel' it's just 100 percent for me. Really outstanding, all the more so as Moneypenny's tone keeps authentic also in her diary entries.

'Guardian Angel' fleshes out Fleming's Secret Service and almost never seems to miss a beat there. While we get to see lots of SIS backstage affairs that Fleming for the most part only hinted at, or briefly mentioned in throwaway sentences, the entire SIS, its organization, Service-speak, folklore, customs, dress-code are 100 percent proof Fleming from the famous 'Powder Vine' to the 'bloody' (Paymaster Captain) Troop. Remarkably, in spite of this, Moneypenny's Service feels a little bit more like a family than Bond's. But this is in no way a digression from the original. It's absolutely logic and consequential that the character of Moneypenny sees her surroundings and the confidential character of her tasks with a sentimental eye that Bond only rarely allowes himself to do (but that he obviously indulges in from time to time).

I really only have one single, minor complaint with 'Guardian Angel': I simply couldn't see M catching a RAF plane to haul in Bond after Tracy was killed and accompany him to a sea funeral in Royales les Eaux. I'd have bet a 30-year-old bottel of Laphroaig that M would have sent Tanner to do this. But there you see, my reading of M was false. He went himself.

A bit annoying to be proved wrong there, being a fan for 30 years... :tup: :tup:

#17 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 01:57 PM

Well well well. What a read The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel is!. I can only echo what has already been said here.

The introduction was electric. What a great way to blend fiction with reality. It really sucks you into the world of 007 in ways you would not imagine. The whole thing works to a T.

I turned my nose up at first to Young Bond, I was wrong they were the best. I turned my nose up at first the The Monnypenny Diaries and was wrong again, its excellent. If you don't read it you really are going to be missing out. 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10. B)

I think I know where the Westbrook comes from in Kate Westbrook. I move on to the next one........

#18 Bucky

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 02:29 PM

Well well well. What a read The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel is!. I can only echo what has already been said here.

The introduction was electric. What a great way to blend fiction with reality. It really sucks you into the world of 007 in ways you would not imagine. The whole thing works to a T.

I turned my nose up at first to Young Bond, I was wrong they were the best. I turned my nose up at first the The Monnypenny Diaries and was wrong again, its excellent. If you don't read it you really are going to be missing out. 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10. B)

I think I know where the Westbrook comes from in Kate Westbrook. I move on to the next one........


so are they on the same level as the young bond books? i have been wanting to check these books out but just havent gotten around to ordering them. it's a sad story.

#19 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 05:49 PM

Yes, for me they are as good. Although you cant compare the two really as they are quite different.

Samantha Weinberg (and Charlie Higson) are the best continuation authors in the Bond series in my opinion. But how can they be? I use the term continuation loosely as I don't know what else you would call it, but my point is they have had to do something that has not been done before. A normal continuation novel has the advantage of just writing a Bond book, but The Moneypenny Diaries had to be done almost from scratch. Mrs Weinberg has had to be Moneypenny whilst writing and the book and the end result is truly just excellent and original and it works beautifully.

#20 zencat

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 06:18 PM

Well said, Dan Lighter.

#21 quantumofsolace

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 02:27 PM

Samantha Weinberg (and Charlie Higson) are the best continuation authors in the Bond series


Yes they are, and it's a shame that the Weinberg books were overlooked.

#22 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 09:13 PM

Does anyone have any advice or tips as to where is the best place to source the First UK Editions of the Moneypenny Diaries? I have Guardian Angel and just need to locate the other two.

Any tips? B)

#23 zencat

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:36 PM

Does anyone have any advice or tips as to where is the best place to source the First UK Editions of the Moneypenny Diaries? I have Guardian Angel and just need to locate the other two.

Any tips? B)

Well, the usual. Ebay and Bookfinder. But know these books have become very tough to find and can be expensive, especially Secret Servant,

#24 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:32 PM

Thanks Zencat, I recall you saying on here how rare they are now. You were not wrong!

Be nice if there was a bibliography for Kate Westbrook's firsts like for Fleming,Gardner and Benson like the below example. http://www.goldeneye...ibliography.htm

#25 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 11:59 AM

I have looked everywhere for Secret Servant and Final Fling in First Edition and I actually think that these are the rearest Bond books ever.

Also has anyone got wind of a Special Edition of Secret Servant?

http://www.amazon.co...900/ref=ed_oe_h

Edit: It's a special edition from 2006 that was signed I think. No idea what it's still doing on Amazon.

Edited by DAN LIGHTER, 29 April 2010 - 12:20 PM.


#26 David Schofield

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 12:23 PM

I have looked everywhere for Secret Servant and Final Fling in First Edition and I actually think that these are the rearest Bond books ever.

Also has anyone got wind of a Special Edition of Secret Servant?

http://www.amazon.co...900/ref=ed_oe_h

Edit: It's a special edition from 2006 that was signed I think. No idea what it's still doing on Amazon.


Then I would pressume they are very rare and valuable.

At least, then there is a benefit it owning them for some of us after all. B)

#27 zencat

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 03:26 PM

I have looked everywhere for Secret Servant and Final Fling in First Edition and I actually think that these are the rearest Bond books ever.

Also has anyone got wind of a Special Edition of Secret Servant?

http://www.amazon.co...900/ref=ed_oe_h

Edit: It's a special edition from 2006 that was signed I think. No idea what it's still doing on Amazon.

WTF?

I've never heard of this.

The Secret Servant UK hardcover is crazy rare all in itself.

#28 DAN LIGHTER

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

I have looked everywhere for Secret Servant and Final Fling in First Edition and I actually think that these are the rearest Bond books ever.

Also has anyone got wind of a Special Edition of Secret Servant?

http://www.amazon.co...900/ref=ed_oe_h

Edit: It's a special edition from 2006 that was signed I think. No idea what it's still doing on Amazon.

WTF?

I've never heard of this.

The Secret Servant UK hardcover is crazy rare all in itself.


Yep, I know. I have been looking since last year. Ebay, Abe Books, emailed bookshops even. I have done it all and still nothing. The last two have gone. Lucky I got the first one. I am going to have get the paperbacks.

#29 [dark]

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 09:22 PM

I have looked everywhere for Secret Servant and Final Fling in First Edition and I actually think that these are the rearest Bond books ever.

Also has anyone got wind of a Special Edition of Secret Servant?

http://www.amazon.co...900/ref=ed_oe_h

Edit: It's a special edition from 2006 that was signed I think. No idea what it's still doing on Amazon.

WTF?

I've never heard of this.

The Secret Servant UK hardcover is crazy rare all in itself.

Me neither - and I'm intrigued. I'm guessing it's just a signed edition (I think there were some done for The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel).

#30 Qwerty

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 02:45 AM

I have looked everywhere for Secret Servant and Final Fling in First Edition and I actually think that these are the rearest Bond books ever.

Also has anyone got wind of a Special Edition of Secret Servant?

http://www.amazon.co...900/ref=ed_oe_h

Edit: It's a special edition from 2006 that was signed I think. No idea what it's still doing on Amazon.

WTF?

I've never heard of this.

The Secret Servant UK hardcover is crazy rare all in itself.

Me neither - and I'm intrigued. I'm guessing it's just a signed edition (I think there were some done for The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel).


Pretty sure that's all this listing is as well. I recall this listing when it was active and am pretty sure it was just priced slightly more than the regular UK hardback since it was signed--but that's the only "special" thing about it that differentiates it.

Who knew these Moneypenny UK 1sts were going to prove so elusive so quickly though? Guess it works out for the Bond collectors. B)




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