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A Fleming Bond Chronology

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#1 Secretan



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 12:30 AM

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
A Chronology of the Original James Bond Series

Copyright 2014 Jeff Deischer

As a preface note, I am only considering the Ian Fleming-era tales; the John Gardner run begins in 1981, when James Bond was obviously too old to still be an active field agent (if he was even still alive at that time; his drinking and smoking during the series suggest otherwise, even if his job didn’t get him killed). Those (and later) adventures are either wholly fictitious, or belong to another, later Secret Service agent, and were falsely ascribed to Bond, in my opinion (although quite probably a new 007). Comments in the Fleming novels suggest that not many unrecorded adventures can occur during the Fleming run, so neither the Gardner nor Benson stories would seem to be canonical tales left unrecorded by Fleming at the time of his death. But this is an examination for another time.
It is a practical impossibility to use all the dates given in the James Bond novels by Fleming, because many are contradictory – sometimes even so within a novel. Further, it is said that Bond bought his first car in 1933 (according to Casino Royale); began working for the British Secret Service in 1938 (according to From Russia with Love); served in the Navy during World War II (in Naval Intelligence, like Fleming himself – according to You Only Live Twice), becoming a Commander; was given his 00 classification in 1950 (again, From Russia with Love); was thirty-seven in Moonraker (published in 1955), and; should have been forcibly retired at age 45 (according to, again, Moonraker).
Fleming’s later claim that Bond began working for the Secret Service at age 17 (in You Only Live Twice) isn’t plausible; frankly, it is too incredible to believe. Surely Bond was at least of driving age (sixteen) when he bought his car, and matched with the comment in Moonraker, he would seem to have been born in the mid 1910s. This works very well for Bond’s early life, at least (later in the series, we begin to encounter the same problems that apparently made Fleming change some dates regarding Bond’s age).
So this is where we will begin our chronology of James Bond, and see where it leads us. The only thing we can be sure of at this point is, the novels probably occurred in the order they were published; there is, in fact, continuity between many of them. But let us not assume anything.



Casino Royale (1953, Ian Fleming)
June 15-July 13 (28 days)
The novel begins “on or about 15 June” (Chapter 2), after Bond has been gambling for “two days” (CH 1). The twenty-third day is a “Tuesday” (CH 22), which would be July 7 in 1953, if the first day was indeed June 15. Bond was put on the case “two weeks” (CH 2) before this day. This is probably not 1953 as is suggested – there is a reference to Beria (CH 2), who was arrested in June 1953 – so this novel occurs before that year. The placement of Live and Let Die in 1952 (see below) strongly suggests that it is 1951 here. If the twenty-third day is a Tuesday, then the first day is a Monday – June 18. This means Bond began gambling on Saturday (the 16th), and the story opens after midnight, Sunday, “two days” later. But then Bond has missed his “appointment” on the 15th. It seems likelier that Bond arrived before the 15th – on, say, Wednesday the 13th (M in fact tells him to go “a few days before the big game starts” (CH 3)), and this preserves the chronological relationship in the novel between Bond’s arrival and his game with Le Chiffre. This would make the first day a Friday, and the twenty-third day a Thursday.
Bond was a good gambler “before the war” (CH 3), and he says (CH 9) that “it’s not difficult to get a Double O number if you’re prepared to kill people”; “I’ve got the corpses of a Japanese cipher expert in New York and a Norwegian double agent in Stockholm to thank for being a Double O.” It is implied that these two killings occurred during World War II. He was stationed in Hong Kong at the end of the war.


Live and Let Die (1954, Ian Fleming)
February (18 days)
Bond arrives in the U.S. “ten days” after M gives him the case (CH 1). It is raining at this time (CH 4), and combined with the fact that it is “February” on the seventh day after his arrival (CH 17), it may be January; it is almost certainly January when M assigns Bond the case, at any rate. With references to Beria being “gone” (CH 2) and “Miss Orange Blossom 1954” (CH 12), it is winter 1954 here. However, information in Dr. No (see below) definitively places this story in either 1951 or 1952, and with Casino Royale preceding this story, it must occur in 1951 and this one in 1952. There is some evidence for this placement in the story itself: Mr. Big’s biography (CH 2) only goes up to “1951”. This seems a little odd if it truly is 1954 here – but fits perfectly with it being early 1952 at this time.
Felix Leiter, who appears here, has been transferred since Casino Royale (CH 1), so that now he is a “sort of liaison between the Central Intelligence Agency and … the FBI.” It’s said that Bond “had shared so many adventures” with Leiter (CH 14). When? He only met Leiter in Casino Royale, and Bond has had no assignments since then: He “had not looked into those cold, shrewd eyes [of M’s] since the end of summer” – during the (unchronicled) debriefing following Casino Royale (after which Bond underwent skin grafting to repair the scar given him by SMERSH therein, because it makes him too conspicuous, according to M (CH 2)). Bond’s reference to Leiter may be topical; he is again joined by the American in Diamonds Are Forever. When Fleming wrote this remark, Bond had shared three “adventures” with Leiter.
Bond also says that taking an assignment is voluntary: “M … just gives the facts. He never tells one good news. I suppose he thinks it might influence one’s decision to take a case or not.” One presumes that a 00 could not refuse many assignments before losing his special status. “Universal Exports” is “one of the covers used by agents for emergency calls on open lines from abroad”.

Moonraker (1955, Ian Fleming)
May 26-31 (6 days)
It begins on a “Monday” (CH 1) in “May” (CH 5). Many mentions of the South Goodwin Lightship, which sank in 1954 (apparently on “November 26”, according to a footnote) place this novel in 1955. However, Bond is “still sunburned” from his time in the Caribbean in Live and Let Die (CH 2); and reference is made to his having recently been near the “equator”. Further (CH 2), Drax’s background suggests it is near 1951 and not 1955: “by 1950 he was a multi-millionaire”; he had accomplished this in the “five years” since being released from the hospital in late 1945 or so. This suggests that it is about 1951 here. Even if M is not counting the three years that Drax had been missing, that still only brings us to 1953. It is clear from this story (and others, such as Live and Let Die) that Fleming inserts topical references into his novels where they do not belong. Information in Diamonds Are Forever places this story in late May, and the 26th is the only “Monday” in late May, and therefore the first day of the story.
Bond drives (and wrecks) his “1930 4-1/2 litre Bentley coupe, supercharged” (CH 1). Live and Let Die calls this a 1933 model, but in this story Bond sees (CH 20) an Alfa-Romeo that he thinks “must be nearly as old as mine. ‘Thirty-two or ‘33 probably”, so Bond’s Bentley is indeed a 1930. It is this car that he “had bought almost new in 1933” according to Casino Royale (CH 5). This information also helps support a 1952 placement for this story: Bond’s Bentley is “nearly twenty-five years older than Drax’s [new] car” (CH 18). This suggests it is 1952-1954 (inclusive), as it would be “twenty-five years older” if it was actually 1955 here. He replaces the car with a used “1953 Mark VI” – which is actually probably a 1950 or 1951 model since it is 1952 here. It may be revealing that the Bentley Mark VI was discontinued in 1952. So why does Fleming tell us it’s a 1953 model?
Bond has “eight years to go” before mandatory retirement from the 00 section at the “statutory age of forty-five” (CH 1), so he is thirty-seven years old at this time, making his birth year 1915 (if he was born before June; if he was born after May, then he would turn thirty-eight this year, putting his birth in 1914).
M says “we’d spent quite a lot of money putting you through a course in card-sharping before you went after those Roumanians in Monte Carlo before the war” (CH 3). A character in Casino Royale (CH 3) says: Bond “must be pretty good with cards or he wouldn’t have sat in the casino in Monte Carlo for two months before the war watching that Roumanian team work”. This means that Bond was working for the Secret Service – or at least the British government – prior to the war. He would have graduated from college in 1937 (or 1936, if he was born in 1914), and must have joined the Service shortly after that; “before the war” – September 1939 – at any rate.
“He, Bond, No. 007 [was] the senior of the three men in the Service who had earned the Double 00 number” (CH 1). The others are “Bill”, 008 (not to be confused with Bill, M’s Chief of Staff, “a man of about Bond’s age” (CH 2) and Bond’s best friend at Headquarters, according to Dr. No (CH 3); Diamonds Are Forever gives his family name as Tanner (CH 3), and Casino Royale states that he was wounded in 1944, then served as the Secretariat to the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CH 3)), who had just “got out” of the Soviet Union and is “in Berlin, resting” at the beginning of this novel (CH 1), and; 0011, who “had vanished into the ‘Dirty Half-Mile’ in Singapore” “two months” earlier (CH 1). His fate is not revealed by the end of the novel. Also, the numbers of the three active agents suggest that they are given out sequentially and not re-used; when one agent is killed, the next number in line is given to the next agent: 0012 should be the next Double O. This is what we would expect, so that there would be no confusion in the files of the Ministry of Defence. And if there are only three men in the section at any one time, then their numbers would always be 001, 002 and 003.
“It was only two or three times a year that an assignment came along requiring [Bond’s] particular abilities” (CH 1). This is the only year in which Bond had three recorded novel-length cases (although Moonraker isn’t truly a 00 case). In fact, the continuity between many of the novels suggests that he does not have “two or three” cases a year: None occur between Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, and; more than a year passes between From Russia with Love and Dr. No, for example, with no assignments.
“Bond had once dabbled at the fringe of the racing world” (CH 18), apparently when much younger, before joining the Secret Service. He was in Germany last year, but, according to information in Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, probably not on a Double-O assignment; that is, he had no assignments between the two and Casino Royale seems to have been his first case as a Double-O.

Diamonds Are Forever (1956, Ian Fleming)
July 28 to August 13 (about 17 days)
The novel begins in “late July” (CH 1), possibly on Monday (Bond has just returned from vacation, which would naturally have ended on a weekend). On the following Thursday (whatever day the story actually does open on), continuous narration begins as he meets Tiffany Case. This narration is followed by a two-day epilogue, some time after the Queen Elizabeth has docked in England, perhaps a week after the end of the continuous narration. “The sixth day of the week [was] the fourth day of the eighth month” (CH 10). This configuration, Saturday being August 4, indicates that it is either 1951 or 1956 here. However, later, the following Tuesday is also “August 4”, indicating 1954 (CH 12). Also, Bond says, “I’m not yet forty”, which also argues that it is not 1955 or later here, if Moonraker is indeed correct regarding Bond’s age (and there is no reason to think that it is not). However, this novel is tied to Moonraker: Bond has been back from his “month” leave in France (mentioned in Chapter 25 of Moonraker) for “two weeks” (CH 2), so this begins the July following Moonraker, in 1952. If six or seven (or eight, depending on how loosely everyone was speaking regarding lengths of time) weeks separate the two cases, then Moonraker occurred in late May. In fact, this must be the case for Moonraker to have begun in May. For this relationship to work, Moonraker must begin of the last Monday in May (the 26th), Bond’s vacation lasts for a little more than a month, and this case must begin on the first Monday in late July, the 21st. However, August 4 was intended to have occurred early in the story, about a week in. So the Thursday that Bond meets Tiffany must be the 31st, and the story begins on July 28, and ends circa August 13. Bond’s vacation in France must have lasted five weeks, and closer to six, if he has only been in London “two weeks” before the 28th. I would estimate he returned from France circa July 10, which would put his vacation at five and a half weeks (the “two weeks” may have been business weeks, meaning Bond was back in London by the 14th, and a couple of days late in the previous week may not have been counted); certainly, Bond was still in France on Monday, July 7.
Felix has a steel hook for his missing hand – and other artificial parts (as a result of injuries sustained in Live and Let Die) – and is now working for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency (CH 8).


No recorded cases. Bond has an unrecorded case involving the Soviets, and therefore possibly SMERSH. Bond “had not come up against them for two years” (CH 13, From Russia with Love, 1955).


No recorded cases.


From Russia with Love (1957, Ian Fleming)
August 12-19 (8 days)
It begins on “Thursday, August 12th”, a 1954 date (CH 11), after a three-day prologue in June (“June 10th” (CH 1) is the second day of this prologue). However, 1955 is referred to as being the present year on numerous occasions (CHs 4, 11). Also, Red Grant has been working for the Soviets for “ten years” (CH 2), since the end of World War II (CH 3). This length of time is also repeated (and accounted for, year by year, at one point (CH 3)) so it is 1955 here. Thursday being the 12th seems to have been done so that Fleming could give Bond a panic attack about flying on “Friday the thirteenth” (CH 13). Why Fleming didn’t move this story to May, when the 12th is a Thursday in 1955, is a mystery. A Soviet general says that Moonraker “was three years ago” (CH 6) (they were published only two years apart, indicating that Fleming is aware of a timeline that does not match the writing and publishing schedule). This supports both it being 1955 here and the placement of the three-novel series in 1952, which seemed most likely because of the relationship between Live and Let Die and Dr. No (see below). Tiffany Case had lived with Bond “for so many happy months”, before leaving for the U.S. “at the end of July”, after having spent some “weeks” in a hotel (CH 11); the two cohabitated for nearly three years then.
SMERSH’s file on Bond (CH 6) states that “he has worked for the British Secret Service since 1938 and now … holds the secret number ‘007’ in that Service”, the latter referencing the “Highsmith file of December 1950”. This Highsmith case therefore seems to be the second of the two kills that earned Bond his 00 (Chapter 20 of Casino Royale says he earned it “for those two cases”, referring to the comments in Chapter 9); this case may be the one involving the Norwegian double agent in Stockholm (working for the East Germans, if this is the case), as the Soviets would obviously have a file on it. If so, the Japanese cipher mentioned in Casino Royale probably also occurred in 1950.
This causes the first of the Bond chronology problems, because it is suggested in Casino Royale that the Japanese cipher incident occurred during the war (though this is not explicitly stated), because he wouldn’t otherwise be an enemy and because it is later revealed in the series that Bond has not been back to America since the war. He would have course been killed prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, as he’d have been apprehended as a hostile afterward. Worse (for a chronologist), the Norwegian was a double agent “for the Germans”. And not only that, but Bond says (also in CH 20) that he has been working for M “since the war”. This strongly suggests that Bond received his 00 during World War II, not in 1950. This simply does not work with Bond being 37 in 1952, as he was only thirty at war’s end, and it seems unlikely that any 00 would be in his twenties – not to mention contradicting information in From Russia with Love. So I think one of two things must be true if From Russia with Love is accurate (and I take it to be): The two kills as described were inaccurately attributed by Fleming to World War II when they actually occurred in 1950, or; the killings were done by Bond as an officer in the Royal Navy and had nothing to do with becoming a Double-O. The latter scenario seems more likely, as Bond has not been back to America since the end of the war, according to Live and Let Die, in addition to the remarks that seem to place the two kills during the war. Either way, Bond received his 00 as a result of the December 1950 Highsmith case.
As for the comment that Bond has worked for M since the war, he was certainly working for the “Secret Service”, and was undoubtedly working for them after the war – albeit not as a 00 until 1950. And while Bond may have worked for M during the war (if M was his commanding officer in the RNVR, which seems unlikely since we know that M commanded a ship), it’s unlikely that he did since the war, because The Man With the Golden Gun tells us that M’s predecessor was killed at his desk; M was not the first director of the post-war Secret Service.
The SMERSH file also says that Bond “was decorated with the C.M.G. in 1953” – but he had this in Moonraker (CH 4) in 1952 (this, by the way, is an honor that entitles Bond to be addressed as “sir”). With that novel having been written in 1955, it may have been mentioned prematurely there; he received it in 1953 and it was included in Moonraker, written after.
A secondary implication of the 1938 date is that Bond probably graduated university (if he did so) in 1937, and not 1936, therefore putting his birth year as 1915, and his birthday before June. It seems more likely to me that he went to work for the British government soon after graduation, rather than after eighteen months. He possibly went to work for it in early 1938. Information in You Only Live Twice suggests that Bond was not born in the winter, and considering all the information in the series, my best guess is that Bond was born in March or April.1
Bond had “early skiing holidays” (i.e., skiing holidays in his early or younger years) in the Alps “at [age] seventeen” (CH 13), and briefly attended the University of Geneva in Switzerland. There is no mention in the series of him graduating university.


No recorded cases. Bond “had to jump from the Arlberg Express after Heikel and his friends had caught up with him around the time of the Hungarian uprising in 1956” (Thunderball, Chapter 2). Bond is supposedly recuperating at this time after From Russia with Love, according to Dr. No (CH 2). While we might normally assume that Bond might be misremembering the year, he recalls this event as being near the Hungarian uprising (autumn 1956), apparently confirming the year. So this would seem to have been a minor case that went bad. Perhaps the other 00s were busy and Bond was called up, off sick leave.


Dr. No (1958, Ian Fleming)
Early to mid March (15 days)
Bond is put on the case in very early “March”, “three weeks” after a one-day prologue (CH 2). The events of Live and Let Die took place “five years” earlier (CHs 4, 5). Dr. No bought Crab Key in 1943 (CH 3), and has “remained [there] for fourteen years” (CH 14), so it is 1957. Dr. No himself later says (CH 14) that his operation began in 1942, but if this is true and it is 1956 here, then Live and Let Die would be pushed back to 1951, and we know that that cannot be the case – because Casino Royale must precede it – placing this story definitively in 1957 – and Live and Let Die definitively in 1952. Perhaps Dr. No, in Chapter 14, was referring to the part of the operation that began before he bought Crab Key.
Bond is forced to give up his beloved Beretta, which he has used for “fifteen years”, or since 1942 (however, he was using a .38 Colt Police Positive in Casino Royale). From Russia with Love, “months” ago, was Bond’s most recent adventure (CH 2); he has been recuperating since then. Bond was in the Ardennes in World War II (CH 9); the implication is that he was there in 1944.

“The Hildebrand Rarity” (1960, Ian Fleming)
April (4 days)
It begins on “a day in April”; M assigned Bond to the case “nearly a month before”, in “March”. While there is no information to help us pinpoint a year in the story, a letter written by Fleming states that Bond was in the Seychelles following his foiling of an attempt by Greek commandoes to rescue Archbishop Makarios III from exile by the British. Makarios was in the Seychelles from March 9, 1956 to March 28, 1957. Dr. No suggests that Bond has been inactive since From Russia with Love, two years before, and it seems unlikely that following Dr. No, Bond was put on another mission so soon, but he is recuperating for all of 1956. This strongly suggests that “The Hildebrand Rarity” occurred in April 1957.


Goldfinger (1959, Ian Fleming)
Mid May to early June (about 26 days)
The fourteenth day is in “May”, but it is also “early summer” at this time (CH 12) so must be very late May; this fits with Goldfinger’s Operation Grand Slam’s D-Day – about the 22nd day of the story – being in “June” (CH 18, 20). The year is somewhat more difficult to pinpoint. “Back in ‘57” is mentioned (CH 23), suggesting 1958 or later, and Goldfinger’s age indicates it is 1959: He is 42 years old in the story (CH 2) and came to England in 1937 at the age of “twenty” (CH 6). However, Bond “had been in the double-00 section for six years” (CH 5) (oddly, though there is a reference to Casino Royale (CH 2), no mention is made of the length of time since then). Since we know that Casino Royale took place in 1951, it can be no later than 1957 here on that basis; Bond was given his 00 status in either late 1950 or very early 1951, therefore (this matches information in From Russia with Love’s SMERSH file). Was Fleming perhaps thinking of the six publication years between Casino Royale and Goldfinger? While Thunderball is said to take place at this same time of year in “1959”, it does not (see below), leaving Goldfinger to occur in 1959. On the other hand, if Goldfinger was born after June, then he’d have turned 21 in 1937 and be 42 in 1958 until his birthday after Goldfinger. The advantage to this arrangement is that it leaves the books published during Fleming’s lifetime in chronological order, as it seems was the author’s intent; if we place this story in 1958, then the majority of the short stories in the For Your Eyes Only collection occur after it, which strongly supports a 1958 placement. This, however, does not help us at all with Bond’s “six years” in the Double-O section, for it is at least seven years (January 1951 to May 1958).
Bond tells himself (CH 1): “You’re stale, tired of having to be tough. You want a change. You’ve seen too much death. You want a slice of life – easy, soft, high.” Compare this to his feelings in Dr. No, only a year earlier (CH 2): Being a 00 “brought Bond the only assignments he enjoyed, the dangerous ones.” Even more surprising, there are no recorded events to prompt this change of heart, which seems not to be transitory: In “The Living Daylights” (1960), Bond tells a fellow agent that he’d “be quite happy for you to get me sacked from the double-0 section, then I could settle down and make a snug nest of papers as an ordinary staffer.”
At this time, “008 … [is] the second killer in the small [00] section of three” men (CH 15). In this story, Bond drives the famous Aston Martin DB III; “the car was from the pool” (CH 7). M suggests that Bond use the Universal Exports cover in the field, claiming to be a disgruntled employee, apparently for the first such time. Previously it seems only to have been used for phone calls.
The White Cross Fund helps family members of Service agents killed in the line of duty.

“For Your Eyes Only” (1960, Ian Fleming)
Early October (5 days)
“A month” after a one-day prologue, “October had begun”, so it is early October when Bond becomes involved. In Cuba, Batista is losing ground and Castro gaining it, so it is probably shortly before Batista is ousted in 1959, and 1958 here. At any rate, it is before On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1961), as Bond says that he “had never suffered the tragedy of a personal loss”, such as the death of a loved one (why he doesn’t consider the death of his parents as such a loss is a mystery). M indicates that Bond is not yet “forty”. This suggests that this story should occur before 1955; however, Bond is carrying the new Walther, which puts it after Dr. No (1957). The stories in For Your Eyes Only, unlike those in Octopussy and the Living Daylights, were written at the same time, and apparently intended to have occurred at the same time, between Goldfinger and Thunderball. Therefore, this is the first instance of Fleming fudging Bond’s age.

“Risico” (1960, Ian Fleming)
Late October (4 days)
It is “October”. When M assigns Bond to this case “a week” before the story opens, he says, “Earlier this year I had to take you off other duties for a fortnight so that you could go to Mexico and chase off that Mexican grower.” This seems to refer to Goldfinger, at the beginning of which Bond is in Miami, on his way back from Mexico, where he has just scared a man away from the drug trade – so it is 1958 here.


“Quantum of Solace” (1960, Ian Fleming)
Winter (1 day)
It seems to be “winter”, as two references are made to social life in Nassau at that time. While no references to year are made, this story probably occurs between Goldfinger and Thunderball, as publication dates suggest.

“From a View to a Kill” (1960, Ian Fleming)
Early May (7 days)
It begins in “May”. While there is nothing in the story to tell us the year, it probably fits best in 1959, as was the case with “Quantum of Solace”.
Bond first went to Paris at the age of sixteen (in 1931, based on his calculated birth year, or early 1932 before he turned seventeen), and lost his virginity there. He is carrying a Colt .45 in this story rather than his usual Walther for some (unexplained) reason.


Thunderball (1961, Ian Fleming, based on a story by Ian Fleming, Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham)
May 23-June 20 (29 days)
The story begins on a “Monday” in “May” (CH 1), which, because June 4 is the 25th day of the adventure (CH 7), is May 11 in 1959, a Monday, as we should expect. Bond is sent on two weeks health leave to Shrublands, a spa, at this time, and when he is assigned to the THUNDERBALL case, it is “ten days” after the two-week period (actually eleven days). At this meeting, “yesterday” was “June 3rd, 1959”. Oddly, the mention of the full moon on the night of June 2 (in CH 9) is incorrect: In June 1959, the full moon was on the night of the 20th. However, dates in The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and You Only Live Twice (see below) indicate that this story occurs in 1960. The adventure ends on S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s deadline of “June 10th, 1959” – although more time seems to pass during this period than can be accounted for, two days. With the knowledge that Thunderball occurs in 1960, let us once again examine the dates: In 1960, the full moon in June was on the 9th, a Thursday. Bond’s meeting occurred on a Thursday (in 1959, June 4). In Chapter 12, Bond says, “A full moon would be the hell of an aid to the job” of stealing a plane by night; “the plane was taken five days after the full” moon. The Vindicator was then stolen on the night of June 14th, a Tuesday. This puts Bond’s meeting on June 16th – a Thursday, exactly as described in the story. The 16th is ten days after Bond’s return from his stay at Shrublands, which must then have occurred from May 23 to June 5. The deadline would then be June 22. However, since we know the dates are not as stated, perhaps we should remove the two days that pass in error. Moonraker (1952), it is said, occurred “a few years back” (CH 7).
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. has been in operation for “five or six years”, and “Plan Omega” – the stealing of the two atom bombs – was to be their last job before breaking up (CH 24). Bond tells the U.S. submarine commander, “I was in Intelligence – R.N.V.R. Special Branch” (CH 20); earlier he says, “I don’t know much about Naval architecture”, confirming his service on land and not at sea. He is now driving a Mark II Continental Bentley with a Mark IV engine (CH 12); its year is not mentioned. This seems to be his third Continental Bentley, after his original that was wrecked in Moonraker, and its replacement that he intended to buy at the end of the novel. Bond “had been smoking [his special Morland cigarettes] since his teens” (CH 7). He switches for a short time in this story while on a health kick. No explanation is given for why Bond hasn’t retired by now, as he is almost certainly 45 years old by this time (if not, he will turn 45 before the end of the year). Perhaps the policy has been changed since it was mentioned in Moonraker. SMERSH has been disbanded or shut down: Bond says (CH 8), “If SMERSH was still in business ….”
When M sends Bond on leave at the beginning of the book, he says, “I’ll tell 009 to take care of the Section.” This seems odd, if only that there should be no “009”. 008 may be on an assignment at this time – mentioned only last year as the second senior of the three men – and 0011 may have never returned from his mission described in Moonraker. That should make the next agent 0012, as previously discussed. The Service has lost – to death, permanent injury or retirement – eight men since its inception until Moonraker (1952) – eleven (indicated by 0011) minus the three active agents 007, 008 and 0011. Assuming the Service started its 00 Section in 1945 or 1946, this is about six years. If this rate is an average, then now, roughly six years later, it should have lost another eight, so 009 should really be about 0020.
Fleming obviously liked the name “spectre”. There was a Spectreville in Diamonds are Forever and the decoder in From Russia with Love was called a Spektor.

“The Living Daylights” (1962, Ian Fleming)
First half of September (4 days)
It is “late summer”, but “autumn” is very near. This occurs before “nineteen sixty-one”, when Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin becomes famous “a year later”, as it did in 1961; so it is 1960 here. Despite Bond’s remarks in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (see below) about his inactivity after Thunderball, this story would truly seem to occur in 1960; this must be a rare exception that he overlooked.


“The Property of a Lady” (1963, Ian Fleming)
June 19-20 (2 days)
With a prologue in “early June”, the story occurs over two days later in the month; the auction takes place on “Tuesday, 20 June” – a 1961 date. However, the history of Maria Freudenstein, a double agent working for the Soviets, tells a different story: She received her British passport “by 1959, and she was then recommended to” the British Secret Service. “She asked for a year’s leave before coming to” work for them, during which time she was trained by the Soviets, and then “she’s been working for three years inside headquarters”. It is therefore 1963 here. But we know that Bond is busy in You Only Live Twice at this time (actually missing and presumed dead between it and The Man with the Golden Gun; see the comments for the latter novel below). So the June date must be correct, and the “1959” incorrect; it should read “1957”. As with “The Living Daylights”, this must be a rare case that Bond overlooked in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (CH 2). It is worth noting that neither of these cases that he forgot were big, novel-length assignments; they are, as their lengths suggest, minor cases.
Mary Goodnight is secretary to the 00 Section now.

“007 in New York” (1963, Ian Fleming)
Late September (2 days)
It occurs at “the end of September”. While it seems to be 1963 here (due to a reference to the upcoming 1964-65 World’s Fair), it cannot be, because Bond is missing between You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun at that time (see the comments for the latter novel below). He is occupied with You Only Live Twice in the fall of 1962 (see below), so it must be 1961 here (or earlier). Placement here dovetails nicely with the prologue of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which occurs in mid September (see below).
“Bond once had a small apartment in New York”. This may refer to the comment in Live and Let Die: When Bond arrives in the U.S. at the beginning of that novel, it is “his first sight of America since the war”. That story also says (CH 2) that “Bond had worked for a time under Station A [the U.S.] during the war”. All three of these comments probably refer to the same period.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1962, Ian Fleming)
October 13-15 (3 days)
The story begins on “Friday the thirteenth of October”, a date in 1961 (CH 1). Bond has been in Toronto since early October (no later than the fourth), protecting “Boris” (a Soviet defector) and trying to capture or kill S.P.E.C.T.R.E. agent Uhlmann (he does the latter), as he explains to Vivienne (CH 11). Bond says that the events of Thunderball occurred “less than a year ago” (CH 11), referring to the public’s knowledge of the case (Vivienne, of course, would only have knowledge of what was reported in the press, after the case was over). Chapter 7 of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service states that “some of [the details of operation THUNDERBALL had] leaked into the papers”; this would seem to have happened in late 1960, in order to fit all the facts. It is probably not the case that this story follows Thunderball in the same year by only a few months. Its stated 1961 date agrees with other information that places Thunderball in 1960.
Bond is carrying a Smith & Wesson Police Positive (CH 12); perhaps he lost his Walther on the Toronto case?

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963, Ian Fleming)
Mid November-January 1, 1962 (about 45 days)
A two-day prologue begins on a “Saturday” in “September”. It is strongly implied that the second day of this prologue is “September the sixteenth” (CH 4). This is a 1962 date. Blofeld, who was born in 1908 (the same year – and day, in fact – as Fleming), “is now 54” (CH 7), also indicating that it is 1962. However, since Thunderball took place in 1960, this story must occur in 1961; this matches the dates in The Spy Who Loved Me and You Only Live Twice (see below). The story picks up “two months” after the prologue (CH 6), with Bond studying heraldry after Blofeld has been located in Switzerland by Draco. Blofeld then makes contact on “December 15th” (CH 8), and Bond marries Tracy on “New Year’s Day” (CH 27) after Blofeld has been defeated and gone into hiding. At the beginning of the book, Bond, composing a letter of resignation to M, thinks to himself, “my duties in the Service, until some twelve months ago, have been connected with the Double-O Section”; “on the successful completion of operation ‘Thunderball’, I received personal instruction from you to concentrate all my efforts … on the pursuit of Ernst Stavro Blofeld”; “for close on the past twelve months I have been engaged all over the world in routine detective work”. Bond has therefore been on no cases between Thunderball, which ended in June 1960, and the prologue of this story in mid September (except for the minor cases previously discussed that seemed to have slipped Bond’s mind; perhaps the other 00s were busy and Bond was recalled for brief periods). After Blofeld has been located, and work of pinning down his location is left to “routine” detectives (as Bond puts it), Bond must be returned to 00 service – The Spy Who Loved Me follows Thunderball, and it cannot follow this story (see You Only Live Twice, below). It must take place in the gap between the prologue and main body of this adventure, exactly where we would expect, based on its stated date. Casino Royale (1951), Bond thinks, was “so many years ago” (CH 2).
The Double-O Section’s secretary, Loelia Ponsonby, “had at last left [the service] to marry”, and did so at least a year earlier, as at least one Christmas has passed since then. Her replacement is Mary Goodnight (CH 6), who made her first chronological appearance in “The Property of a Lady”, earlier this year. Loelia left sometime after Thunderball (spring 1960), before Christmas of that year. Bond thinks that the Universal Exports cover “had been in use too long. All the secret services in the world had penetrated it by now. Obviously Blofeld knew all about it” (CH 15). It now has its own “entrance” at headquarters (CH 8).
An “ex-Royal Marine Commando … was 006” (CH 6), so the three members of the Section are now 007, 009 and 006, with 006 apparently the newest member – if nothing has changed since Thunderball, over a year earlier. 009 should actually probably be 0012 (at least), and 006 actually 0013 – more likely 0021, as previously discussed. This second re-used number seems to confirm a change in policy since Moonraker (at the earliest) or Thunderball (at the latest) – or sometime between 1952 and 1959. The policy regarding mandatory retirement at age forty-five seems to have gone into effect during this same period, and perhaps they are both related to a high mortality rate in the 00 section.
On the other hand, the re-use of 009 so soon after its last use (1952) suggests one of two things: The Secret Service has gone through the lower numbers (004-006) between 1952 and 1960, or 009 is not a re-use, but he returned from being believed dead shortly after his having gone missing in 1952, and between 1952 and this story, the three active members were 007, 008 and 009, all apparently original agents. 006 would then be the first re-use of a number.
Of his family, Bond says (CH 6), “my father was a Scot and my mother was Swiss” and, elaborating, “my father came from the highlands, from near Glencoe”. He adds, “I have no [living] relatives”. Fleming, in an interview less than a year before his death in 1964, stated that Bond’s mother was also Scottish, and that he would explain this in a future novel, which he never wrote (presumably she was of Scottish descent and her family had re-located to Switzerland in the near past; her father, at any rate, is Swiss, because of his name, Delacroix (as revealed in You Only Live Twice)). “As a teenager, [Bond had] learned his skiing in the old Hannes Schneider school at St Anton in the Arlberg” (CH 12). Bond “had been driving [“the old Continental Bentley”] for three years now”, or since some time in 1958 (CH 2). This replaces the car the bought at the end of Moonraker (whatever model it really was), and would therefore be the same one described in Thunderball. This is the one that Bond refers to as his “locomotive”. It may have been in the shop during Goldfinger (1959), explaining his use of the Aston Martin in that novel. Or perhaps M thought Bond needed the gadgets in the Aston Martin for the case.


Bond has two unrecorded (major) cases, probably both in the spring, that he “bungles”, in M’s words (CH 2, You Only Live Twice (see below)).

“Octopussy” (1965, Ian Fleming)
July (2 days)
It is not “spring” in Jamaica. It is hot but not really hot (only eighty degrees), as it gets in “August, September, October” (as the narrative says) – so it is probably July here. It is “fifteen years” (this length of time is repeated, so it is probably accurate and not a rounded-off figure) after Smythe’s work for the Secret Service at the end of World War II. He joined in 1945 and worked for them for “two years”, so it is 1962 here (1945 + 2 + 15). This is a minor assignment that M didn’t include when describing Bond’s recent work at the beginning of You Only Live Twice (see below); Bond is basically only delivering a message here – and he does so successfully.
Obenhauser (whom Smythe murdered) taught Bond to ski in the Thirties, Bond says, “when I was in my teens”.
While it is well-known that Bond shares some attributes with his “biographer”, Fleming may be poking fun at himself in the character of Smythe, who, like Fleming, worked for the British government and retired to Jamaica, and; Smythe, like Fleming himself, was 54 in 1962. If so, it is not a very flattering self-portrait.

You Only Live Twice (1964, Ian Fleming)
August 31-April 1963 (almost 8 months)
This begins on “the last day of August” (CH 2). M, in his obituary of Bond at the end of book (CH 21), writes, “James Bond was briefly married in 1962”, which matches the dates in The Man with the Golden Gun (see below), so would seem to be correct. It also indicates that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service occurred in 1961; this in turn puts The Spy Who Loved Me in 1961 and Thunderball in 1960 (since it occurred the year before On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). Blofeld had “entered the country [of Japan] in January of this year” (CH 6) and M had given Bond two “tough assignments in the last few months”, but “he bungled them” (CH 2) (the last of these was “many weeks” ago, say, late spring; they also, for example, occurred after Bond had taken a month’s leave following Tracy’s murder). So this is the same year that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ended, confirming that the main body of that story occurred in 1961. Bond’s mission is actually only 38 days long, ending in the very early hours of October 8 (he strangles Blofeld to death just before midnight); although the full moon Bond uses to infiltrate Blofeld’s castle doesn’t match those of 1961-63, which seems rather odd. Thereafter, “the days ran into weeks” and “winter slid into spring” (CH 22).
Bond’s obituary, supposedly written by M for THE TIMES (CH 21), is largely fictitious, at least with regard to his service record. It states that Bond, “at the early age of seventeen” in “1941 […] by claiming an age of nineteen and with the help of an old Vickers colleague of his father, […] entered a branch of what was subsequently to become the Ministry of Defence.” This contradicts the SMERSH file on Bond (in From Russia with Love), which states that Bond joined the Service in 1938, and Bond’s age in Moonraker – thirty-seven, as well as comments that Bond was working for the government before the war. And if he joined the Service at age seventeen, when did he attend the University of Geneva (From Russia With Love)? This fiction is perpetrated in two other places in this book: It is suggested that Bond is in his “middle thirties” (CH 2) and Tanaka tells Bond that he (Bond) was born in the Year of the Rat – most of 1924 and very early 1925 (CH 6). This would make Bond thirty-eight here, in 1962! This, by itself, is too much to believe, let alone the “fact” that Bond joined the service at the age of seventeen. M also “states” that Bond received “the appointment of C.M.G. in 1954”. This also contradicts the SMERSH file, which says that he received it in 1953. While it could be argued that the SMERSH file is in error, surely Bond’s specific age in Moonraker is not. Was Bond truly only 26 when he received his 00 number prior to Casino Royale, according to M’s account here? I cannot believe it. And if we are to believe the implications in Casino Royale, Bond was even younger – the Japanese cipher was killed in 1941 when Bond was supposedly 17 – receiving his 00 as a result of the two assassinations! The idea of a seventeen year-old Double-O disproves this birth date.
What is almost certainly happening here is that Fleming is aware that Bond is past the Secret Service’s mandatory retirement age and is fudging dates to cover up this fact. Live and Let Die and Dr. No are “ancient adventures” to Bond, so we cannot move these recent stories (Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun, which are all connected) closer to Moonraker in order to make Bond younger at this time. There is, in fact, no room in Bond’s career to do so, even if we wished to, due to comments in various novels (such as Dr. No).
It is worth noting that this is the only story to blatantly disagree with Bond’s earlier stated age, though Domino (in Thunderball) implies that Bond is in his “mid thirties” – he is forty-five but looks almost ten years younger – and M suggests it in “For Your Eyes Only”, when he implies that Bond is not yet at the “dangerous age” of “forty” (why forty is dangerous when retirement age is 45 is not explained).
There has been some speculation that Fleming attributed some events of his own life to Bond, such as the 1933 Bentley, which is one thing that suggests Bond’s birth year as being in the mid 1910s. However, there seems to be too much other evidence – such as Bond’s age in Moonraker – for this to be the explanation of Bond’s much younger age here. Could the biography that M gave in fact be a cover story?
I suggest that the earlier statements were correct, and Bond was born in 1915. He would then have acquired his first automobile in 1933, at the age of eighteen, which seems quite reasonable; a 9 year-old, as You Only Live Twice puts it, is highly unlikely – to say the least – to buy an automobile. Bond graduated from Fettes that year. If he joined the Secret Service – or the government, in some capacity – in 1938, what did he do during those five years? Attended the University of Geneva for awhile, and then, after that, probably nothing too important, as this period is never referred to in the series, but it is probably at this time that Bond dabbled in automobile racing.
M also names Bond’s parents, Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix. “When [Bond] was eleven years of age, both of his parents were killed in a climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges above Chamoix, and the youth came under the guardianship of an aunt, since deceased, Miss Charmian Bond”. Apparently since he was a child at the time, Bond didn’t count this as a personal loss when speaking to M about such things in “For Your Eyes Only”.
Lastly, M discusses the Bond series by Fleming! This, to me, is the most outrageous thing in all the series – “admitting” that a publication uses Bond’s real name while exposing him as a “secret” agent. Oddly, M makes no mention of his 00 status, which suggests that the books that we read are not the same ones that are being published in Bond’s universe, though this is hard to imagine. What kind of stories are being published about a non-00 Bond?
We are told more about M’s Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner: He is “late Colonel Tanner of the Sappers and Bond’s best friend in the Service”. We know that they were both in the Ardennes. Did they perhaps meet there, and renew their acquaintance in the Secret Service after the war? Kissy Suzuki believes that she’s pregnant with Bond’s child at the end of the novel (CH 22). He (or she) was probably born sometime in the first half of December 1963.
Bond is in “shock”, as Sir James Molony tells M (CH 2), which may explain why Bond doesn’t resign from the Service following Tracy’s murder. When Bond thinks he is being fired (CH 3), he tells M, “I’ve had a Double-O Number for too long. I’m not interested in staff work”, which he earlier expressed an interest in (in “The Living Daylights”, for example; I feel that there must have been at least a kernel of truth in his angry outburst). He’s also doubtlessly feeling sorry for himself. The issue of Bond retiring is left unaddressed in The Man with the Golden Gun (see below): Once M feels that Bond is ready to return to active service, he is allowed to.


If the apocryphal tale Too Hot To Handle, in which a civilian is recruited by the Secret Service to impersonate the presumed-dead Bond in a scheme to break what is left of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., is authentic, it occurs here, between You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1965, Ian Fleming)
First half of November-March 1964 (more than 14 weeks)
This begins on a “Wednesday” in “November”, “nearly a year” after You Only Live Twice, when Bond was “believed killed while on a mission to Japan last November” (CH 1) (it was actually early October when Bond disappeared); this suggests it is not quite late November here. After Bond returns, he undergoes “six weeks” treatment (a month of which is E.C.T. (i.e., shock treatment)), and then an undetermined period of physical re-conditioning, which must surely last at least a month (the day “finally” came when it was over). Then he searches for Scaramanga for “six weeks” before finding him in Jamaica, where the date “Wednesday May 27th” is given (American edition) – a 1964 date (the British edition says “Wednesday May 28th”, which matches no nearby year; perhaps this was a typo corrected for the American edition) (CH 4); however this date doesn’t actually occur during the story, but sometime after it. Therefore, this story began in November, 1963. It’s also after the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962) (CH 4), so the 1963-64 dates seem to be correct. Thereafter, Bond spends three days with Scaramanga, and twenty-four more convalescing (CHs 16 & 17), intending to report for duty “one month” after this period (CH 17), which would seem to be near the first of May (his actual assignment ended in very early March, probably). Bond, in 1964, last saw Felix Leiter “three years or four” ago (CH 8). This indicates that Thunderball occurred in either 1960 or 1961. We know that it could not be 1961, and 1960 fits perfectly with information in The Spy Who Loved Me and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This is one more bit of evidence that Thunderball did not take place in 1959 as stated.
Bill Tanner, the Chief of Staff, has been M’s “Number Two in the Secret Service for ten years and more” (CH 2), and; Moneypenny has worked for M for “the past ten years” (CH 2). She was seen in Casino Royale (1951), so it is at least a dozen years, and quite probably more. One thinks of her as already being M’s secretary when Bond came into the 00 section in December 1950. In the past “year” that Bond has been missing, Mary Goodnight has been transferred abroad (her replacement is not mentioned) and Maria Freudenstein from “The Property of a Lady” (here called Maria Freudenstadt) has been killed (CH 1).
M’s name is revealed as Miles Messervy (CH 1). The Secret Service’s cover company, Universal Exports, has recently been changed to “Transworld Consortium” (CH 4), no doubt due to the reasons Bond mentioned in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The Twin Snakes Club is the cover for ex-members of the Secret Service when they gather annually at Blade’s for a banquet.


Per Fine Ounce ([1967], Geoffrey Jenkins)
Summer (about 7 days)
There is some evidence that this lost James Bond novel would have been Fleming’s next: Four pages of a draft by Fleming still exist, according to Wikipedia (in it we learn that the Double-O Section has been closed down and Bond defies M on a matter of principle, resigning from the Service to pursue a personal mission in South Africa). A synopsis authored by Geoffrey Jenkins was also found among Fleming’s papers by John Pearson (author of James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007), and Jenkins has stated that Fleming intended to visit the South Africa locale for background (as Fleming did for his Bond books); Jenkins has also stated Fleming had worked on the story with him (leading to the four pages, apparently; based on what is known about the work, it seems that this was not an earlier work that Fleming had set aside). At any rate, according to The Bond Files (by Andy Lane and Paul Simpson), Jenkins himself wrote a draft of Per Fine Ounce in late 1966 (after Fleming’s death in 1964). This was rejected by Fleming’s publisher (who had authorized the writing), and he was given permission to re-use the story, without the Bond characters. This apparently became Cleft of Stars, which deals with the same milieu.
Cleft of Stars seems to begin “six months” after “winter” – or summer (I am assuming that Per Fine Ounce would take place at about the same time of year and over the same period of time as Cleft of Stars, which bears some semblance to what is known about Per Fine Ounce: The story seems to have been about gold, as the title derives from the line “per fine Troy ounce”; a fine ounce being a Troy ounce of not quite pure gold. The Jenkins synopsis featured gold bicycle chains, baobab tree coffins and the magical Lake Fundudzi). Because of the events of Colonel Sun and Devil May Care (see below), Per Fine Ounce would seem to precede both of those novels, if it did indeed occur: Colonel Sun occurs in September followed months later by Devil May Care. It also seems fitting to place Per Fine Ounce following The Man with the Golden Gun, as it was probably going to be Fleming’s next Bond novel; the date that it was written (by Jenkins) indicates that it would have next in sequence, if published, even if Fleming did not write it himself, and so belongs here. So while Per Fine Ounce cannot be definitively stated to be canonical without having been published, it may (by some) be considered to be canonical. While this novel could be placed the year after The Man with the Golden Gun (the general rate of Fleming’s novels being one per year), it fits better here with the placements of Colonel Sun and Devil May Care (see below); the recounting of Bond’s activities in the months before Colonel Sun, in particular, suggest that Per Fine Ounce did not occur in the summer of 1965.


Colonel Sun (1968, Kingsley Amis as “Robert Markham”)
Early to mid September (8 days)
This begins in “early September” (CH 1); the events of The Man with the Golden Gun occurred “last summer” (1964, though it actually ended in March; Bond returned to active service in May probably, and perhaps underwent more re-training), and those of You Only Live Twice (1962) “a couple of years back” (CH 1), indicating that this story occurs in 1965.
Things have been slow for Bond: Since The Man with the Golden Gun, he has been to the U.S. on a “courtesy visit”, and in June, assigned a minor mission to Hong Kong that was cancelled (CH 1). Neither of these jobs require a 00; it is clear that M is coddling Bond, not sure he is ready to return to active full duty. Bond himself feels he may be becoming “soft” (CH 1). Well, he has been through a lot recently and has just turned fifty. It should be surprising if he didn’t have some doubts about his abilities at this point.
Stuart Thomas, now the head of G section, had been 005, but was forced to retire due to an eye injury.


Devil May Care (2008, Sebastian Faulks as “Ian Fleming”)
June 24-July 15 (22 days)
The only date given in the novel is July 4, which is a Wednesday (CH 9). This is a 1962 date. However, although this would seem to be the eleventh day of the novel, the eleventh day should be a Monday, by counting the days; therefore, July 4 must be the thirteenth day, which allows us to pinpoint the beginning and end dates of the story, since we know the first day is a “Thursday” and the final day a “Friday”. The cricket match that M refers to (CH 13) took place in 1967 – but in 1967, July 4 was a Tuesday; this seems like a strange oversight to make, considering that the author chose to place this in Bond’s original milieu, following the final Fleming novel, The Man with the Golden Gun. Also, the reference is out of synch with the date in the book, so that events of the story actually occur after the match was finished (it was played in June). It is said that following The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond was put on desk duty for eighteen months (CH 2). However, The Man with the Golden Gun ended in early spring, so it is just a year after that story that Bond is sent on three months leave just prior to the beginning of this novel (CH 2), and not “eighteen months” – if it is 1965 here, as it seems based on this comment. As two weeks of this are still left, Bond’s leave began near April 4. If, however, July 4 was the Monday it seems by counting the days, then the year is 1966 – which fits with the twenty-one months of Bond’s life recounted at the beginning of the novel. This brings us back to the “eighteen months”. If Bond was sent on leave in April, then his desk duty began in October two calendar years prior to the year of this novel, or 1964. This fits with the events of – and described in – Colonel Sun (Bond’s activities in both Colonel Sun and Per Fine Ounce do not contradict this story’s “eighteen months” because neither were official assignments). It seems probable that Bond was given six months of more re-conditioning, leave or special duty prior to the desk duty (described in this novel) following The Man with the Golden Gun – which would push this novel into 1966, where the date matches the day count, if not the day stated. However, Faulks’ intent was clearly to set this story in 1967, and if we add three months of leave to eighteen months of desk duty, we come close to the twenty-four months it has been since The Man with the Golden Gun’s publication date of 1965; this may be the key to solving the chronological puzzle here – Faulks was no doubt thinking of The Man with the Golden Gun’s publication date, not when the actual events of that novel occurred. So which carries more weight: the time that Faulks puts between the two novels or the year he ascribes this story to, contradicting himself in the process? The former, in my opinion, so it is 1966 here.
004 has just been killed, “under an East German train” (CH 3), and his replacement is Scarlett Papava (who should probably be something like 0024), the first female 00 (in the novels; the comic strip featured at least two women Double-Os). 009 is “close to a breakdown”, the Secret Service thinks (CH 20). Oddly, though these seem to be the only other 00s, Bond thinks to himself as he goes to meet the new 004 that “he knew most of the other double-Os by name or by sight”. At this point, it should be only one – 009, based on past information. Perhaps M has expanded the section since Bond’s disappearance in You Only Live Twice and we haven’t been told. The fact that there is a 004 at this time, and not one when we are last told of the three men – 007, 009 and 006 – supports this notion, but perhaps there is only a 004, apparently recruited to replace Bond in 1962; he didn’t survive long.
“After various experiments, the Service had reverted to its old cover name”, Universal Exports.


Solo (2013, William Boyd)
September 19-December 6 (79 days)
The story begins on Bond’s birthday (“It is indeed my birthday”, Chapter 1). It is “twenty-five years” after Normandy, and after the July 1969 Moon landing, so Boyd seems to be using November 11 for Bond’s birthday (chosen, without a scrap of evidence, by John Pearson for his biography of Bond). However, he doesn’t use Pearson’s birth year of 1920, using instead Fleming’s own 1924, claiming, in a preface note, “I have been governed by the details and chronology of James Bond’s life that were published in the ‘obituary’ in You Only Live Twice”. Personally, I have no doubt that Fleming meant what he wrote in You Only Live Twice – as much as he meant what he wrote in earlier novels about Bond’s birth year being close to 1915. I also have no doubt that if the series had continued another ten years, Fleming would have revised Bond’s history yet again (though admittedly, Bond’s service in World War II would have been even more problematic than it was in 1962). This by itself does not mean that Solo doesn’t occur in 1969 as Boyd intended – or that it does. It is one aspect among many to consider. In CH 2, Moneypenny remarks that Bond’s birthday was “last week”, implying that she hasn’t seen him since then, and referring to his “day off”. But in 1969, November 11 was a Tuesday. Moneypenny hasn’t seen Bond since the previous Tuesday? Bond, she implies, was absent from work that one day, and there is no explanation (or even suggestion) that Moneypenny was absent Wednesday through Friday. Why doesn’t this synch up if Boyd is using November 11, 1969 as Bond’s forty-fifth birthday (by the way, it’s never actually stated this his 45th birthday, which is only arrived at by the before-the-story note and arithmetic)? If we weren’t looking for the November 11 date, we would assume, by reading the text, that Bond’s birthday was Friday: He took that one day off, and Moneypenny naturally hasn’t seen him since Thursday. On the eighth night, there is a “fat yellow moon” (CH 6). The full moon in November 1969 occurred on the 23rd (Sunday). If the story began on November 11, the eighth night is four days away from a full moon; if Bond’s birthday was Friday (the 14th), then it is only two days away, and the description fits. Sixty or sixty-one days (very probably) into the story, it is not Saturday or Sunday. This fits the first day being Friday, but does not fit the first day being Tuesday. It is “mild and balmy” on Bond’s birthday. And, on the last day of the story, “the first intimations of the winter that was approaching” is felt. This argues for a placement earlier in 1969 than November. With the story 79 days long and ending before December 22, it must begin in September – this matches both weather references at the beginning and end of the story. The full moon in September on the 25th (Thursday), and we can see that this works for the lunar data, presuming a Friday opening day. This conclusion would seem to place Bond’s birthday on Friday, September 19, with the eighth day being just past the full moon. The adventure is about 77 days long, using some educated guesses to describe “a few” or “several” days. But since we know the first day was a Friday and the last a “Sunday”, we can pinpoint this to 79 days. Despite there being no hint that Bond has reached mandatory retirement age, there seems no reason to place this story in any year other than 1969, despite my personal opinion that Bond is too old to have been active in 1969 (I would prefer to place this Sept. 8-Nov. 25, 1967, although the weather better fits Sept. 28-Dec. 15, 1968). At any rate, based on continuity, this would seem to occur after Devil May Care in 1966.
But if it truly is Bond’s forty-fifth birthday at the beginning of this story, it should really be placed in 1960. Interestingly, it will fit there. It would begin on Sept 30, 1960 and end on December 17, with the early full moon occurring on Tuesday, Oct. 4, five days into the story. But, you ask, isn’t Bond busy chasing down Blofeld and S.P.E.C.T.R.E. at that time? Oddly, Bond, in September 1961, says that “until some twelve months ago” he was doing the usual Double-O work before being put on the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. case, and “for close on the past twelve months I have been engaged all over the world in routine detective work”. This seems to strongly suggest that he was put on S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s trail no earlier than September 1960. Thunderball ended in June. What was Bond doing in those four or more months? So Solo could be put in 1960, in my opinion; even Bond’s new secretary fits – working between Ponsonby (who left after Thunderball) and Goodnight, who started before June 1961! And if I am correct about Bond’s birthday occurring in the spring, Solo would occur March 4-May 22 in 1960 – meaning that M sent Bond to Shrublands the next day.
Bond lives in Wellington Square, and his new housekeeper is Donalda, the niece of May. At work, the cover of which is Transworld Consortium (which invalidates comments in Devil May Care; or perhaps it’s been changed back), Bond’s new secretary is Arminta Beauchamp (which, for some unexplained reason, is pronounced Beecham); he calls her “Minty”. Quentin Dale is on duty in Q Branch, which is located in the basement of the Secret Service Building. Bond meets and works with Felix Leiter’s nephew, Brigham.
Bond was in Beirut in 1960, and has been in Africa once before.


With a chronology of Bond’s career complete, we are now able to construct a partial timeline of his life prior to his recorded cases as a 00, as well, for a complete picture of Bond’s life:

1915 Bond born (Moonraker); probably not in January (You Only Live Twice), but before May (From Russia with Love); Solo strongly suggests this is September 19;

1926 Bond’s parents are killed in a climbing accident (You Only Live Twice), probably summer (climbing season);

1927 Bond starts school at Eton (You Only Live Twice);

1928 Bond is kicked out of Eton; transfers to Fettes (You Only Live Twice);

1930, 1931 Bond fights as a lightweight at school (You Only Live Twice);

early ‘30s Bond learns to ski at the old Hannes Schneider school at St. Anton in the Arlberg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service); he is taught by Oberhausen (“Octopussy”);

1931 or ‘32 Bond goes to Paris, loses his virginity at age sixteen (“From a View to a Kill”);

1932-33 Bond has “skiing holidays” in the Alps at age 17 (winter) (From Russia with Love);

1933 Bond graduates from Fettes (You Only Live Twice). Bond buys his first automobile (Casino Royale);

1933-1934? Bond attends the University of Geneva briefly;

1934?-1938? Bond dabbles in automobile racing;

1938 Bond begins working for the “Secret Service” (actually the RNVR, apparently, in Intelligence), and given the rank of lieutenant (From Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice);

1939 Bond is given training in card-sharping by the British government (Casino Royale, Moonraker);

1941 Bond is stationed in New York City for a time (Live and Let Die, “007 in New York”); Bond kills a Japanese cipher in New York City before the attack on Pearl Harbor; later (quite probably a different year) kills a Norwegian double agent working for the Germans (Casino Royale, From Russia with Love). These are the first killings of his life, apparently.

1942 Bond begins using a .25 Beretta (Dr. No); it may be that he is transferred to the Special Operations Executive (formed in 1940), similar to America’s O.S.S., at this time; he is in AU 30 (Solo). Therefore, Bond apparently was stationed in America 1941 (or perhaps even 1940)-1942;

1944 Bond is in the Ardennes (Dr. No); meets Bill Tanner?;

1945 Bond is stationed in Hong Kong when the war ends (Casino Royale; it is not clear if he was there when the war ended, or if he was sent there following the end of the war); the war ends with him possessing the rank of commander (You Only Live Twice);

1946 The “Secret Service” seems to be formed as an independent agency (this is different from reality, where it was absorbed by other organizations); or, at this time, the Double-O section is formed from the wartime remnants of the S.O.E. (see next section);

1950 “The Highsmith” case, in which Bond kills for the second time as an agent of the Secret Service, earning him a Double-O status (December) (From Russia With Love);

1951 Casino Royale (June)

1952 Live and Let Die (February), Moonraker (May), Diamonds are Forever (July-August)

1953 Bond receives the title Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG);

1955 From Russia with Love (August)

1957 Dr. No (March), “The Hildebrand Rarity” (April)

1958 Goldfinger (May-June), “For Your Eyes Only” (October), “Risico” (October)

1959 “Quantum of Solace” (winter), “From a View to a Kill” (May)

1960 Thunderball (May-June), “The Living Daylights” (September)

1961 “The Property of a Lady” (June), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, part 1 (September), “007 in New York” (September), The Spy Who Loved Me (October), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, part 2 (November-December)

1962 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, part 3 (January 1; Bond gets married), “Octopussy” (July), You Only Live Twice (August-April 1963)

1963 The Man with the Golden Gun (November-March 1964)

1964 Per Fine Ounce (August)

1965 Colonel Sun (September)

1966 Devil May Care (June-July)

1969 Solo (September-December)


Ian Fleming never tells us the history of his Secret Service, or even its Double-O section. Historically, the British Secret Service was formed in 1909, had many names early on (finally settling on the Secret Intelligence Service, the S.I.S.) and originally had two branches: army and navy intelligence. These evolved into MI5 (domestic) and MI6 (foreign), with the latter retaining the “Secret Service” name. This is the agency that James Bond works for.
During World War II, Section D of the Secret Service (MI6) became the foundation of the Special Operations Executive, which was an organization of commandos, similar to America’s O.S.S. It was absorbed back into the Secret Service in 1946. It seems possible that Fleming thought of the S.O.E. becoming the Double-O section of the Secret Service, and not replacing the latter altogether as John Griswold suggests; his theory, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is that Fleming used the proposed idea that the S.O.E. would continue after the war as an independent agency as his model for Bond’s Secret Service. Bond may have served in the S.O.E., transferring to the Secret Service with the remnants of the S.O.E., which could explain why some comments refer to Bond working for the “Secret Service” before and during the war – he worked for a special section that came from the Secret Service and returned to it after the war. This seems preferable to Griswold’s explanation of an alternate reality to me, in which the Secret Service did not exist before World War II.
Bond, we are told, has been working for the Secret Service since 1938 (From Russia With Love) (or 1941, in You Only Live Twice, which, as I’ve written earlier, I believe is incorrect, and part of Bond’s cover story, though he truly was in the RNVR, in Intelligence), and (in From Russia with Love), was given his 00 designation as a result (according to SMERSH) of the December 1950 Highsmith case.
Bond became a 00 soon after this, and Casino Royale, which occurred June 1951, may very well have been his first assignment as a Double-O; it makes literary sense that Fleming would begin the series with Bond’s first case. Moonraker (May 1952) states that the 00s only have “two or three” [major] assignments each year, so it would not be surprising if Bond’s first was some six months after being made a 00. He may, in fact, have been specifically chosen for the Casino Royale case because of his card-sharping skills. Both that story and Moonraker mention these. The latter adds that he had been trained by the Secret Service, “before the [second World] war” (the “Roumanian” affair occurred in 1939); he was trained by the government, at any rate, if not precisely the post-war Secret Service.
Every time that Fleming describes the 00 section, it has three members. Each time, 007 is the senior man. Since the numbers are assigned sequentially (at this time), there were two other agents when Bond was given his 00 status; four agents had been lost previously (two plus four equals six making Bond 007).
More specifically, for 007 to have been activated, four of the agents 001-006 were killed or retired by 1951. That the numbers 001-003 were never re-used suggests that they were in fact the first three killed, and their numbers permanently retired. 007 is activated in early 1951. At this time, we don’t know the numbers of the other two agents; they are 004, 005 or 006. I believe that they were 004 and 005, for reasons I will explain shortly.
By the time of Casino Royale (June 1951), all of Bond’s senior colleagues are gone. The three active Double-Os are almost certainly 007, 008 and 009.
By May 1952 (in Moonraker), the three agents are 007, 008 and 0011. The two men senior to Bond have been lost, as well as two men his junior – 009 and 010 – in the brief space of a year; 0011 disappeared in March of 1952 (according to Moonraker), on what may have been his first assignment. This seems a stunning attrition rate, four per year. By contrast, if the Double O section had been formed just after the war, they had lost only six in about five years. We may possibly attribute this to the activities of SMERSH, whose duty it was to kill enemy agents; the name SMERSH is a contraction of the organization’s full one (SMyERt SHpionam), which means, roughly, “death to spies”.
The next time we hear of the Double Os (in Goldfinger, May-June 1958), only 008 is mentioned. Two years later, in Thunderball (May-June 1960), no mention is made of 008, but 009 has joined their illustrious ranks. This is the first documented re-use of a 00 number, and since it occurs again in later novels, there has been a change in policy since 1952 (the “mandatory” retirement age of forty-five, also described in Moonraker, also seems to have changed); and since M refers to it – at least obliquely – in “For Your Eyes Only” (1958), these changes seem to have occurred in 1959, then.
A year later, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (November-December 1961), 006 is mentioned as a new recruit. Since 009 is mentioned in the near last novel (thus far) of the original run, Sebastian Faulk’s Devil May Care (June-July 1966), 006 would seem to have replaced 008, who was apparently killed or retired in the last half of 1960, or the first three-quarters of 1961. This pattern of re-use of numbers suggests two things to me: 006 was the first post-003 agent to be killed and 009 is not a re-used number, but the original agent returned to active service.
007 and 008 serve throughout the Fifties. By 1961, 008 has been replaced by 006. Why not 004 or 005 (two-digit numbers are never mentioned after Moonraker, by the way)? If numbers were being re-used sequentially, 006 should have been 004. So it seems reasonable and sensible that the oldest unused number after 003 is re-used. Unless the attrition rate is much higher than we can estimate based on Fleming’s few comments about the Double-O section.
It’s for this reason that I believe 009 is not a re-use of a number, but the return of a missing agent (though, in light of remarks in Devil May Care, he may have been on psychiatric leave; M seems to have a liberal policy on returning agents to active service following nervous breakdowns, vis-a-vis The Man with the Golden Gun). 004 and 005 should be re-used before 009, if my theory is correct. The only explanation, in that case, of 009 being used before 004 and 005 is if he was the original agent returned to duty, who had to have been believed dead (or on “permanent” medical leave) in order for 0010 and 0011 to have been activated. That no other numbers were (apparently) re-used during the Fifties (as far as Fleming tells us) suggests that 009 returned shortly after the disappearance of 0011 in 1952.
In Devil May Care, 004 has just been killed and his replacement, Scarlett Papava, the first female 00, is introduced as the new 004. Apparently without knowing it, Faulks was correct in suggesting that Bond was replaced by 004 when 007 was seemingly killed at the end of You Only Live Twice (autumn 1962) – but he was in error in giving Scarlett the same number; numbers are not immediately re-used. Yet Faulks should know this, because there is no new 007 when Bond returns to active duty in The Man with the Golden Gun; this is another piece of evidence in support of my theory about the re-use of numbers. Scarlett (Fleming never gives the names of the other Double-Os, another Faulks error) should have been 005, the oldest unused number at this time – the four agents before Scarlett is activated are 007, 009, 006 and 004 (in order of seniority). With 004 killed, the next number up is 005.
However, Bond isn’t sure he knows all the Double-Os – remember, there are only three, and he has worked with them (in the office, at least) for at least three years. So it seems likely a new 00 has been recently activated. Since 009 is mentioned, 006 must have been replaced shortly before 004 was killed. Then the new agent’s number would be 005, and Scarlett’s should be 008 – the next oldest unused number. Apparently, the Secret Service has also retired the use of double-digit Double O’s, such as 0011.
So here is what we know and can estimate about the careers of the 00s:

Four of the first six 00s are killed or retire by 1951. 001-003 were killed in action, or retired, and replaced by 004-006. 006 is killed in 1950. 004 and 005 – in that order – are probably killed or retired in 1951. 005 retired due to an eye defect.

007 1951-? Probably activated January 1951; replaces 006
008 1951-1961 Bill; he was activated after 007, naturally; he is retired, killed or missing in action between June 1960 and November 1961; since 0011 was active in March 1952, 008 was almost certainly activated in 1951
009 1951, 1952-1966? Like 008, 009 was probably also activated in 1951; probably disappears in late 1951 or early 1952 and returns to active duty in 1952 before a replacement can be chosen for 0011; is close to a breakdown in June 1966
0010 1951?-1952? We know that 009 and 0010 were activated between 007 (January 1951) and 0011 (active by March 1952); he was retired, dead or missing by March 1952
0011 1952 Disappears in Singapore, March 1952
006 (2) 1960 (or ‘61)-1966 Ex-Royal Marine commando; replaces 008
004 (2) 1962-1966 Replaces 007; killed June 1966
005 (2) 1966-? Replaces 006 (2) May (?) 1966; Bond doesn’t him well
“004” (3) 1966-? Scarlett Papava; replaces 004 (2); probably actually 008 (2)


Beginning in 1958, Fleming’s works began to be adapted to comic strip form with his approval. After a number of these had been published between 1958 and 1966, a new writing-art team took over, completing the adaptations (plus Colonel Sun). They then continued with original stories beginning in 1968, for a total of 33 new ones, ending in 1984. Because the new stories began after Fleming’s death and continue for so long, they would seem to be non-canonical, and are perhaps the beginning of the “new James Bond”, seen in John Gardner’s novels.
However, given that the new stories, written by Jim Lawrence, began the same year that the first non-Fleming authorized novel (Colonel Sun) was published, it is possible that they belong to the Fleming period, to be placed in the chronology prior to 1968 (due to Bond’s age). Yes, they had been authorized, but so had Colonel Sun, and that novel seems to have been removed from the canon.
Being a completist, I will take a closer look at the comic strip stories, with thanks to The Bond Files, which contains summaries of the stories. Even without the actual strips, we can still take a statistical look at them.
The first two of the new stories, “The Harpies” and “River of Death”, were published before the adaptation of Colonel Sun. This may mean nothing, as the adaptations were done out of order (that is, not in the order that the books were published), but it may mean something.
According to information in the next-to-last of the Fleming-era books, Devil May Care, Bond’s last assignment before the story was in August 1964. With Colonel Sun (which, if you recall, was not an assignment) occurring in 1965, it seems reasonable to place these two stories in summer 1964. The other thirty-one must be placed after Devil May Care (summer 1966), or scattered somehow throughout the Fleming run.
The latter seems improbable, for a number of reasons. What about the former? It strains credibility that Bond should still be active at the age of 60 (in 1975, probably in April). It is hard enough to believe he is still active at 50, but 60 is simply too much. Based on the Fleming short stories, Bond could take on at least a case a month (on average), meaning that the remaining thirty-one stories could take place over thirty-one months, from about August 1966 through February 1970.
But if we assume the same rate of passage of time as the Fleming short stories occur (roughly five per year), the Lawrence stories would take place from 1966 through 1972 (this year, by the way, heralded the end of the Sean Connery film era, with Roger Moore debuting as Bond the following year in Live and Let Die). Bond would be 57 at the end of them. Perhaps this marked the end of his career, the beginning of his retirement.
That is one theory. It seems more probable to me that the comic strips represent an alternate Bond, the way the films do, as it seems the strip is too far afield from Fleming’s Bond to be part of it – filled with robots and jet packs and super planes, the slant is definitely science fiction, not spy thriller. Often, Bond works in England itself, which is the purview of MI5 or Scotland Yard, not the Secret Service (or it’s real-life counterpart, MI6).


A year after the publication of this essay in The Way They Were, it occurred to me that I might be able to make better deductions about the later years of James Bond’s career. The basis of these deductions is the John Gardner continuation of the James Bond series.
Gardner’s first novel License Renewed, begins on a “Friday evening” in “early June”, in the “early 1980s” (Chapter 2). Simple enough. But information later in the book muddles these early facts. Lavender Peacock became the ward of her uncle upon the death of her parents in “1970” (Chapter 4). She’s twenty-six at the time of the novel. We aren’t told her age in 1970 at this time, but we deduce that she was no older than seventeen, since she was a minor. If she were seventeen, then it would be 1979 here, so she was no older than sixteen in 1970. However, Chapter 14 tells us that Lavender was an “infant” in 1970! So twenty-five years have passed since then, making it 1995! Surely this was not Gardner’s intention, and there was a slip-up in the paperwork (or math) somewhere. Licence Renewed should be set in 1980 or 1981, and the “1970” should be 1955 (or 1956). That “1970” is a nice round number suggests that its true value also should be – or 1955, placing Licence Renewed in 1980.
Chapter 2 tells us that the Double-O Section “was … abolished” “a couple of years ago”; also a “few years”, so it would seem to be three years earlier, or 1977. Since then 007 has been a sort of troubleshooter for M.
Gardner has stated in writing his 007 novels that he considered Fleming’s novels to have occurred in the Sixties and Seventies, not the Fifties and Sixties. Did he mean this literally, that is, that all we need to do is add ten to the year of Bond’s exploits? If so, then Devil May Care – which had not been published at the time of Gardner’s remark – occurred in 1976, in Gardner’s view. The Man With the Golden Gun, the last canonical Bond adventure, ended in 1964, which is probably what Gardner was thinking of (ignoring Colonel Sun and the comic strip exploits of 007). This gives us a year of 1974, which is a bit off the 1977 we got from information in License Renewed. So let us add, say, thirteen to all the dates and see where it leads us.
Bond’s career began in 1964 – some nice symmetry there – and, using the latest date for Bond’s birth, 1924, this becomes 1937, which makes Bond 43 in 1980. All right, that seems to work (setting aside for the moment the problem of adding thirteen to Fleming’s works). Gardner wrote roughly the same number of novels as Fleming over essentially the same amount of time. If they cover the same length of time in Bond’s career, thirteen years (that number again) pass. This makes Bond 56 at the end of Gardner’s run (approximately; a chronological analysis of the Gardner books might turn up a slightly lower number) – and this is using the incorrect birth year for Bond. He should really be something like 63!
This is just too much for me.
And it would be easier for me, intellectually speaking, to move Gardner’s books earlier than Fleming’s later, if forced to choose – say, “three years” after Fleming’s last book, and Jenkins’ which would have closed the Double-O section as Gardner posits (did he know of Per Fine Ounce? At any rate, he may have been thinking of The Man With the Golden Gun). This puts License Renewed in 1967, and the last Gardner novel in about 1980.
But we still end up with a too-advanced age for Bond, in my opinion (unless you use the 1924 birth year, which Gardner may very well have done; this would then make Bond about 42 at the beginning of Gardner’s run – what happened to the 45 mandatory retirement age? Did Gardner ever address it?). And this premise doesn’t take into account the post-Fleming-era books.
So Gardner’s Bond is either a re-boot, or Bond’s successor, the new 007. How does this help us with regard to the true, original James Bond? The 00 section was shut down in 1977, as is revealed in License Renewed.
Could 1977 then be when Bond was retired – along with the rest of his elite section when it was deactivated? And the new 007 was drawn from the ranks of M’s non-00 field agents in 1980 when the Double-O’s were re-activated?
Bond was almost certainly born in 1915, which would make him sixty-two in 1977. This, as I’ve written, seems much too old for an active field agent – particularly a Double-O. But it is a theory (and, by the way, I have heard of the “royal jelly” theory that Bond is perpetually (or nearly so) youthful due to a chemical elixir and I reject it as implausible). 1 Specifically, my thinking is as follows: Point 1: Because we are told Bond’s age in May, and there is only a one in twelve chance of his being born in May and he is often busy in May (Moonraker, Goldfinger, “From a View to a Kill”, Thunderball), I feel certain that Bond was not born in May. I believe that if Bond’s birthday was in May, it would certainly have been mentioned in Moonraker, when his age was revealed. Point 2: Given his age in Moonraker, we know that Bond was born in 1914 after May or in 1915 before June. His work with the Secret Service beginning in 1938 (From Russia with Love) suggests to me that he was born in 1915 and graduated in 1937, not born in 1914, graduating in 1936. So he was probably born January through April, inclusive. Point 3: In You Only Live Twice, Tanaka tells Bond that he (Bond) was born in the Year of the Rat. This was approximately February 1924 through January 1925, inclusive. Again, there is only a one in twelve chance that Bond was born in January, so he was probably born in the remainder of the Year of the Rat (even though we know the year date is wrong), February through December inclusive. This narrows the timeframe of Bond’s birth to February through April, inclusive. Point 4: Though it’s far from certain, I would pick April as the month of Bond’s birth, if I had to guess. The Chinese New Year usually occurs in February, so statistically it should be lumped in with January – there’s only a one in six chance or so of Bond having been born in February because of this fact. Also, there are references to Bond being a certain age in the winter in his youth, so it’s easiest to eliminate the winter months altogether, for simplicity’s sake. Since we’ve already eliminated January, this only applies to February, which is an unlikely month to begin with. Bond has novel-length adventures in both February and March (Live and Let Die and Dr. No), which doesn’t rule them out, but makes them slightly less likely, in my opinion. This leaves April, in which Bond only has one short case.

#2 billy007



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 04:40 AM

Well written, but still open to individual reader's interpretation.

#3 Secretan



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 04:52 AM

Yes, of course.
Constructing a chronology is often a matter of choosing which evidence you want to ignore.

#4 stromberg


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Posted 01 November 2014 - 12:48 PM

Yes, of course.
Constructing a chronology is often a matter of choosing which evidence you want to ignore.

Unfortunately, yes. Fleming certainly didn't write with a matching chronology in mind, Griswold was facing the same problems when he wrote his book (of which I happen to know that you know it). Will be interesting to compare and see where and why you disagree with him, and also to compare it with the old WvT3 chronology.

#5 Secretan



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 02:14 PM

I saw a summary of Griswold's chronology early in my research, and initially thought he did a good job (I still do). But I found "discrepancies" that compelled me to write my own. Never heard of WvT3. I'll check it out, thanks. When I sat down to write Skull & Bones, I bought all the NF Bond books I could, including Griswold's. Fascinating stuff!

#6 glidrose


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Posted 01 November 2014 - 08:29 PM


If the apocryphal tale Too Hot To Handle, in which a civilian is recruited by the Secret Service to impersonate the presumed-dead Bond in a scheme to break what is left of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., is authentic, it occurs here, between You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun.

This is the first I've heard of it. Do tell more!

#7 Secretan



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 09:14 PM

This was a little in-joke by me. Several years ago, I saw a movie named Operation Kid Brother, (and has other names starring Sean Connery's brother Neil, in which he is recruited by Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell to fight "Thanatos", after his brother, a famous secret agent, has been killed. It also starred Daniela Bianchi and Adolpho Celi. Too Hot to Handle was the American title of Moonraker,and I used it as an allusion to the secret of the movie, the title of which I wasn't sure I could mention in print.

#8 Walecs



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 09:45 PM

Congratulations for taking so much time and patient to write this.

#9 Secretan



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Posted 01 November 2014 - 10:29 PM

Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

#10 Secretan



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Posted 06 November 2014 - 08:28 PM

Glidrose: I came across the film in question on youtube:

#11 Double Naught spy

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 12:53 AM

Ha-ha!  Every time I see Neil Connery wearing a goatee, I'm reminded of the Mirror universe Mr. Spock!  


Holy crap, Secretan!  That's one heck of a chronology!  I especially enjoyed your effort in attempting to put some logic behind the 00-number designations.   No offense to Mr. Fleming, but you really have a talent for making logical sense out of something that the actual creator didn't put much thought into.  


I see now why I enjoyed your Skull and Bones (For those interested, Secretan has posted the first couple of chapters of Skull and Bones in the CBn Fan Fiction section) and Chinese Puzzle novels - you are obviously a 007 devotee.   I admit though: it takes a chapter or two to mentally-insert James Bond's name whenever I read John Sterling in your novels; but I understand why you've renamed Our Man - to avoid any legal entanglements from IFP.  So, are there any more novels (fingers crossed!) coming down the pipeline?   Because, now that I'm hooked, I'd really like to see some closure to the events in Chinese Puzzle.


BTW, I too enjoyed Griswold's book - especially the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink aspect he put into it.  It is because of that, that I consider it to be one of - if not 'THE' - definitive guides to the literary Bond.  

#12 Secretan



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Posted 09 November 2014 - 01:30 AM

> Holy crap, Secretan! That's one heck of a chronology!
Thank you!
> I especially enjoyed your effort in attempting to put some logic behind the 00-number designations. No offense to Mr. Fleming, but you really have a talent for making logical sense out of something that the actual creator didn't put much thought into.
Fleming seems to have been more concerned with telling a good story that worrying himself about continuity details -- which is perfectly understandable.
> you are obviously a 007 devotee.
Yes. That's part of the reason I posted my chronology in addition to the chapters. I'm not a Bond dilletante who thought he could do Bond better than Fleming but a scholar who cares about Bond.
> So, are there any more novels (fingers crossed!) coming down the pipeline? Because, now that I'm hooked, I'd really like to see some closure to the events in Chinese Puzzle.
High Hopes, in which "Sterling" investigates an LSD-type drug flooding into England in 1953, will probably be out next year. The closure you're looking for is a few books away, and I'm afraid you'll have to be patient.
> BTW, I too enjoyed Griswold's book - especially the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink aspect he put into it. It is because of that, that I consider it to be one of - if not 'THE' - definitive guides to the literary Bond.
I agree. I disagree with his chronology on a number of points, usually defaulting to the lengths of time between books that Fleming describes rather than dates mentioned.And I want to mention that an earlier version of this Bond chronology appeared my massive (500 pages) The Way They Were, which is filled with similar chronological essays, covering characters as diverse as Doc Savage to Korak, son of Tarzan to Frankenstein's creature.

Edited by Secretan, 09 November 2014 - 02:26 AM.

#13 malcorn20



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Posted 20 December 2014 - 04:31 AM

Wow this was amazing! and took alot of work.  I had no idea about the lost unfinished novel Per Fine Ounce. Very interesting

#14 ggl



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Posted 20 December 2014 - 09:11 AM

Wow this was amazing! and took alot of work.  I had no idea about the lost unfinished novel Per Fine Ounce. Very interesting

It's a real interesting piece of Bond history. Here is a brief good article: http://literary007.c...per-fine-ounce/



#15 Secretan



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Posted 20 December 2014 - 03:21 PM

It's my understanding that only the Fleming version of Per Fine Ounce is "unfinished".Some pages of Jenkins' version also exist and I read that someone(s) is trying to track them all down to reassemble it.

#16 ggl



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Posted 21 December 2014 - 09:18 AM

The article in wikipedia is quite complete, too: http://en.wikipedia..../Per_Fine_Ounce

#17 glidrose


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Posted 22 December 2014 - 09:18 PM

PFO has nothing to do with "A Cleft of Stars". I read ACOS and it's clear from what little we do know about PFO that the two have virtually nothing in common. I have heard that after IFP rejected the manuscript, Jenkins submitted PFO to his regular publishers - perhaps he intended to rewrite it as a "Geoffrey Peace" novel - and even they rejected it. Apparently from 1966 to 1971 Jenkins' own publishers rejected several of his manuscripts.

And of course that's if Jenkins ever did finish writing PFO. Some have convincingly argued that Jenkins only submitted sample chapters. Some people who have too much time on their hands keep pointing to the Duff Hart-Davis bio of Peter Fleming as fact that it was a complete manuscript. However Hart-Davis did not read the manuscript himself so we still have no convincing proof that Jenkins finished the manuscript.

#18 Secretan



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Posted 22 December 2014 - 09:24 PM

I don't personally know, and can only go by what I read. Everything I've read suggests that Jenkins turned PFO into Cleft of Stars and that PFO had been a complete manuscript.