Sportsman, womanizer, naval commander, world-traveler, spy, this suave Old Etonian creator of the Cold War's archetypal secret agent was infinitely more complicated and interesting than his major fictional character, Agent 007. Fleming's wide-ranging and exciting life inevitably provided the plausible backdrop for the Bond novels, and while his temperamental, sometimes violent nature got him into difficulties as a young man, the second World War was the making of him. Highly regarded in British naval intelligence for his international contacts, he master-minded numerous top secret operations, including "Golden Eye", which is uncovered here for the first time.
From the late 1930s on, he kept up an affair with Ann ONeill, the wife of a friend, but refused to marry her even after her husband was killed in the war. This passionate relationship continued for fifteen years, ending in marriage only after she became pregnant by Fleming a second time. Two months before the wedding -- to soothe his nerves -- Fleming sat down to write his first book, Casino Royale. So began the long line of Bond novels, which in this volume are given their fullest publishing history.