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  1. "Fleming's Way"

    Last week many Bond fans were surprised when CBn revealed that a series of fiction spy novels chronicling “the espionage adventures of Ian Fleming” have been on bookstore shelves since 2002. This series–now into its third book–is being penned by the writing team of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Bill Fawcett, who work under the pseudonym of “Quinn Fawcett.”

    Now CBn takes a closer look at each of the Fawcett Fleming novels.


    Authors Bill Fawcett & Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

    Death To Spies

    The first Quinn Fawcett Ian Fleming novel, Death to Spies, was published August 2, 2002. In a signed first edition of the book, author Yarbro has crossed out the title “Death to Spies” and has written in “Fleming’s Way”; presumably the original, and preferred, title. (Ironically, had the book been called “Fleming’s Way”, Bond fans may not have overlooked it for so long.) Death to Spies is thus far the only Fawcett title to be available in paperback. It is also available in a large print edition.

    Was Ian Fleming a master spy?

    After years of serving in the intelligence community, Ian Fleming retired—and soon thereafter created James Bond, that debonair, dashing hero of countless novels and films.

    But what if Fleming never really retired from spying? What if his position as an international journalist was really a cover for Cold War cat-and-mouse games?

    In Death to Spies, Ian Fleming, master operative, steps out from the shadow of his creation to take his rightful place in the pantheon of fictional spies.

    Fleming’s idyll on the island of Jamaica is disrupted when a ranking member of British Intelligence shows up with a wild story of purloined nuclear secrets and moles within British Intelligence, then mysteriously disappears, apparently the victim of foul play.

    Investigating, Fleming faces hostility in Los Alamos–where anyone not American is automatically suspect–meets a glamorous, sexy woman with few scruples, and narrowly survives several attempts on his life.

    Hardcover: 400 pages
    Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (August 2, 2002)
    ISBN: 0312869304

    Fawcett has had some success injecting series life into the fictional character of Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s smarter brother (The Flying Scotsman, etc.). But Fawcett’s taxidermy skills fail him here, as he tries to turn writer Ian Fleming into a believable fictional character. James Bond’s creator, who was a mid-level agent for British naval intelligence during WWII, did retire to Jamaica and work there as a local journalist before turning some of his own and his colleagues’ adventures into his famous 007 series-which kept him living in fine style until his early death. But Fawcett’s fiction asks us to believe that Fleming let himself be talked back into the espionage game in the early 1950s, traveling from Jamaica to Los Alamos in order to probe leaks of atomic secrets by British scientists. Brand names familiar to Bond fans dot every page-enough Players cigarettes get smoked to qualify as a paid endorsement-but all the details don’t add up to a complete or even an interesting portrait of a fictional Fleming. Nor can the stiff, silly dialogue (“Oh, Ian,” says a Jamaican madam, “so proper and cool, and with the fires of hell seething inside you”) or the inside jokes (the British spymaster who visits Fleming offers an “authorization to kill” if he takes the job) make readers believe they’re in Bond country.

    Publishers Weekly
    Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    Siren Song

    The second Fawcett Fleming novel, Siren Song, was published July 1, 2003. It is available as a hardcover. There is no date yet set for a paperback release.

    The world knows Ian Fleming best as the creator of that international sensation, James Bond, hero of countless novels and films. The real Ian Fleming was once an operative for British Naval Intelligence, ostensibly retired to a career in journalism after World War II. Rumors have long swirled that Fleming never completely left the spy game.

    Siren Song

    At a posh New Year’s Eve party in London, Fleming falls hard and fast for the glamorous Nora, who mixes brains and beauty in a way Fleming can barely resist. But it’s winter in England, and he longs to return to his sanctuary on the island of Jamaica, and he has a plane to catch. On his way to the airport, Fleming is practically kidnapped by operatives of British Intelligence who offer him a scoop-the name of a powerful American businessman who is secretly a Communist and who may be passing US secrets to Soviet Russia. Suspecting that British Intelligence has its own private reasons for discrediting this man, and unwilling to be their patsy, Fleming will not look at the dossier.

    When Nora unexpectedly turns up in Jamaica, Fleming anticipates a pleasant idyll-particularly when he discovers that this beautiful woman is a tough, adventurous, former war correspondent. Sex appeal, intelligence, and a shared passion for journalism-Fleming sees a new future unfolding before him. Even learning that Nora is investigating the American whose dossier Fleming refused does not dampen the former spy’s ardor. The explosion of a bomb in Nora’s hotel room provokes Fleming, who accompanies Nora to her home base of San Francisco.

    There, Nora plans to expose the businessman’s connections to Soviet Russia and his bigamous marriage. Fleming has his hands full keeping the lady safe-but begins to wonder just why the people trying to kill Nora are so persistent.

    In a world of concealed motives, love is a most dangerous game…

    Hardcover: 368 pages
    Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (July 1, 2003)
    ISBN: 0312869282

    REVIEW from Booklist
    …The second Ian Fleming novel, following Death to Spies (2002), combines the genteel sophistication of Fleming’s James Bond adventures with a gritty, atmospheric evocation of cold war espionage. Fawcett eschews the larger-than-life villainy of the Bond novels for the subtly realistic dangers of betrayal and emotional exploitation.
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

    Honor Among Spies

    The latest Fawcett Fleming novel, Honor Among Spies, was published on May 1, 2004.

    Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was once an operative for British Naval Intelligence. Rumors hold that Fleming’s job occasionally required a bit of “wet work,” slang for assassination, but he never spoke of it, nor of the other secrets of his life during wartime. By the 1950s, Fleming had settled into a routine, spending part of the year in London and the rest on the island of Jamaica, at the estate he called Goldeneye . . .

    Honor Among Spies

    Fleming is recovering from witnessing the death of a woman he had come to love when he receives an urgent message from Prescott, a former colleague in the spy game. Prescott has set up as a private investigator in New Orleans, and his latest case, which began as a simple background check on a wealthy man’s new son-in-law, has turned deadly. The bride has been gruesomely murdered and one of her brothers has disappeared. Prescott himself been threatened, not physically, but with the revelation of his WWII activities, which could endanger not just Prescott, but England herself.

    Investigating, Fleming and Prescott discover that the bride’s murder is connected to a new religious cult run by a mysterious woman from the former spies’ joint past. Before Fleming’s adventure is over, he will have seen the darkest parts of New Orleans’ fabled French Quarter, formed a temporary partnership with a pair of local pool sharks, witnessed perverse sex acts, and met a bewitching voodoo queen.

    Layered with intrigue, packed with concealed truths and hidden identities, Honor Among Spies is another fast-paced adventure in the fictional life of Ian Fleming, in the days before James Bond.

    Hardcover: 352 pages
    Publisher: Forge; (May 1, 2004)
    ISBN: 0312876440

    REVIEW from Booklist
    …New Orleans in the late forties is a murky mixture of racism, voodoo, police corruption, and sexual profligacy. Fawcett, who also writes the Mycroft Holmes series, weaves an arresting fictional persona out of the raw material provided by the life of the James Bond creator. This series improves with each entry, in no small part thanks to the author’s uncanny ability to create a vivid sense of time and place. Wes Lukowsky
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

    All three Quinn Fawcett Ian Fleming spy novels can be ordered from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

    Watch for CBn’s reviews of the Fawcett novels in the future.

    johncox @ 2004-06-01
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