CommanderBond.net
  1. 'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling' Out Now In Paperback

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling, the novel that concludes Samantha Weinberg’s brilliant but sadly overlooked James Bond spin-off trilogy, is out now in paperback.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    The book concludes the famous secretary’s adventures, which began in 2005’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel and 2006’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant.

    The paperback edition features the same stunning Stina Persson artwork that adorned the hardcover release.

    The synopsis of Final Fling (which contains spoilers, for those who have not read the first two novels) follows.

    Final Fling combines the excitement of a cold war spy thriller with the mystery of a contemporary detective story. In the 1964/65 volume of her private diaries, Jane Moneypenny reports her demotion from the position of M’s secretary as the British Secret Intelligence Service is hit by a series of defection scandals. Facing considerable personal danger, she combines forces with 007 in a resolve to smoke out the mole she is convinced is buried deep in the heart of the Office. But, when Bond is sacked and M is forced into retirement, Moneypenny finds herself on her own…

    Forty-two years later, Miss Moneypenny’s niece and heir, Kate Westbrook, starts to suspect that her aunt’s death was no accident. She is sure the clues to what happened lie in the search for the mole. As she pieces them together, however, she realizes that there are significant forces who are determined to prevent her finding the truth.

    From the glamour of 1960s Jamaica to the treacherous beaches of the Outer Hebrides, Final Fling reveals just how far people are prepared to go to defend – or betray – their beliefs, and relates the life and death, and surprising final love, of the world’s most famous fictional secretary.

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for the latest literary James Bond news.

    Matt Weston @ 2008-10-31
  2. 'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling' Paperback Due 30 October

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling will be released in paperback next week, just five months after its hardcover release.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    The third book in Samantha Weinberg’s James Bond spin-off trilogy (written under the alias, Kate Westbrook) ties up all the loose ends in the first two instalments of the series, Guardian Angel and Secret Servant.

    The paperback edition, which was brought forward from a March 2009 release and then from November 2008, will feature the same stunning Stina Persson artwork that adorned the hardcover release.

    The first book, Guardian Angel, was published in the United States in May.

    At the risk of editorialising, I can’t recommend The Moneypenny Diaries highly enough. While it helps that the books are set within the timeline of Fleming’s original stories (often providing an alternate viewpoint or filling the gaps between significant events), Weinberg creates a palpable atmosphere in weaving a story that spans over 40 years. It is, however, a trilogy in the truest sense, so I strongly advise beginning with the first book. If you’re craving more Fleming, Weinberg delivers, while still giving James Bond fans a set of completely unique page-turners. Ultimately, the books are full of milestone moments in the literary 007 canon. The entire trilogy is available at a nice discount via the Amazon links below.

    In related news, Weinberg, a self-professed environmentalist, wrote an article in Sunday’s Observer, in which she fascinatingly discusses her decision to give up unnecessary shopping.

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for the latest literary James Bond news.

    Matt Weston @ 2008-10-24
  3. Miss Moneypenny's Final Fling

    Devin Zydel

    In her concluding chapter to the thrilling Moneypenny Diaries trilogy, author Samantha Weinberg fuses together the danger and suspense of Jane Moneypenny’s 1964/65 diaries along with a ring of mystery and intrigue that surrounds the current day quest of niece Kate Westbrook to create a captivating tale that truly doesn’t let go until the very last page.

    Final Fling successfully follows on from 2005’s Guardian Angel and 2006’s Secret Servant in that once again, the reader is allowed to feel completely immersed in the events facing Jane during the 60’s thanks to the ‘day-to-day’ style created by the diary entries. What makes this third novel different from the previous two, however, and even more exciting because of it, is almost a full half of the 282 page-long story is dedicated to the current day affairs of Kate Westbrook–who continues on her perilous quest to uncover the details surrounding her aunt’s mysterious death in 1990. The result is an overall mix of both the adventure one would expect to find in any literary James Bond adventure, but also that added mystery element. Weinberg is so adept at keeping the pace soaring as Kate moves from location to location, questioning anyone who’ll possibly point her in the right direction for more information. Naturally, there are various forces who track her every move and seemingly have no limits when it comes to stopping her.

    In Final Fling, Jane’s diaries open in July 1964 with the famous secretary more convinced than ever that there is a hidden mole, or ‘Sieve’, in the SIS, leaking secrets that could cost the lives of its agents. This paranoia eventually comes to sweep over the entire office with the usually well-respected ‘M’ becoming the subject of ridicule and Bill Tanner acting aloof and unapproachable towards Jane. Things become complicated further when Deputy Chief Christopher ‘Kit’ Linford-Hunter–someone who doesn’t exactly take a liking to Jane–and associate Percy Warren make their way into positions of leadership at the office. What eventually follows is a series of exciting investigations with ‘M’, James Bond and Jane that involves leaks of information, bitter confrontations and more.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    On the other end of the spectrum, some 40 years later, Kate Westbrook continues in her search for answers regarding the death of Jane and also to discover the identity of the Sieve, the traitor she believes responsible one way or another for that act. Assisting her is Ferdy Macintyre, a man she at first despises as a result of his warnings against publishing Jane’s diaries, but then comes to admire (with some additional traces of a romance) after several meetings between the two.

    Traveling to various London locations as well as the Outer Hebrides island chain off the west coast of Scotland, Kate questions several locals who were in the vicinity when Jane’s boat tragedy was officially announced as an ‘accidental death’ in October 1990. A much older Bill Tanner, other SIS officers who had worked alongside Jane and additional acquaintances also share their thoughts on the matter with Kate, including Randall Macallan, a man full of secrets and surprises.

    The question of ‘Who is the Sieve?’ does finally get answered and it comes in one of the very last diary entries by Jane. This is a particularly strong move by Weinberg. With the latter half of the novel switching back and forth between Jane diaries and Kate’s present day story, it is fitting that the full details of the Sieve’s actions and this person’s ultimate fate should come directly from Jane, since she experienced the consequences of this traitor first-hand.

    In terms of timeline structure, The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling is a bit of an oddity. Examining the status of several of the main characters at the end of the story and depending on how much importance one places on the dates, this continuation novel can be looked up as not only the final chapter of the trilogy, but also the entire literary James Bond canon. Even when it appears that the story has reached its finale, there’s one more surprise to be found on the last page. The entire trilogy really is a rollercoaster ride of mystery, suspense and action and Samantha Weinberg could not have brought it to a more spectacular end than she does here.

    Purchase The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling from Amazon.co.uk.

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-06-06
  4. Samantha Weinberg Book Signing At The 'Bond Bound' Exhibition

    007 Magazine reports that Samantha Weinberg will appear at the Bond Bound: Ian Fleming And The Art Of Cover Design exhibition on 11 June. The author will be signing copies of her brand new novel, The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    To attend, or to reserve a signed copy of the book, contact The Fleming Collection:

    13 Berkeley Street
    London W1J 8DU
    Tel: 020 7409 5730
    Fax: 020 7409 5601

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling, published earlier this month, concludes the adventures of James Bond’s right-hand woman, which began in The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel and The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant.

    The news comes two weeks after Weinberg attended Calcot Manor’s Meet-The-Author lunch in the Cotswolds.

    Meanwhile, 007 Magazine also reports that UK grocery store Tesco is now offering the 14-book Penguin 007 Collection (containing all of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels) in-store for a mere £15. The set contains the paperback editions of Fleming’s novels featuring cover art by Richie Fahey.

    The chain is also carrying copies of The James Bond Encyclopaedia by John Cork and Collin Stutz for only £10.

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for the latest literary James Bond news.

    Matt Weston @ 2008-05-27
  5. 'The Moneypenny Diaries' (Finally) Debuts In US

    The Moneypenny Diaries US cover

    The Moneypenny Diaries US cover

    It was a three year wait, but Samantha Weinberg’s Moneypenny Diaries series has finally arrived in the US with the publication of Guardian Angel today.

    Guardian Angel is published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) and retails for $23.95. The book can currently be ordered online at Amazon.com.

    Guardian Angel was first published in October 2005 in the UK. Being the first part of the Moneypenny Diaries trilogy, it chronicles the life and adventures of the famous secretary originally featured in Fleming’s James Bond novels. This first volume centers around the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Since then, Secret Servant was published in the UK in 2006. The final novel, Final Fling, hit UK bookshelves earlier this month.

    My heart breaks for James—so begin the explosive, true, private diaries of Miss Jane Moneypenny, personal secretary to Secret Service chief M and colleague and confidante of James Bond. Bound by the Offcial Secrets Act not to reveal anything about her work, Miss Moneypenny is forced to lead a secretive, clandestine life. But, contrary to popular belief, she was not simply a bystander while James Bond saw all the action.

    Miss Moneypenny’s experience with mystery stretches all the way back to her childhood in Africa, when her father inexplicably disappeared in action during World War II. Now, as a young woman in 1960s London, Miss Moneypenny unknowingly stumbles upon her father’s trail. In a position like hers, there’s no file she can’t access, and no document she can’t read. Yet Miss Moneypenny is forced to decide whether it’s worth risking everything—her job, her safety, and even international security—for the possibility of finding her father alive.

    A life of espionage has personal as well as political ramifications. For Jane Moneypenny, the price is high. Romantic relationships with outsiders are necessarily built on lies, and she automatically questions the motives of every man she grows close to. For as her diary quickly reveals, Miss Moneypenny is involved in far more than office politics.

    Guarding so many secrets and with no one to confide in, she finds herself breaking the first rule of espionage. Unbeknownst to anyone, she keeps a diary charting her innermost thoughts and state secrets.

    These diaries should not have been written. They were never supposed to be read…

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for all the latest literary James Bond news. To keep track of all the upcoming 007 releases, events, television shows, and more–just keep your eyes on the CBn Calendar, located on the right panel of our main page.

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-05-13
  6. Catch Samantha Weinberg At Calcot Manor's Meet-The-Author Lunch

    The centenary events keep rolling in.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    SoGlos.com reports that James Bond author Samantha Weinberg will be appearing at Calcot Manor’s Meet-The-Author lunch on Monday May 12, 2008.

    Weinberg, author of three novels based on Miss Moneypenny’s exploits (including the recently-published The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling), will be at the Cotswolds event answering questions from the floor and signing copies of her new book.

    Tickets cost £25, with lunch including a two-course meal and a glass of wine.

    For more information, contact Calcot Manor on (01666) 890391.

    Final Fling was published in the United Kingdom earlier this month, while Weinberg’s first novel, Guardian Angel, will be published in the United States next week.

    Keep your web browsers locked on CommanderBond.net for the latest literary James Bond news.

    Matt Weston @ 2008-05-11
  7. Miss Moneypenny's Missions In Current Starlog Issue

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel

    The newest issue of Starlog magazine (#366), containing an interview with Samantha Weinberg, author of The Moneypenny Diaries trilogy, is now available in bookstores.

    This interview comes just as Weinberg’s Moneypenny series is about to finally make its debut in the US with the publication of Guardian Angel on 13 May.

    Weinberg, who writes under the pseudonym Kate Westbrook, is the author of the three Moneypenny Diaries novels: Guardian Angel, Secret Servant and Final Fling (the latter just released earlier this month in the UK).

    Focusing the attention on the right-hand woman of James Bond, the three novels are set at various time points throughout the 1960s.

    Guardian Angel, which was first published in October 2005 in the UK, centers around the Cuban Missile Crisis. Secret Servant saw Jane Moneypenny embroiled in a dangerous Russian mission and Final Fling brings the series to a close.

    Click here for the CBn Interview with Samantha Weinberg.

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for all the latest literary James Bond news. To keep track of all the upcoming 007 releases, events, television shows, and more–just keep your eyes on the CBn Calendar, located on the right panel of our main page.

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-05-11
  8. 'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling' Now Shipping

    The third novel in Samantha Weinberg’s James Bond spin-off series, The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling is now shipping from Amazon.co.uk.

    The novel completes the series that began with 2005’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel and continued with 2006’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant. The critically-acclaimed trilogy chronicles the ’60s-set adventures of Miss Moneypenny and the contemporary exploits of her niece, Kate Westbrook.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    Final Fling combines the excitement of a cold war spy thriller with the mystery of a contemporary detective story. In the 1964/65 volume of her private diaries, Jane Moneypenny reports her demotion from the position of M’s secretary as the British Secret Intelligence Service is hit by a series of defection scandals. Facing considerable personal danger, she combines forces with 007 in a resolve to smoke out the mole she is convinced is buried deep in the heart of the Office. But, when Bond is sacked and M is forced into retirement, Moneypenny finds herself on her own…

    Forty-two years later, Miss Moneypenny’s niece and heir, Kate Westbrook, starts to suspect that her aunt’s death was no accident. She is sure the clues to what happened lie in the search for the mole. As she pieces them together, however, she realizes that there are significant forces who are determined to prevent her finding the truth.

    From the glamour of 1960s Jamaica to the treacherous beaches of the Outer Hebrides, Final Fling reveals just how far people are prepared to go to defend – or betray – their beliefs, and relates the life and death, and surprising final love, of the world’s most famous fictional secretary.

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel will be published by Thomas Dunne Books in the US next month.

    Stay tuned to CommanderBond.net for all the latest literary James Bond news.

    Matt Weston @ 2008-04-21
  9. "A grown-up in a world of boy racers."

    Less than a month out from the publication of the third novel in her James Bond spin-off series, Samantha Weinberg has contributed an excellent account to Times Online of her time spent with the world’s most famous secretary: Miss Moneypenny.

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling

    Samantha Weinberg, under the alias of Kate Westbrook, became the first female author to pen a 007 novel, when she wrote 2005’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel (the U.S. publication of which is, at last, imminent). This was followed by 2006’s instalment, subtitled Secret Servant and this year’s Final Fling. A couple of short stories round out her contribution to the world of Bond.

    In her article, Weinberg dissects what makes Miss Moneypenny such an icon. “[It] undoubtedly owes much to Fleming’s genius for picking memorable names (Goldfinger, Oddjob, Pussy Galore). But it’s also down to Moneypenny herself. Of all his characters, she is the only one who is unequivocally likeable. Bond is cruel, M ruthless, most of the girls damaged dolly birds; Moneypenny alone is intelligent and loyal, a grown-up in a world of boy racers.”

    From a handful of rather vague descriptions in Fleming’s original 14 novels, Weinberg fleshed out a lush history for the secretary, from her colonial childhood in Kenya through to her complicated double life as an employee of MI6. Though Weinberg is quick to note the impact the character’s cinematic incarnation had upon Miss Moneypenny’s legacy, and particularly the impression left by the late Lois Maxwell.

    “[Maxwell] explained to me shortly before her death last year, ‘I decided – with a little nudge from Sean [Connery] – that, when Moneypenny was still in the secretarial pool, Bond invited her to spend a long weekend at his aunt’s cottage in Kent. They had a most splendid time, but she knew that if she allowed herself to fall in love with him, he would break her heart. And he knew that he would never get his 00 number’.”

    Similarly, Weinberg offers Roger Moore’s take on the Moneypenny enigma. “Bond was quite willing to bed any female, but when it came to Moneypenny, although he enjoyed flirting with her, he treated her unlike any other lady – that is, with great respect. She brought humour, humility and class to Bond’s world.”

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel'

    U.S. art for The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel

    Weinberg notes a strong desire to make her and Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypennys one and the same. “When I took on Moneypenny four years ago, I was determined to be true to Fleming’s creation. I wanted anyone who had read his books to recognise her character from my books – but also to relate to her in the present.”

    “Moneypenny had to have a birthday, a family, a dress size, somewhere to live and someone to love; she needed memories of childhood, her first kiss and favourite holiday. Before I wrote a word, I had to know what she ate for breakfast and who cut her hair, as well as how she would react in any given situation.”

    Citing her temporal distance to the events of the 1960s – something Fleming did not have – Weinberg argues this enabled her to “inch [Miss Moneypenny’s world] a little closer to the real events that were hidden from the headlines”.

    “While the Bond books were highly coloured accounts of secret service action, Miss Moneypenny’s diaries could be a bit more real, a little murky.”

    “I can’t pretend that it hasn’t been a romp at times. I managed to persuade myself that, to inhabit Moneypenny fully, I needed to go where she went, which provided me with wonderful opportunities for research trips to Cuba, Jamaica, Moscow, Miami and Berlin. I also met some spies: men and women who had been in the service at the time she hypothetically worked there.”

    While Miss Moneypenny has never before been given a richer history than in Samantha Weinberg’s series, her character is famously absent from Daniel Craig’s James Bond films. The author is proud to have kept the character alive in print.

    “A year and a half ago, Casino Royale was released and, like millions of others, I loved it; as promised, it was a return to Fleming’s Bond: brave, hard, cruel. But it had one gaping absence: Miss Moneypenny. Apparently her services have not been required for the forthcoming Quantum of Solace, either. I think that’s a shame.”

    “I’m just delighted to have been allowed an opportunity to put on her pearls each day, and to keep her alive – between the covers of a book.”

    For the fascinating full article, be sure to check out Times Online.

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling will be published in the UK by John Murray on 1 May. Meanwhile, The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel will be published in the U.S. by Thomas Dunne Books on 13 May.

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for the latest literary James Bond news.

    Matt Weston @ 2008-04-08
  10. Samantha Weinberg Interview In Upcoming Starlog Magazine

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel

    CommanderBond.net Forum member ‘operator 5’ alerts us that the forthcoming issue of Starlog magazine (#366) will contain an interview with Samantha Weinberg, author of The Moneypenny Diaries trilogy.

    While not available yet, the new issue of Starlog is expected to go on sale in mid-May.

    Weinberg, who writes under the pseudonym Kate Westbrook, is the author of the three Moneypenny Diaries novels: Guardian Angel, Secret Servant and Final Fling (the latter due for release this May).

    Focusing the attention on the right-hand woman of James Bond, the three novels are set at various time points throughout the 1960s.

    Guardian Angel, which was first published in October 2005 in the UK, centers around the Cuban Missile Crisis. Secret Servant saw Jane Moneypenny embroiled in a dangerous Russian mission. The official blurb follows for Final Fling:

    'The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant'

    The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant

    Final Fling combines the excitement of a cold war spy thriller with the mystery of a contemporary detective story. In the 1964/65 volume of her private diaries, Jane Moneypenny reports her demotion from the position of M’s secretary as the British Secret Intelligence Service is hit by a series of defection scandals. Facing considerable personal danger, she combines forces with 007 in a resolve to smoke out the mole she is convinced is buried deep in the heart of the Office. But, when Bond is sacked and M is forced into retirement, Moneypenny finds herself on her own…

    Forty-two years later, Miss Moneypenny’s niece and heir, Kate Westbrook, starts to suspect that her aunt’s death was no accident. She is sure the clues to what happened lie in the search for the mole. As she pieces them together, however, she realizes that there are significant forces who are determined to prevent her finding the truth.

    From the glamour of 1960s Jamaica to the treacherous beaches of the Outer Hebrides, Final Fling reveals just how far people are prepared to go to defend – or betray – their beliefs, and relates the life and death, and surprising final love, of the world’s most famous fictional secretary.

    Click here for the CBn Interview with Samantha Weinberg.

    Keep watching CommanderBond.net for all the latest literary James Bond news. To keep track of all the upcoming 007 releases, events, television shows, and more–just keep your eyes on the CBn Calendar, located on the right panel of our main page.

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-03-31
Follow @cbn007