In May, CBn forum user “Trempo” discovered a mysterious listing on Amazon.co.uk for a book called The Moneypenny Diaries (aka Guardian Angel) by Kate Westbrook. With no other information to go on, Bond fans speculated this could be an all-new “Bond” novel told from the point of view of M’s loyal secretary, Miss Moneypenny — a sort of “Bridget Jones” of the spy world.
However, when CBn asked Ian Fleming Publications about this book, the company who controls the literary rights to 007 appeared to be unaware of its existence, and even said they would “look into it.” Without IFP’s blessing, it seemed unlikely this book had anything to do with our James Bond.
But now Brian Smith of Bond and Beyond — an excellent website for James Bond merchandise both old and new — gives CBn an exclusive first look at the cover art and publishers notes for The Moneypenny Diaries. Turns out the book IS indeed a new Bond novel (of sorts). In fact, it’s the first of a trilogy!
From the dustjacket of The Moneypenny Diaries:
“My heart breaks for James..” – so begins the explosive, true, private diary of Miss Jane Moneypenny, Personal Secretary to Secret Service chief M. and colleague and confidante of James Bond.
From her colonial childhood in Kenya to her death in 1990, Jane Moneypenny led an extraordinary, clandestine life. Positioned at the heart of British intelligence she had a ringside seat at the political intrigues that shaped world history. But, contrary to popular belief, she was not simply a bystander while James Bond saw all the action. As her diaries make startlingly clear, Miss Moneypenny played a central role in the build-up to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the threat of all-out nuclear war.
But a life of espionage has personal as well as political ramifications. For Jane Moneypenny, the price was high. Romantic relationships with outsiders were necessarily built on lies – sometimes on both sides – and you could not trust the motives of anyone. The impact of Jane Moneypenny’s career on her emotional life was even more profound as, with her access to classified information, she began to investigate the mysterious circumstances of her father’s presumed death while in service.
Guarding so many secrets and with no one to confide in, she found herself breaking the first rule of espionage. Unbeknownst to anyone, she kept a diary. This became an outlet for her innermost thoughts and, despite the risk of discovery, for state secrets. It should never have been made public…
Hardcover 240 pages
Publisher: John Murray
According to Brian, The Moneypenny Diaries is volume one of a planned three volume set. The diaries will provide the first female perspective on the world of James Bond since the publication of Ian Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me in 1962.
But could a book like this really be published without the knowledge of IFP? Was IFP just playing coy with us fans, or is this the literary equivalent of Never Say Never Again? The mystery of its contents have been solved, but the mystery of whether or not this book is “official” remains.