The book’s premise is similar to that of John Pearson’s James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007, positioning Ian Fleming’s characters as real people. The book purports to share the “real” Moneypenny’s diaries, revealing her true role in the build-up to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
CBn has been closely following the book since a strange Amazon.co.uk listing emerged in May. Since then, it has been a tale of twists and turns regarding the truth behind the book, its author, and its legitimacy as a true James Bond novel.
When CBn first contacted Ian Fleming Publications to enquire about The Moneypenny Diaries, it appeared IFP themselves were unaware of the book’s origins, leading fans to speculate that it was an unofficial publication or maybe one that had nothing to do with our James Bond.
But soon enough, word emerged that The Moneypenny Diaries was, indeed, a brand new book about Bond, told, as the title implies, from the perspective of M’s faithful secretary, Miss Moneypenny (the book claims her first name to be Jane). In fact, CBn were told the book was the first in a trilogy!
In August, the book was finally revealed as an unofficial publication to which IFP had given their blessing. Bizarrely, publisher John Murray appeared to have been planning on peddling the book as fact, before caving to pressure from media outlets whom, like CBn, had been attempting to get to the bottom of this enigma.
However, the book still holds its fair share of mysteries, the least of which is its editor, “Kate Westbrook”, who, it has been revealed, is little more than a pseudonym. All that is known of the book’s true author is that she is an academic at Trinity and will be named upon the book’s publication.
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
Keep watching CBn as the mysteries behind The Moneypenny Diaries continue to unravel.