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  1. Dare To Be Bond in Las Vegas, August 24-27

    Hasn’t everyone wanted to experience the lifestyle of suave secret agent James Bond? Well, you can have your chance August 24-27th, 2006 in Las Vegas at the premiere adventure event, Dare To Be Bond.

    Headquartered at The Tropicana Resort and Casino, Dare To Be Bond gives attendees the experience of earning their own “license to kill,” as well as toasting the 35th anniversary of The Bond film that first brought 007 to Las Vegas, “Diamonds Are Forever”.

    Events include a full debriefing, “medical” certification, weapons recertification, gaming refresher course, connissourial edification, water recertification, optional sky diving recertification, and Annual Agent Appreciation Dinner honoring the 35th Anniversary of Diamonds are Forever. Registration deadline is August 17, 2006 (no late registrations will be accepted). Early bird discounts are available through August 10, 2006. For event information, hotel booking information and registration go to

    Dare To Be Bond is a not-for-profit event being produced by Los Angeles based Bond fan Charles Axworthy. Being a 30 year fan of Bond and a staff member here at CBn, he is determined to bring the “Bond Experience” to both hard core and casual fans alike.

    Press your tux, chill the martinis and warm up the Aston Martin. You too can Dare to be Bond.

    Contact Information:
    Charles Axworthy – [email protected]

    Charlie Axworthy @ 2006-08-06
  2. A Kick in the Aston

    On January 20th RM Auctions presented their 8th annual collector’s car show auction in Scottsdale, Arizona at the prestigious Biltmore hotel and resort.

    The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 CoupeThe Star of the Auction:
    The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe
    (with modifications)

    Charles AxworthyThe auction was announced late in 2005 and Bond fans beamed at the star of the show. One of the promotional Aston Martin DB5’s which, while never appearing in any of the films, had toured the world throughout the 60’s was going up on the block. Complete with all the gadgets, most still functional, the original “Silver Beast” of Bond’s cars attracted the attention of collectors, Aston Martin aficionados and of course… James Bond fans. Myself included.

    The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 CoupeThe controls for the “optional extras”.

    Upon hearing of this event, I decided to attend. Granted, the prices were such that I had no chance in walking away with the keys, but it didn’t stop me from registering as a bidder. Besides, I just wanted to see this automotive icon of 007.

    The night before was a grand event held in the main auction hall and the James Bond theme was strongly prevalent regardless of the other classics on display. Tuxedoed waiters, martini glass ice sculptures–through which any ordered martini was poured to be “properly chilled”, gourmet trays of food and snacks, and an elegant Jazz quintet set the mood.

    Up close… well… She’s not the youngest girl at the dance, but she had everyone’s attention. The interior has been neglected, but the original engineering of all the devices is still sound. A glimpse in the boot revealed what the great John Stears referred to as the “plumbers nightmare”. Hook ups for three tanks (oil, smoke, CO2 for the ejector seat), the motor and relays for the rear license plates and of course the same for the rear armour screen.

    DB5 - Rear Bulletproof Screen DB5 - Rear Bulletproof Screen

    The DB5 shows off its bulletproof windscreen
    and front machine guns.

    It’s all still good to go apparently but the ejector mechanism has been removed and a normal seat replaced. Also, the CO2 fed to the unused caltrop dispenser on the back right tail cluster. A few “non-featured” items also were included. The weapons tray, designed under the driver’s seat, but now under the passenger seat, came complete with a prop grenade, knife and non-firing replica Mauser. Additionally, in the driver’s door, the “radio telephone” was intact along with the ram bumpers front and rear which telescoped out and then retracted smoothly.

    The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe

    As to the tire slashers, the extension was simply as they did on the film cars, a screw on, knock on hub. Yes, we all remember the device slowly sliding out of the DB5’s axle, but that’s movie magic. Not enough movie magic to change the fact that both cars are seemingly driving in reverse, but I digress. Check your DVDs.

    The plates flipped on cue and everyone cheered. The machine guns extended and much to all’s delight, fired. A small propane tank, complete with a metered sparker, created the effect much as they did in the movie, but with a rather loud report. These days, the sound of machine gun fire in a crowded hall should send everyone off in a panic. Applause and laughter filled the air instead.

    Aston Martin DB5 Interior Aston Martin DB5 Interior

    Two views of the DB5’s interior.

    I have to say, that the appeal of this car is not only the automotive legacy that is Aston Martin but what made it memorable were the great lengths that the effects crew put into making sure that while being the rolling armoured arsenal it was made up to be, it had all the devices concealed. OK, yes, the roof panel is obvious but the rear bullet proof screen is framed such, that were you not a James Bond fan or familiar with a DB5, you might notice, but wouldn’t give it a second thought.

    The DB5 on display.The DB5 on display.

    Friday the 20th began at 10am and with my pass I was in to the show which was already crowded and being televised on several automotive networks. Shortly after 2pm, lot number 155, DB5 2018/R “the Bond car” was rolled out to the main lot and people flocked before she was to go up for auction.

    The machine guns rattled and all the devices were again displayed and many of those gathered about traded cameras. Everyone wanted a picture with 007’s car. At just ten past 3pm, they dimmed the lights, the Bond theme played and with the screen up, the guns blazing and the oh so distinctive exhaust rumbling the DB5 rolled up and onto the turn table.

    Then it began with an opening of 900K(USD). In just under seven minutes (appropriate no?) it closed for 1.9 million(USD). The buyer was actually a second party to the new owner who is rumoured to be a collector in Switzerland. CBn is following up on this. We’ll let you what we find.

    DB5 Auction Opening DB5 SoldElapsed time – 007 minutes.

    We can only hope the new owner shares it in some manner with the rest of the world.

    All in all, a cool experience to witness and, to a point, be a part of.

    Aston Martin

    Lastly, the question begs of any Bond fan.

    If you had the cash, would you have paid 1.9 million?

    I think we all know the answer.

    Charlie Axworthy and the Bond Aston Martin DB5

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    Charlie Axworthy @ 2006-02-14
  3. The CBn Dossier, November '05

    Charlie Axworthy

    Welcome to the November 2005 CBn Dossier, a wrap-up of all the 007 news and rumours for the month. In this month’s column, we’ll be examining the constant news coming in on 2006’s Casino Royale, the Young Bond series and The Moneypenny Diaries, the release of James Bond 007: From Russia With Love and much, much more.

    This month’s CBn Dossier will be delivered by Charlie Axworthy.


    Bond Is Back!

    Well, we’ve got Bond locked down in more ways than one.

    Set for the screen and on everyone’s game system.

    EA’s From Russia With Love hit the stores and Amazon on November 1st and has been vanishing from shelves rapidly. Many a Bond fan and gamer has been spending countless hours taking Bond (voiced by the man himself, Sir Sean) through a classic adventure with enough updating and contemporizing of the story to make it work. I have yet to really jump into it myself as of now, but soon. Then I’ll have to catch up with the mobile SilverFin game. Also, the EA 007 game soundtracks will be out by years end.

    Daniel Craig is finishing up a few projects (and has been doing PR for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Munich) and then hopefully settling in for the holidays before donning the tux and taking us into the Casino. With Bond set and a script (while still rumored to be having some more polishing done) more or less finalized, the search is on for a Vesper (not the martini – the girl) and a few of the rumors have Angelina Jolie, (she reportedly wants the role to be tougher – Not very needed of Vesper in my opinion) as well as some others including Monica Bellucci, Sienna Miller and host of other starlets and some unknowns in the sights of director Campbell along with Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. One Bond Girl said to return will be Dame Judi Dench as M. Most Bond fans, while having enjoyed her in the role, are a bit confused time-line wise as to the whole notion of this being one of 007’s early assignments. However it may go, the lady in question has confirmed she’ll be back but has yet to see a script.

    Meanwhile, Campbell has implied that there are stunts, but only one large explosion planned at this time. Less is more sometimes. I guess we’ll all know for certain on 17 November next year. The locales are the Bahamas, Pinewood, Prague, Italy and the release dates for most countries have been set.

    Hitting The Books

    Young James and Miss Moneypenny? John Cork? Henry Chancellor? has a new member! Author of The Moneypenny Diaries – Miss Samantha Weinberg – gave into temptation and registered here on our site after granting John Cox (Zencat) an exclusive interview. Book Two is due out October next year (tentative) and with the multitude of responses to her initial thread, she confessed “I can see this will become addictive.” and there were slanderous accusations by other members that the Team puts something in the water. I only spike the punch at the Admiral’s New Year’s Eve bash so Jim will do wheelies on the Vauxhall Bridge after two cups. The UK paperback of Book 1 is available for pre-order and a May release.

    The U.S. early cover art for the second Young Bond novel Blood Fever made it’s way to us and is available for pre-order although not due until June 2006. The U.S. edition of the first novel SilverFin is due out in paperback in April and the large print edition is shipping. With over 500,000 copies sold, this series is going strong. The third novel due in 2007 story has James chasing Russians throughout the seedier corners of London as they attempt to build an early computer.

    So…You get paid to write about Bond and Bond girls, consult on Bond films and do the 007 special edition DVD’s…
    Meet the man who has the job I want. JOHN CORK.
    In a great interview with the true Moneypenny of CBn (our own Athena) the man behind the Legacy and Bond Girls are Forever as well as the last and upcoming set of DVD’s, John Cork gave us the scoop on having a foot in both worlds. The fan and the family. Check it out.

    Henry Chancellor – author of James Bond : The man and his world – gave the ever reliable Doublenoughtspy an interview on his addition to the Bond and Fleming history. Get thee to a bookstore soon.

    Raymond Benson is enjoying the reissue of three of his novels and traveling in Italy for a book tour. I suspect we’ll be getting a debrief from the man himself somewhere along the way.

    The Titan comics keep on coming up offering The Golden Ghost, Fear Face and Double Jeopardy and are available for pre-order.

    On The Road In The Past

    CBn’s Stromberg (who’s time is precious) dug up and researched the full history of a Bond car not driven by Bond. Kissy Suzuki’s Toyota 2000GT is alive and well and still capable of arranging a “Drop in the ocean”. Check out the facts in a spread that’s right out of Tiger’s own Q Branch.

    Woulda Coulda Shoulda?

    Now that it’s decided, the front-runners all can rear their heads and say “I was almost Bond” – Some familiar, some not, but all in the running at one point during the 18 months.

    Speaking of “almost Bond” (yet it would have been for the fifth time), Bond #5 Pierce Brosnan spoke very frankly about Bond in an interview for the December issue of Playboy and gave some scathing reviews of how things went down and a few former Bonds. Trust me. He ain’t comin’ back. They aren’t serving and he doesn’t want any.

    Looking Over Your Shoulder

    Smackdown interview or not, November 17th marked the 10th anniversary of GoldenEye hitting most of the world’s screens and giving us back what we wanted: BOND.

    Several bits here and there covered it for everyone on CBn – the ‘Reflections’, ‘Premiere’ and ‘Novelization’ stories are all worth your time as are threads.

    And In Closing…..No…Really

    *pours a wee dram*

    Well, seems like Bond is back on track. After all the cries of “we’re taking it back to the basics.” It *appears* as if they are in many regards. Hey, after Moonraker (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that film) we got For Your Eyes Only.

    Now we can only PRAY they wise up and cast Jessica Simpson as Vesper.


    Quit throwing things!



    OW! – OK that last one was from Bondian.

    *rubs arm* Wanker.

    Lastly, and on a personal note, November 25th marked the start of chapter 38 in the ongoing novel that is my life. I thank everyone here at CBn for the kind wishes, PM’s, emails, and goofy pics. I vow to continue to serve living the lifestyle as best I can…which includes chasing girls, driving fast, dining extravagantly, traveling luxuriously, shooting accurately, saving the world and sampling scotch…No…


    Related Links

    Charlie Axworthy @ 2005-11-30
  4. CBn Visits 'Club Aston'

    Aston Martin. In the automotive world, the name is revered and respected among car aficionados. In the world of James Bond, it’s as easily associated with a Charlie AxworthyWalther PPK, Vodka Martini and a license to kill.

    Happily, you only need a license to drive…and about $200,000 lying about. was recently contacted by the PR firm representing Galpin Ford in Van Nuys, California, (the #1 Ford dealership in all aspects for the past 15 years) who asked if we would be interested in a personal tour of their new 2.5 million dollar Aston Martin showroom, ‘Club Aston’, where we would be treated as if we were all purchasing a Vanquish.

    Galpin also handles Volvo and Jaguar sales and is only one of two Aston Martin dealerships in California. The other being Rolls Royce of Beverly Hills.

    Security Pad

    Front Entry Security Pad

    Last Wednesday, May 25, myself along with CBn Team Members Athena Stamos (Athena007) and John Cox (zencat) arrived at the dealership and were warmly greeted by sales director Joe Van De Veere who was very giving of his time and information. Joe is an Aston Martin expert and appreciative of our equal expertise on the world of 007.

    ## Let the games begin

    The showroom is only accessible by one of two means. A private door located outside near the service department, or the main entrance on the second floor of the rather regal showroom. Both require a pass card and an actual thumbprint scan — It’s not just a novel idea, it truly works. Once your print is scanned your entire customer information immediately appears on Joe’s computer and he knows what to do.

    Athena Stamos at The Front Entrance
    Thumb Scanner
    The Back Entrance
    The Front Entrance (left) and The Back Entrance (center, right)

    A large cylindrical steel door rotates to reveal a circular chamber and cues any music the customer wishes. On this day, the familiar strains of Goldeneye greeted us and then revealed what is simply called “Club Aston”.

    Club Aston

    CBn online at Club Aston

    At first you’d wonder if you were entering an elegant hotel lounge. Certainly not a car dealership. A fireplace, leather chairs and couches, walls covered in suede, a 50 inch plasma screen and a second smaller one complete with wireless internet access set over a large walnut grain bar (should one wish to toast their purchase or delivery of their Aston Martin), take up the first room.

    The shelves surrounding the fireplace and TV are filled with books covering a variety subjects from travel to wine and cigars, some rare first editions of classic literature and, of course, James Bond. Copies of both James Bond: The Legacy and Bond Girls are Forever were prominently displayed.

    The center piece of the showroom is a polished black granite mirror finished turntable surrounded by curtains with a swirled steel ceiling design that cannot help but evoke the notion of the famous gunbarrel sequence. Fitted in to this ceiling is a computer controlled lighting system that can produce a variety of different effects. As our Team entered, a shear curtain slid aside to reveal a new black DB9 slowly rotating on the turntable. Joe then explained how it works when you decide to purchase.

    To quote Roger Moore (James Bond) from Moonraker upon glimpsing the Drax residence:

    > Good Lord?

    Aston Martin Turn Table
    Aston Martin Turn Table
    Aston Martin Turn Table
    An Aston Martin DB9 on the Turntable in Club Aston

    Via an LCD touch screen located at the bar, he brought both screens to life. One showing a promotional Aston Martin video and the other giving almost Q Branch specs on the Aston Martin of your choice where one is able to design the colours (interior and exterior) and any “optional extras” you may desire. While there are a wide selection of colours available (they have done over 3,000), Aston Martin can match any colour you may wish or provide. Three of Galpin’s customers have had their Aston’s exterior colour matched to their own eye colour. The most popular has been, and will probably continue to be, the famous “Silver Birch”.

    Color Tiles

    Select your color?

    Having completed your design specs, and presuming your check is good, the process begins. From completion of order to delivery, the average time frame is around sixty days. All of Aston Martin’s cars are hand built in England.

    When your car is ready, another part of the showroom comes into play. It’s actually not a room, but a vault. A large circular steel vault door that looks like it could house Fort Knox with keypad entry sits on the other side of the turntable just off the lounge. Built at a cost of $800,000 dollars, this is where your new Aston Martin will be waiting. Quoting room designer, Beau Boeckmann:

    > This is a place that will make a billionaire say, ‘Wow!’

    Many celebrities have purchased their own Aston Martin from Galpin and indulged in Club Aston. The showroom opened in April of 2005 with a gala event attended by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a host of celebrities. The Aston on display was Cubby Broccoli’s own 1987 black Volante convertible. One quote from actor Wilmer Valeramma (Fez of That 70’s Show fame) summed it up:

    > When I walked in and heard that [Bond] music kick in, I knew I wanted to buy whatever was in that room.

    The Club Aston Vault
    Athena Stamos opens The Club Aston Vault
    The Club Aston Vault
    The Club Aston Vault

    Of course there was one actor who couldn’t attend due to a schedule conflict, Pierce Brosnan. Galpin personally delivered his Vanquish to his Malibu home and still services the car for Bond #5. Several LA based CBn members have caught a glimpse of Pierce in his silver birch Vanquish zipping about town. He still has yet to visit the showroom, but Pierce, it’s worth your time mate.

    Club Aston Bar

    The Club Aston Bar

    Joe continued with some history of exactly how impressive Aston Martin has been as a company with some stats and trivia that really does establish this as one of the finest hand-built motor car companies of the world. Since 1918, 88% of all Aston Martin’s are still registered and actively driven. Joe seems pleasantly surprised to learn that in the new Young Bond novel SilverFin, James learns to drive on a 1.5 Liter Bamford & Martin Sidevalue Short Chassis Tourer (one of the earliest cars built by “Aston” Martin). With a tap of his wireless keyboard, Joe called up on Club Aston’s plasma computer screen and promptly bookmarked the site. Yes, CBn is now part of the Club Aston experience.

    Joe then gave us the scoop on Casino Royale and Aston Martin’s involvement.

    Charlie Axworthy in The Club Aston DB9

    The Club Aston DB9

    Bond (whoever it may be) will be driving the new Vantage V8 (CBn Story). The first will be available in February of 2006 (probably the first seven or eight will end up in the hands of Vic Armstrong and his boys depending what they have planned) and a convertible model will follow within the first six months. It is to be an “entry level” car and priced between $110,000 to $130,000 — but is “the most important car Aston Martin has ever built.” That’s both the word from Joe and Aston Martin. Joe also promised when the first Vantage hits the showroom floor, CBn will get a call.

    Our time in the Club Aston came to a close but not before an inspection of the DB9 and then the Vanquish on their main showroom floor.

    Joe described how one should treat one of these magnificent automobiles:

    > Drive it like you stole it.

    Damn better than:

    > Now pay attention 007.

    Aston Martin Vanquish Engine
    AM Vanquich Sticker Shock
    Aston Martin Vanquish
    The Showroom A.M. V12 Vanquish with Sticker Shock

    Then the fun began for all three of us after our lovely Athena simply asked:

    > Can we go for a ride?

    Joe’s response (with a sly grin):

    > OK — Twist my arm.

    Within minutes a beautiful DB9 was available and we each took a turn. Bamboo dash, concealed flip-up GPS flat screen, push-button transmission available for automatic driving, and Formula-1 style “paddle shifters” on either side of the steering wheel for manual or “sports” driving. Left to go down, right to go up.

    Zencat and myself allowed the “ladies first” policy and Athena was off for a quick spin with Joe. After a minute or so as we stood in the lot waiting, Zencat pondered:

    > Think they’re coming back?

    I replied with;

    > Athena’s probably thrown Joe out and is headed for Mexico. She’ll be there in less than an hour in that thing.

    Our DB9 Test Vehicle
    Inside a DB9
    DB9 Testdrive
    Joe Van De Veere takes CBn for a testdrive in a DB9

    Soon, we heard the now familiar sound of the twin exhausts — incredibly distinctive — and they rolled back in. Now it was my turn. The car goes around corners like a bullet train as if it was bolted to the road. At one point Joe went (on an open stretch) from 0-95+ in less than six seconds — which for the record is the equivalent of 7 G’s in the centrifuge. I’m not that old, but I think the skin being pulled back on my face took off a couple of years in my looks.

    Even before Zencat left for his test-drive, I was already calculating my available cash in my stock portfolio and debating a second mortgage…and it would be worth every cent.

    So, in conclusion, Aston Martin is the company it is because of what they do and how they continue to do it, Not just because of the company they keep — Bond doesn’t hurt though.

    Galpin Ford

    Galpin Ford

    A few closing notes just as an FYI: This showroom is NOT a tourist attraction for Bond Fans. It’s a place of business. We were all (those present and the CBn Team) quite honoured by this exclusive look into a something that only few shall glimpse. If you’ve enjoyed this article and are thinking “Hey, I’ll go check this out.” — WRONG, Unless you’re there to do business and purchase an Aston, don’t bother.

    You’re either an owner or there by appointment only. Joe can tell the difference. However, if you’re in the market and committed to a purchase, the people at Galpin and Joe are the kind you want to deal with when buying into a tradition such as Aston Martin… Not to mention buying a car that costs more than most people’s homes.

    If you’re going to buy an Aston Martin, call Galpin Ford. They’ll get you in touch with Joe and you can talk about it.

    This article was contributed to by Team members Athena Stamos (Athena007) and John Cox (zencat), always a pleasure my friends. Pictures by/copyright Athena Stamos.

    Special thanks to Ben Cooke of Arlene Howard Management LA for contacting us regarding this and even more special thanks and much appreciation to Mr. Joe Van De Veere Sales director of Galpin Aston Martin for giving us so much of his time and even bothering to add CBn to the Club Aston computer desktop.

    Charlie Axworthy @ 2005-06-03
  5. Casino Royale: Who is this guy?

    A look at the character of James Bond in his first adventure

    Who is James Bond? He’s seemingly the main character as the novel opens, but what do we know let alone learn about him in this first adventure?

    007 Days Of Casino Royale

    The story opens and we are quickly, yet vaguely, brought up to speed on this man Bond who is gambling for high stakes in a casino in the south of France and it is very late.

    We learn, through the narrative, that Bond works in London yet has established himself as a representative for a Jamaican newspaper and that he receives cables and monies from there, yet his true superior in London is a man with the monogram “M”.

    Bond is clearly an operative of some sort but on which side of the law is unclear. He’s also suspicious and experienced enough to know that elevators can be dangerous late at night or in the wee hours of the morning and, presently, he would not be surprised to discover his room has been searched. In fact, he has set small “tells” throughout his room to detect just that – a random strand of hair, talcum powder on handles and locks and then it is established:


    “He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact attention to the detail of his profession.”


    So, we know his profession and that it is in the service of the United Kingdom and that it has the potential to be dangerous. He is using his name but under the guise of a high stakes gambler from Jamaica… and he sleeps with a gun under his pillow.

    Aside from the job, number 007 is Bond’s apparent rank in the service and “double-0’s” are very highly regarded, he (like anyone) does have some particular likes and sense of both style and taste. The first of these (which will continue to be a staple of the character’s personality in subsequent adventures) is that he enjoys a good breakfast and that he smokes custom made cigarettes. It is the details of such things that make the man real and intriguing.

    Bond takes his work seriously. His conversation with Mathis establishes this as they go through the motions of putting on a show for the benefit of the transmitter in Bond’s room. Bond expresses no apparent anger at the situation but takes it in stride. However, when Mathis reveals that London is sending a woman to work with him, Bond reveals his chauvinism. It’s not that he dislikes the company of ladies (far from it) but within his profession, they are best and only suited for office work or as a distraction, either for himself or his opponents in the “secret world”.

    We then discover Bond’s other personal passion: His car. A 1933 4.5 litre Bentley convertible which he has had since before the War and it soon appears to be one his favorite personal possessions and he truly seems to enjoy driving it.

    His first meeting with Vesper Lynd finally reveals how he viewed by others. Mathis mentions the fact after Bond leaves that Bond is serious and does not have a habit or reputation of being easily “melted” by a woman but seems to sense that Vesper has the potential to do so. Vesper, in turn, finds Bond to be “very good looking” but notices something cruel about him.

    Before she can continue, the attempt on Bond’s life occurs with a devastating blast from an explosive charge which he survives but only through luck. Later, after a few solid drinks and lunch, he seems hardly phased by the attempt, once again taking it in stride as a part of the job. It is however important to note that Bond’s first reaction is to vomit after the blast, not from shock, but rather from the stench of roasted flesh. He is human and that again lends itself to the reality of the character. Details such as these are what Fleming created for just this effect.

    The next detail of Bond is destined to be his trademark. The martini of his “own invention”. Bond explains to another new character, Felix Leiter, why he prefers it made to the exact specifications:


    “I never have more than one drink before dinner.
    But I do like that one to be large and very
    strong and very cold and very well-made.”


    And hence, another personal detail is revealed and later to become perhaps the first element of Bond to make it’s way into popular culture throughout the world and the world’s bartenders.

    During his dinner with Vesper, Bond’s rank as a Double-O is very flatly laid out as basically being an assassin and that in the world they both operate in, one simply follows orders. He is not proud but conveys a sense of duty in his fulfilling his assignment by taking the required actions. Vesper herself recalls her briefing on Bond, which warns her of becoming involved in anything but the job at hand. He’s an expert and there are not many in the field as dedicated as himself. The Head of S. even admits that Bond’s “good looking” but probably doesn’t have much heart for emotion.

    Bond’s understanding of gambling is first class, yet is unclear as to how he became such an expert. It is established through the events at “High Table”, that he does take risks and even failure as part of the task. Such dedication does establish again that he is a professional with his life on the line. Literally. So when he finds a barrel in his back and countdown to ten unless he removes his bet. He does manage to escape this through a highly risky move by toppling himself and his chair thus wrenching the “deadly tube” from the hands of his assailant. Upon regaining his composure, he is soaked with “the sweat of fear” again being quite human. He is by no means anything but an experienced operative who is willing to take a chance in a given situation. Part luck, part skill but all human.

    The game plays out and ultimately (although not naturally as we later come to expect of Bond) he manages to clean out Le Chiffre in an incredibly suspenseful sequence which is engrossing to the end. The stakes are then “upped” by Vesper’s kidnapping and Bond’s pursuit ending with his beloved Bentley wrecked and himself at the mercy of Le Chiffre.

    We now have Bond in a most vulnerable situation of being tortured in perhaps the cruelest manner a man can be. The villain wants information (the location of the cashier’s check for the winnings) and Bond will not give it. Bond knows how torture works, but this by no means promises survival. He actually knows he won’t reveal anything and likely will be killed. He will win by sacrifice and that (given all options he has – those being slim & none) this is once again, a part of his job. Amidst all the ensuing beating of his genitals his only concern is for Vesper. Once again though, fate (with simple luck) saves Bond from death and he does survive although certainly injured and having not had the requisite satisfaction of dispatching Le Chiffre himself and through luck, not being killed by the SMERSH assassin sent to kill Le Chiffre. It seems that spies the world over do (at this point in time) have a code of only following the specific orders given them.

    Bond awakes in the hospital and we then get a glimpse into his outlook at his chosen path during his debriefing with Mathis. Bond has concluded that he is not certain if he is in the service of good or evil and therefore will resign upon his return to London. We finally learn the specifics of how Bond earned his Double-O in an almost confessional manner yet with no trace of particular emotion. He and Mathis debate the issue of good and evil in their work but it does again prove that Bond is a human and has his doubts as any of us do from time to time.

    We then see the “secret agent” truly humanized by the strongest emotion of all. Love. His recovery and holiday with Vesper shows us a very different side to Bond. He is romantic, doting and looking to a future with this girl. A far cry from the man who does not “melt easily”. Given the extreme events and torture that he has survived he becomes grateful and respectful of life and the ability to live it. He’s even ready to both love and commit (he plans to propose to Vesper after their first night at the inn) which are hardly qualities that he would have expressed in his initial introduction to us and based on his reputation within the service and among those he has worked with.

    It is with Vesper’s suicide that Bond seems to suddenly abandon his vulnerable side and realize that he is a professional and in being one, he can never truly live a normal existence but he does now understand the evil in his profession and that he must strive to do battle against it.

    So to go back and restate my original question “Who is this guy?” it’s almost simple to answer but with a certain degree of understanding now that we have seen him go almost a full emotional circle. He’s what he started out as. A secret agent but only in title. He is a man that can love, hate and is capable of living his life by his own standards yet is accepting of the world around him and that he chooses to be a part of in his profession. We’re also intrigued by this world of his such that we want to learn more about him and be involved with it, if only as spectators.

    We now know that “James Bond will return”, but with this first novel we don’t know for certain, but we do know we’d like him to.

    And so did Ian Fleming.

    Charles Axworthy posts in the forums under the screen-name of Bryce (003).

    Charlie Axworthy @ 2003-04-09