His exploits, both in espionage and as a womanizer, were legendary, and it goes without saying that he preferred his martinis shaken, not stirred. If that sounds like James Bond, you’re close — it’s actually 007’s creator, the subject of the new biography, “Ian Fleming,” by Andrew Lycett, due on October 1.
Writers’ biographers don’t often get such lively material. As a British Naval Intelligence officer during World War II, Ian Fleming formed the 30 Assault Unit, an elite commando team that stole Nazi secrets behind enemy lines, and led Operation Goldeneye, a plan to sabotage a potential alliance between Germany and Spain. He later moved to Jamaica, where he wrote a dozen Bond books, partied with Noel Coward, and kept a pet octopus named “Octopussy.” Fleming even advised JFK on ways to overthrow Fidel Castro.
“Never say ‘no’ to adventures,” wrote the spy novelist, who died in 1964 (a month before the movie release of “Goldfinger,” which broke box office records worldwide). Granted, that line appeared in a children’s story, “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang,” but what better credo for the author of “From Russia With Love”? — John Birmingham