A Spy Is Born
DENNIS WHEATLEY AND THE SECRET ROOTS OF IAN FLEMING’S JAMES BOND
During the Second World War, he worked in the upper echelons of Britain’s intelligence establishment, helping to plan ingenious operations against the Nazis. He was one of the most popular thriller-writers of the 20th century, but his literary reputation has faded in recent years, with critics lambasting his novels as xenophobic, sexist fantasies. And he created a suave but ruthless British secret agent who was orphaned at a young age, expelled from his public school, smoked exotic cigarettes, had a scar on his face, bedded beautiful women and repeatedly saved the world from the threats of megalomaniacal villains.
His name? Dennis Wheatley.
In A Spy Is Born, Jeremy Duns follows the trail of a largely forgotten writer through memoirs, newspaper archives, declassified M.I.5 files and dog-eared paperbacks to reveal the surprising literary roots of one of the most iconic characters in fiction: James Bond. In the process, he takes us on a journey through the history of the spy story, and back to a time when real espionage operations and their fictional counterparts fed off each other, and best-selling novelists lived out their fantasies against a backdrop of double agents and femme fatales.