This book explores the huge influence of Jamaica on the creation of Fleming's iconic post-war hero. The island was for Fleming part retreat from the world, part tangible representation of his own values, and part exotic fantasy. It will examine his Jamaican friendships--his extraordinary circle included Errol Flynn, the Oliviers, international politicians and British royalty, as well as his close neighbor Noel Coward--and trace his changing relationship with Ann Charteris (and hers with Jamaica) and the emergence of Blanche Blackwell as his Jamaican soulmate.
Goldeneye also compares the real Jamaica of the 1950s during the build-up to independence with the island's portrayal in the Bond books, to shine a light on the attitude of the likes of Fleming and Coward to the dramatic end of the British Empire.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-12
- Reviewer: Staff
On the north coast of Jamaica in 1952, Ian Fleming began work from a home he designed next door to Noel Coward’s estate, writing about a suave secret agent named James Bond. In this fascinating exploration of that house, called Goldeneye, Parker tells the exciting story of how the Bond novels were produced—and how strongly Jamaica influenced Fleming’s direction in life. The languishing British colony proved the perfect setting for the former soldier to relax and craft the tales of a world-conquering British spy. Parker proceeds chronologically, showing that the creation of Goldeneye and the Bond novels was inextricably intertwined with the drama of Fleming’s love life. To that end, what began as Fleming’s adulterous WWII relationship with Ann Charteris, whom he later married, explains much of why he wanted to remain in the Caribbean, away from the British press. Parker treats each Bond novel, beginning with Casino Royale, with respect and expertise, taking care to show that Fleming often integrated his deep knowledge of Jamaica into the plotlines. The depiction of Fleming’s own life of luxury in Jamaica, meanwhile, is mesmerizing. The book is as charming as Bond himself, leaving us a greater understanding of the world’s most famous spy, his creator, and the house in which he was conceived. (Mar.)