Forge, Jul 2003, 25.95, 367 pp.
Before catching his plane in the morning to go to his winter vacation home in Jamaica, Ian Fleming attends a New Year's Eve Party in London. There he finds himself attracted to journalist Nora Blair DeYoung. However, his efforts towards an evening of delightful romance before hopping his plane fail.
Before boarding his plane, two British intelligence agents order Ian, a World War II naval intelligence agent, but now a reporter, to smear American Oscar Winterberg, who they believe is selling secrets to the Russians. The governments of both the Americans and the British strongly believe Oscar is a Communist spy, though the evidence is flimsy. Ian refuses before leaving for Jamaica. Soon to his delight Nora joins him at his vacation home, but she did not come for fun in the sun as she works for the Americans and wants Ian to join forces with her. His objective is to keep the spy he loves safe while hers is to expose Winterberg.
Though exciting at times, Ian Fleming is just not James Bond even if the premise of this novel and its predecessor DEATH TO SPIES is that the author modeled 007 after his own activities. The story line will hook the die-hard fans, especially those that remember Lazenby and Allen as Bond respectively. The story line is filled with action, but Fleming's motive to assist the peril of Pauline Nora never fully comes across. Still this espionage thriller brings to life the 1950s with its Red Scare so that readers will overall enjoy this 007 lite.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner