Ever since the start of the character's big screen prowess with Dr. No in 1962, James Bond has taken many forms. The super spy has found himself in the capable hands of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and, presently, Daniel Craig. But without Ian Fleming, none of these men would have had a Bond to bear. The late Fleming was, himself, a decorated intelligence officer-turned-author who created the character of James Bond in the 1953 novel Casino Royale. With 13 additional books to follow over the course of the next decade and change, Fleming crafted adventure after adventure for his now classic action hero. And from each of these novels and short story collections sprouted a movie — just about every one of James Bond's 23 big screen forays (that number includes the new release Skyfall) is adapted directly from one of Fleming's tomes.
See, the 1990s gave the world a Bond in the form of Pierce Brosnan, whose missions were, moreover, original concoctions of the screenwriters, rather than derivations of Fleming's plots. Brosnan's pictures (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and that wacky icecapade, Die Another Day) were unique in their independence from the literature, never drawing more than a subplot or a minor character arc from one of Fleming's stories. But that doesn't mean they don't have that same storybook flare as their predecessors. Sure, our favorite Bond flicks might be plucked from the realms of Timothy Dalton (Matt Patches picked The Living Daylights as his top choice), Roger Moore (Kate Ward opted for Live and Let Die), and Daniel Craig (Kelsea Stahler chose Casino Royale), but Brosnan is an important member of the team. His movies deserve our attention, and they deserve their place on the bookshelves.
We might not have the authorship of the venerated Fleming at our disposal, but we know a thing or two about putting some fancy words together (after all, we write for the Internet!), so we've opted to put our creative writing degrees to work. Below you'll find an excerpt from our own contribution to James Bond novel collection, chronicling one of the stories that Brosnan endured throughout his four cinematic turns as Agent 007: a scene from Die Another Day. Check it out — this counts as reading an actual book!
Die Another Day – Chapter VI: "The Chase Through Ice Castle"Bond scanned the exterior of the palace from behind a mammoth ice structure, investing his most deliberate concentration in the surveillance of the hotly guarded piazza. He determined that the coast was clear and summoned his invisible car for a getaway. Confident in an easy escape, Bond rushed to the car and slunk in through the driver’s side door, pulling off his constrictive turtleneck once behind the wheel. But before the opportunity to speed off unnoticed arose, Bond’s unseen vehicle was rear-ended by a guard on a snowmobile, calling attention to the incognito cruiser and setting off a wild chase for the double-0 agent.
Caught in the sights of the thermal imaging program of that nefarious Zao’s nearby Jaguar, Bond was chased by the villainous lackey (and his high-powered machine gun) out of the frozen piazza and onto a lake of ice. Bond’s confidence began to wash as his camouflage system failed, planting him right in the sights of the bloodthirsty cretin on his tail.
Out from the sides of Zao's car sprung two missiles, ready to fire at the alert but steady Bond. With the flick of a switch, Zao released the fire-powered missiles straight out front, colliding with the icy surface and toppling Bond's car on its roof. Thinking quickly, the agent cracked open his moon roof and propped the vehicle right-side up once again with the inertia of an ejected passenger seat — a crafty maneuver that forced 007 to cock a self-assured smile.
Managing to take Zao's tail in the chase, Bond employing his own line of Q Branch merchandise to face off in a firefight with his militant enemy. A quick bump of Zao's back fender sent the scowling baddie skidding off beyond his control... but Bond took note of a new danger on the horizon (most literally): off in the distance of the sheet-white skies, a laser soared out from the frozen palace. One that could seal not only Bond's fate, but that of the human race in entirety. The agent zoomed past a team of ferocious guards, headlining it right in through the palace's crystal doors.
Bond was alarmed, but hardly yet fear-stricken. Although Zao was close behind, he had the upper hand: the training of MI-6, the forces of good on his side, and the inimitable factor that he was, quite simply, James Bond. Zao chased the hero through the rounded corridors of the palace, eventually finding his victim seated all too helplessly at the edge of a balcony, overlooking a sub-zero moat. Zao extended a sharp staff from the hood of his vehicle to spear Bond and send him torpedoing into a bath of stabbing ice water, charging upon the agent with a victorious rush... but Bond, upholding a sense of timing only he could master, reignited his automobile's invisibility cloak along with an invaluable cleated tire feature, reversing quietly up toward and onto tower's cavern-like walls, adhering rigidly and watching Zao speed by and damning himself to the very fate he had intended for Bond.
Without allowing a second to slip beyond his grasp, Bond retreated efficiently toward the drowning Zao, shooting down a daggering chandelier to do his pursuer in once and for all. Bond cackled darkly as he drove off with a new found sense of ease. Killing, though never his favorite component of the job, was a necessary one. And one he was very, very good at.But Die Another Day is just one of the Brosnan pictures that have gone un-noveled. Can you imagine what a thrill it would be reading the source material for GoldenEye ("As Xenia's superhuman thighs dragged the crackling life out of the aged fool, she thought back upon her upbringing in Eastern Europe. What drove her to this life of impassioned, bloodletting crime? And as these ruminations tumbled through her head, Xenia realized that her victim had stopped breathing altogether. She had taken another; her hands had molded a long line of lifeless fools, and she had no idea when and where this line might end.")? How about Tomorrow Never Dies or The World Is Not Enough?
Or, for that matter, Daniel Craig's upcoming Skyfall? Check it out in theaters on Friday, and bring a notebook — that one needs its own novel, too!
[Photo Credit: MGM]
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