First Editions

Following Fleming’s death, Glidrose (the copyright holders of his work) decided to continue the James Bond novels with different writers who would all use the pseudonym Robert Markham. The first new novel was entitled Colonel Sun and was published on 28th March 1968 to mixed reviews. The cover artwork was painted by Tom Adams in a Salvador Dali style with dragon shaped clouds, melting guns and other surreal images. It transpired that Kingsley Amis was the true author of the novel and it was also he who had revised Fleming’s last full length novel The Man with the Golden Gun prior to its publication in April 1965. Amis had also wrote an in-depth essay entitled The James Bond Dossier in 1965 which had a cover designed by Jan Pienkowski using detail from the Richard Chopping paintings. In a very busy year Amis also wrote (under the pseudonym of Lt.- Col William “Bill” Tanner) The Book of Bond or Every man his own 007 (below) in which he lists all the attributes required to become 007 – how to dress, drink, smoke, act and look like everyone’s favourite secret agent! Using the information from Fleming’s novels this amusing but slim volume had a cover designed by Raymond Hawkey that was reversible for work in the field and transformed the book into “The Bible revised to be read as literature”.

The later James Bond novels by John Gardner had cover art that tried to imitate the style of Richard Chopping but those eventually gave way to simple graphic designs that are not particularly memorable. The only other first editions of any merit are the series that graced the Book Club publication of the novels in UK. Technically it is the Book Club that produced the true first edition of From Russia, With Love in 1957 when Jonathan Cape rejected the first print run (which has light blue boards) as flawed and sold all the copies to the Club who issued the novel with the Richard Chopping cover. The Book Club editions feature some interesting artwork (mostly by Cuthill) but are not as valuable as their Jonathan Cape counterparts but nonetheless remain very collectible. The later Cape editions of the Fleming novels were promoted with posters devised by Jan Pienkowski.


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