007’s iconic name was almost completely different, a new book claims.
According to “Ian Fleming: The Complete Man,” MI6 superspy James Bond was nearly called Rodney.
That surprising revelation, first reported by The Times of London, was discovered in author Ian Fleming’s old papers that the book’s writer Nicholas Shakespeare was given access to.
Rodney Bond, it turns out, was a real person who saved the life of Fleming’s brother Peter in 1941.
Peter, a lieutenant colonel in the British Army who died in 1971, was on a training mission in Greece during World War II.
When Germany invaded Athens, Peter attempted to escape with his friends Nancy and Harold Caccia and 70 people from the British embassy, but he was badly injured by an explosion.
The Caccias’ daughter Clarissa, who was fleeing with them, recalled, “Peter and Dad from there sent a Morse message to Crete to see if anyone was prepared to come back into enemy-occupied territory and get us.”
The message was received by a Secret Intelligence Service officer — Lieutenant Rodney Clarence Mortimer Bond.
Lieutenant Bond answered the call and braved German attacks to heroically rescue the group by fishing boat.
Years later, Harold told Clarissa about a 1957 conversation between Ian and Peter after Ian had finished “Dr. No,” the first of his 12 007 novels.
“Peter, I’ve written a bloody good thriller, but I can’t get a name for my hero,” Ian said.
Peter replied,“Try Bond.”
Ian Fleming, who died in 1964, had said in past interviews that the monicker was stolen from an American bird expert.
“There really is a James Bond, you know, but he’s an American ornithologist, not a secret agent,” Fleming told Rogue magazine. “I’d read a book of his, and when I was casting about for a natural-sounding name for my hero, I recalled the book and lifted the author’s name outright.”
The James Bond film series has grossed more than $7 billion over 25 movies.
“Ian Fleming: The Complete Man” will be published by Harper Collins on March 12, 2024.