Examining Ian Fleming’s Original James Bond Manuscripts – Part 1

Podcast Episode

Examining Ian Fleming’s Original James Bond Manuscripts – Part 1

Join Dan and Tom for Part One of their journey to The Lilly Library at Indiana University in the USA, as they examine, in-person, all of these wonderful James Bond masterpieces, gaining some insight into the novels and into Ian Fleming’s way of writing!

Dan and Tom of SpyMovieNavigator.com had the privilege of examining 11 of Ian Fleming’s original James Bond manuscripts – his actual typed pages, with hand-written edits in the margins, crossed-out sections, add-ins and more!  You can see where he changes a name that we all know, and then – there it is in the final published version of the novel!
Come with us to The Lilly Library at Indiana University in the USA, as we examine, in-person, all of these wonderful James Bond masterpieces, gaining some insight into the novels and into Ian Fleming’s way of writing!
This is Part one, covering Casino Royale to From Russia With Love, of a 2-part series!  Look for Part 2 as well!”

Related Content

Ian Fleming and the Lily Library 

The Ian Fleming Manuscripts!  Bond from the Page to the Screen! 

How would you like to touch and examine the actual pages that Ian Fleming typed when writing his James Bond novels?  Well, we did and here’s our story! 

Hi, this is Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato from SpyMovienavigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Move Fans – spy movie podcasts, videos, discussions and more!  If you like our podcasts, please give us a 5star rating on iTunes and in Google Play – that helps us a lot!  Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter and on Instagram too.  And when you have feedback, an idea for a podcast, something you want to say – just click the red button on our website that says “Send us a Voicemail”, or send us a message and we may include it on our show! 

We like traveling, hunting down spy movie filming locations and other significant places that played a part in spy movies.   Like, when we were in London not too long ago, we stood on the steps, and at the door of Les Ambassadeurs in London.   Of course, we know that is the casino that Bond is playing baccarat in at the beginning of Dr. No – where we first meet Bond on film, and with his now-famous, “Bond. James Bond” introduction to Sylvia Trench and all of us!  It’s also when Ian Fleming met with some of the EON folks early on to solidify a deal to turn the books into films.  

Well, how about visiting a place that owns 11 of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels?  Type-written pages that he typed at Goldeneye in Jamaica!  With Ian Fleming’s hand-written notes, deletions and additions, edits in blue ink?  Well, Indiana University in the State of Indiana in the United States has a special library called, The Lilly Library – and they have the manuscripts!   

The maddening thing is that this is where I got my undergraduate degree.  I knew the library existed and that is was a rare book library.  I knew it had part of the Gutenberg Bible.  They have the letter with George Washington accepting the first presidency of the United States.  I just knew it as a rare book library and never went in there in my four years of study.  Now I find out it had 11 James Bond manuscripts typed and hand-written by Ian Fleming?   What better reason to go visit my alma mater, read the manuscripts and get a chance to see if Mother Bear’s pizza is still as good as I remember (it is). 

Only a fourhour ride for us, we drove down and spent a day and a half pouring over all 11 of the manuscripts.   We photographed every page of Casino Royale, the first novel.   We are trying to get permission to post some of these pictures.   We were able to turn the pages of each manuscript with ungloved hands – touching the very pages that Fleming typed in his typewriter in Jamaica.  And examining every edit he made in all 11 manuscripts.  

This was a thrill beyond belief!  If you are a spy movie fan, and especially as a James Bond fan, we would highly recommend this.   When we drove down there, parked the car in the nearby Student Union parking lot, and were walking to the door of the library, our hearts were racing!  We walked in, signed in, and went into the special room where they brought the manuscripts – from the vault!  SpyMovieNavigator was about to examine in person, the original manuscripts! 

One quick note:  you need to make a reservation for the reading room which you can do online at https://libraries.indiana.edu/lilly-library . You request what you want to read.   We allocated a day and a half and really could have used 3 – 4 days in order to go page-by-page with the manuscript and the published book.  

They brought each manuscript out, 2 at a time – one for Dan and one for Tom.  They set then on foam rubber stands that allowed the book to sit there, opened, on an angle so you can read, and easily turn the pages.   We were not allowed to pick up the books, and of course, not to make ANY marks on these valuable pages.    

Here are the manuscripts that they have.   Now, keep in mind, there may be other editions of these drafts – because there were some things in other drafts that made it into the books, and so on.   The only novel they don’t have is his last one, The Man With The Golden Gun. They don’t have Thunderball either, but that was based on a screenplay that was credited to Kevin McClory, Jack Wittingham, and Ian Fleming.  But that’s a different story we won’t go into this podcast, maybe a later one. 

Here are the 11 they have and we examined: 

  • Casino Royale published 1953  (21st  Movie: 2006) 
  • Live and Let Die – published 1954 (8th Movie: 1973) 
  • Moonraker – published 1955 (11th Movie: 1979) 
  • Diamonds are Forever – published 1956 ( 7th Movie:1971 ) 
  • From Russia With Love  published 1957 (Second Movie: 1963) 
  • Dr. No – published  1958 (First Movie: 1962) 
  • Goldfinger – published 1959 (3rd Movie – 1964) 
  • For Your Eyes Only – published 1960 (From A View to a Kill).  (12th Movie – 1981) 
  • Also part of this short story set: Death Leaves an Echo, Quantum of Solace, Risico 
  • The Spy Who Loved Me – published 1962 (10th Movie: 1977)  
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – published 1963 (6th Movie – 1969) 
  • You Only Live Twice – published 1964 (5th Movie: 1967) 

Fleming used a lot of inserts to make changes.  Sometimes these would be written on the back of the previous page.  Other times they were typed and either inserted or pasted on the page. 

 We’re just going to go through a few of the highlights of paging through these manuscripts, book by book.   We can talk for a couple of hours about this great outing! 

Casino Royale published 1953  (Movie – 1962) 

  • The first page of the book and the manuscript have some slight differences so this isn’t the last manuscript. Many edits in all of the books handwritten by Ian Fleming.  
  • Fleming liked to name people in his books with names similar to real-life people.  Therefore, in the manuscripts, there are some name changes.  The first change is actually a company name change.  Messrs. Lascelles de Mercado was changed to Messrs. Caffrey.  It is interesting to see these as he had to go through other references to those names and change them too.  This was before cut/paste, Word, WordPerfect, Word processors, or even Wite-Out.  
  • What do you think, Petty?  Petty is scratched out.  Hand-written by Fleming is the word: “Penny.”   A couple of sentences later, Miss Pettavel is scratched out, and hand-written in its place is Miss Moneypenny!   OMG!  This is where it happened – right on this page!  Significant name change! 
  • The person who he modeled Pettavel after was based on Kathleen Pettigrew who was the personal assistant to the real-life MI6 director. 
  • CHECK FOR A VERSION RELEASED IN 2013 where Fleming had Bond as the real name, but James Secretan as his real name.  From an article by Susanna Lazarus, April 15th, 2013.  On page 59 in the version we have examined, he says his name is Bond! This isn’t until chapter 7. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2309144/The-names-Secretan–James-Secretan-Early-Ian-Fleming-draft-reveals-nearly-chose-different-007.html  
  • Bentley details: changed it to an almost new 1933. 
  • The Bitch is dead – it’s in there! 
  • Vesper Martini – ingredients described 
  • In describing a member of SMERSH, the name “Maxim Gorki” is changed to “Trotsky” and gives an assassination date of August 22, 1940.  There was a real-life Russian Revolutionary named Leon Trotsky who was killed in Mexico.  Actually, the attack came on Aug 20th and Trotsky died on the 21st.  There was a Russian writer named Maxim Gorky who died in 1936.   


Live and Let Die – published 1954 

  • Title page IN RED INK: “The Undertaker’s Wind”, which is scratched out in blue ink, and above it printed in blue ink: “Live and Let Die”.   “Live and Let Die was also written in on the left side of the title page and scratched out.    
  • 134 manuscript pages Bond in America – because he did well with the CIA in the Casino job (Bond handling the Jamaican end for the British) 
  • All the gold coins minted before 1620.  Over 1000 have shown up in the US in the last few months 
  • Mr. Big stands for Buonaparte Ignace Gallia.  Plus he is huge height and bulk.  This was added to the story as an insert at x on page 11`.  Chapter 3 
  • There is a hand-written insert for Page 18,  “and don’t go stirring up a lot of trouble for us.  This case isn’t ripe yet.  Until it is, our policy with Mr. Big is “live and let live.”  Bond looked quizzically at Dexter.  “In my job,” he said, “when I come up against a man like this one, I have another motto.  It’s ‘live and let die.”   This is cool because this is an edit to the story and now a big part of it! 
  • Description of Solitaire page 36 
  • Solitaire: Her real name was added as a written in the edit by Fleming at the top of page 53: to Bond: “I will just tell you my real name.   It is Simone Latrelle, but you can call me what you like.” 


From Russia With Love  published 1957 

  • Puts chapter titles 
  • Donovan Grant – the result of a midnight union between a German professional (The Mighty O’Donavanweight lifter and a Southern Irish waitress (Grant).  Behind a circus test just outside of Belfast.  Page 11 in the original manuscript 
  • Lots of background details on Grant and his life.  Kills Dr. Baumbartner as a test.   Then put into training for Russians.  He was an advanced manic depressive.  He carried out many executions for the soviets 
  • Head of SMERSH was General Brubozabou – schikovknow as G. 
  • Soviets agree that an act of terrorism against the British Secret Service would be their next move – looking for a target of someone who is admired and whose destruction would cause dismay.   They decide on Bond who had twice frustrated the operations of SMERSH – at the Casino with LeChiffre and Mr. Big.  And another adds Drax (Moonraker) WHO WAS FOILED BY Bond.  The most recent info was Bond having something to do with a diamond affair, from Africa to America,  Pages 38 – 42.  Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker had already been published – so some acknowledgment of previous missions and books.   
  • Bond’s scar: “three-inch scar showing whitely down the sunburned skin of his right cheek”  Page 43.  Page 44: Expert pistol shot, boxer, knife-thrower, does not use disguises; languages French and German; smokes heavily; vices; drinks but not to excess and women.  Knows the basic holds of Judo 
  • Kronsteen and Klebb get the orders to kill Bond.   Page 52 
  • Biela Klebb changed to Rosa Page 54 and  Fleming must scratch out Biela and insert Rosa from now on! 
  • Romanov gets recruited by Klebb page 58 and the dialogue is very very close to the movie.  It is a remarkable job in the movie to capture this moment.   
  • Klebb picks Grant page 75 
  • Bond in a funk page 84 because Tiffany Case, his love of several months, had left him.  They had gotten on very well, because M asked him to explain, and there “was some idea we might get married”  Page 89.  But she then met some American on the Military Attaché staff and they both went to America.   Fleming writes in the next top margin (page 90) that M was secretly pleased and the last thing he would want is “for Bond to be permanently tied to one woman’s skirt” and that is in the final print version of the book! 
  • Bond prefers to fly on the 13th of the month because no one wants to and he has fewer passengers to deal with and gets better service.  “I always choose the thirteenth whenever I can”  Page 97 
  • During a very rough part of the flight to Istanbul, Bond gets concerned, and Fleming writes in the bottom margin with an arrow to where it should be placed: “Bond “smelled the smell of danger.   It was a real smell, something like the mixture of sweat and electricity you get in an amusement arcade.”    Fleming describes Bond as going into his hurricane room – the kind of strong room they have in the middle of their homes in the tropics to protect themselves – he only did this when things were “beyond his control and no other possible action could be taken”   Page 100. 
  • Kerim: “Common blood is the best security” talking about his sons and uncles working with him. 
  • In the manuscript, the chapter titles The Tunnel of Rats – has pages 121 – 177 lined out in pencil.  Yet a lot of it is in the book.   Then again with CHAPTER TWENTY THREE from 178-187, and again for Chapter twenty-four FROM 188-195 and CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE from 196-20-5, and CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX from 206-213 and CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN from 214-220 
  • CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT is NOT lined out from 221–  228  

More Episodes

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Is this a great pretitle sequence? Why is Bond in a Swiss bank? When is Cigar more than a cigar? Join us as we answer these questions & more.

Diamonds Are Forever Amsterdam Filming Locations & Amsterdam Intelligence

Dan and Tom went to Amsterdam to see the filming locations from DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. They talk about those and some other locations there.

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Join Dan, Tom and Vicky for a fun outing decoding one of the BEST pre-title sequences of any Bond movie! The Spy Who Loved Me of course!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)


Subscribe on your favorite podcast app