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Reviewed: Bond Vs. Bond – The Many Faces of 007

You know his name. The man with the in-depth knowledge of guns, girls, and exotic locales. Of course, it’s Paul Simpson, the man behind Bond vs. Bond.

Originally published in 2015, the book has been updated to reflect on the legacy of Spectre and take us through the development of No Time To Die. Simpson is an editor on countless Doctor Who books, but this impressive tome shows that his breadth of knowledge extends far behind the travels of that much-loved Time Lord known as ‘the Doctor’. Not all Doctor Who fans will enjoy James Bond – but we reckon there’s a big enough crossover for this book to appeal.

Bond vs. Bond isn’t really an ultimate guide to the films, or a complete and exhaustive journey through the history of the franchise (although it does cover those areas in great detail, and anyone looking for those will still find a lot to enjoy here). Rather, it’s a guide to each version of the character and how they can be compared with each other. So, for example, one chapter is about Roger Moore’s ‘urbane Bond’, while another talks about Timothy Dalton’s ‘bleeding Bond’. It examines why these takes on the character were popular (or not) and how they were reflective of their times.

Not really a fan of character examinations? Don’t worry: in just over 200 pages, this book still manages to cram in an impressive amount of detail about everything, from the continuation books (‘From Robert Markham to Anthony Horowitz’) through to the gadgets. You’d have to be a proper Bond-boffin to know everything in this book, so you’ll be sure to get something out of it.

It’s also just a wonderful thing to look at; designer, Renato Stanisic, and Art Director, Cindy Samargia Laun, really knocked it out of the park. It’s lavish and thoughtful, managing to reflect the tone of the Bond franchise in a way many tie-in books simply don’t. Perhaps most pleasing are the photos taking us behind-the-scenes, including pictures of Ian Fleming, and the living room at Goldeneye, the house that Fleming had built in Jamaica.

The main triumph of this book, in my eyes, is that it introduced me to a Fleming story that I had completely missed. For some reason, none of my books contain the short story, 007 In New York. This is a tiny story (about 6 pages long) which whizzes through a day in New York and then summarises the conclusion in a paragraph. Fleming really wasn’t at the height of his powers there, but I’m grateful that the book extended the Bond mythos for me, even just that little bit. (And I want to try the scrambled egg recipe that he provided.)

This is the joy of Bond vs. Bond: whether it’s a piece of trivia that you didn’t know, or a different perspective on a character that makes you reevaluate the movies, this book will show you something new about the hero that we all love.

Scott Varnham

Reviewed: Bond Vs. Bond – The Many Faces of 007

by Scott Varnham time to read: 2 min
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