PrintE-mail Written by Jordan Royce

Where once upon a time, outside of the reprints of the Ian Fleming novels, books about superspy 007 were scarce, this is the 21st century and with the renewed interest generated by the Daniel Craig era it will come as no surprise that yet another definitive guide, The James Bond Archives, has just been updated to include a section on SPECTRE.

So with a huge number of these definitive tomes on the Eon Bond mythology, and *cough* those other two flicks, should you bother shelling out a considerable sum for this admittedly impressive looking beast? Happily, I can report that Paul Duncan has crafted a very welcome addition due to the genuinely unique coverage and rare photography within. Being a confessed Bond nutter, I have read and devoured pretty much every one of these type of releases yet to my surprise it is literally packed with images I have never seen before. Amazing production photos and unused artwork abound as the stars, and production team tell the story of each movie from their own unique viewpoints and experiences.

It is a compelling read, I do not use that word very often – yet compelling it is. Whether you just dip in and out, or read it cover to cover, there is a mass of fascinating facts, and background stories to be discovered within its behemoth 626 pages. There is also a lack of whitewashing over events that is also refreshing when it comes to the antics of George Lazenby, and the tragic failing of the amazing Timothy Dalton era to take off at the box office. This is where The James Bond Archives earns its keep. Making you feel like the cast and crew have popped round your gaff to tell you how it really was back then. It’s an anecdotal treasure trove that gives you an honest and unparalleled look at the entire series of films from start to finish. Paul Duncan has done an incredible job putting it all together, especially with so many of the crew and cast of the early movies no longer with us.

This is also a very impressive book aesthetically speaking, beautifully bound, with lots of airs and graces. Unfortunately, this approach does not come without its problems, unless you have the gamma powered strength of a certain emerald Avenger! It is massive. It also weighs half a stone (seven pounds to you Yankee types). I stupidly tried to read this in bed and was very nearly castrated when I dropped it on myself. It’s gorgeous, but really high maintenance. You need to decide to have a serious read, and a large table top is a sensible precaution. Whoever came up with the phrase ‘throw the book at them’ – clearly had something like this bad boy in mind!

It is worth the money, though, and if you have a reinforced bookcase it will be one of the jewels in your home library.



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