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James Bond: How It All Began!

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. ‘We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.’ 
‘It’s Bond, sir,’ the Chief of Staff replied. ‘James Bond.’
The sea keeps its secrets. But not this time.
One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand.
It’s time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organised crime.
This is the story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera.
Let’s read an excerpt from the book here-
‘In the last transmission he made, a week before his death, 007 said he had concrete evidence.’
‘What sort of evidence?’
‘Unfortunately, he didn’t say. If 007 had one fault, it was that he liked to keep his cards close to his chest. In that same transmission, he mentioned that he had arranged to meet someone who could tell him exactly what she was up to – but once again, he didn’t tell us who it was.’ Tanner sighed. ‘The meeting took place at the basin of La Joliette and that was where he was killed.’
‘He must have left notes – or something. Have we been to his house?’
‘He had an apartment in the Rue Foncet and the French police searched it from top to bottom. They found nothing.’
‘Perhaps the opposition got there first.’
‘It’s possible, sir.’
M tamped down his pipe with a thumb that had, over the years, become immune to the heat of the smouldering tobacco. ‘You know what surprises me in all this, Chief of Staff? How could 007 allow himself to be shot at close range in the middle of a crowded city? Seven o’clock in the evening, in the summer months . . . it wouldn’t even have been dark! And why wasn’t he carrying his weapon?’
‘I was puzzled by that,’ Tanner agreed. ‘I can only assume he must have been meeting someone he knew, a friend.’
‘Could he have actually met with Madame 16 herself? Or could she have found out about the meeting and intercepted it?’
‘Both those thoughts had occurred to me, sir. The CIA have people out there and we’ve been trying to talk to them. In fact the whole area is crawling with security services of one sort or another. But so far . . . nothing.’
The heavy, sweet smell of Capstan Navy Flake hung in the air. M used the pipe to punctuate his thoughts. The age-old ritual, the lighting and the relighting, gave him time to consider the decisions that had to be made.
‘We need someone to look into what happened,’ he went on. ‘This business with the Corsicans doesn’t sound particularly pressing. If there are fewer drugs coming out of France, that’s something to be grateful for. But I’m not having one of my best agents put down like a dog. I want to know who did this and why and I want that person removed from the field. And if it turns out that this woman, Sixtine, was responsible, that goes for her too.’
Tanner understood exactly what M was saying. He wanted an eye for an eye. Somebody had to be killed.
‘Who do you want me to send? I’m afraid 008 is still out of action.’
‘You’ve spoken to Sir James?’
‘Yes, sir.’ Sir James Molony was the senior neurologist at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and one of the few men who knew M both socially and professionally. Over the years he had treated a number of agents for injuries, including stab wounds and bullet wounds, always with complete insouciance and discretion. ‘It’s going to be another few weeks.’
‘And 0011?’
‘In Miami.’
M laid down the pipe and stared at it tetchily. ‘Well, then we have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. It’s been on my mind to expand the Double- O Section anyway. Their work is too important and right now we’ve got one injured, another one dead . . . we need to be prepared. How is he doing?’
‘Well, sir, he managed his first kill without any difficulty. It was that Kishida business. The Japanese cipher man.’
‘Yes, yes. I read the report. He’s certainly a good shot and he kept his nerve. At the same time, though, firing a bullet into the thirty-sixth floor of a New York skyscraper doesn’t necessarily prove anything. I’d like to see how he works at closer quarters.’
‘We may very well find out,’ Tanner replied. ‘He’s in Stockholm now. If all goes well, he’ll be reporting back in the next twenty-four hours. I already have his fitness report, his medical and psychological evaluations. He’s come through with flying colours and, for what it’s worth, I like him personally.’
‘If he gets your recommendation, that’s good enough for me, Chief of Staff.’ M frowned. ‘You didn’t tell me his name.’
‘It’s Bond, sir,’ the chief of staff replied. ‘James Bond.’

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