Skyfall is the latest installment in the James Bond franchise to hit theatres in November. Daniel Craig is the sixth 007 to climb into an Aston Martin and run the usual gauntlet of poison-tipped-shoe-wearing psychopaths, cunning femme fatale and double-agents with exploding briefcases powerful enough to take out Portugal.  Bond's fictional roots can be traced somewhere back to the Second World War, when a British intelligence officer named Ian Fleming told a colleague that he planned to write a spy novel, someday, when he returned to civilian life.  And in 1952, at 44 years old, drawing from his own wartime experience, Fleming sat down to create the most enduring spy drama in history, its main protagonist a British intelligence officer known only to other MI6 agents by his code number, 007, and with the rather innocuous nom de guerre James Bond. Fleming died 12 years later, but made full use of that short period of time, cranking out the 12 novels and two collections of short stories that became the blueprint for a 53-year franchise -- 22 feature films and the popular Bond-inspired The Man From U.N.C.L.E.


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