The publishers Casemate are about to release a paperback edition of my best selling Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye: Spies, Scoundrels, and Envoys Keeping Spain out of World War II.

Had Spanish dictator Francisco Franco decided to abandon Spain’s neutral stance, or had the Axis taken Gibraltar in 1940 World War II might have ended very differently. That it didn’t was partly down to the dedication of Allied diplomats and intelligence agents. There were a number of Allied operations and schemes instigated to keep Spain and Portugal out of the war, which included the widespread bribery of high-ranking Spanish officials. On the other side of the hill there were German attempts to entice Francisco Franco to abandon his neutral stance, though they were hamstrung by the duplicity of their ‘Spanish Expert’ the wily Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr. Who even warned the Caudillo not to align Spain with the Nazi’s?

The fascinating story begins with the recruitment of Ian Fleming into Naval Intelligence by Admiral John Godfrey. Fleming would later create the ultimate agent James Bond.

The nearest Ian Fleming ever got to being a real secret agent was when he visited the Iberian Peninsula and Tangiers several times during World War II. This was when Fleming devised the sabotage and disruption scheme Operation Golden Eye with Alan Hillgarth, the naval attaché in Madrid. Golden Eye was to be implemented by SIS and SOE teams in the event of the Germans moving into Spain-whether invited or as invaders. These teams even undertook training in Scotland under the Commandos. The 007 novels penned by Fleming had their roots firmly anchored in his experiences and the array of colourful characters he met during World War II. Little wonder he called his home on Jamaica-where he wrote the James Bond novels – Goldeneye.

I’m keenly awaiting copies of the new edition but still have some hardback copies available. However you can pre-order paperback at The book was favourably reviewed in the New York Times.