Books from the man who may have been James Bond

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A full set of Ian Fleming's 007 books was sold for more than $55,000, the Telegraph reported yesterday. But the most interesting thing about the sale was not the price.

The books have a particular value because they come from the library of the late Maj. Gen. Sir Fitzroy Maclean, a former soldier, diplomat, member of Parliament, and (perhaps) the real-life model for James Bond.

Included in the deal for the books were some personal items belonging to Maclean. These included a 1938 passport listing Maclean's address as the British embassy in Moscow, invitations to cocktail parties at the home of the French ambassador, and photographs of Maclean with Yugoslavian dictator Josep Broz Tito.

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Maclean joined the diplomatic service in 1933. He served throughout World War II and the cold war and lived a real-life saga of secret missions, double agents, and narrow escapes. He finally retired to Scotland where he died at the age of 85 in 1996.

He and Fleming became friends sometime before World War II.

The purchaser of Maclean's Bond books and other paraphernalia was John Gilbert, who says the books will be useful background for a biography of Fleming he is writing.

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