John Gardner was born on 20th November
1926 in Northumbria, England. He was an avid reader since
age 3, and aged 9 he announced his intention to become
a writer, and went on to study at both Oxford and Cambridge.
After these five years he joined the Royal Marines, became
a stage magician
and served briefly with the American Red Cross.
Eventually followed his father into priesthood,
Gardner was vicar at Eversham for seven years and then
a chaplain to the Royal Air Force. However, he realised
he was preaching that he "didn’t believe a
word he was saying". He took the rare step of ceasing
to be ordained.
Gardner eventually started a new life as a journalist
and critic and from 1959-1964 he was theatre critic and
arts editor for the Herald in Stratford-upon-Avon, but
another year passed until the ultimate climax of his alcoholism.
He managed to overcome his addiction through a combination
of aversion therapy and hypnosis, and is proud that he
hasn’t drunk a drop since.
After Gardner had written two Sherlock Holmes
novels and three spy novels, Glidrose approached him to
breathe new life into Fleming's literary character. He
submitted four outlines and Glidrose gave him the contract.
His first novels, "Licence Renewed" and
"For Special Services" were big successes, although sales
for the following 12 declined.
Published: 1981 to 1996
Full MI6 John Gardner biography