The Man with the Red Tattoo - Small Title NovelLocationsEquipmentCharacters

The Man with the Red Tattoo, first published in 2002, was the sixth and final original novel by Raymond Benson featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond (including film novelisations). Carrying the Ian Fleming Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Putnam. It was later published in Japan in 2003.

After the publication of The Man with the Red Tattoo, Benson wrote the novelisation of Die Another Day which was published later in the year. The following Bond stories would feature a teenage James Bond in the 1930s titled Young Bond.

Benson at one time had plans to release a collection of his James Bond short stories, but after abruptly announcing his retirement in early 2003 from writing Bond novels, the project was never pursued. Not counting novelisations and short story collections, The Man with the Red Tattoo marks the 35th original James Bond novel since Ian Fleming introduced the character nearly 50 years earlier.

Plot summary

On a flight from Japan to the United Kingdom, a young Japanese woman dies of a mysterious illness. The illness is a mutated version of the West Nile virus. James Bond finds out that not only was she the daughter of an important Japanese businessman, her entire family is also dead. James Bond travels to Japan in search of the killer. Here Bond re-meets with his longtime friend Tiger Tanaka who introduces him to a female Japanese agent who is later killed by the mutant virus.


The people of Japan have always been big fans of James Bond so after being the main location for a second time (the first, Fleming's You Only Live Twice) the people and government of Naoshima (where the story takes place) erected a permanent museum to commemorate the novel and James Bond in general. "007 The Man With the Red Tattoo Museum" was opened on July 24, 2005 in the Kagawa Prefecture.

Additionally, the city of Naoshima has also begun a petition and committee (the "007 Location Promotion Committee") to EON Productions, the production company behind every official James Bond film starting in 1962 with Dr. No, to have a future Bond film take place in Japan.


According to a September 2003 article in the tabloid Daily Record, the 21st James Bond film was at one point going to be based upon this novel. The producers of the Bond films ultimately chose to title the film Casino Royale and base it upon Fleming's novel, and it's not known whether they ever seriously considered using Benson's novel as source material.

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