*A Bond-style mission has faced book reviewers and literary editors trying to get their hands on the new 007 novel, Carte Blanche, written by Jeffery Deaver and endorsed by the Ian Fleming estate.
Now, readers are being offered a chance to join in, with a competition based on Facebook (The name's Bond, James Bond. Interested in: women. Relationship status: it's complicated ...) to win the opportunity to be the first to read the book. Wannabe secret agents must go to www.facebook.com/007CarteBlanche to unravel cryptic clues and find details of a secret mission. The winner will be picked up on 25 May, the day before publication, in a Bentley Continental GT – the car driven by Bond in Carte Blanche – and taken to the Lanesborough Hotel in London to read the novel through the night "in luxurious surroundings" before meeting the author in the morning. Now, obviously the real Bond, if he found himself in this situation, would seduce Hodder & Stoughton's PR manager before abseiling out of the window and blabbing the plot to the national press. But so tight is the control over this novel that even he would have difficulty. "Do you expect me to read?" he would ask. "No, Mr Bond," the publisher would answer. "We expect you to die."