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Saturday, 14 April 2012

James Bond returns: William Boyd given the licence to thrill

British thriller writer, William Boys has been named as the man who will write the next James Bond continuation novel - the author follows, Kinglsey Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver

‘My father introduced me to the James Bond novels in the 1960s and I read them all then – From Russia With Love being my favourite.’ Boyd told the press.

William Boyd has said that his version, set in 1969, will be "classic Bond", eschewing the gadgetary of the film versions in favour of "story and character" and that he could not see the point of bringing 007 into the modern world.
His as yet untitled 007 adventure will be published in autumn 2013 and while the writer said he would remain "tight-lipped" for the moment about further details, he did reveal the year in which the action would take place.

He took an apparent swipe at Deaver's updating of Bond to 2011 in his book Carte Blanche, in which the agent used modern phone apps and was given a back story involving the war in Afghanistan. Boyd told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't quite see the point of moving the novel forward in time. What's fascinating about Fleming and Bond is the time in which it's set."

Whilst it's great news that there will be another adult Bond novel, one does wish the series would remain with one author for a number of books. After all John Gardner who wrote more Bond books than Ian Fleming didn't really get the character until several books in and by then he was able to add to the character. The same can be said for Raymond Benson who gave us several excellent Bond novels.

Still we're waiting eagerly for Boyd's 007 adventure.

The national press are reporting that Boyd is only the third author since Fleming to pen Bond and this is not so. The series would have ended with Fleming's death had not Kingsley Amis taken up the golden pen and given us Colonel Sun. Then, ignoring a couple of film novelizations, it wasn't until 1981 that Bond returned to print with John Gardner's Licence Renewed. The author went onto write sixteen James Bond novels. Super fan and author of the excellent James Bond Bedside Companion, Raymond Benson took over in 1997 and gave us six all new Bond novels,several short stories and a couple of novelizations.

Following Benson's successful run the franchise went quiet for a number of years and it wasn't until 2008 and Devil May Care by Sebastian  Faulks that Bond returned. In recent years Ian Fleming's publications have handed the franchise over to a number of high profile authors for, seemingly, a one book deal.


Rumors are that the new novel will be largely set in South Africa and that Bond will be on the trail of his arch enemy, Blofeld. However this should be taken with a pinch of salt as it is still early days and the author has been given a free reign by Ian Fleming Publications.

Below are several quotes from Boyd himself:

"I don't quite see the point of moving the novel forward in time. What's fascinating about Fleming and Bond is the time in which it's set." 

"story and character" and "old-fashioned spying" were much more important than trying to feature "the latest technology available.The films in a way rely on cars and gadgets but in a novel, describing some kind of elaborate gadget isn't quite the same as seeing it on screen."

Boyd, Deaver amd Faulks
Boyd's previous works include A Good Man In Africa, Brazzaville Beach and Any Human Heart - which was made into a television drama. His latest novel, the spy thriller Waiting for Sunrise, was published in February.

Boyd says the Fleming family allowed him to make the book all his own, as long as it had the hallmarks of Bond: "You're very free to write your novel, that's what's attractive in it for me. There's no sense in having to copy Ian Fleming or somehow channel Ian Fleming, and produce a posthumous Fleming novel, it will be my novel. It will just be with a character everybody's heard of." 

See William Boyd talking on video about his new Bond book in the video embedded below

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