Bond Is Back!
I get swept up in Harry Potter mania for one day (the new movie is very good, but not quite as good as Prisoner of Azkaban) and I miss the biggest James Bond news of the year! As has already been reported everywhere at this point, the formerly shrouded-in-secrecy Centenary Bond novel has been announced! Sebastian Faulks will write the stand-alone 007 novel Devil May Care, due out in May of 2008 in celebration of Ian Fleming’s 100th birthday. Like many fans were hoping (including myself), the novel will be set during the Cold War, in 1967 to be specific. According to Faulks it will pick up where Fleming left off, with a “damaged, aging” Bond who “has been widowed and been through a lot of bad things... [like being brainwashed by the KGB in The Man With the Golden Gun!] He is slightly more vulnerable than any previous Bond but at the same time he is both gallant and highly sexed, if you can be both.” So it sounds sort of like the depressive 007 of Fleming’s You Only Live Twice and Weinberg’s Secret Servant (set during the same period). I got the sense that Bond overcame some of those demons in the course of The Man With the Golden Gun, but I’m sure Faulks will address that. What probably won’t be addressed are the events of Kingsley Amis’s continuation novel (the first not written by Fleming), 1968’s Colonel Sun, which the current board of Ian Fleming Publications seems inclined to ignore, and Weinberg directly contradicts it in Secret Servant. (Too bad.) Devil May Care (I love the title, by the way!) will be published simultaneously in Great Britain and America by Penguin and Doubleday respectively. Yesterday’s press release is most likely the first volley in a major publicity push for the book, which is exciting in and of itself as Raymond Benson’s continuation novels sadly didn’t get any promotion whatsoever from their publishers.
I've never read anything by Faulks (though I saw the slightly disappointing movie of his Charlotte Gray starring Cate Blanchett), but he seems very well-regarded, especially for his attention to historical detail. The author rumor I was most keen on was the Stephen Fry one, but Faulks sounds like a good choice. The publisher claims she gave Barbara Broccoli a copy of the manuscript to read and Broccoli said she would have believed it if she had told her the family had found an old manuscript of Ian’s in the basement. Sounds promising.
Catch up with full coverage of Devil May Care at the preeminent site for all things literary 007, The Young Bond Dossier.