Feb 9, 2018

Next James Bond Continuation Novel Announced: FOREVER AND A DAY

Yesterday, Ian Fleming Publications announced the title of the next official James Bond continuation novel--the second by Foyle's War and Alex Rider creator Anthony Horowitz. Out in May in the UK, but not until fall in the U.S., the new novel will be called Forever and a Day. If that title sounds somewhat familiar (or at least evocative), it's because last year saw the release of a quasi-James Bond novel by Hard Case Crime (not affiliated with IFP) called Forever and a Death. Forever and a Death was the late crime novelist Donald E. Westlake's novelization of his own rejected script for the Pierce Brosnan 007 movie that ultimately became Tomorrow Never Dies (and was novelized under that title by Raymond Benson, then the reigning Bond continuation author). While it was based on the plot that Westlake concocted for the film, James Bond himself was, obviously, not a character in the resulting novel. Nor is there a direct and obvious Bond analogue with only the name changed. There are instead a number of heroes working independently to stop the villain's plot, none of them secret agents. But here's the rub: Forever and a Death was simply a better Bond title than Forever and a Day, with that classic, darkly comic, ironic Ian Fleming twist on a familiar phrase along the lines of Live and Let Die or You Only Live Twice. (John Cox at The Book Bond has pointed out that Diamonds Are Forever was simply an unaltered phrase, too, but I would argue that the irony comes specifically in the pairing of that title with that story... and indeed perhaps that will be the case with this Horowitz novel as well.) It's kind of a shame that a Bond novel should be out-Bonded by a quasi-Bond novel before it even existed. All that said, though, were it not for the existence of Forever and a Death, Forever and a Day would be a pretty great title--far better than Horowitz's first Bond title, Trigger Mortis, or indeed any of his Alex Rider titles. And of course it's really the story inside that matters, not the title. After all, Devil May Care was a great Bond title, but proved a lousy Bond novel. And Trigger Mortis sounded more like an Alex Rider title, but turned out to be one of the very best Bond continuation novels. I have faith that Horowitz can do it again!

As far as that plot goes, here is the information on the new book provided by Ian Fleming Publications:
Anthony Horowitz’s second James Bond novel using original material by  Ian Fleming will be published on Thursday 31 May 2018, it is announced today. Forever and a Day is a prequel to Casino Royale, Fleming’s first 007 novel, and will explore the origins of the world’s most famous secret agent.

‘M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. “We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.” 

“It’s Bond, sir,” the Chief of Staff replied. 

“James Bond.”’ 

The sea keeps its secrets. But not this time. 

One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. 

It’s time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organised crime. 

It’s time for James Bond to earn his licence to kill. 

This is the story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera.
That time period is interesting, as no 007 continuation novels to date have taken place immediately prior to the events of Casino Royale. (Though Charlie Higson's and Steve Cole's Young Bond novels obviously take place a good deal prior to that book, when James Bond is just a schoolboy.) It's also been announced that an upcoming Dynamite comic book (also officially licensed by IFP) will focus on Bond's war years, so slowly but surely all of his life prior and up to becoming a Double O agent is being revealed.

Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz will be published May 31, 2018 in the UK by Jonathan Cape, the original publisher of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and now an imprint of Vintage Publishing. It's available for pre-order from Amazon.co.uk. There's no word yet on who the U.S. publisher will be come Fall, but Trigger Mortis was published here by Harper Collins, as was Horowitz's most recent novel, his clever twist on Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries Magpie Murders (whose U.S. publication was also substantially delayed from its UK debut), so I'd say they seem like a good bet.

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