Jul 12, 2022

The Next "James Bond" Novel Puts the Crosshairs on the Double O Section

No sooner has Anthony Horowitz completed his trilogy of excellent, period-set James Bond novels than the next iteration of Ian Fleming Publications' literary continuations appears on the horizon via HarperCollins: Double or Nothing, by Kim Sherwood. And this one forsakes 007 (for the moment, anyway) to put the crosshairs on 003, 004, and 009... and the whole Double O Section! It should be unsurprising, given the name of this site, that I find that prospect tantalizing. Since I was a kid, I've been very curious to read about the adventures of the other 00 agents! 

Usually when we meet them in the movies, they're already dead or just about to die. The only other active agents we've ever really gotten to know well were Suzie Kew and Briony Thorne in Jim Lawrence's Daily Express James Bond comic strip, Nomi in No Time to Die... and I suppose we ought to also count Scarlett Papava in Sebastian Faulks's thoroughly disappointing Devil May Care. (Read my review here.)

Now, I know. You might ask, "What's the point of a James Bond continuation novel without 007?" To which I would point out that this has actually worked very successfully in the past! Some of my very favorite Bond continuation novels ever are Kate Westbrook's (aka Samantha Weinberg's) Moneypenny Diaries trilogy. (Read my review of the second one, Secret Servant, here, and read my in-depth interview with Weinberg about writing the series here.) Weinberg put the spotlight on Moneypenny, and created thrilling and original narratives in the familiar setting of Fleming's Secret Service. 

Kim Sherwood has already demonstrated her bona fides in her Twitter feed and on her website, and it sounds like she knows her spy stuff. (Not only is she well versed in Fleming, but she's also a Modesty Blaise fan!) I can't wait to see what she does with Fleming's supporting characters and the new 00 agents she creates in her Double O Section trilogy! The first book, Double or Nothing, is due out September 1 in Britain. A signed edition with stenciled page edges is also available exclusively from Waterstones (pictured below). No U.S. publication date has been announced so far, but Sherwood recently hinted on Twitter that such an announcement might be imminent. 

Apr 6, 2022

Tradecraft: KILLING EVE Spawns a Cold War Spin-off

On the eve of Killing Eve's series finale (airing this weekend), Deadline reports that "producer Sid Gentle Films is in early stage development on [a] spin-off, though it hasn’t got a greenlight yet." The spin-off (for BBC America and AMC Networks) would focus on Fiona Shaw's character, Carolyn Martens... but not as the cool, commanding spymaster we met in the show's first season. Instead, the potential spin-off would focus on her early days with MI6. From what we know of her history on the show, that could be incredibly compelling! Presumably such a series would focus on her time on Russia Desk and in Moscow during the waning days of the Cold War, when she recruited a crucial asset. I'm not so interested in this potential series because of its Killing Eve connection (though I do love that show's wit and tone and performances, and it would be nice to see them continue), but because of its setting. We don't see many Cold War era series, and when they do come along, I'll always be watching! It would be particularly cool to see one set in the late 80s with that focus. The Americans of course reveled in its 80s setting, but that was focused on Soviet agents undercover in America. A show about a British agent operating in Moscow at that time would be very different! 

Feb 10, 2022

Full Trailer for THE IPCRESS FILE Miniseries

After a tantalizing but all too brief teaser, a full trailer has been released for ITV's upcoming miniseries version of Len Deighton's famous first spy novel, THE IPCRESS FILE. THE IPCRESS FILE was first filmed in 1965 starring Michael Caine, and the film is an absolute classic. But as Deighton readers know, it necessarily omitted much of the novel. While director Sidney Fury wisely focused on the London portions of the book, it's clear from this trailer that the miniseries will include Harry Palmer's memorable sojourns to Beirut and a Pacific atoll, as well as a snowy landscape that was filmed in Finland, a location not found in the book, but featured in Deighton's later novel about the same protagonist (unnamed on the page) BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN. Perhaps the miniseries will already lay the groundwork for things to come. I'm already hoping it's a smash hit and gets multiple seasons (largely because I desperately want to see the second novel in the series, HORSE UNDER WATER, adapted for the screen; producer Harry Saltzman skipped it in the Sixties). But I'm getting ahead of myself. For now, we've still got THE IPCRESS FILE to look forward to! And based on this trailer, I can hardly wait! (For the moment I can't embed it due to privacy settings, but you can follow the link to watch it on Vimeo.)

THE IPCRESS FILE premieres on ITV in the U.K. this March. In America it will air on AMC+, but no date has so far been announced. 
Thanks to Jack for the link!