William Boyd takes James Bond back to 1960s in new 007 novel

William Boyd (Photo: Trevor Leighton) William Boyd

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Booker-nominated author William Boyd is taking on the mission to write a new James Bond novel.

The as-yet-untitled book will appear in 2013, the 60th anniversary of the super-spy's first literary outing, in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale.

Boyd has revealed that his story will mark a return to "classic Bond" and will be set in the late 1960s.

He is the third author in recent years to be invited by the Ian Fleming estate to write an official Bond novel.

Before him came American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, who penned Carte Blanche in 2011; and Sebastian Faulks, whose Devil May Care was published to mark Ian Fleming's centenary in 2008.

Deaver's book, released in May last year, is set in the present day and portrayed Bond as a Royal Naval Reserve veteran whose service included a tour of Afghanistan. It has sold over 160,000 copies to date and is out in paperback next month.

Sales of Carte Blanche in its opening week were about a third of those achieved by Faulks' book in the same period.

Other writers to take on Fleming's hero include John Gardner and Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond books.


Boyd said he had "accepted at once" when invited by the Ian Fleming estate to write the new Bond novel.

"For me the prospect appeared incredibly exciting and stimulating - a once-in-a-lifetime challenge," he said.

"In fact 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's novels include A Good Man in Africa (1981), which won the Whitbread First Novel Award; An Ice-Cream War (1982), shortlisted for Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach (1990); Any Human Heart and Restless (2006).

Boyd's "fascination" with Ian Fleming was previously seen in Any Human Heart (2002). He wrote Fleming into the narrative, making him responsible for recruiting the protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, to the Naval Intelligence Division in World War II.

Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver arrives with a Bond girl to promote his new James Bond novel Jeffery Deaver (and model Chesca Miles) launch Carte Blanche in May 2011

Boyd also points out that three of his screenplays have starred big-screen Bond actors: Sean Connery in A Good Man in Africa, Pierce Brosnan in Mr Johnson and Daniel Craig in The Trench.

"The idea that these somewhat random connections with Fleming and Bond should culminate in my writing a new James Bond novel is irresistibly appealing," Boyd said.

"The only thing I'm prepared to say at this stage about the novel that I will write is that it will be set in 1969."

His most recent novel, Waiting for Sunrise, was published in the UK in February and comes out in the US later this month.

William Boyd biography

  • Born in Accra, Ghana in 1952
  • Educated at Gordonstoun School and attended the universities of Nice, Glasgow and Jesus College, Oxford
  • Boyd is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France
  • Literary awards include Whitbread, Somerset Maugham Award, Jonathan Llewellyn Rhys Prize, James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Prix Jean Monnet and Costa Novel of the Year
  • Awarded the CBE in 2005
  • Screenplays include Stars and Bars (1987), A Good Man in Africa (1993), Armadillo (2001) and Any Human Heart - a four-part drama for Channel 4 in 2010
  • Boyd lives in London and the south-west of France

"William Boyd is a contemporary English writer whose classic novels combine literary elements with a broad appeal," said Corinne Turner, managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.

"His thrillers occupy the niche that Ian Fleming would fill were he writing today and with similar style and flair. This, alongside his fascination with Fleming himself, makes him the perfect choice to take Bond back to his 1960s world."

The new Bond novel will be published in the UK and Commonwealth in autumn 2013 by Jonathan Cape - Ian Fleming's original publisher - and simultaneously by HarperCollins Publishers in USA and Canada.

Cape was also the publisher of the first ever official Bond novel following Fleming's death in 1964, when Kingsley Amis wrote Colonel Sun as Robert Markham in 1968.

Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1953. Since then, the Bond books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

The 14 books, including two short story collections, will be relaunched this summer.

Sales are likely to be boosted by the release, in October, of Daniel Craig's third 007 film Skyfall, which comes 50 years after the original Bond film, Dr No.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    91.mark charles

    There has never been a "bad" Bond film, but some of them could have been better. "The Man With The Golden Gun" springs to mind.


    How dare you!

    'The Man with the Golden Gun' stars Christopher Lee.

    Any film with Christopher Lee in it is brilliant.

    Its a fundamental law of the universe.

    Therefore you are wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    I agree with the comment about Timothy Dalton, and also that the new Bond movies should be closer to the Novels. There has never been a "bad" Bond film, but some of them could have been better. "The Man With The Golden Gun" springs to mind.

    DC has hinted that "Skyfall" may be his last. Any suggestions upon who may take the role. James McAvoy may be a good one. Or Clive Owen? Matt Damon?

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    I love Bond, the books and the films. Each one has at least something to make you gasp and the later ones are very good indeed; something we should be proud of and encourage. The world is still a complicated, busy, sexy and deadly place and Bond will never run out of missions, villains, gadgets and beautiful partners. Thank goodness!

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    No 83....I like it. I can just see the script now. Bond takes on the British government at the European Court of Human Rights after his attempt to remain the UK is thrown out. Bond is not happy and he is prepared to take on Mrs Blofeld (the female baddie) who just happens to have an uncanny resemblance to Teresa May.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    As exciting as this is, I feel that the "literary market" is too saturated with current, popular authors. It's a shame when I come across such amazing literary minds such as a lady by the name of Sophie Bowns. Her work is more than impressive and I feel people like her need the recognition for this.


    Don't let people like her go unnoticed, they are future authors

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I have recently completed my third novel (48k words) What are the chances of getting the MS published in the UK ? Zero.. Why? No agent wants to take a chance with a new writer. Sad but true. I might try my luck in the US. I might receive a better chance of getting somewhere there than here in the UK. That is also sad but true!

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Stop press:- To maintain the retro element they are going to cast George Lazenby as Bond because Sean Connery is not avaailable due to him bidding to be the President of Scotland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Always used to queue to see the latest Bond film at the earliest opportunity. They were unique, funny, sexy, gadgety, gorgeous films with stunts and scenery and sets that you could find nowhere else.

    But modern Bond films? Well, the sad truth is that everything in them is done much better elsewhere.

    I think perhaps the franchise is dead. But many of us still mourn its passing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    73.CK London

    Things changed in a big way when Cubby Broccoli passed away and Barbera took over. She is much more interested in Product Placement and income from that than she is in the quality of the movie. I could tell you a lot about that but 400 characters is nowhere near enough!

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    James Bond? Surely in the interests of political correctness we should have a black Bond, female Bond or an assulym seeker Bond...

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Ian Flemming's original Bond novels are not just great books, they are a snapshot of a different time.

    A world away from the films the films they inspired, Flemming's Bond is misogynistic alchoholic womaniser with a penchant for extreeme violence who thinks nothing of ordering a pint of Jack Daniels with his evening meal.

    I doubt any modern author can recapture that spirit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Yes James Bond in the Guantanamo prison camp being waterboarded with a grinning Dick Cheney standing by would be a good starter. Also the recent mysterious 'suicide' in Russia of a 77 year old former KGB officer might be a lead to nasty revelations. But it's not really for a geriatric 007 to do anymore this needs an entirely new character and please not an american shoot'um up cowboy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    I wonder how many posters complaining about the new book being set in the 60s enjoy programmes such as Upstairs Downstairs & Downton Abbey.

    Or are they old, irrelevant & dated non-PC nonsense as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Oops, chopped the front off of my comment at 78, meant to say I'm not a big fan of Daniel Craig but.... Anyway, what do I know, my favourite is Roger!

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Daniel Craig but Casino Royale was faithful to the novel in the main. I personally think Clive Owen or James Purefoy would have been better Bonds. Dalton was probably closest in demeanour to the literary 007, shame about his 2 films. As for the black Bond idea, really?You wouldn't have a white actor portray Lt Uhura or Shaft!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    When I was at school in the sixties Fleming’s Bond novels were a glimpse into a world of sex, excitement and glamour. They were very much of their time and nothing more than pure escapism. Do the publishers think that by commissioning ‘serious’ novelists to pen novels under the Bond brand people are going to be fooled into thinking that this is real literature?

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    ref #67
    55 Minutes ago
    @65 - Have you ever actually read any of the books? The Craig films are far closer to the dark

    I think like the Bourne movies the majority of Bond fans are more interested in the movies and won't read the books

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    With the USSR now fading from memory and the list of arch fiends having been exhausted or made repetitious to boredom does 007 have any relevance to current world affairs? Hollywood no doubt would have him fighting stereotyped evil Islamists to keep the pro-Israel sentiment going but James Bond ought to be put to rest his character killed off once and for all. Whatever his incarnation he is dated.

  • Comment number 74.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Hope to see Bond return to classy, stylish movies instead of grubby shoot-em-up Hollywood look-a -like rubbish. Casino Royal was worst Bond film ever. Lets hope something like Goldfinger is delivered...and the return of a bit of humour would not go amiss!


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