Entertainment & Arts

James Bond: Jeffery Deaver unveils his 21st Century spy

Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver (R) poses for photographers with model Chesca Miles on a BSA Spitfire motor-bike to launch the new James Bond book Carte Blanche
Image caption Jeffery Deaver was accompanied by "Bond girl" model Chesca Miles at the launch

Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, who unveiled his James Bond novel Carte Blanche on Wednesday, has admitted that he gives Ian Fleming's superspy a tough time in the 21st Century.

At a launch event planned with the precision of an MI6 operation, the American author received the first copy of the book from a team of Royal Marines who abseiled from the roof of London's St Pancras station.

Deaver's novel, which is set in the present day, is published on Thursday.

The book's release coincides with the anniversary of Ian Fleming's birth. The writer who created the original Bond novels in the 1950s would have been 103 on Saturday 28 May.

His niece, actress Lucy Fleming, told the launch event that her uncle would have been pleased by the way that Deaver "has kicked his dear old James Bond into the 21st Century".

Spy app

Carte Blanche was not "a pastiche", Deaver told the BBC.

"I took Ian Fleming's iconic character and made him younger - and the poor guy ends up in a Jeffery Deaver novel. I write rollercoasters, which means he doesn't get a minute's rest."

Earlier, the 61-year-old author had arrived at the launch event, at a champagne bar at St Pancras International, in a red Bentley with 007 emblazoned on the bonnet.

He was flanked by a female stunt rider on a 1960s BSA motor-bike.

Image caption The author arrived at the launch event in a Bentley, which is the car of choice for his 21st Century Bond

Deaver is not the first writer to take on the Bond legacy. Sebastian Faulks and John Gardner are among other authors to have written officially-sanctioned Bond novels since creator Ian Fleming's death in 1964.

But he is the first to set Fleming's character in 2011. In Carte Blanche, Bond has served in the Royal Naval Reserve, including a tour in Afghanistan, before joining the secret service.

In an early chapter he uses a mobile phone application to eavesdrop on a target in Serbia.

"In the movies he got a bit gadget-oriented," said Deaver. "Fleming actually gave him relatively few gadgets - and I went back to that. Nowadays my BlackBerry has more capacity than the best computer in the mid-1950s."

Deaver was eight years old when he read his first James Bond novel. A self-confessed "Bond addict", he wrote his first unpublished novel aged 11 about "a British agent who sneaks into Russia to steal a Soviet bomber".

Eighteen months ago, Deaver - whose 28 novels have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide - accepted the offer to carry on the Bond legacy.

Deaver said: "Who would have thought that the dreams and aspirations of a young boy so many years ago would come full circle in the way that they have?"

But why does he think the publishing industry loves bringing back famous characters like James Bond, Dracula, Peter Pan and - later this year - Sherlock Holmes?

"The industry has always known that this is a market-driven business - business is the dirty little word that nobody wants to mention - but it is business.

"Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Mozart, Beethoven - they wrote on commission, it was a business to them.

Books are no different, and we are beholden to the audience to give them something they want."

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