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James Bond's Literary Afterlife
Bond after Fleming, From Amis to Deaver

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James Bond's Literary Afterlife   | Sebastian Faulks
Sebastian Faulks

When Ian Fleming Publications – the newly renamed Glidrose – wanted a Bond novel for the Ian Fleming centenary in 2008, they turned to Birdsong and Charlotte Gray author Sebastian Faulks. Initially unconvinced, Faulks relented after an enjoyable re-read of Fleming’s originals: “They were much better written than I thought, in a straightforward, newspaperman style, which I don’t have a problem with. I thought, how can I be so gullible that at my advanced age and great cynicism, I’m buying into this? But I did.”

Devil May Care was explicitly written as an Ian Fleming pastiche, down to the fact that it’s credited to “Sebastian Faulks, writing as Ian Fleming.” Eschewing the modern-day antics of Gardner and Benson, Faulks set the novel in 1967, with a jaded and borderline washed-up Bond considering jacking it all in until faced by deadly new enemy Julius Gorner, who wants to flood Swinging Britain with drugs and drop a nuclear plane on Russia.

Faulks’ homage borders on parody – an exhaustively long sporting confrontation; a villain with a ridiculous disability; a twist involving Bond-girl Scarlett Papava and her sister that you can see coming from space – and Faulks knocked it out quickly, at 2000 words a day for six weeks. But it’s good fun, and remains Penguin’s best-selling hardback title of all time.

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