Following recent instalments by Sebastian Faulks and Jeffery Deaver, the next James Bond novel will be written by the Scottish author William Boyd. Boyd previously used Bond's creator Ian Fleming as a character in Any Human Heart, in 2002.
"My father introduced me to the James Bond novels in the 1960s," Boyd says, "and I read them all then, and became very intrigued by Ian Fleming the man. From Russia With Love is my favourite. When the Ian Fleming estate invited me to write the new James Bond novel I accepted at once. For me the prospect appeared incredibly exciting and stimulating. It's a once-in-a-lifetime challenge."
Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care kicked off this occasional series of new Bonds for the Fleming centenary in 2008, and Boyd's novel will mark the 60th anniversary of the publication of the first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Last year's Carte Blanche by the American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, presented a contemporary Bond born in the 1970s, but Boyd will be following Faulks' example, and returning to a 1960s setting. "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," he reveals.
Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications, says that, "William is a contemporary English writer whose classic novels combine literary elements with a broad appeal. 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."
Dan Franklin of the publishers Jonathan Cape said, "It is fantastic that Bond is returning to Cape, his birthplace, and even more so that he will do so in the hands of William Boyd. I can’t think of anyone better qualified." Cape was the home of the original Fleming novels, and of the first ever post-Fleming continuation, Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun, written in 1968.
Oh, and there's one more thing that Boyd believes makes him especially qualified to write Bond. "It turns out that I’ve worked with three of the actors who have played James Bond over the years," says the author. "They’ve all starred in films that I’ve written: 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."
The as-yet-untitled adventure will be published in the autumn of 2013. Be sure to check out Empire's handy history of post-Fleming Bond novels at some point in the meantime.