Brit author Sebastian Faulks has penned a new James Bond novel to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth, the Ian Fleming Estate has announced.
The tome - entitled Devil May Care - will be published by Penguin next year to mark 100 years since the 007 creator popped out on 28 May 1908, and promises "action...played out across two continents, exotic locations and several of the world's most thrilling cities".
Faulks said: "I was surprised but flattered to be asked by the Fleming Estate last summer if I would write a one-off Bond book for the Ian Fleming Centenary.
"I told them that I hadn't read the books since the age of 13, but if, when I re-read them, I still enjoyed them and could see how I might be able to do something in the same vein, then I would be happy to consider it. On re-reading, I was surprised by how well the books stood up.
"I found writing this light-hearted book more thrilling than I had expected. I hope people will enjoy reading it and that Ian Fleming would consider it to be in the cavalier spirit of his own novels and therefore an acceptable addition to the line."
Corinne Turner, Managing Director Ian Fleming Publications Ltd chipped in with: "We had had Sebastian Faulks in mind for our centenary novel for quite some time. I have always enjoyed and admired his novels, but it wasn't until I read On Green Dolphin Street that it occurred to me that he would be perfect for Bond.
"He has an ability to write totally convincingly in whichever period or genre he chooses, and that particular book made me think he might enjoy exploring the world of Ian Fleming and James Bond. I knew that it would have to be something very special to tempt him to have a go, and at the time didn't make an approach. However, when we came to think of authors for our centenary novel and his agent, quite independently, suggested Sebastian, it was just meant to be.
"The Fleming family were delighted with the typescript when we received it. Barbara Broccoli, to whom we gave a sneak preview, said if I had told her the family had found an old manuscript of Ian's in the basement, she would have believed me. Sebastian couldn't have written a better book to celebrate Ian's 100th birthday."
Devil May Care is not the first Bond novel to be published since Fleming's last 007 outing - Octopussy and the Living Daylights, published in 1966. In 1968, Kingsley Amis under the nom de plume Robert Markham offered Colonel Sun. John Gardner wrote 14 Bond books, beginning with 1981's Licence Renewed, and also did "novelisations" of Licence to Kill and GoldenEye.
Raymond Benson took the helm in 1997, and produced six books including Zero Minus Ten (1997) and The Man with the Red Tattoo (2002) as well as adaptations of Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
To demonstrate just how onerous a task writing a Bond book is, Faulks said: "In his house in Jamaica, Ian Fleming used to write a thousand words in the morning, then go snorkelling, have a cocktail, lunch on the terrace, more diving, another thousand words in late afternoon, then more Martinis and glamorous women. In my house in London, I followed this routine exactly, apart from the cocktails, the lunch and the snorkelling." ®