Friday, March 31, 2023

Can Bond Save the Sovereign?

This is a most welcome surprise. Charlie Higson, the British author of By Royal Command (2008) and four earlier novels starring a young James Bond, has penned an adult 007 thriller titled On His Majesty’s Secret Service, which is to be released by Ian Fleming Publications on May 4—just ahead of King Charles III’s coronation.

A news bulletin notes that this comes “60 years after the publication of Ian Fleming’s tenth novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in 1963. All royalties from the sale of the book will go to support the work of the UK charity, the National Literacy Trust.”

As to the plot of Higson’s novel, here’s a synopsis:
It is the 4th of May, two days before the coronation of King Charles III and the world’s favourite spy has his work cut out for him. Bond is sent at the last minute to thwart an attempt to disrupt the Coronation by the wealthy, eccentric and self-styled Athelstan of Wessex, who is on a deadly mission of his own to teach the United Kingdom a lesson. Can Bond dismantle his shady plans and defeat his privately hired team of mercenaries?
The Spy Command observes, “The new tale is timeshifted to the present day. Higson’s Young Bond novels were done as period pieces.”

Apparently, Higson concocted this yarn in record time. “When IFP came to me with the idea of writing an adult Bond story a little more than a month ago,” he’s quoted as saying, “I was thrilled—until I realised it had to be ready for the Coronation in May. Getting it written and turned around in such a short space of time was going to be as tense and heart-pounding as any Bond mission. Although, of course, nobody would actually be shooting at me. But I’ve been thinking about writing an adult Bond adventure ever since working on the Young Bond books, and he came bursting out of me with both fists flying. It was all I could do to keep up with him and get his story down on paper. Fleming famously wrote fast, and I channelled that energy. And now it’s so exciting for me to finally enter the world of grown-up Bond. Everything you want from a Bond story is in there – sex, violence, cars, a colourful villain with a nasty henchman, and of course, Bond himself. So well-known and yet so unknowable.”

This year marks seven decades since James Bond’s first appearance, in Fleming’s Casino Royale (1953). In addition to the debut of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the anniversary will bring with it new, expurgated editions of the original Agent 007 novels and other events yet to be announced.

1 comment:

Art Taylor said...

Oh, so cool!!