HarperCollins, the U.S. publisher of William Boyd’s upcoming James Bond novel, Solo, has provided a synopsis of its story line.
It’s 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.
Bond’s arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.
Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon.
Does Boyd’s novel delve a bit more into politics than other 007 tales, even if the author is using a fictional African country? The part about Bond being assigned “to quash the rebels threatening the established regime” raises that possibility. Ian Fleming’s original novels, of course, were penned during the Cold War and make occasional references to events. But 007′s creator also created larger-than-life villains and devised escapist plots.
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