Forever and a Day: Mixing 1950 with 2018

U.K. cover image for Forever and a Day, Anthony Horwitz’s second James Bond continuation novel.

Yes, there are spoilers. Stop reading if you don’t want to see them.

Art reflects the time when it was produced. So it is with Forever and a Day, the second James Bond continuation novel by Anthony Horowitz. The story mixes a 1950 setting with 2018 sensibilities.

When the novel was announced, Ian Fleming Publications emphasized how it would be a prequel to Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel. (Horowitz’s first Bond novel, 2015’s Trigger Mortis, was set in 1957 after the events of Goldfinger.)

Specifically, IFP’s marketing emphasized how the new novel would show Bond being promoted to the Double-O section and depict his first mission with the code number 007.

Horowitz’s story emphasizes the time period. It’s just five years after World War II ended and there’s plenty of uncertainty. The reader is treated to a bit of M’s philosophy in managing the Double-O section and how it reflects what’s occurring in 1950.

At the same time, there is a 2018 mind-set present.

The female lead, Joanne Brochet, aka Sixtine, aka Madame 16, is introduced as a mysterious character. Before the novel ends, she’s like a more subtle version (at least in personal style) of Jinx from the Eon 007 film Die Another Day. Just to be clear, Sixtine is a much more developed character than Jinx. But they’re comparable in their abilities to inflict death.

By the time I finished the novel, I imagined what it would be like if Sixtine were a character in an Eon 007 movie. She’s Bond’s equal in every way. She takes her destiny in her own hands. She’s not passive.

In Forever and a Day, it turns out Sixtine is even better at killing than Bond is. She makes clear to Bond they will only make love on her terms. And she’s older than Bond.

Bond himself changes because of their relationship. When he first meets Sixtine, there’s this passage: “She was about ten years older than him and, for Bond, that made her at least fifteen years too old to be truly desirable.” The agent feels considerably differently when they part ways.

Horowitz utilizes two villains. With one, Horowitz describes Fleming-style physical characteristics. It’s a Horowitz take on a classic trope. The other villain, however, reflects current-day U.S. politics despite the 1950 setting This occurs when this character gives his “big villain speech.”

Just to be clear, I enjoy big villain speeches when done well. The one Horowitz writes keeps you reading. But I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to what’s happening in 2018 with talk (via the villain) of why the U.S. should be more isolationist.

One other note: Whether intentional or not (my guess is not), the plot of the villains has a strong resemblance to a villain’s plot in a certain Roger Moore 007 film. The dynamics aren’t identical. The movie villain expects to get even richer; Horowitz’s villain expects the opposite but is doing it for a far different reason.

This, of course, doesn’t figure into the theme of 2018 creeping into Horowitz’s 1950 tale. But it is there.

MI6 Confidential examines Horowitz, other topics

Anthony Horowitz

MI Confidential No. 46, the publication’s newest issue, looks at 007 continuation author Anthony Horowitz and other topics.

According to the publication’s website, Horowitz, among all the Bond continuation authors, was the only one who “had the privilege and challenge of integrating original and unused (Ian) Fleming material.

“After doing so successfully in 2015 (with Trigger Mortis), Anthony Horowitz was invited to reprise this role for ‘Forever and a Day’, released this May.”

MI6 Confidential said it spoke with Horowtiz about research and the  “enormity of the task of integrating his timeline with Fleming’s.”

Other articles in No. 46 include Steven Cole discussing his six years of writing the Young Bond book series.

For more information, CLICK HERE. To order, CLICK HERE. The price is 7 British pounds, $9.50 and 8.50 euros.

1970s: Future of the literary Bond?

The Ian Fleming Publications 007 logo

By Nicolas Suszczyk,

Guest Writer

Forever and a Day, the new James Bond novel, came out this week. Based on material Ian Fleming wrote for an unproduced TV series, British author Anthony Horowitz placed Bond in a pre-Casino Royale era, sent to investigate murder of the man who carried the 007 number before him in the Cote d’Azur.

Looking Backwards

It is not the first time that Ian Fleming Publications decided to look backwards.

Devil May Care, published in 2008 to coincide with Fleming’s centenary, put Bond in 1967, after the events of The Man With The Golden Gun. Solo (2013), by William Boyd, saw Bond in 1969 after the events of Kingsley Amis’ Colonel Sun. Horowitz’s first 007 novel Trigger Mortis (2015) was a direct sequel of Goldfinger in 1957, taking as reference the unused Ian Fleming treatment Murder on Wheels.

On the other hand, IFP tried to do the exact opposite in 2011 with Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche, where a rebooted Bond in his early 30s dealt with organized terrorism in the 21st century.

After Ian Fleming and Kingsley Amis, Bond continuation authors John Gardner and Raymond Benson set 007 stories from the early 1980s to the early 2000s without rebooting while escaping the reality that Bond should be an elderly man in those adventures. Much like The Simpsons, 007 remained the same age for years.

Where To Next?

So, what should be next in store for the literary James Bond? The answer seems obvious but not less interesting: the 1970s.

In that decade, three literary Bond pieces were published. In 1973, we had John Pearson’s The Authorized Biography of 007, a fictionalized encounter between the author (Fleming’s biographer) and the “real” Bond, who checked or contradicted facts about the previous novels.

Later in the decade (1977 and 1979) saw the publication of Christopher Wood’s novelizations of the James Bond films he wrote: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, respectively.

The novelizations were officially titled James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me and James Bond and Moonraker.

Although these were adaptations of the movies, they had few ties with the 1970s.

Between 1968’s Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis and 1981’s Licence Renewed by John Gardner, there were no original James Bond novels.

That’s why it would be a lucrative and accurate alternative for the post-2018 literary Bond to follow, the possibility of taking an interesting and creative angle.

Volatile Era

The 1970s were a politically convulsed era where a James Bond story could perfectly fit. In 1974, a longtime ally of Great Britain, the United States, was affected by the Watergate scandal that ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Also during the decade, the CIA came under scrutiny by reporters and the U.S. Congress.

Richard Nixon, with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Roger Moore, while campaigning for president in 1960. He wouldn’t be elected until 1968 and was forced to resign in 1974.

In the rest of the world, Latin American countries were ruled by dictators: Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Jorge Rafael Videla in Argentina (this junta would lead to the Falklands war with the U.K. in 1982) and Hugo Bánzer Suárez in Bolivia, to name a few.

All these governments had their origins in the early or mid-1970s, something that should serve as the background for an original Bond plot.

The novels have utilized such settings. William Boyd’s novel Solo has Bond dealing with a civil war in a dictatorial African nation of Zanzarim.

Prime Minister of Rhodesia Ian Smith declared the independence of his country in 1970, cutting its last link with the British Crown. This created a conflict with the British PM Harold Wilson, who refused to recognize the new regime of the African nation and was backed by the United States.

IRA Bombings

Also in the 1970s, England was the target of many IRA bombings which could also serve as a background for a more British-oriented plot.

Munich suffered a terrorist attack during the 1972 Olympic Games executed by a Palestinian cell that ended with 11 athletes killed and convulsed the whole world.

The 2005 film Munich, starring Eric Bana and Daniel Craig, dealt with the revenge mission taken by the Mossad years later. Bond may not be related to the Olympic Games but terrorism has been the enemy in John Gardner novels like For Special Services, COLD and Win, Lose or Die and, of course, the recent films like The World Is Not Enough, Casino Royale, Skyfall and SPECTRE where terrorist attacks have played a major role (MI6 being bombed twice).

By the end of the decade, in November 1979, employees of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran were kidnapped by followers of the new leader Ayatollah Khomeini for more than a year.

Some embassy employees managed to escape thanks to the Argo operation executed by the CIA with the aid of Hollywood which faked the production of a film in the region.

It is known that British diplomats aided in the mission, despite being written out of the 2012 Ben Affleck movie. Bond, known for bearing a diplomatic passport on occasions, could have been directly or indirectly involved in this operation.

In a decade shaken by social, racial and political events there could surely be a place for the literary Bond. The decade of the 1970s was not a part of any of the 40 James Bond novels published to date (not counting the novelizations or Young Bond series).

The ’70s could serve for a series of stories set year by year, resulting in 10 James Bond book written by Anthony Horowitz or whoever who follows him and, perhaps, adapting more unused Ian Fleming material.

The 1970s, done right, would be a perfect gold mine for any creative storyteller to place James Bond in.

Forever and a Day excerpt goes online

Anthony Horowitz

The website of Penguin UK now an excerpt of Forever and a Day, the new James Bond continuation novel by Anthony Horowitz.

The excerpt consists of M and his chief of staff Bill Tanner discussing a fatality in the Double-O section and what to do about it.

This leads to James Bond getting accepted into the section. The excerpt includes an exchange between M and Tanner that was included in an Ian Fleming Publications announcement of the book back in February.

The novel is set in 1950 (“And now, just five years after VE Day…”) and is a prequel to Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale.

Essentially, the extract provides a reader the setup to the story of Forever and a Day. The novel will be published May 31 in the U.K. It won’t be published in the U.S. until November.

Early reviews for Forever and a Day start to come in

U.K. cover image for Forever and a Day, Anthony Horwitz’s second James Bond continuation novel.

Early reviews of the newest James Bond continuation novel, Forever and a Day, are coming in. The novel, by Anthony Horowitz, will be published in the U.K. on May 31. It won’t be published in the United States until November.

This is Horowitz’s second Bond novel. The first, Trigger Mortis, was set in 1957 after the events of Goldfinger. The new novel is a prequel to Casino Royale.

What follows is a mostly no-spoiler sampling of reviews. However, those who want to know absolutely nothing about the book should stop reading.

DAVID MILLS, THE SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON): “Sadly it’s very formulaic. Anyone who has read more than a couple of the post-Fleming Bond novels knows that we are going to get references to his knitted tie, love of scrambled eggs and heather honey, Scottish housekeeper, scarred cheek, moccasin shoes… There’s (much, much) more but that’s enough. Then there’s the customary sequence of scenes — meeting with M, travel to foreign location, hang out in casino, drink martini, have sex, sneak up on installation that turns out not to be an innocent industrial concern after all but the heart of the villain’s dastardly enterprise heavily guarded by goons in logoed uniforms, where, of course, Bond is spotted and causes havoc while escaping.”

STEVEN POOLE, THE GUARDIAN: “Inevitably, the prose throughout is more verbose and cliched than the brutal efficiencies of Fleming, but Forever and a Day is still an enjoyably compact thriller, with an absolutely killer last line. Scattered throughout the book, too, are some pleasingly echt Bond moments, as when he tells one of his captors: “It would be nice to know your name when I kill you.’”

BRIAN SMITH, FROM SWEDEN WITH LOVE (FAN WEBSITE): “When I wrote the review for TRIGGER MORTIS, I declared it to be the best James Bond continuation novel ever. Its position has just been usurped. FOREVER AND A DAY is a stylish and clever thriller. 16 out of 16!”

UPDATE (May 28)

 BEN MACINTYRE, THE TIMES (LONDON): “Horowitz has put together a fast-paced, skilfully written derivation on a theme so familiar most of us could hum it in our sleep. It is briefly intoxicating and unsatisfying, leaves you wanting more, and for serious Bond junkies is the next fix in a long tale of addiction.”

How marketing of 007 novels evolved over a decade

007 continuation novel authors William Boyd and Sebastian Faulks and friend, 2013.

It seems that Ian Fleming Publications has altered how it markets James Bond continuation novels over the past decade.

In 2008, in time for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ian Fleming, IFP brought out Devil May Care with Sebastian Faulks “writing as Ian Fleming.”

You got the feeling that this was a bit of a lark for Faulks.

A decade ago, the author gave an interview to The Financial Times.

“Fleming’s guiding principle was to write without pausing to reflect or edit,” wrote Rosie Blau of the FT. “By contrast, Human Traces took Faulks five years. But for Devil May Care he followed Fleming’s lead and gave himself six weeks: ‘You don’t have those long moments where you ponder for about an hour: ‘What is he thinking now?’”

The thing is, Fleming did a lot of revisions once his draft was done and he headed home after his annual winter trips to Jamaica. If you’ve ever visited Indiana University’s Lilly Library where many Fleming manuscripts are stored, you can view how 007 creator’s marked them up extensively.

In other words, Fleming didn’t spend six weeks and shove out a novel. But you wouldn’t have gotten that impression from the 2008 FT interview.

After Faulks, IFP had a series of Bond one-offs by other “name” writers, including Jeffery Deaver and William Boyd.

Anthony Horowitz, author of Trigger Mortis and the upcoming Forever and a Day

Trigger Mortis, published in 2015, appeared to follow that pattern. Another “name” author, Anthony Horowitz, came up with a story that took place immediately after the events of Fleming’s Goldfinger novel.

For the 110th anniversary of Fleming’s birth, Horowitz has returned. His story again relates to the timeline of Fleming’s originals. This time, Forever and a Day is billed as a prequel to Casino Royale, Fleming’s first 007 novel.

The “writing as Ian Fleming” gimmick is long gone. Faulks was the only one of the recent continuation novel authors who tried it.

At the same time, Forever and a Day, isn’t getting the big launch that Devil May Care received a decade ago.

In 2008, the literary Bond could be found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean pretty quickly. This time out, Forever and a Day will be published in the U.S. more than five months after it debuts in the U.K.

Intense U.S. fans of the literary fans, of course, can arrange to buy a U.K. copy and have it shipped over. But it’s still not the event Devil May Care was in 2008.

IFP announces new novel’s audio book narrator

U.K. cover image for Forever and a Day, Anthony Horwitz’s second James Bond continuation novel.

Ian Fleming Publications said in a statement today that actor Matthew Goode will narrate the audio book version of the new 007 continuation novel Forever and a Day.

The new book, written by Anthony Horowitz, is a prequel to Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel.

The novel will be published at the end of this month in the U.K. It won’t be published in the U.S. until November. It’s the second Bond novel from Horowitz, who penned 2015’s Trigger Mortis.

The IFP statement also has a short audio clip of Goode reading a passage from Forever and a Day.

Horowitz’s reaction on Twitter was brief:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js