Bond questions: The new continuation novel

Image for the cover of With a Mind to Kill

So, a third James Bond continuation novel by Anthony Horowitz is scheduled for May 2022. Horowitz’s Bond stories are set in the original Ian Fleming timeline.

According to early publicity material for With a Mind to Kill, “It is M’s funeral. One man is missing from the graveside: the traitor who pulled the trigger and who is now in custody, accused of M’s murder – James Bond.”

While we’ll have to wait until May, naturally the blog has questions.

What kind of security does MI6 have, anyway?

With a Mind to Kill begins after the events of The Man With the Golden Gun, Fleming’s last Bond novel. That book (published in 1965, after Fleming’s death) began with a brainwashed Bond unsuccessfully trying to kill M.

The whole point of the 1965 novel was for Bond to be un-brainwashed and given a suicide mission to show his loyalty. So Bond turns around and tries to kill M, again? And this time it works? That doesn’t say much for MI6 security.

What does this mean for Colonel Sun?

Colonel Sun, written by Kingsley Amis under the name Robert Markham, was the first Bond continuation novel. M gets kidnapped and Bond has to rescue him.

So does that not count now? For that matter, does With a Mind to Kill write off the John Gardner continuation novels?

You have more questions?

Does that mean the Gardner novels are now, officially, their own universe? Does that apply to all the other continuation novels aside from the ones Horowitz has written?

Truth be told, it has been shaping up that way for some time. Gardner and Raymond Benson basically timeshifted Fleming’s Bond. Jeffery Deaver essentially did a hard reboot but that was never followed up. Horowitz and other continuation authors set their stories in the Fleming timeline.

Still, Colonel Sun had been special. It was the first continuation novel. And it’s the only one acknowledged by Eon Productions, which produces the James Bond films. Eon used a torture scene from Colonel Sun in SPECTRE and had a “special thanks” credit to Amis’s estate.

It could be in the new novel that M’s death is a fakeout. It should also be noted that a detailed description of the book surfaced in September on the website of HarperCollins before being taken down. (Don’t click on the link if you don’t want to know.)

Still, there are a lot of questions.

With a Mind to Kill is title of new Bond novel

With a Mind to Kill is the title of author Anthony Horowitz’s third James Bond continuation novel, Ian Fleming Publications announced today.

The book, to be published in May 2022, takes place after the events of The Man With the Golden Gun, Ian Fleming’s final Bond novel. IFP provided a cover image and brief synopsis on Twitter.

Horowitz’s two previous Bond continuation novels were Trigger Mortis (set following the events of Fleming’s Goldfinger novel) and Forever and a Day (set before the events of Casino Royale).

In connection with the title reveal, The Express ran a feature story on Horowitz. The writer, Matt Nixson, tweeted out an image of the article.

IFP announces new series of Double O novels

Ian Fleming Publications today announced a new series of three novels by Kim Sherwood “featuring the next generation of Double O agents.”

“James Bond is missing, presumed captured or even killed,” IFP said in the announcement on its website. “All of Bond’s contemporaries are gone and a new generation of Double O agents has been recruited to replace them and battle a global threat.” Meanwhile, M and Moneypenny are searching for a mole inside MI6, IFP said.

“I’ve dreamt of writing James Bond,” Sherwood said in a statement. “I feel honoured to be the first novelist to expand the Bond universe through the Double O sector.” The author said the novels would bring “new life to old favourites, and fresh characters to the canon.”

The Guardian quoted Corinne Turner, managing director of IFP, as saying the new series will be launched in September 2022.

A third Bond novel by Anthony Horwitz is scheduled to be published in May 2022, according to HarperCollins. Horowitz previously wrote Trigger Mortis in 2015 and Forever and a Day in 2018.

Details about Horowitz’s 3rd Bond novel emerge

The Ian Fleming Publications 007 logo

Some details about Anthony Horowitz’s third James Bond novel have emerged via HarperCollins’ website.

HarperCollins lists the novel as “Unti Bond #3.” Here’s part of the description from the publisher:

Iconic spy 007 must pose as a double agent to infiltrate a secret Soviet intelligence organization planning an attack on the West—and face off against a man who could be the most diabolical enemy he’s ever encountered—in internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s third James Bond novel.

The Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH may be defeated, but a new organization, Stalnaya Ruska, has arisen from its ashes. Under Moscow’s direction, the group is planning a major act of terrorism which, if successful, will destabilize relations between East and West.

Returning from Jamaica and his encounter with Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun), James Bond ponders his future. He is aware of a world that is changing all too rapidly around him. The old certainties of the early postwar years are gone. Disdain for the establishment is rising, and the intelligence services are no longer trusted. Bond is beginning to wonder if his “license to kill” is still valid.

But the threat to the free world remains all too real, and now 007 has a new assignment: discover what Stalnaya Ruska is planning and prevent it from happening. To succeed, Bond will have to make the Russians believe he’s a double agent and travel behind the Iron Curtain.

First though, he will have to convince Sonya Dragunova, the Soviet psychiatric analyst as brilliant—and as dangerous—as she is beautiful. Sonya knows more of what’s happening in Bond’s mind than he does himself. She’s also hiding secrets of her own. It’s a love affair that is also a treacherous game.

Sonya’s boss is a man who has previously played his part to bring Bond and the West down behind the scenes in two previous Bond novels—but who has never yet appeared, until now. A Fleming creation, the evil genius responsible for Stalnaya Ruka just may be Bond’s most dangerous enemy yet.

Horowitz previously penned Trigger Mortis (2015), which took place after the events of Goldfinger, and Forever and a Day (2018), set before Casino Royale, the first Bond novel by Ian Fleming.

Both books incorporated previously unpublished material by Fleming.

Ian Fleming Publications commissioned a number of novels by John Gardner and Raymond Benson from 1981 to 2002. Starting in 2008, IFP had a series of one-offs. With Horowitz’s arrival, IFP has gone with the author on “adult” Bond novels.

UPDATE: John Cox of The Book Bond site says “FYI, Anthony Horowitz confirmed this is a leak and should not be online. I took mine down.”

The thing is, things don’t work that way. As of 7:15 p.m. New York time, the release is STILL ON HARPERCOLLINS WEBSITE.

The horse is out of the barn, the toothpaste is out of the tube, etc. I’m not taking this post down.

UPDATE II (Nov. 4, 2021): HarperCollins eventually did take down that plot description it posted. At least it was gone when I looked today.

Film and literary 007: Is there a plan going forward?

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

In the next year, James Bond fans (hopefully) will get to view a new film (No Time to Die) and a new novel (title yet to be chosen).

What happens after that? Does either the cinematic Bond or the literary Bond have a plan for the future?

No Time to Die was filmed in 2019 after starting pre-production two years earlier. A third 007 continuation novel by Anthony Horowitz was announced today by Ian Fleming Productions.

The thing is, the film and literary franchises are on the same track. Each pushes out “events” with no regular releases.

Back in the day, Ian Fleming cranked out novels annually. This was copied during the continuation novel eras of John Gardner and Raymond Benson. Since then? Not so much.

Once upon a time, James Bond movies came out every two or three years. Today? Absolutely not. If No Time to Die makes its (current ) release date, it will have been a six-year gap since SPECTRE.

With the novel, Anthony Horowitz has made an impact with readers. But he operates in the original Ian Fleming timeline. He’s done mid-career (Trigger Mortis) and and the start of his career (Forever And a Day). The new novel picks up with the end of Fleming’s final novel, The Man With the Golden Gun.

Back in 2010, Ian Fleming Publications hired Jeffery Deaver to do a new novel (Carte Blanche) that was supposed to be a start of a new, timeshifted series. Remember that? Well, here’s a video where he talked about the concept:

Never mind. Deaver’s novel was never followed up upon.

Is there anyplace yet to go with the current course? Horowitz comes out with another novel with Bond at the one-quarter phase of his career? His three-quarter phase? His five-sixth phase?

With the films? Who knows. Eon opted to reboot things with 2006’s Casino Royale. No Time to Die (apparently) deals with many loose ends after 2015’s SPECTRE.

Fine. But what happens with Bond 26, whenever that comes out?

Netflix is paying more than $400 million for two Knives Out sequels. It’s hard to imagine Daniel Craig (who has suffered various injuries playing Bond) coming back to play Bond again when he can make good money with less stress. That won’t make Eon boss Barbara Broccoli happy.

The point is both the film and literary Bond franchises are at a key point. There’s a lot to anticipate the next couple of years. But is there much after that?

We’ll see.

Third Horowitz 007 novel to debut in 2022

The Ian Fleming Publications 007 logo

A third James Bond continuation novel by Anthony Horowitz is scheduled to be published next year, according to The Bookseller website.

The story picks up after the events of The Man With the Golden Gun,” Bond creator Ian Fleming’s final 007 novel.

“The new book begins with the death of Scaramanga and Bond’s return from Jamaica to confront an old enemy,” Horowitz said in The Bookseller article.

Horowitz’s Bond novels are period pieces. His stories take place in and around the timeline of the Fleming novels and short stories. Horowitz’s previous Bond novels were Trigger Mortis in 2015 and Forever And a Day in 2018.

“I am very excited to have started my third Bond novel with the continuing support of the Ian Fleming estate,” the author said. “Forever and a Day looked at Bond’s first assignment. Trigger Mortis was mid-career.”

The Bookseller article has a mockup of a cover. There’s no title and it says “coming May 2022.”

Since the late 2000s, Ian Fleming Publications has hired established authors to write their take on the literary Bond. The first of these was Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks, published in 2008 on the 100th anniversary of Fleming’s birth.

Of that roster of scribes, Horowitz is the only writer to do more than one Bond continuation novel. Today’s announcement comes on the 113th anniversary of the birth of Bond’s creator.

UPDATE: Ian Fleming Publications has posted the official announcement of the new Horowitz novel. The quotes in the announcement by Horowitz and others are the same as in The Bookseller story.

UPDATE II: I thought it was clear the post referred to continuation novel authors “since the late 2000s” in the next-to-last paragraph and last paragraph of the original post. But, noting reader comment below, yes,, IFP changed its management strategy in the 2000s. Both John Gardner (1981 to the mid-1990s) and Raymond Benson (1997-2002) wrote multiple Bond continuation novels.

During the Gardner and Benson eras, continuation novels came out annually, similar to when Fleming did his originals. Since 2008, continuation novels are “events” that come out every so often.

James Bond and ‘timeshifting’

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Last week, 007 film fans studied the words of Bond 25 screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge very carefully after she had given an interview to Deadline: Hollywood.

The Bond films, she said, have “got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”

Fans debated whether Waller-Bridge’s remarks were “politically correct” or not. On social media there were pretty intense comments on both sides of the argument.

In a way, though, Waller-Bridge’s interview points up something else — issues with “timeshifting” a character.

James Bond was created in early 1952 when Ian Fleming wrote the first draft of Casino Royale at his winter home in Jamaica. Winston Churchill was prime minister of the U.K. Harry S. Truman was president of the United States. By the time Fleming wrote his last Bond novel in early 1964, Alec Douglas-Home was the PM and Lyndon B. Johnson was president.

In short, Bond’s original era was a long time ago. So for decades now, 007 has been timeshifted in the movies. A number of Bond continuation novels (including John Gardner’s and Raymond Benson’s) also used the timeshifting technique, although more recent books (including two by Anthony Horowitz) have been done as period pieces.

Threading the Needle

Part of this may be commercial. Making Bond films as period stories set in the 1950s or ’60s might hold down the box office. Presumably, it would be harder to make product placement deals for period piece 007 films.

At the same time, taking a character created more than 60 years ago and placing him in a modern setting has its own issues. Those associated with the Eon series like to say they’re set “five minutes in the future.” That means Bond films have to acknowledge, at least on some level, how the world has changed in the 21st century.

As a result, making a Bond movie today involves threading the needle — keeping Bond true to his roots while adjusting to current realities.

In doing so, the Eon camp sometimes comes down pretty hard on its meal ticket.

“But let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist,” Daniel Craig said of Bond during a 2015 interview with something called The Red Bulletin. (The original link is gone, but the blog did a 2015 post about it as did entertainment outlets such as The Hollywood Reporter.) “(W)e’ve surrounded him with very strong women who have no problem putting him in his place.”

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.