Bond 25: Eon pulls a Horowitz?

Lashana Lynch publicity still released during April “reveal” event in Jamaica

Spoilers. Again. Spoiler adverse should move on. That is all.

Eon Productions, with Bond 25, may be adapting an idea utilized in one of Anthony Horowitz’s 007 continuation novels.

The author’s Forever and a Day, set in 1950, begins with the death of 007. But it’s not James Bond. It’s another agent who has been killed while on assignment. That death creates the 00-section vacancy that Bond fills. He also takes on the 007 number.

On July 13, the Mail on Sunday (sister publication of the Daily Mail) said Lashana Lynch’s Bond 25 character assumed the 007 number after Daniel Craig’s James Bond left the secret service. Same idea as the one Horowitz used, just applying it toward the end of Bond’s career instead of the start.

There’s no way to know if Bond 25’s sceenwriting crew actually was inspired by Horowitz’s novel. But Horowitz used it first.

This idea has been speculated by fans for a while now. Still, that hasn’t stopped adverse reaction, which some fans complaining about “political correctness” and so on.

The basic idea means that 007 (or any other 00 code number) isn’t assigned to any one person permanently. It can get passed along as staff turnover occurs.

Also, it means a 00-number isn’t like a uniform number that can be retired, a la the New York Yankees with 2 (Derek Jeter), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), etc., etc., no longer being worn by current players. Major League Baseball retired 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson for all major league teams.

UPDATE: Jack Lugo, webmaster of the James Bond Radio website, reminds me via Twitter that in the You Only Live Twice novel that Bond was assigned a new number, 7777, when assigned what’s supposed to be a diplomatic mission.

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.

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.”

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:

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Forever and a Day U.K. cover formally unveiled

Ian Fleming Publications formally unveiled the U.K. cover for Forever and a Day, Anthony Horowitz’s second James Bond continuation novel.

The cover, not surprisingly, utilizes the same image that showed up a few days ago on the U.K. Amazon website’s listing for the book. However, IFP also showed the back cover as well. The back shows a gun. With the back and front covers combined, it makes it appear as if a boat was fired from the gun.

IFP’s formal announcement included a 22-second video that jazzed things up a bit.

The novel, a prequel to Casino Royale, the first Bond novel, goes on sale in the U.K. on May 31. Vintage UK, the publisher, will also have a new paperback edition of Casino Royale, with an introduction by Horowitz.

You can view IFP’s video below. Forever and a Day won’t reach the United States until November.

UK cover for new 007 novel emerges on Amazon UK

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

David Leigh of The James Bond Dossier website came across some news on Wednesday — the Amazon U.K. website published an image for the British edition of Anthony Horowitz’s second James Bond continuation novel.

Ian Fleming Publications on Feb. 8 announced the title of the Horowitz novel. But the announcement only had a placeholder image.

Horowitz’s new novel is a prequel to 1953’s Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first novel which introduced the Bond character. The release says Bond’s predecessor as 007 “floats in the waters of Marseille.”

Presumably the cover references that setting. The cover also confirms that the new Horowitz novel contains some Fleming material. Horowitz’s first Bond novel, 2015’s Trigger Mortis, included some Fleming material originally pitched as part of a 007 television series.

Forever and a Day is scheduled for a May 31 release in the U.K. The novel won’t arrive in the United States until November. Amazon’s main website still lacks an image for the U.S. edition of the novel.