Cover for Double or Nothing unveiled

The cover for Kim Sherwood’s Double or Nothing was unveiled today as marketing for the novel is picking up.

Sherwood shared the image on Twitter.

At the same time, Sherwood hinted the U.S. edition may have a different cover.

“For folks in America, watch this space for more on the US release…” she said in a follow-up post on Twitter.

On June 27, Sherwood said on Substack she has been “pre-recording interviews about Double or Nothing with podcasts and YouTube channels for release in September.”

Double or Nothing is a sort of “James Bond novel without James Bond.” Bond is missing and Sherwood introduces new 00 agents, including one named after one-time 007 screenwriter Johanna Harwood.

A number of James Bond websites have also received advanced copies of Sherwood’s novel with embargoes for when they can write about it.

A few thoughts about With a Mind to Kill

Anthony Horowitz has completed his James Bond continuation novel trilogy. While there’s a lot to recommend it, there are some things to consider.

Horowitz is a pro. He paces his stories well. He’s done his research on Ian Fleming’s original novels and short stories. And, with his first two Bond novels (but not With a Mind to Kill), he got to mine some unpublished Fleming material.

At the same time, Horowitz closely ties his Bond adventures to Fleming’s timeline. Essentially, he provides extended annexes to Fleming. Forever and a Day takes place shortly before Casino Royale. Trigger Mortis occurs shortly after Goldfinger. With a Mind to Kill starts two weeks after The Man With the Golden Gun.

Horowitz’s ending for his final Bond novel builds a wall between it and Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis, the first Bond continuation novel published in 1968. In fact, Horowitz, in the acknowledgments doesn’t refer to Amis but his pen name, Robert Markham. Horowitz’s ending is intended as the final word on Fleming’s Bond.

Writing a Bond continuation novel isn’t easy. Detractors say some books are James Bond in name only. Other critics will say other Bond continuation books are mere pastiche, a faded copy of an original.

Even a gifted writer such as Horowitz, in With a Mind to Kill, felt the need to use footnotes. It’s a more restrained version of the editor’s notes that Stan Lee used in Marvel comic books to clue new readers into the events of prior issues.

Is With a Mind to Kill worth a reader’s time? If the reader is a fan of the literary Bond, certainly.

Still, after completing this new novel, I was reminded of how Ian Fleming was an original. Fleming crammed 90 years of living into a little more than 56.

Horowitz himself acknowledges this.

“Bond is a unique creation,” he writes in the acknowledgments. “The books have had an extraordinary impact all over the world. It makes me proud to think that from now on I may be a footnote in his history.”

That won’t stop Ian Fleming Publications. Kim Sherwood’s upcoming “James Bond novels without James Bond” are coming up.

Still, I think of a friend of mine. He tells me he re-reads the Flemings every year. He calls it rereading the Scriptures.

More details available about new Sherwood novel

More details have been released via Amazon concerning Double or Nothing, Kim Sherwood’s upcoming novel about new Double-O agents.

The novel’s listing on Amazon has some plot details and the names and code numbers of the new agents.

James Bond is missing…
007 has been captured, perhaps even killed, by a sinister private military company. His whereabouts are unknown.
 
Meet the new generation of spies…
Johanna Harwood, 003. Joseph Dryden, 004. Sid Bashir, 009. Together, they represent the very best and brightest of MI6. Skilled, determined and with a licence to kill, they will do anything to protect their country.
 
The fate of the world rests in their hands…
Tech billionaire Sir Bertram Paradise claims he can reverse the climate crisis and save the planet. But can he really? The new spies must uncover the truth, because the future of humanity hangs in the balance.
 
Time is running out.

Johanna Harwood also is the name of a screenwriter on the first two James Bond films produced by Eon Productions, Dr. No and From Russia With Love. She’s kind of the forgotten creative figure of the early Bond movies.

Ian Fleming Publications announced in November that Sherwood would pen three novels featuring new agents. Double or Nothing is scheduled to be published Sept. 1.

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.

Questions about IFP’s new Double O novels

Ian Fleming Publications “Double O” logo.

Ian Fleming Publications has announced a new series of novels by Kim Sherwood intended to expand the James Bond literary universe.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

Who is Kim Sherwood? C&W, which represents her, has a biography.

Kim Sherwood was born in Camden in 1989 and lives in Bath. She pursued her MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, before teaching at UEA and the University of Sussex. Kim is now Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, and teaches prisoners. She has written for MslexiaLighthouseGoing Down SwingingThe Telegraph, and elsewhere. Kim makes frequent media appearances, including BBC Radio 4 Front Row, BBC Bristol, and Griefcast. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @kimtsherwood

Kim began researching and writing Testament, her first novel, after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away, and her grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time. Testament won the 2016 Bath Novel Award, was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Award, shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel, and won the Harpers’ Bazaar Big Book Award.

In 2018, Kim received support from the Society of Authors’ Authors Foundation Grant for her second novel. Drawing on adventure fiction, the literature of roguery, travel and life writing, A True Relation will explore issues of gender, genre, and place.

Kim is also the author of the forthcoming Double 0 trilogy, and is the first woman to author a 007 novel. 

Her grandfather was George Baker? Yes, the same George Baker who played the real Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and a Navy officer in The Spy Who Loved Me. Baker also played one of the many Number Twos in the Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner. Baker enjoyed a long career as an actor.

When will the new Sherwood novels be set?

During the present day, according to the author herself. She disclosed the information in response to a question on Twitter.

The new Sherwood trilogy of novels will come on line just as Anthony Horowitz is wrapping up his three-period-piece Bond novels (one set at the start of Bond’s career, one set in the middle and the upcoming third after the events of The Man With the Golden Gun novel).

How significant is this?

It demonstrates that Ian Fleming Publications continues to be interested in spinoffs. It has previously commissioned Young Bond novels and The Moneypenny Diaries. Meanwhile, Eon Productions, maker of the James Bond films, has said it’s not interested in Bond spinoffs.

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.

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.