The Times provides a preview of Horowitz’s new Bond novel

Cover for With a Mind to Kill

The Times, one of publisher Rupert Murdoch’s “respectable” U.K. publications (as opposed to his trashy tabloids), has provided a preview of Anthony Horowitz’s third James Bond continuation novel, With a Mind to Kill. The novel is scheduled to be published at the end of this month.

Horowitz’s new story begins with a funeral. After a botched attempt to kill M by a brainwashed 007 in Golden Gun, M’s “burial” is now arranged and faked to fool the Russians, allowing Bond, who has now got his patriotic senses back, to go back behind the Iron Curtain to collect intelligence.

Bond must ingratiate himself with evil Colonel Boris, an expert in mind control with a place called “the magic room” in his lair, where 007 has already endured isolation, psychedelic drugs and torture.

Horowitz told The Times he penned the tale “long before the invasion [of Ukraine] began. And I’m just aware that I don’t want to be, as it were, promoting it on the back of what’s happening. It’s difficult, but it is timely, that’s for sure.” 

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a former official in the KGB. He is suspected of ordering the murders of his opponents.

Horowitz’s continuation novels are based on the timeline of Ian Fleming’s original Bond novels. Trigger Mortis took place in the middle of the Fleming timeline (after the events of Goldfinger) while Forever And a Day took place before Fleming’s debut novel Casino Royale.

With a Mind to Kill occurs toward the end of the Fleming literary timeline. Various Bond websites have already received their advance copies so expect a surge of reviews at the end of this month.

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.