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James Bond returns in new book

Latest update : 2008-05-28

"Devil May Care", the 15th James Bond book, is scheduled for release on the anniversary of 007 creator Ian Fleming's birthday. The award-winning British novelist Sebastian Faulks was asked to write it in Fleming's style.

A new James Bond novel is published on Wednesday, the 100th anniversary of the birth of his creator, Ian Fleming, but as befits the British fictional superspy, the plot is being kept top secret.

"Devil May Care" was penned by the award-winning British novelist Sebastian Faulks at the request of the late author's family.

Bond's 15th adventure in print, written in the style of Fleming, is being kept a closely guarded secret, although its publisher said it is a return to the original Bond, after so many adaptations of the character on film.

So far, all that is known is that the adventure takes place in 1967, during the Cold War, and takes "007, licensed to kill" to Paris, London and the Middle East.

"The new novel is in the spirit of the original and very funny," Faulks, who said his favourite screen Bond was Sean Connery, told a recent news conference.

Faulks, famous for the war trilogy "Birdsong", "The Girl at the Lion D'Or" and "Charlotte Gray", said he wrote the book in six weeks.

Fleming himself used to write novels in one stint at Goldeneye, his home in Jamaica, often between the months of January and March.

Meanwhile, the desk at which Fleming created Bond is among personal effects and manuscripts brought together in "For Your Eyes Only", an exhibition at London's Imperial War Museum that runs until March 1 next year.

The son of a Conservative Party politician and educated with some of Britain's elite, Fleming was a journalist with the Reuters news agency, a stockbroker, banker and above all, playboy.

He was considered too old for active service in World War II but worked for naval intelligence on a number of missions.

In 1952, at the age of 43, he wrote his first Bond adventure, "Casino Royale", on a typewriter overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

The public was won over by its heady mix of espionnage, sex and exoticism with Britons seeing in the suave, sophisticated Bond a way of restoring national pride in the austerity of the immediate post-war period.

Between 1952 and 1964, when he died, Fleming wrote 14 James Bond novels. The last, "Octopussy", was published posthumously in 1966.

Another exhibition at the Fleming Collection in London, "Bond Bound: Ian Fleming and the Art of Cover Design", runs until June 28, showing visitors the 50s glamour of the original editions.

Fleming's family originally asked three authors to continue the Bond tradition after the author's death, including the English novelist Kingsley Amis, but with mixed success.

The most recent novels published were adaptations from films, the franchise which brought Bond to worldwide attention through his portrayal by Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

The 22nd film, "Quantum of Solace", is in production with Craig in the lead role and is due out later this year.

Behind the celebrations, the Flemings are also looking with the new novel to regain the initiative and put their own stamp on the James Bond brand, as they have no say on the film adaptations.

Faulks said a decision on a film version of his Bond novel could be taken in the coming months.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper has even said Fleming himself could become the hero of a film, claiming actor Leonardo Di Caprio's production company is working on a screenplay of his life by Britain's Damian Stevenson.

Date created : 2008-05-26

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