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James Bond in South Africa for 'Carte Blanche'

27-May-2011 • Literary

Bond tails a criminal down city streets, and enjoys local cuisine -- reports TimesLive

Jamaica, the Bahamas, Russia, the Baltic states, France and other exotic countries have been destinations for the work of the world's favourite spy, James Bond.

Now, finally, it's South Africa's turn to host Ian Fleming's fictional hero as he flies between London, Serbia and Dubai and then to Cape Town, where he tries to stop the long-nailed villain, Severan Hydt, to prevent him from setting off an explosion and killing thousands.

Bestselling American author Jeffery Deaver is the latest writer to pen a James Bond novel, and is responsible for bringing 007's smooth and indestructible charm to the streets of Cape Town.

His Carte Blanche, the 37th James Bond novel to be published, was launched in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

Deaver spoke to a group of people celebrating the launch said via Skype video: "I've been coming to Cape Town for 10 years. I love the country. And true to James Bond novels, Cape Town is exotic and beautiful."

In the book, while Bond unravels the mystery he has been sent to solve, readers are given details about the history of South Africa and introduced to local musicians such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Verity and Thandiswa Mazwai.

Bond eats local foods and learns to appreciate local wines. At a dinner, he explains a wine to Captain Bheka Jordaan of the South African Police Service, with whom he has collaborated: "Graham Beck Cuvee Clive. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The 2003 vintage. It's from Robertson, the Western Cape."

When he meets Jordaan's gogo (grandmother) in the Bo-Kaap, she insists he tries bobotie and drinks Zulu beer.

At the launch, Deaver explained why Fleming's spy has survived as one of the most likeable fictional characters.

"First and foremost, he is a hero. He is not a superhero. There are people out there who make our world safer, and he is one of them," he said.

"He is real. He gets depressed. That is his enduring character."

The book is written in short filmic scenes. So it's highly likely that we can expect actor Daniel Craig in Cape Town.

But Deaver says: "If he is not available to play the part, I will be available. I would be happy to be in Cape Town again."

Asked who his favourite Bond girl was, Deaver avoided answering directly. "There are so many of them. I have to be careful, my partner is here. But if I had to choose I would go back to the earlier movies."

For the launch, distributors Jonathan Ball Publishers introduced journalists and book sellers to experiences James Bond has in the book.

There were spins in the Bentley Continental GT, helicopter trips and a meal at the Cape Grace Hotel, where Bond spends his nights when he is in Cape Town. There were also glasses of Graham Beck sparking wine and sips of the Carte Blanche cocktail, which the author invented for Bond.

The book was launched in an equally lavish event in the UK.

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