Ian Fleming Publications have revealed that a new James Bond continuation author is set to be announced with a new novel due for 2008...

New James Bond Author & Novel For 2008
29th August 2005

A new original James Bond literary adventure is being planned for release in 2008 to coincide with the centenary of 007 novelist Ian Fleming's birth. Rights holders Ian Fleming Publication are said to be lining up for a big name author to take on the task.

"To celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth in 2008 we are looking at a wide range of different activities and one of those is a new adult Bond novel", said Zoe Watkins of Ian Fleming Publications in a recent Scotsman interview. "We are still in the planning stages, but at the moment the idea would be to have it done by an established author - potentially a big name."

MI6 first revealed back in March that a new series of continuation novels was likely to be in the pipeline following comments from Young Bond author Charlie Higson in an exclusive interview.

The newspaper report speculated big name favorites to be approached could include British thriller writer Lee Child, spy novelist John le Carré and The Day of the Jackal author Frederick Forsyth.

Ian Fleming published a total of 14 novels (two of which were short story collections), starting with "Casino Royale" in 1953 and ending with "Octopussy and The Living Daylights" published posthumously in 1966.

Following Fleming
Continuation novels of Fleming's series have fluctuated since his death in 1964. Established author Kingsley Amis wrote the first continuation adventure "Colonel Sun" under the pen name of Robert Markham in 1968. Screenwriter Christopher Wood then produced literary adventures based on his movie productions of "James Bond, the Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977 and "James Bond and Moonraker" in 1979 - both well up to par.

A long break then ensued until mystery writer John Gardner took up the official job in 1981 with "Licence Renewed" and produced an astonishing 14 novels and 2 movie novelisations in a 15 year period.

James Bond fan turned writer Raymond Benson was the last continuation author, publishing his first 007 novel "Zero Minus Ten" in 1997, and went on to produce a further 5 novels and 3 movie novelisations up until 2002.

Above: First edition artwork for "Casino Royale" in 1953.

Back In Control
The controlling share of Fleming's estate was bought back by his family in 1997 from Glidrose, 33 years after the author sold 51% to the Booker Group. This allowed the group to move forwards with new projects and maximize the the brand.

The last official continuation novel "The Man With The Red Tattoo" written by Raymond Benson was published in 2002. Benson announced he was moving on to other projects after handing in his licence to thrill in February 2003. Weeks passed without official comment until a press release from IFP in May 2003 - which although intended to read well to Bond fans - actually came off as a childish and patronizing statement, saying that future projects were being explored.

Nothing but silence was heard from the literary domain until 5th April 2004 when Charlie Higson was announced as the new writer - but not for an adult continuation series. Instead, IFP launched a new series of children's books exploring the character's teenage years.

Original Bond
Commentators over the years have said that many fans of the movies who have yet to read a Fleming adventure would not recognize the original literary hero. As with many of the recent IFP projects, they remain committed to maintaining the conceptual integrity of Fleming's creation wherever possible.

Watkins said: "The literary Bond is something we want to focus on and any work would have to be in keeping with the literary aspects of the books. If it was successful there could be scope for further novels."

Literary History By The Numbers
James Bond Authors First Published Last Published Novels Novelisations
Ian Fleming 1953 1966 14 0
Kingsley Amis 1968 1968 1 0
Christopher Wood 1977 1979 0 2
John Gardner 1981 1995 14 3
Raymond Benson 1997 2002 6 3