May 2008: Superspy James Bond is back in new novel 'Devil May Care' (2024)

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This article was published 27/05/2008 (5846 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

LONDON – “Ah, Mr. Bond,” said the world’s book publishers. “So good to have you back.”

Britain’s most famous secret agent returns to the page in the novel “Devil May Care,” released around the world in 21 languages Wednesday amid a blaze of publicity not seen since the last Harry Potter book.

Publishers are hoping the thriller, already topping Internet retailer Amazon’s bestseller list in Britain, proves a fitting centenary tribute to James Bond’s late creator, Ian Fleming – and a lucrative new chapter for a franchise that has sold 100 million copies since the suave spy first appeared in “Casino Royale” in’52.

“This is not usually how I spend my days,” said the book’s author, Sebastian Faulks, facing a barrage of cameras and reporters’ questions at a packed news conference. A day earlier, he had launched the book aboard a Royal Navy warship, accompanied by a blond model in a red catsuit.

“I’m a guy who does the crossword in the morning, writes for eight hours and then goes home and watches football.”

Faulks, 55, the author of popular, respected literary novels including “Birdsong” and “Charlotte Gray,” was a surprise choice by Ian Fleming’s family to revive 007 in print.

Faulks said he was astonished to be asked; Fleming’s niece, Lucy Fleming, said she was surprised he accepted. But both sides say they are happy with the result, and hopeful it will please Bond purists.

Lucy Fleming said her uncle, born 100 years ago Wednesday, “was a complex man with great humour, kindness and many different interests.”

“He put a lot of his favourite things into his books – skiing, swimming and the underwater world, cars, gadgets, martinis and of course women,” she said.

Faulks has kept most of the key ingredients for “Devil May Care.” There is a glamorous, colourfully named woman – Scarlett Papava – and a memorably disfigured villain, Julius Gorner, who has an oversized monkey’s paw for a hand.

Set in’67, the book is a Cold War tale of the international drug trade that takes Bond to Iran, the Caspian Sea and Russia – locations and issues that are “still alive to us today,” Faulks said. Along the way, 007 experiences sex, vivid violence and implausible escapes from almost certain death.

Faulks said he knows “one or two” real-life spies, and he has already researched the world of’60s British espionage for a nonfiction book, “The Fatal Englishman.” But most of his preparation for “Devil May Care” came through reading the– Bond books Fleming completed before his death in’64.

“I expected them to be fairly pulp fiction, not much from the literary point of view,” Faulks said. “I was pleasantly surprised – they were stylish, well written in a crisp, journalistic style.”

Faulks said his book was “an affectionate homage to a playful character who has brought enormous pleasure” to millions of readers

Faulks said he tried to stick to the literary Bond, a more fragile figure than the hero of the movies. As the book opens, Bond is a lonely, listless man on enforced medical leave, denied his martinis and forced to “(retire) to bed no later than 10 o’clock with only a paperback book and a powerful barbiturate for company.”

Faulks said the Bond of the books “is that much more vulnerable. He doesn’t rely on gadgetry or superhero tactics or techniques. He relies on his own resourcefulness.”

Armed only with a small pistol, he is “underpowered, under-armed. He’s a kind of civilian.”

Faulks said he hoped he had captured Fleming’s style without tipping over into parody.

“It’s very difficult,” he said. You want to imitate somebody’s style but you don’t want to parody them.”

He said he did it “by making sure that the story itself is a good story. The book stands or falls by whether people find the story robust, full of twists and turns and exciting.”

Bond fans have yet to pass judgment, but many were excited by the launch. Dozens lined up overnight outside Waterstone’s bookstore in central London to buy 200 signed and numbered special editions on sale for $200.

“Every British boy wants to be Bond,” said Daniel Woolman, 25.

Faulks, meanwhile, said he was looking forward to “resuming my more serious-minded novels. Beginning next Monday.”

May 2008: Superspy James Bond is back in new novel 'Devil May Care' (2024)


What was the final James Bond book? ›

From the Back Cover

brainwashed by the KGB and on a mission to assassinate M. To prove his worth to the Service, he must hunt down and eliminate his fiercest opponent yet: “Pistols” Scaramanga – The Man With The Golden Gun. Ian Fleming's final 007 novel is a fitting tribute to a unique British hero.

Why are James Bond books being rewritten? ›

Racial references have been removed from Ian Fleming's James Bond novels following a sensitivity review. Terms such as the n-word, which featured in his writing from the 1950s and 1960s, have been edited out of new editions of the 007 books, which are set for reissue in April.

What is the oldest James Bond book? ›

Casino Royale is the first novel by the British author Ian Fleming. Published in 1953, it is the first James Bond book, and it paved the way for a further eleven novels and two short story collections by Fleming, followed by numerous continuation Bond novels by other authors.

What is the longest Bond book? ›

As stated, the longest Bond book is Carte Blanche. The shortest is John Gardner's Nobody Lives Forever (1986), which is 192 pages long. In fairness to William Boyd, Solo is the second longest book (actually 322 pages). The longest Fleming novel is Goldfinger (1959) at 318 pages, only four fewer than Solo.

How much is a first edition James Bond book worth? ›

At the time of writing (early 2023), prices range between £3k - £6k for fine examples. £2k - £3k for very good to near-fine. Signed examples are rare and go for between £10k - £20k +. Ian Fleming's Goldfinger introduced the world to one of the most memorable Bond villains in Auric Goldfinger...

What does M stand for in Bond novels? ›

However, the more widely accepted explanation is that M stands for "Miles," which came from Rear Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, the name of the character who was M in many of the novels by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.

Did James Bond have a child in the books? ›

In No Time To Die it's revealed that Bond is a father. But Bond actually fathers a child in the original novels. At the end of the novel of You Only Live Twice, Bond loses his memory and conceives a child with Kissy Suzuki. Bond leaves before Suzuki has a chance to tell him that she is pregnant with his child.

Which James Bond is closest to books? ›

Lazenby is that man, and his performance is superb". Ben Macintyre also observed that of all the Bonds, Lazenby's characterisation was closest to that of Fleming's original literary character envisioned in the 1950s era of spy novels.

What is James Bond's code number? ›

Bond is an intelligence officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond is known by his code number, 007, and was a Royal Naval Reserve Commander.

Why did Vesper betray Bond? ›

M tells Bond that the organisation behind Le Chiffre had kidnapped Vesper's boyfriend and threatened to kill him unless she became their spy. She then tells him that Vesper had made a deal with the kidnappers: the money in exchange for Bond's life.

Are James Bond books worth anything? ›


The book without a dust jacket can be found at prices ranging from $1000-$1750 based on condition. With that said, one can then conclude the Live And Let Die's dust jacket value can be assessed at 5 to 10 times the price of the book itself.

Who is the next James Bond actor? ›

The latest actor to be rumored as the next 007 is “Kraven the Hunter” star Taylor-Johnson. According to the Sun, an inside source said "Bond is Aaron's job, should he wish to accept it. The formal offer is on the table and they are waiting to hear back."

What is considered the best James Bond novel? ›

These five are the Bond books most worth a go:
  1. Casino Royale (1953) The first novel is the darkest and coldest. ...
  2. Moonraker (1955) In the only Bond novel set entirely in England, 007 investigates a shooting at a rocket site and uncovers a diabolical plot to blow up London. ...
  3. Dr. ...
  4. For Your Eyes Only (1960) ...
  5. Thunderball (1961)
Mar 29, 2022

Who is the arch nemesis of James Bond? ›

Ernst Stavro Blofeld is a fictional character and villain from the James Bond series of novels and films, created by Ian Fleming. A criminal mastermind with aspirations of world domination, he is the archenemy of British MI6 agent James Bond.

What is the last version of James Bond? ›

No Time to Die is a 2021 spy film and the twenty-fifth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, starring Daniel Craig in his fifth and final portrayal of fictional British MI6 agent James Bond.

What is the last name of the author of the James Bond novels? ›

Ian Fleming (born May 28, 1908, London, England—died August 12, 1964, Canterbury, Kent) was a suspense-fiction novelist whose character James Bond, the stylish, high-living British secret service agent 007, became one of the most successful and widely imitated heroes of 20th-century popular fiction.

What is the chronological order of the James Bond books? ›

Books, by publication sequence
Casino RoyaleIan Fleming13 April 1953
Live and Let DieIan Fleming5 April 1954
MoonrakerIan Fleming5 April 1955
Diamonds Are ForeverIan Fleming26 March 1956
10 more rows

How many Bond books are there in total? ›

There are currently 39 officially licensed James Bond books authored by six writers since 1953. The first and most famous 14 were written by Ian Fleming, spawning a wide world of Bond media including films, comic strips, comic books, and video games.


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