US author commissioned by Ian Fleming’s estate to continue British spy’s adventures
He might be the quintessential English spy, suave, laconic and comfortable in a dinner jacket, but the adventures of Ian Fleming’s iconic creation James Bond are set to be continued by the chart-topping American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver.
Best known for his quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme, the star of books including The Bone Collector and The Stone Monkey, Deaver has been commissioned to write a new Bond novel by Fleming’s estate. Currently known as Project X, the book will be set in the present day, unlike Sebastian Faulks’s recent addition to the Bond oeuvre, Devil May Care, which took place in 1967.
Apart from its contemporary setting, Deaver was giving little else away about the plot, but revealed it would occur over a short period of time and take 007 to “three or four exotic locations around the globe”. He has already started writing the book, which is out next May, and promised it would retain “the persona of James Bond as Fleming created him and the unique tone the author brought to his books”, while also incorporating his own “literary trademarks: detailed research, fast pacing and surprise twists”.
Fleming’s estate was moved to approach Deaver after he raved about the Bond books in an acceptance speech for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award. “I’d always enjoyed Jeffery Deaver’s thrillers [but] I didn’t know anything about the author himself and expected a fairly low-key response from him when he received our award,” said Corinne Turner, the managing director of Ian Fleming Publications.
“I was surprised and delighted when he spoke very fondly of Ian and about the influence that the Bond books had had on his own writing career. It was at that point that I first thought James Bond could have an interesting adventure in Jeffery Deaver’s hands.”
Fleming’s 14 James Bond novels have sold more than 100m copies around the world, and Faulks’s Devil May Care, published in 2008 to mark the centenary of Fleming’s birth, was Penguin’s fastest selling hardback fiction title ever.
The publisher of Deaver’s contribution, Hodder & Stoughton, has equally lofty expectations for Project X. “We’ve very high hopes,” said Hodder & Stoughton’s publishing director of fiction, Carolyn Mays, adding that the American Deaver is actually well placed to take on a British icon. “If Bond fans know Jeffery and his work they won’t have any qualms about it at all. He is American but he knows Fleming and Bond back to front, and he’s also got a very European sensibility. I’m sure he will do a brilliant job and do Bond justice.”
Previous official Bond novels have been written by authors including Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and Raymond Benson.