Wednesday, August 18, 2004

First Young Bond novel is SILVERFIN

Ian Fleming Publications as has today announced the title of their first Young Bond novel, SilverFin, and revealed the UK cover art.

The dark waters around a Scottish castle hold a sinister secret. One man with a thirst for power will use it - whatever the cost. SilverFin is dangerous. SilverFin is the future. 
SilverFin must be destroyed... 
Bond, James Bond. 
The legend begins with SilverFin.

SilverFin is due for release in March 2005 with a second yet untitled novel scheduled for November 2005. There are a total of five books planned in the Young Bond series.

Rumors that Orlando Bloom will be appearing in a movie adapted from the Higson novels are not true.

Friday, August 6, 2004

John Gardner on the current state of the BOND films


In an article in The Wall Street Journal ("Uh-Oh Seven" by Merissa Marr), former Bond continuation author John Gardner gave his opinion on the current state of the James Bond film franchise and Pierce Brosnan's 007 in particular. According to reliable sources, Brosnan is to be replaced in the next film with a new actor. Says Gardner:

"There's nothing wrong with Mr. Brosnan, he just hasn't been served terribly well by the scripts. The problem with the films at the moment is that they have nothing to do with the original Bond."

Hard to argue with that.

Monday, April 12, 2004

The Heart of Erzulie

Fant art.
In an exclusive interview on CommanderBond.net, former James Bond continuation author, Raymond Benson, revealed the existence of a never published James Bond short story, “The Heart of Erzulie.”

Says Benson, “There was another Bond short story I wrote in-between Never Dream of Dying and The Man With The Red Tattoo. It wasn’t very good. I did it on spec, just for something to do during the off months between the outline and research trip for Tattoo. It was called "The Heart of Erzulie," and it took place in Jamaica. IFP thought it was too much of a Fleming pastiche. I guess I agree. Oh well, it kept me busy for a month.”

According to the website Encyclopedia Mythica, “Erzulie is the Voodoo love goddess and goddess of elemental forces, as well as of beauty, dancing, flowers, jewels, and pretty clothes. She lives in fabulous luxury and appears powdered and perfumed. She is as lavish with her love as with her gifts. On her fingers she wears three wedding rings, her three husbands being Damballa, the serpent god, Agwe, god of the sea and Ogoun the warrior hero. As Erzulie Ge-Rouge, she huddles together with her knees drawn up and her fists clenched, tears streaming from her eyes as she laments the shortness of life and the limitation of love. She is personified as a water snake. She is also called Ezili.”

“You’re correct,” says Benson. “The story had a voodoo theme to it. Believe me, it shouldn’t see the light of day!”

Benson also revealed that he’s written a book chronicling of his adventures in the world of 007. “Last fall I wrote my Bond memoirs, a small autobiography so to speak, that relates my lifelong experiences with 007. It’s called James Bond and Me–A Memoir for lack of a better title. I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I can’t imagine anyone really being that interested. It would probably have to be one of those limited edition books that private presses have done, like Richard Kiel’s book, or Syd Cain’s book. Maybe I can get a thousand copies printed and sold. I haven’t decided.”

Here’s hoping someday one, or both, of these unpublished Benson works will become available for Bond fans to read.

This article first appeared on CommanderBond.net.

Sunday, April 4, 2004

IFP Announce New Series of Young Bond Books

PRESS RELEASE

The wait is over...
In Spring next year James Bond will return as we’ve never seen him before. Ian Fleming Publications Ltd is thrilled to announce that in March 2005 Charlie Higson will take us back to where it all began in the first of his novels introducing the teenage years of the boy who was to become 007.

Charlie Higson is co-creator of the hugely popular The Fast Show and is a successful film and adult thriller writer. He’s also a firm fan of the original Ian Fleming Bond novels and, with meticulous research, he has created an authentic 1930s world for Young James Bond that fits seamlessly with Fleming’s. Higson says of this new project ‘Ever since having children of my own I’ve wanted to write a thriller for kids, so when I was approached by the Fleming estate to work on a new James Bond series for younger readers it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I’ve grown up with Bond, and whilst I’ve had to finally accept that I’ll never play him in the films, writing about him is even more exciting.’ The Fleming family are delighted. Lucy Fleming, Ian’s niece, said yesterday 'Charlie’s done a wonderful job in capturing the essence of my uncle’s James Bond.'

The first adventure will be published in the UK by Puffin. Rebecca McNally, Fiction Publisher at Puffin says ' James Bond is the world's biggest spy brand and Charlie's writing is perfect - gripping, suspenseful and very true to the original Bond. We've had enough of wannabes - this is the real thing.' Aimed primarily at the 9-12 market, initial reactions suggest that these quintessential Bond stories will appeal to young and adult readers alike:

James Bond is thirteen and just about to start at Eton having been educated at home by his Aunt Charmian since the death of his parents. The first adventure takes James to a remote Scottish castle where a wealthy American has been conducting some very disturbing experiments...

So disturbing, in fact, that Miss Moneypenny stayed up all night reading about them, Mary Goodnight missed her stop on the train and M’s locked in the office with the do not disturb light on....

Please keep watching this news page for official information about the young James Bond novels over the coming months.

Monday, January 26, 2004

BOOK BOND REVIEW: Raymond Benson's all time high

As we approach the Five Year Anniversary of its publication, I thought it was time to look back at what many fans now consider to be one of Raymond Benson’s best James Bond novels, High Time To Kill.

In his third original Bond adventure, Benson is highly experimental in his use of a single setting for much of the story while, at the same time, still deftly adhering to the classic James Bond formula. No “continuation novel” demonstrates a better understanding of what makes a classic Bond thriller, and High Time To Kill surpasses even some of Fleming’s books in this regard.

The first half of the novel finds OO7 in familiar, glamorous settings: The Bahamas, Belgium, behind the wheel of the DB5. Yet it’s the realistic beating Bond takes at the hands of the obligatory oversized henchman that signals High Time To Kill is going to be veer off into new territory. And does it ever!

The villain’s ingenuous plan to smuggle a Top Secret formula (Skin 17) into China is waylaid by fate — a plane crash. Suddenly, the chess board is scrambled in a twist that is far more satisfying than any of the double or triple crosses that have been so overused. Bond joins a mountaineering team in the Himalayas, and races against the clock to reach the downed plane before the baddies. The remainder of the novel plays out on the rocky slops of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak.

James Bond meets Cliffhanger? Why not?

What unfolds is an adventure unlike anything we’ve ever seen Bond participate in before — yet all the Bondian ingredients are firmly in place: Villain, sidekick, Bond girl, breathtaking locales (literally this time), gadgets, exotic culture, set-piece showdown and coda. But every one of these “classic” elements (which in the movies have drifted toward clichés) feels 100% fresh because it’s all set within the context of a reality-based high concept idea: Mountain climbing. The overlaying believability of the concept elevates the characters and makes High Time To Kill truly suspenseful in a From Russia With Love sort of way. Benson has never fleshed out a location better — which is ironic seeing as Benson was unable to take a planned research trip to Nepal for this book.

Even the almost always fumbled “this time it’s personal” element works perfectly here. We understand that the villain is driven by his competitive masculine/sexual ego (a subtext of almost all Bond villains), but the possibility of altitude sickness motivates his megalomania in a completely believable way. The ice axe throwing competition is as gripping as any casino face off. Bond catching a glimpse of Hope Kendell undressing in her small pup-tent is much sexier than Halle Berry bursting from the sea like a Bond Girl Jack in the Box. Bond’s sidekick, a Sherpa, is indispensable in a way most Bond sidekicks are not. The “gadgets,” cutting edge climbing equipment, are real, but still exotic. And what better test of OO7′s stamina than a savage mountain climbing expedition? There is a return to the idea of OO7 as a master of the extreme sport in this book that is very much a part to the world of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. In fact, I think Fleming would have eventually written a book just like High Time To Kill.

This is also the book in which Benson begins what no Bond continuation novelist (or, of late, Eon) has ventured to do; develop a SPECTRE-like criminal organization, complete with Blofeld-like mastermind, that would return to menace Bond in subsequent adventures. High Time To Kill was the start of what became known as “The Union Trilogy,” an idea embraced by Bond fans and nicely fleshed out in Benson’s next two books, Doubleshot and Never Dream of Dying.

There’s more, but suffice to say High Time To Kill is the perfect fusion of the high-concept Bond formula and the completely believable and dangerous world of high-altitude mountain climbing. If you’re looking to sample a non-Fleming James Bond novel, THIS is the one to get. It’s truly Raymond Benson’s “all time high.”

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