Sunday, June 12, 2022

The original NEW BOND

As we all enjoy the latest James Bond continuation novel, With A Mind To Kill by Anthony Horowitz, I thought I share this look back at the very first time James Bond was continued in Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis. I love seeing old ads for "The New James Bond".


Colonel Sun was released in March 1968 to surprisingly negative, even hostile reviews. This may be why the "Robert Markham" series wasn't continued and why Amis didn't write another Bond (in interviews at the time he said he might). But the book has lived on and is now generally regarded as one of the best by fans. It was most recently reprinted in hardcover in 2018.

Friday, June 3, 2022

BOND GOES TO JAIL in Waterstones Exclusive

Having received my stenciled edge Waterstones Exclusive Edition of With A Mind To Kill, I'm happy to report that it also contains additional material as did Waterstones previous special editions of the Horowitz books. For some reason, this was not advertised on the Waterstones website, but it is unique to this edition.

The chapter is called "Bond Goes To Jail" and has very short extract from an unused television script by Ian Fleming in which 007 goes undercover at San Quentin prison in California. Author Anthony Horowitz then explains how he originally set out to use the idea of Bond in jail in With A Mind To Kill, just as he used unpublished Fleming material in his previous two Bonds. But, ultimately, he decided it wouldn't work.

You can purchase the Waterstones Exclusive Edition signed or unsigned.

As I previously reported, Goldsboro Books is also offering their own signed and numbered limited editions with sprayed black edges. No extras in that, but this Goldsboro edition may eventually turn out to be the more rare. Also, my friend Tanner at the excellent Double O Section tells me his Goldsboro edition doesn't have a price on the dust jacket, so that is a variant jacket.

Or you can just purchase the regular UK edition at Amazon.co.uk and the U.S. edition from Harper Collins at Amazon.com. But I bet there's some of you out there who will get them all!

You can read my review of With A Mind To Kill HERE.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

30 years of FOREVER

It was 30 years ago that John Gardner's 11th original James Bond novel Death Is Forever arrived in the U.S. bookstores. This was one of handful of titles that was released first in the United States. While not one of my favorite Gardner books, it was a thrill to have a new Bond every year and all the Gardner books remain special to me. 

Here's a review of the book from 30 years ago today. Is 007 forever? I think we know the answer to that!

The Indianapolis Star.

My own copy of Death Is Forever, purchased in 1992, has a sticker on the cover pitching it as a "Super Value!" I normally strip off any stickers to have a clean cover. However, when a sticker says something Bond specific, as this one does ("Bond is Back"), it stays. And this wasn't added later in a clearance sale. I bought all the Gardner books the instant they hit the bookstores and this sticker was there on day one. Would love to know the story behind it and how many books may have it.


You can buy the recent reprint editions of Death Is Forever at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dynamite restores "OO7" in new series

After dropping "007" from the title of their last three series, Dynamite is bringing it back with a series in August called, yes, OO7. It will be written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Marco Finnegan. Below is the cover of issue #1 and a plot description.

The most famous spy in fiction returns to heat up the summer comics season with a thrilling tale of double agents, assassins, old flames, and heaps of intrigue. James Bond finds himself outplayed with a metaphorical bad hand on a Russian excursion, forced to eliminate an asset he was meant to extract. A shootout with his enemy counterparts leaves Bond with more questions than answers… questions about their American accents, their bleeding-edge technology, and most importantly, how they seem to know so much about him. 

Abandoned by his superiors, facing suspension at MI6, and questioning his waning sense of duty, 007 gets an urgent message from former 00 agent Gwendolyn Gann, a mentor and old flame from his earliest days. Gann’s gotten back in the spy game, and needs Bond’s help… but will Bond make it on time? And what are her ties to the mysteruous new player known only as Myrmidon?

 

I always wondered if Dynamite dropping "007" from their James Bond series title was an attempt to synchronize with No Time To Die and the idea that Lashana Lynch's Nomi was now 007. I'm glad to see it come back.

You can see some alternate covers for issue #1 at Dynamite Entertainment

Sunday, May 29, 2022

VIDEO: The Schøyen Collection by Jon Gilbert

Some really breathtaking Ian Fleming rarities here. Enjoy.


For a curated collection of links about the literary James Bond like the above, check out the new Book Bond YouTube channel.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

BOOK BOND REVIEW: With A Mind To Kill the memory of No Time To Die


Anthony Horowitz's third and final James Bond novel, With A Mind To Kill, is released today by Jonathan Cape in the UK. I've had the pleasure of reading it and I can report it's excellent! Horowitz mines one of the richest untapped veins of the literary James Bond; namely, what happened to 007 in Russia between the books You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun. It's Horowitz's darkest Bond with a powerful climax that perfectly caps his time as the reigning continuation novelist and, possibly, this particular era of period Bond novels.

For a third time Horowitz proves he knows exactly what makes a great James Bond adventure. The book is packed with tension and moves like a rocket. Without going into major spoilers, the book delivers an epic action sequence set in London before moving onto Russia where much of the novel is set. Bond's mission is clear cut, the locations are atmospheric, and the stakes are sky high from page one. We also have a solid Bond Girl in Katya Leonova. And it certainly isn't hard to see Russia as the villain these days, which makes this book, set in 1965, feel (tragically) up to the minute.

If I have a criticism (and this wouldn't be a proper review without) it would be with the frequent callbacks to past Fleming books. While call backs to The Man With The Golden Gun are integral with the plot and expected, it's possible every book gets a nod in some form. This feels a bit calculated and while fans may like it, I thought it was a touch distracting. But that's a quibble.

So how does With A Mind To Kill stand against Horowitz's two other Bonds? I think most will agree With A Mind To Kill is his best and I wouldn't argue with that. However, it is a darker book, and I'm still very much suffering PTSD from the last James Bond film, No Time To Die, with its relentless bleakness, hopelessness, and humiliating death of 007. I really need some fun! So while With A Mind To Kill is superb and going dark has never troubled me in the past, at this moment in time I still rank Trigger Mortis at the top of my Horowitz list as it seems the lightest of his outings. But talk to me again in a year.

I've never been more happy to add a new Bond book to my bookshelf and continue the adventure. Thanks to the caring custodians at Ian Fleming Publications and the talented Anthony Horowitz, JAMES BOND LIVES!


You can purchase With A Mind To Kill at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Special UK editions are also available from Waterstones and Goldsboro Books.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

LINK: Catching Anthony Horowitz’s WITH A MIND TO KILL at its London launch

Mark O'Connell, author of Catching Bullets: Memories of a Bond Fan, attended the London launch party for Anthony Horowitz's With A Mind To Kill and has an excellent report with photos on his website. Click the headline or the image below to have a read.

CLICK TO READ

You can purchase With A Mind To Kill at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Special UK editions are also available from Waterstones and Goldsboro Books.

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