Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Has WILLIAM BOYD been given a license to kill 007?

Here's something a little curious. I'm told that bookmakers Ladbrokes in the UK are taking bets on whether James Bond lives or dies in the new 007 novel by William Boyd due out Sept. 26, 2013.

Maybe this is nothing. Bookmakers take bets on just about anything that can be bet on (or so I'm told). But would they really set up betting on something in which the outcome is 100% assured? Did they do this for other Bond books or films? Might Ladbrokes have some deep insider information on the new Bond novel?

Has IFP given William Boyd permission of kill off James Bond!?

Of course, Bond could always "die" as he did in From Russia With Love and You Only Live Twice. But maybe there's something much, much larger in the works here. We were all surprised when, after the much-hyped reboot of Carte Blanche, IFP announced that this new novel would be set back in 1969. Could this be because the plan is to now end the "classic Bond" timeline? Might IFP now go back and do more Young Bond novels (as has been rumored) and/or leap ahead and continue on with the new Carte Blanche timeline? Might Ian Fleming's James Bond never see 1970?

Of course, this would mean the Pearson/Wood/Gardner/Benson novels exist in their own unique timeline, which would be fine because I think most fans agree these books were in a separate universe anyway.

This would certainly be a bold and provocative move by IFP. But they are known for making bold and provocative moves with the literary Bond franchise lately. It would also be a way to make the Boyd novel yet another "event" book.

Yes, I think this is just crazy enough to be conceivable. Do you?

Place your bets...

Boyd's Bond will be released by Jonathan Cape in the UK on September 26, 2013 ( and by HarperCollins in the U.S. on October 8, 2013 (


  1. I've been told the ending of William Boyd's novel should take place somewhere in Switzerland ( place called the Reichenbach Falls ... ) .

    1. You could be onto something there Kevin... Remember what that Gardner chap did with old Moriarty


  2. Just making book will encourage a lot of people to place money on 'die.' Sucker bet.

  3. This is the end.
    Hold your breath
    And count to ten...

  4. 45 is the age of mandatory retirement for Double-O agents, according to Fleming in "Moonraker". So, even if Bond doesn't die, it's likely it will be promoted as the 'last' Bond story.

    Of course, given that "Moonraker" is set in 1953 and Fleming says that Bond will turn 45 in eight years time, the final mission should have been "OHMSS". (Fleming himself had distorted this timeline in later Bond novels: he makes Bond age 39/40 in "You Only Live Twice" - set in 1962 or 63.)

  5. I've always considered the Amis/Gardner/Benson timeline the same, as Benson made references to these (what I remember.)
    I'm sure if Boyd kills him off, another author will resurrect him.

  6. Postscript: thinking about Fleming giving Bond's age as 40, what this reveals about Boyd's book is that he is using the same timeline as Faulks in "Devil May Care". Faulks incorrectly assumes that the Fleming novels are set in the year of publication. If Boyd is making Bond 45 in 1969, he is applying the same hypothesis - ie his Bond would have turned 40 in 1964, the year "You Only Live Twice" was published.

  7. A bit off topic but most Godzilla films from 1954 to 1975 are one timeline, 1984 - 1995 are another and 1999 - 2004 contain several unique one-off films mostly unrelated. Over all he's died 3 times in 59 years and 30 odd films. After a bit, people stop counting.
    I think Bond can afford to do the same.

    Bond and Godzilla. Not often used in the same sentence.

  8. Don't like the idea at all of them killing off Bond in his hey day or in any universe for that matter. Don't do it!

  9. timmer said:
    It does seem that Fleming advanced Bond's birth year to 1923 or 1924 circa YOLT so a 45ish Boyd-Bond circa 1969 does fit with Fleming's adjusted timeline.
    I do think the plan might indeed be to kill off the Fleming-Bond timeline coincident with the end of the '60s so that Bond never sees the '70s,and remains a cold-war literay icon of the '50s and '60s.
    Fleming's Bond did not expect to see mandatory retirment age anyway. He was always prepared to die. In that sense dying on the job is not an implausible ending for the Fleming timeline.
    IFP might even connect Colonel Sun and Devil May Care into the Boyd story and present these three stories as the definitive conclusion to the Fleming timeline.
    We Pearson fans would just have to enjoy his work as an alternative timeline.
    It would be sad to have Bond die though. I can't say I like this idea though. I do prefer that Bond might live on to a ripe old age.
    His future post Pearson could be just left to the imagination or as Samantha Weinberg envisioned in the MP Diaries.

  10. timmer said:
    Upon further reflection, I hate this idea!!!! IFP should respect it's own continuity. Both Pearson and Weinberg were authorized to extend Fleming's Bond beyond 1969. In fact in MP Diaries Final Fling, Kate Westbrook finds him happily retired circa 2008, living in a house off the coast of England, quite vital for an old guy and still taking a drink at noon. Based on Fleming scholar John Griswold's authoritative determination of Bond's birthdate as November 8, 1921, our boy is currently 91 years old and presumably still living comfortably where Westbrook found him, 4-5 years ago.
    Bond lives!!! I don't care what Boyd writes! I'll let him die when he hits 105. That sounds about right.

  11. Isn't it rather late in the day for the title of Boyd's novel not to be released? We knew about Carte Blanche a year in advance. Is it still coming out in September? Anyway, people make bets on everything, including whether Wills and Kate's kid will have three eyes or not. I doubt Boyd will kill off Bond - it would create too much negative press for the book.


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