Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First official SOLO plot description

U.S. publisher HarperCollins has revealed the first official plot description of Solo, the new James Bond novel by William Boyd due for release in the UK on September 26 and the U.S. on October 8, 2013.

It's 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.

Bond's arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.

Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon.

Also revealed by HarperCollins is the cover art for the unabridged U.S. audiobook, which confirms it will feature the reading by Dominic West.

You can pre-order the UK edition of Solo at Amazon.co.uk and the U.S. edition at Amazon.com.

Less than a month to go!


  1. Sim Sala Bim, Mr Bond?

    But twisting conspiracies? Breathtaking twists? A bit too JG and Deaver, surely?

    Huge villain, Bill, please. Crazy plot, thanks.

    All our hopes, after years of being bashed, ar with you.

  2. I would rather have a different kind of Bond book done well than a Fleming imitation done poorly, like DMC. The second volume of The Moneypenny Diaries was one of my favorite Bond continuation novels, and the reason was that it was a different kind of story. It was very much a le Carre type spy story (the hunt for a mole inside MI6) told with familiar James Bond characters in a historical setting. If this proves to be something along those lines (though it sounds more McCarry than le Carre, if it's possible to make comparisons from such scant information, which it's probably not), but utilizing Bond himself as the protagonist instead of Moneypenny, I would be fully on board... as long as it's done well. (That's an important caveat!) Based on the other Boyd books I've read, I'm feeling pretty confident on that point too. I really wouldn't mind if this Project X era continuation program gives us a bunch of good authors writing about Bond in their own style, rather than trying to suit their style to write a Bond novel, if that makes sense. We've had plenty of that over the years, so why not try something new for a while? I know I won't like them all, but a few could prove right up my alley!

  3. Oooh a fictional African country I like it.
    (Totally agree with Tanners above comment too.)

  4. I agree with Tanner too, but I'm troubled by Boyd's seeming brush-off of Fleming as an author. Consequently I'm going to be judging this one with a keen and ready eye.

  5. I fully agree with Tanner. It's good to get a different type of story sometimes...and the Money Penny Diaries are excellent reads and still Flemingsque in many ways.

    I don't understand what Craig Edwards means by this comment: "I'm troubled by Boyd's seeming brush-off of Fleming as an author."

  6. Boyd: "‘I wanted the novel to be very real. I’m not a fantasist or a magical realist. I couldn’t have written a silly novel. It had to be a down-to-earth, gritty novel."

  7. That doesn't sound like a brush-off of Fleming to me. I was worried when I read your comment above, because Faulks seriously brushed off Fleming a lot in his run-up to DMC and afterwards. But I don't get the feeling Boyd's doing that there. I think he's just talking about different kinds of novels one could write about Bond. Because we've certainly seen both silly ones and down-to-earth, gritty ones. Fleming himself wrote both types. CR, for example (or FRWL), is very down-to-earth gritty, whereas Dr. No is pretty silly. Personally, I love both sorts of Bond stories, and both sorts of spy stories in a more general sense, too.

    Incidentally, the main character (narrator) in Boyd's Any Human Heart DOES criticize Fleming as an author. The fictional character Logan Mountstuart has known Fleming since before the war, and worked with him in Naval Intelligence. Much later, after they've lost touch, he reads LALD and concludes that "Ian" put too much of himself into the book, and it's impossible for him to read it without picturing Fleming. Despite that, he concludes that the book is an entertaining way to pass a few hours. Of course, I'm talking about a fictional character here voicing an opinion that's been voiced by others over the years, so this is really all just an interesting curiosity.

  8. All that said, I think Craig's absolutely right to be circumspect for now, and judge with a keen and ready eye! I'm just feeling positive about this one. But that could all change when the book comes out. In the end, we can't really analyze anything but the work itself!

  9. I don't think that it sounds like a Fleming brush off.

    The Fleming short stories are more realistic, down to earth and gritty.

    I think that it's unrealistic to have a fantastical, traditional Bond story every time that a book is released.

    As long as Bond sounds and acts like Bond and that we are invited into his thought process, all of which weren't really present in Deaver's Carte Blanche, then I'll be more than happy.

  10. Atleast it gets a bit boring and tiring having the same type of traditional, fantastical Bond story every single time.


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