On April 27, 1981, James Bond returned in John Gardner's License Renewed. The book was first published in the U.S. by Merek/Putnam. (Jonathan Cape would publish the book in the UK in May.) The novel finds an un-aged but updated James Bond 007 battling a tyrannical Scottish Laird who is threatening to cause a series of nuclear meltdowns. It became a New York Times Bestseller and spawned a series of 14 original books by Gardner, proving that James Bond could have a literary life beyond his creator.
James Bond is alive! And in a way it's appropriate that he should be coming back at precisely this time. When Ian Fleming died in '64 the world was just beginning to go into its mass nervous break down, which made society so schizoid for so many years. In the late '60s and '70s, there was really no place for a man like Bond.Somehow, though, 1981 appears to be the year in which heroes are welcome again. People seem to be a little less cynical, perhaps even less selfish, than they have been for a while. Who better to step into this new world than James Bond himself, the last great hero from the pre-craziness era?