New 007 Novel Due in ’08

Fans of James Bond can look forward to a new novel, “Devil May Care,” to be published on May 28, 2008, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ian Fleming, the creator of 007. The book, to be published in the United States by Doubleday and in Britain by Penguin, publisher of all 14 of Fleming’s Bond adventures, will be the work of the English writer Sebastian Faulks, whose novels include “The Girl at the Lion d’Or,” “Birdsong” and “Charlotte Gray.” (Other authorized Bond novels have been written by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and Raymond Benson.) Doubleday said, “ ‘Devil May Care’ is set in the cold war, and the action is played out across two continents, exotic locations and several of the world’s most glamorous cities.” Mr. Faulks, who said he was asked by the Fleming estate to carry out the commission, said: “In his house in Jamaica, Ian Fleming used to write 1,000 words in the morning, then go snorkeling, have a cocktail, lunch on the terrace, more diving, another 1,000 words in late afternoon, then more martinis and glamorous women. In my house in London, I followed this routine exactly, apart from the cocktails, the lunch and the snorkeling.”

Personally, I follow the same routine, minus the words and the diving. Really, I drink cocktails and eat with glamorous women. Well, one glamorous woman, at least.

Faulks does seem like a curious choice (and if I remember right, others refused before him, including Lee Child), as he tries to lean toward the literary side of the spectrum…but then again, so did Kingsley Amis. But what’s most interesting to me is the decision to set it during the Cold War, a narrative choice that I thought my own career had already marked as a poor financial move.

But in a way it could be the most inspired decision, since moving that Cold War spy into the post-Cold War world has always been somewhat awkward.

Flashback to July 2006’s Galleycat, when Sarah Weinman asked me, Barry Eisler, and Lee Child what we would do were we to be asked to write one of the Bonds. I’m clearly the odd man in the group, partly from being in the shadow of these fine writers, but also because I took the question rather too seriously, even boring readers with a numbered list. Crimey! What was I thinking?