After 60 years of supervillains, 007 takes on flower power in “Solo,” the new novel from William Boyd, officially authorized by Ian Fleming Publications.
A glamorous launch took place Wednesday at the Dorchester Hotel, London, which is featured in the novel (the book will be released Oct. 8 in North America.) The first seven copies were signed by the author and driven by Jensen FF – the spy’s chosen car in this edition – to Heathrow airport, where they were dispatched to Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Cape Town and Sydney.
British award-winning novelist and screenwriter Boyd told reporters he wanted to challenge Bond’s conservative attitude in a 1969 setting. “The earlier novels show the unthinking attitude of a man of his class and era, but as an intelligent man he has to be aware of how society is changing with issues like the Vietnam War and the flower power movement.”
Boyd also has his hero break from MI5 – after a feud with Miss Moneypenny – to go solo in his mission to prevent civil war in West Africa. It represents Bond’s first appearance on the continent since “Diamonds Are Forever.”
But the author does indulge sensualist tradition, gifting 007 his personal recipe for a dry martini, a 45th birthday party in a casino and several passionate affairs.
While Boyd has worked on films with three Bonds played by Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, he has another idea for who could play the part in “Solo.” “Daniel Day-Lewis resembles the Bond Ian Fleming describes as ‘looking like the American singer Hoagy Carmichael.’ He fits that image of being tall, rangy, dark-haired, good-looking, which is why I would choose him.”
“Solo” is the first official Bond novel since Jeffery Deaver’s “Carte Blanche” in 2011. Lucy Fleming said her late uncle would have been thrilled with the new release. “He’d be looking down on us today – or up – with a big grin on his face.”