Boyd will pen new Bond novel

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London - Suave and brutal British superspy James Bond will find himself in the thick of danger at the end of the swinging '60s in a new, official novel by author William Boyd due out next year.

The best-selling British novelist told Reuters on Thursday that he will put his knowledge of Cold War espionage to good use to pen the next adventure of the 007 character created by Ian Fleming, who has grown into a global book and film phenomenon.

Boyd is the third writer in recent years to be invited by the Fleming estate to write an official Bond novel. US thriller writer Jeffery Deaver wrote Carte Blanche in 2011, and Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care was published to mark Fleming's 100th birthday in 2008.

The author of Restless, A Good Man in Africa, An Ice-Cream War and movie and TV screenplays said the Cold War espionage genre runs through a lot of his writing. He has worked with three of the actors who have played Bond and has been close to the story since he was a boy.

“I never met Fleming, but I knew somebody who knew him very well and I've written about Fleming quite a lot and I actually put him in one of my novels,” Boyd said.

“There's been a kind of Bond/Fleming motif in my life for a long time, so it's rather spooky and serendipitous.”

While Boyd has sworn to keep the details and title of the next 007 adventure secret, he said the book will mark a return to the classic Bond character in his mid-40s who is navigating the end of the swinging '60s. He declined to be drawn into conversation on any of the countries Bond might travel to.

Boyd - whose latest novel Waiting for Sunrise came out in February - said his previous espionage-themed books and time spent in late 1960s London during his youth made him comfortable with the subject matter.

“I've written two novels that deal with espionage and quite a few of my novels have elements of plot that are to do with duplicity and covert operations,” Boyd said.

The challenge for Boyd is to try and put his own stamp on a global franchise that has seen Bond leap off the pages into a film series that celebrates a high-tech contemporary character - currently played by Daniel Craig - and the official literary figure who remains closer to Fleming's original template.

“Inevitably, there will be a kind of Boydian element in the new novel,” he said.

The book, which is yet to be titled, will be published in the UK in late 2013 by Jonathan Cape - Fleming's original publisher and an imprint of Vintage Publishing - and by HarperCollins in North America.

With the original James Bond movie Dr No celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and the release in October of new Bond film Skyfall, there will be plenty of buzz to build on ahead of the novel's release.

The Bond catalogue is one of the most prized in publishing, with global sales totalling more than 100-million copies.

Ian Fleming's estate said earlier this year it had signed a 10-year deal with the Random House Group to publish the James Bond back list both in print and e-book format.

Boyd said the negotiations with the Fleming estate took a bit longer to finalise than his decision to take up the challenge when he was first asked to be the next Bond author.

“‘I should be so lucky’ was my instant response.” - Reuters

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