The Author is Faulks, Sebastian Faulks
Even though the shadowy folks of the thriller world will be taken aback by the choice of Faulks, it should be noted that his latest novel Engleby published in May of this year does have a mystery element and, more importantly that he published Pistache
in 2006, a collection of short literary parodies including a witty
piece where Ian Fleming takes James Bond shopping. He has also
reviewed, often negatively, Bond films in newspapers. So the man has
Historically, the stable of Bond writers has of course already included Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson and more recently Charlie Higson with his Young Bond novels, so keeping the 007 flame alive has been a minor industry in its own right.
Faulks’s novel, Devil May Care, reputedly set in 1967 and featuring
an ageing but “highly sexed” James Bond will no doubt prove the
commercial highlight of the Ian Fleming centenary celebrations in May
of next year. No doubt some fans will cry heresy, but Bond is such an
archetypal hero-cum-loveable rogue that it just wasn’t possible to let
him die out altogether. After all, so many screen actors have already
embodied him that a new writer taking over the reins should not be
objectionable. And an author with a good track record at evoking the
nearby past, at that.
On a very micro level, the Bond announcement has pushed ENGLEBY, which won’t be published in the US until September, way up in my TBR pile. And as Maxim pointed out, Faulks almost certainly wasn’t the Fleming estate’s first choice, but if CASINO ROYALE was a darker, more brooding reimagining of the movies that harkens back to Fleming’s work, maybe DEVIL MAY CARE will serve the same function. And even though the timing was probably coincidental, want to bet this will be a topic of conversation at ThrillerFest later this week?
Still, as some have pointed out to me informally, what is Faulks’ motivation? Extra PR? A need for money? Commercial recognition? Certainly he’ll get all of the above, but writing the Bond novels was a double-edged sword for John Gardner and Raymond Benson, so time will tell if the same applies to Faulks come next year.