Since Fleming’s death nearly 50 years ago, we’ve had the pleasure of Sean Connery’s Bond, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond and Daniel Craig’s Bond. But what we haven't been treated to in a while is a big, old-fashioned, rollicking new Bond novel to escape into. Now, though, courtesy of debonair literary novelist William Boyd—the writer Ian Fleming Publications most recently chosen to carry the Bond flag—we have Solo (Harper), an exhilarating tightrope of a tale that's also just retro enough to conjure the original books.
The novel opens in swinging 1960s London with Bond, age 45, test-driving Jensen FFs, sipping martinis, and smoking cigarettes without a care, waiting for his next assignment. As usual, he can seduce the most desirable female in the room with the flourish of a lighter and one "The name's Bond. James Bond." But his hiatus is rudely interrupted when M summons him for a mission to the fictional African country of Zanzarim to "stop the war." There he trades a tuxedo for a safari jacket and sets off to complete his assignment. After things go awry and his own handler double-crosses him, he goes rogue, eventually resurfacing in Washington, D.C., where he takes matters into his own hands.