ARTS & CULTURE -- October 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM ET
60 years after debut, James Bond sets out on new 'Solo' mission
It's 1969. James Bond is 45 and on a solo mission. Agent 007 receives an assignment to stop rebels fighting a civil war in the West African country of Zanarim from toppling the established regime.
William Boyd's new Bond novel, "Solo" was released Tuesday in the U.S. and Canada, 60 years after Ian Fleming's novel "Casino Royale" first brought the character to life.
Boyd, the author of the new Bond novel (that has been authorized by the Fleming estate) has been a longtime fan of the British spy.
"He's not a cartoon character. Fleming gave him all his traits, his tastes, his likes and dislikes -- and his complexes," Boyd told the AP. "Bond has a dark side. He's troubled sometimes. He weeps quite easily. And he makes mistakes. That's what's so interesting about him."
Some fun facts about James Bond in literature:
The name James Bond was taken from American ornithologist James Bond, who was a Caribbean bird expert and author of the field guide "Birds of the West Indies." Fleming later explained that it struck him "that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born."
In "From Russia With Love," Fleming describes Bond:
"Name: Bond, James. Height: 183cm, weight: 76 kilograms; slim build; eyes: blue; hair: black; scar down right cheek and on left shoulder; signs of plastic surgery on back of right hand; all-round athlete; expert pistol shot, boxer, knife-thrower; does not use disguises. Languages: French and German. Smokes heavily (NB: special cigarettes with three gold bands); vices: drink, but not to excess, and women. Not thought to accept bribes."
Ian Fleming envisioned Bond to look like American singer Hoagy Carmichael. In his first Bond novel, "Casino Royale," the character of Vesper Lynd says this of the spy: "Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless." Fleming commissioned a drawing of Bond for the Daily Express comic strip.
Before his death in 1964, Fleming wrote 12 books and several short stories featuring Bond. Fleming had worked as a journalist, stockbroker, and then as assistant to the director of naval intelligence during World War II, a job which provided much of the source material Fleming used to develop many of the plots and characters in Bond titles.
After Fleming's death, there were more that 30 additional novels and short stories written about Bond by a multitude of authors, including Boyd's latest novel