Solo: A James Bond Novel

Solo: A James Bond Novel

Book rating: 04 Paperback Jonathan Cape

By (author) William Boyd

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  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 220mm x 24mm | 420g
  • Publication date: 26 September 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0224097482
  • ISBN 13: 9780224097482
  • Sales rank: 22,259

Product description

It is 1969 and James Bond is about to go solo, recklessly motivated by revenge. A seasoned veteran of the service, 007 is sent to single-handedly stop a civil war in the small West African nation of Zanzarim. Aided by a beautiful accomplice and hindered by the local militia, he undergoes a scarring experience which compels him to ignore M's orders in pursuit of his own brand of justice. Bond's renegade action leads him to Washington, D.C., where he discovers a web of geopolitical intrigue and witnesses fresh horrors. Even if Bond succeeds in exacting his revenge, a man with two faces will come to stalk his every waking moment.

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Author information

William Boyd is the author of one work of non-fiction, three collections of short stories and thirteen novels, including the bestselling historical spy thriller Restless - winner of the Costa Novel of the Year - and Any Human Heart, in which the character of Ian Fleming features. Among his other awards are the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Jean Monnet. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2005, he was awarded the CBE.Born in Ghana in 1952, William Boyd spent much of his early life in West Africa. He now divides his time between the south-west of France and Chelsea, where he lives a stone's throw from James Bond's London address.

Customer reviews

By Sandra 15 Oct 2013 4

It is 1969. James Bond is sent to single-handedly end a civil war in the fictional West African nation of Zanzarim. Undercover as a journalist for a French press agency, Bond is aided by the Service's beautiful Zanzari head of station and hindered by the local militia. A devastating betrayal leaves 007 compelled to seek revenge. Ignoring M's orders, he sets off on a solo mission that leads him to Washington, D.C., where he not only discovers a web of intrigue but also encounters familiar faces last seen in Zanzarim...

After Ian Fleming's death in 1964, his estate commissioned a number of continuation novels. William Boyd's "Solo" is the latest work in this tradition. While I have seen the odd Bond movie or two, "Solo" was the first Bond novel I read. But it won't be the last.

"Solo" is full of suspense with some unexpected twists. Reading the book, one can picture the story ever so well. Not only does Boyd describe the surroundings in great detail, he also specifies the characters' clothing, such as the women's catsuits or bell bottom trousers. Very 1969! One of my favourite scenes was Bond being equipped with lethal toiletries before leaving for his mission. It had such a deliciously vintage feel to it. Not forgetting the cars. I actually found myself looking up the various car types mentioned to better picture them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Solo" and look forward to watching the movie. I hope there will be one. Such detailed descriptions would translate very well onto the big screen.

Review quote

"This is well-plotted, exciting stuff and Boyd has a great sense of time and place. His boozy, maturer, more fallible Bond is totally believable. Mission accomplished, Mr Boyd." -- Natasha Harding Sun "Boyd was a smart choice for a Bond thriller. The action clips along. There are welcome literary flourishes and a dense plot." -- Richard Fitzpatrick Irish Examiner "Written with aplomb, Boyd's Bond novel is a terrific twisting thriller." Sunday Times "Anyone wishing this autumn to enjoy the Cold War with the assurance of a happy ending should seek out William Boyd's new James Bond novel, Solo, in which 007 is dispatched to West Africa and the fictitious country of Zanzarim, where he finds himself in the midst of a civil war." -- Stephen McGinty Scotsman "A fantastic read, which I ripped through in the time it would take to watch Skyfall, as it happens, and I found it significantly more enjoyable." The Times