Ian Fleming wrote 14 novels featuring his Secret Service agent James Bond, released between 1953 and 1966 – and in the 55 years since the author passed away, various new writers have continued agent 007's adventures in print.
The most recent is award-winning Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the novel Trigger Mortis in 2015 and a follow-up Forever and a Day in 2018.
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Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Horowitz revealed that he is "in discussions" to potentially write a third 007 book, if he can fit it into his packed schedule. "I would certainly consider it," he said. "I don't know when [it'll happen], because I'm pretty busy at the moment.
"I've got a sequel to [2016 book] Magpie Murders I've just finished, literally last week, and I've got two more Hawthorne novels [featuring private investigator Daniel Hawthorne] to write, another Alex Rider... but if I can, and if the estate – the Ian Fleming family – and the publishers are happy for me to do it, then I'm certainly game.
"I would love to. I think there's one more in me at least."
Horowitz's first Bond effort, Trigger Mortis, was set in the 1950s, while Forever and a Day was a direct prequel to Fleming's first novel Casino Royale. Explaining why he decided to keep Bond rooted in the past, rather than transport the character to the modern day as some authors have done, Horowitz said, "In my view, Bond belongs in a certain timeline. I admired Sebastian Faulks's book [2008's Devil May Care] very much, and William Boyd's [2013's Solo] as well.
"I even enjoyed Jeffery Deaver's [2011's Carte Blanche], although I thought that the modern setting was, frankly, wrong."
He continued: "Bond defines the Cold War, he defines the '50s into the '60s, and to me, to take him out of that period is to weaken him. And this is not a comment about the films, which have brilliantly modernised Bond and kept themselves absolutely in tune with the time in which they are made – that is I think their greatest strength that they always somehow reflect the period in which they are made.
"The Daniel Craig films are perfectly 21st century, just as the Roger Moore films somehow exemplify where we are in the '70s and '80s. But the books are different. My job as a continuation author is to write the book that Fleming might have written. And so it has to somehow take place at the time when Fleming was alive."
The greatest challenge in writing a Bond continuation novel, Horowitz explained, was "to be absolutely true to the voice of Fleming", an "extremely difficult writer to imitate, because he is so good".
"He is a brilliant writer and also of course he created extraordinary characters and wonderful chapter titles... all of which are extremely difficult to imitate. So my job is to try and be as close as possible to Fleming in style and language and sentiment, and yet to come up with completely fresh, new stories that he might've written but didn't.
"Plus, and this is a very difficult thing, come up with action sequences that haven't been done in any of the books or films, and that takes a lot of thinking."
The next Bond film, No Time to Die, is due for release in cinemas on 3rd April 2020 in the UK.