Novelist William Boyd to write next 007 book

LONDON – Acclaimed British novelist William Boyd said Thursday he hopes to bring James Bond back to his roots when he pens the next installment of the suave superspy saga.

HarperCollins Publishers said Boyd will be the next hired gun to step into Ian Fleming’s English-made shoes. Fleming died in 1964 after creating the enduring 007 character, who has been celebrated in the longest running film franchise of all time.

Boyd, known for Restless, Any Human Heart and other books, will follow successful novelists Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver, who also have written recent authorized Bond novels.

The Boyd book, which does not have a title yet, is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2013, 60 years after the publication of Casino Royale, the first in the series.

Boyd said he plans to pattern the new novel on “classic Bond” and to set it in the late 1960s.

“When the Ian Fleming estate invited me to write the new James Bond novel, I accepted at once,” Boyd said in a statement. “For me, the prospect appeared incredibly exciting and stimulating – a once-in-a-lifetime challenge. In fact, my father introduced me to the James Bond novels in the 1960s, and I read them all then – From Russia with Love being my favorite.”

The novel will be published in Britain by Jonathan Cape – Ian Fleming’s original publisher and an imprint of Vintage Publishing – and simultaneously by HarperCollins Publishers in the U.S. and Canada.

Boyd’s fictional settings have ranged, Bond-like, from England to Africa to the United States, and several of his novels have been adapted for film and television, including Stars and Bars, Any Human Heart and A Good Man in Africa.

While Boyd said he wants to restore Fleming’s approach, which relied on short, tightly plotted novels, producers of the Bond film series, now starring Daniel Craig as 007, have gradually moved away from some of the traditional Bond elements established in early classics such as “Goldfinger.”

The handsome, hard-living spy has been played on screen by Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and others. The so-called “Bond girl” sorority has included a string of actresses that began with Ursula Andress in “Dr. No.”

Fleming died in 1964 shortly after the early Bond films brought his character to worldwide fame.

He wrote 14 Bond novels and short story collections and penned the children’s classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.