New James Bond story commissioned to celebrate King Charles III’s coronation


By AGENCY

Britain's King Charles III makes his way up the stairs as he arrive for a state banquet at the presidential Bellevue Palace in Berlin, on March 29, 2023. – Photo: Ronny Hartmann/AFP)

In Britain, author and actor Charlie Higson has been commissioned to write a new James Bond story to celebrate the King’s forthcoming coronation.

The 64-year-old is the author behind the five books in the Young Bond series, which were written for younger readers and see Bond as a teenager at Eton College before becoming an MI5 agent.

On His Majesty’s Secret Service has been commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications and is billed for publication on May 4, ahead of the King’s coronation on May 6.

The book comes 60 years after the publication of James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s tenth novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was published in 1963.

The new 007 story is set to bring Bond into the present day – set two days before the coronation, Bond is tasked with thwarting a last-minute attempt to disrupt the ceremony by the eccentric Athelstan of Wessex who plans to try to teach the UK a lesson.

Speaking about the upcoming novel, Higson said: "When Ian Fleming Publications came to me with the idea of writing an adult Bond story a little more than a month ago I was thrilled - until I realised it had to be ready for the coronation in May.

"Getting it written and turned around in such a short space of time was going to be as tense and heart-pounding as any Bond mission. Although, of course, nobody would actually be shooting at me.

"But I’ve been thinking about writing an adult Bond adventure ever since working on the Young Bond books, and he came bursting out of me with both fists flying. It was all I could do to keep up with him and get his story down on paper.

"Fleming famously wrote fast, and I channelled that energy. And now it’s so exciting for me to finally enter the world of grown-up Bond.

"Everything you want from a Bond story is in there – sex, violence, cars, a colourful villain with a nasty henchman, and of course, Bond himself, so well-known and yet so unknowable.”

All royalties from the sale of On His Majesty’s Secret Service will go towards supporting the National Literacy Trust, which works with schools and communities to provide disadvantaged children with the literacy skills they need to succeed.

Managing director of Ian Fleming Publications Corinne Turner said: "The coronation of King Charles III is a momentous occasion for the country.

"We asked ourselves how we at Ian Fleming Publications could celebrate it, and the answer seemed obvious. Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was first published on April 1 1963. What better way, 60 years on, to mark this new chapter in history than with a brand new story: On His Majesty’s Secret Service?

"We shared our thoughts with Charlie, and he was delighted to take on the challenge of writing a Bond adventure in time for publication in May.

"Together we hope this book will give valuable support to the National Literacy Trust.”

On His Majesty’s Secret Service will be available digitally as an eBook, as an audiobook – read by Charlie Higson – and as a hardback, online and in bookshops from May 4. – dpa

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