Title: Solo – A James Bond Novel
Author: William Boyd
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Publication Date: 26.09.2013
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.