Sunday, 6 May 2012

James Bond in 1969 - an update

In a recent post, I speculated about the events William Boyd might refer to in his forthcoming James Bond novel in order to root the narrative to 1969, the year in which the novel will be set. I wonder whether the author's 2002 novel, Any Human Heart, provides a little more insight.

The novel takes the form of a journal, which is written intermittently by the protagonist Logan Mountstuart between the early 1920s and the early 1990s. The journal covers, among other episodes, Mountstuart's school days, his time at Oxford University, his early career as a writer, his experience in naval intelligence during the second world war (having been recruited by Ian Fleming - more on that in a later post), and his time in New York running an art gallery. 

In 1969, Mountstuart is teaching English in Nigeria. Through Mountstuart's journal, William Boyd refers to the Moon landing (something I thought might be mentioned in the Bond novel), and places Mountstuart in the centre of the Nigerian civil war (also known as the Biafran War), which lasted from July 1967 to January 1970. 

Given Boyd's knowledge of the region (he grew up in Nigeria and set a novel in West Africa), it is possible that he might turn again to Africa, and we might at least see a reference to Nigeria and the Biafran War in his awaited Bond novel.  

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