Monday, 15 April 2013

James Bond on a solo mission

The title of William Boyd's James Bond novel, due to be published in the UK on 26th September, was announced at the London Book Fair. The book will be called 'Solo'. As the HMSS Editors point out, Solo recalls the 1960s TV series, The Man From UNCLE, and specifically the character Napoleon Solo, which Ian Fleming had a hand in creating. A Mr Solo of the Unione Siciliano was also a character in the novel Goldfinger (chapter 17, Hoods' Congress). It seems unlikely that these references were in William Boyd's mind when he settled on the title, although a villain with a Napoleon complex might count as a nod to Fleming's role in The Man From UNCLE!

More seriously, the official press release includes a statement by William Boyd, which provides a strong indication as to the significance of the title. In the novel, Bond will "go solo" on a "self-appointed mission of his own, unannounced and without any authorization." What's more, Boyd has confirmed that the book will be set partly in Africa. Given Boyd's interest in the continent, there had been speculation that he'd send Bond there, and in an earlier post, I suggested that Bond would visit West Africa, possibly Nigeria (perhaps relating to the events of the Biafran War). However, 1969 proved to be momentous year for many reasons, and I also reflected on the events that Boyd might allude to in the novel, if not directly involve Bond.

For more information and discussion about William Boyd's Solo, I also recommend The Book Bond, The James Bond Dossier, and the novel's official website

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