William Boyd signed seven copies of his heavily embargoed new Bond novel Solo (Jonathan Cape) to be taken straight to Heathrow for global distribution, at a media-packed launch event held at the Dorchester Hotel in London this morning (Wednesday 25th September).
The copies were carried in Perspex cases by seven BA stewardesses to a fleet of vintage Jensen cars, to be taken to Heathrow and then onwards to destinations around the world. TV crews filmed proceedings, while journalists and Bond fan clubs from around the world were present.
Vintage m.d. Richard Cable said that the launch, also attended by Bond creator Ian Fleming's niece Lucy Fleming, was "a truly international publishing event".
Boyd told journalists he thought writing an Ian Fleming continuation novel "helps if you've written a spy novel before." He said: "I've written two so I'm familiar with the genre and the requirements, I can approach it with a confidence about how to make a complex plot work and the rhythms of suspense."
When asked which Bond actor he would like to see star in a screen version of Solo, he said he had worked with Bond actors Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig in his role as a screenwriter and director, and added: "The actor I thought of was another Daniel—Daniel Day Lewis. Fleming said Bond looked like the singer Hoagy Carmichael, tall, rangy, very dark hair, almost swarthy and I think Daniel Day Lewis looks like Hoagy Carmichael."
Boyd refused to be drawn on whether he would write any further Bond novels.
Lucy Fleming said: "My uncle once said that an author's sole purpose is to make the reader turn the page, and Solo has that in spades."
Solo will be published tomorrow (26th September), with reviews embargoed to that date. The Bookseller's fiction previewer Cathy Rentzenbrink is currently reading the novel in a room at the Dorchester.