Cover of new Bond novel honours Fleming's themes of sex and violence

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The Independent Culture

For fans of the artful images of scantily clad women dancing in shadows that have long adorned the opening titles of James Bond movies, it will be a reassuringly familiar sight. The cover of a new 007 novel published to coincide with the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth will be unveiled today with a suitably and predictably curvaceous nude.

Penguin signalled a continuation of the Bond franchise's tried and tested "sex and violence" formula by placing the naked silhouette of a leading British model below a bloodied flower on the jacket of its new secret agent thriller, Devil May Care, which it hopes will sell 250,000 hardback copies in Britain when it is published next May.

The book has been written by the top-selling novelist Sebastian Faulks after he was commissioned to resurrect Her Majesty's best-known womanising secret agent by the estate of Fleming, who wrote 14 Bond novels on his estate in Jamaica before his death in 1964.

Faulks, who is best known for his books Birdsong, which recreates conditions in the trenches of the First World War, and Charlotte Gray, about a British agent in Nazi-occupied France, took six weeks to write his Bond, which deliberately apes Fleming's racy style.

The book is set at the height of the Cold War in 1967 a year after the last of Fleming's Bond novels was published posthumously with an ageing and recently widowed 007. Faulks said: "He is slightly more vulnerable than any previous Bond but at the same time he is both gallant and highly sexed, if you can be both."

The cover design shows the British model Tuuli Shipster, the Russian and French-speaking daughter of a diplomat who has served as the muse of photographer Rankin, posed in naked silhouette to form the stalk of a flower that becomes a blood splatter.

Alex Clarke, the editor of Devil May Care for Penguin, said: "The cover had to be stylish and sophisticated all the things one associates with Fleming's James Bond."

The book will be published on 28 May along with new hardback editions of Fleming's original novels.