First look: Cover for new James Bond novel, Solo

  • @matildbattersby

You might be forgiven for mistaking the cover of the new James Bond novel, Solo, for something relating to another well-loved long-running franchise in the process of being rebooted: Star Wars (although the novel has nothing to do with Hans Solo, obviously).

The dark dust jacket of William Boyd's literary continuation of Ian Fleming's 007, revealed today, is littered with bullet holes, revealing flashes of the daring red inside case beneath (which is playfully littered with burns). But the black, gold, white and red combination - the colours of science fiction? - are as more reminiscent of the graphics of George Lucas' cinematic series, than the 50-years on the silver screen enjoyed by MI5's gentleman spy.

The designer responsible, Random House's Suzanne Dean, who is also the aesthetic mind behind the covers of Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, said: "A new Bond cover needs to do a lot of things at once. It needs to appeal to literary and commercial audiences, both fans of the original 14 Fleming books and film fans. It needs to reflect both the content of the novel and capture the reader’s imagination."

"William Boyd has chosen to set Solo in 1969, and achieving this period feel was one of my core aims when designing the cover, whilst also ensuring that the book retained a fresh and contemporary lay-out. I didn’t want just to depict a cinematic image, but rather to try and reflect the essence of Ian Fleming’s original novels as well William Boyd’s own take on James Bond."

Boyd, the Booker-nominated author of A Good Man in Africa and Restless, was commissioned by the Ian Fleming estate to write a new Bond book in April last year. Solo is set to be published in September.

“[The title is] strangely Bondian in the sense that we might be subliminally aware of the '00' of '007' lurking just behind those juxtaposed Os of Solo. Sometimes less is more,” Bond said in April, adding: “This short four-letter word is particularly and strikingly apt for the novel I have written.”

The actor Dominic West has today been named as the voice of the Solo audiobook.