Money never dies: A tale of two spies

Their creators are long gone, but that hasn't prevented the publication of a new James Bond book and a new Jason Bourne book – on the same day. Adam Sherwin on a thrilling showdown

Do you expect me to talk? No, Mr Bond, I expect you to revitalise the high street book trade by winning a deadly publishing battle with your greatest espionage rival.

Click HERE to view graphic (113k jpg)

James Bond and Jason Bourne go head-to-head today with the launch of new novels that extend the narrative of the famous spies, who have long outlived their literary creators.

Carte Blanche is the 25th Bond book published since the death of Ian Fleming in 1964. In a "reboot" of the franchise by the American thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver, Bond is reinvented as an Afghanistan veteran, thrust into a post-9/11 world where "the other side doesn't play by the rules anymore".

Carte Blanche hits stores alongside The Bourne Dominion, the latest instalment in the adventures of the amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne. It is the sixth novel written by Eric Van Lustbader, since the death of Robert Ludlum, the Bourne creator, in 2001.

"Continuations" of a best-selling series, authorised by the estates of the original authors, are giving publishers a much-needed boost at a time when high street chains like Waterstones are struggling to meet the challenge from online retailers.

Hodder & Stoughton, UK publisher of Carte Blanche, took delivery of the first copies of the book at St Pancras International yesterday from a team of abseiling Royal Marines Commandos.

Millions of copies will be dispatched to 20 countries. An initial UK print run of 230,000 copies has been ordered for the book, which is predicted to beat the sales of Devil May Care, the previous Bond "continuation" by Sebastian Faulks, which became Penguin's fastest-selling hardbook novel in 2008.

Waterstone's is selling a signed, numbered and slipcased limited edition of Carte Blanche for £100. But Bond completists will want the Special Edition produced by Bentley, to mark 007's choice of the marque's Continental GT as his new favoured wheels. The 500 copies, set in a metal case, cost £1,000 each.

Lustbader's Bourne novels, which pick up where Ludlum's trilogy left off, have sent sales of the series to an estimated 80 million copies. The publisher, Orion, is hoping that shoppers driven to bookstores by Bond will also leave with a new Bourne. "If the publishers get it right, they can create a franchise which operates in tandem with the new films and renews itself every two years," said Neill Denny, editor-in-chief of The Bookseller. "These are massive worldwide brands."

However, Denny warned that the spy genre may never match its Cold War heights. "How do you reinvent the spy story in a world where drone pilots fight wars from the Nevada desert? It's not as romantic as Bond saving the world from a global holocaust."

Faulks retained Fleming's period setting for his novel but Deaver opted for a contemporary storyline. He said: "When we sat down with the Fleming estate we decided it would be best to have Bond track down a modern villain. That would have more emotional impact for the modern reader."

The next blockbuster in the "continuations" industry arrives in September, when Orion publishes a new full-length Sherlock Holmes novel, written by Anthony Horowitz, who was commissioned by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate. The new novels inevitably lend themselves to screen adaptations. Mr Deaver said: "I do write cinematically. It's a very visual book with sharp dialogue in exotic locations. I hope the Bond studio will have a serious look at it." Hence the contemporary setting. (The studios ignored Faulks's book, partly because of the period setting.)

But who will win the battle between Bond and Bourne? "I don't see it as a competition," said Deaver. "I hope folks can still afford two books, or go to the library and read them."

Denny believes Carte Blanche will have a head start with fans of the Fleming originals. "Deaver may be a better Bond choice than Faulks," he said. "He fits the plot-driven ethos of the Bond books whereas Faulks's approach is more literary."

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own