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Bennett Winch SC Holdall

Solo Launch Report, Review and Pictures

26 September, 2013

The 25th original adult Bond continuation novel, "Solo", was launched Wednesday 25th September 2013 at the Dorchester. The event involved an introduction by Ian Fleming's niece, Lucy, a reading and Q & A by author William Boyd and then a ceremonial signing of 7 copies of the book, placed in 7 transparent briefcases, carried by 7 period costumed BOAC airhostesses to 7 vintage Jensen sports cars which were then driven in a convoy to Heathrow Airport, destined for seven cities around the world with ties to Boyd or Bond — Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Zurich, New Delhi, Los Angeles, Cape Town and Sydney.

Solo launch 1

Seven Books For Seven Cases
Solo Launch, The Dorchester, London 25.09.2013 © Ajay Chowdhury

A scrum of distinguished members of the World's Press attended and the book Bond was back in business. Boyd, who is a 007 scholar, explained how he's a fan of Fleming first, how he doubted his retro Bond novel set in 1969 would be made into a film, how he sought advice from his friend Daniel Craig before writing the book (Craig starred in the film Boyd wrote and directed, The Trench) and how the actor who comes closest to the literary Bond is Daniel Day Lewis. Witty, urbane, entertaining, Boyd was as suave as vanilla. Bond fans are in good hands.

William Boyd Solo launch

Inspecting Their Handiwork L-R William Boyd, Lucy Fleming
Solo Launch, The Dorchester, London 25.09.2013 © Ajay Chowdhury


Jensen Solo launch Dorchester

The Jensen Leaves
Solo Launch, The Dorchester, London 25.09.2013 © Ajay Chowdhury

Spoilerfree review
Solo is the best Bond novel in years. Set in 1969, it is a reality based, thriller centered around the factional conflict in fictional Central African state, Zanzarim and the breakaway Repulic of Dahum. Bond is sent to on a Conrad-esque quest to track down warlord Brigadier Solomon “The Scorpion” Adeka. However, things are not all they seem as Bond and his local translator, Blessing get caught up in a full-scale civil war over the nation's newly discovered oil reserves.

The action moves from London to Zanzarim to Washington, and Bond moves around in a Jensen Interceptor FF (the Bentley is being repaired). M, Moneypenny, May and Felix Leiter return but May's niece, Donalda, Felix's nephew Brigham also turn up for the ride. Bond has a new secretary, Araminta Beauchamp, a young new Q Branch quartermaster, Quentin Dale and a brand new heavy in the form of Rhodesian mercenary Jakobus Creed.

African expert Boyd writes a superb spy thriller with shades of late period Le Carre. Densely plotted, Boyd writes sparingly but well, capturing location and character and period and most importantly, the spirit and essence of Ian Fleming's James Bond. Fleming fans will enjoy Solo and those new to the literary Bond world can have no better introduction. Solo is superb 007 entertainment for the SkyFall generation.

Thanks to Ajay Chowdhury for the report, photos and review

Solo is now available on and

Hands Solo William Boyd Dorchester

Hands Solo - William Boyd with BOAC Air hostess
Solo Launch, The Dorchester, London 25.09.2013 © Ajay Chowdhury


members of the press Solo launch

Distinguished Members Of The World's Press - Kevin Collette
Solo Launch, The Dorchester, London 25.09.2013 © Ajay Chowdhury


Silva meets Solo

Silva Meets Solo
Picadilly Circus tube, London 25.09.2013 © Ajay Chowdhury


Solo BBC William Boyd

Bond At The Beeb, Solo Broadcasting House
London 26.09.2013  © Ajay Chowdhury

All photos copyright Ajay Chowdhury, 2013. All rights reserved.

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So I bought the book the other day and took two days to get through it. I'll be fair and take another look at it in a week, but I'll admit I wasn't impressed. There just wasn't enough of Fleming in the novel.
I'm a huge fan of the literally Bond, but the new book was somehow disappointing. There are some nice parts, but without the usual Fleming charm (in the descriptions of a breakfast for example). Of course it is another writer and I don't expect a new Fleming book, but the plot is slow pacing, not really suspence-packed and there are some characteristics about this Bond who are disputable. Even if this Bond should be a dark one it's hard for the reader to understand the motives for some of his moves... But I still will re-read it and see if there is more to discover. But: It's is still a well written book.

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