Solo: A James Bond Novel (Paperback)
One of our most acclaimed authors takes on a legendary literary character, James Bond -- producing a smart and stylish narrative of international espionage, conspiracy, and war
It’s 1969, and, just having celebrated his 45th birthday, British agent James Bond -- 007 -- is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual mission. Voltazia, a troubled West African nation, is being wracked by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to squash the rebel forces threatening the established regime. Bond senses that he’s not getting the full story about Britain’s interest in the outcome.
His landing in Voltazia begins a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war -- and Bond realizes the situation is far from straightforward. The beautiful and brilliant Ellie Ogilvy-Grant, his intelligence liaison on the ground, seems to be Bond’s best weapon -- until the two are captured by rebel forces and her allegiances become unclear. Bond escapes and returns home alive, but as he pieces together the real story behind the violence in Voltazia, he knows his life is in danger. The conspiracy extends further than Bond ever imagined, and only by crossing the Atlantic can he connect the dots between a dying African military leader, British and American intelligence forces, and a humanitarian aid group whose intentions are far from innocent.
Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it’s wielded -- a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon.
William Boyd is also the author of A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys War Prize and short-listed for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year; Ordinary Thunderstorms; and Waiting for Sunrise, among other books. He lives in London.
“Solo never fails to keep the reader on the edge of his chair. . . . Boyd is a brilliant storyteller and the interwoven plots and surprises of Solo are often superior to Fleming’s own narrative stunts.” — The Daily Beast
“A light, slick, sinuous adventure. . . . Though Boyd’s iteration of the character owes something to Graham Greene’s moral melancholy, Fleming’s Bond remains recognizable. So does the excellent pacing: Solo feels so quick that it could already be a movie.” — USA Today
“Boyd has immersed himself in the character, the author and his oeuvre and come up with an adventure that’s triumphantly the equal of the great Bond adventures. . . . A brilliant imitation that’s occasionally superior to the prototype.” — Robert McCrum, The Guardian
“Boyd brings back the real Bond, triumphantly. . . . A formidable literary achievement. . . . It succeeds wonderfully.” — The Daily Mail
“A perfectly judged narrative tempo . . . . The action is expertly plotted. . . . Solo’s true literary craft lies in the subtlety of its correspondences and also the suspenseful quality that keeps us on our toes until the closing pages. Mission accomplished.” — The Financial Times
“Breathtaking. . . . Boyd manages to enrich and refresh a character we thought we knew too well. . . . A terrific twisting thriller. . . . A tremendous Bond story.” — The Sunday Times
“A compulsively readable thriller, replicating the cocktail of ingredients that got Fleming’s readers hooked and yet to let the cracks in the fantasy figure show through. A thoroughly rewarding, entertaining and ultimately thought provoking fix.” — GQ
“More than half a century on, Boyd proves that there are plenty of pages left in 007’s passport. I doubt his creator could have done it better.” — Olen Steinhauer, The New York Times Book Review
“An exhilarating tightrope of a tale that’s also just retro enough to conjure the original books. . . . Boyd adroitly captures the postcolonial atmosphere of West Africa with a Graham Greene-like eye for detail. . . . Boyd has rendered his Bond perfectly.” — Valerie Plame, O magazine
“The prose of Boyd is frankly superior to that of Fleming. . . . A bloody good thriller. A triumph.” — The Observer
“Solo includes faint echoes of Joseph Conrad, whose stories of adventure, intrigue and espionage are deeply infused with a sense of moral inquiry and consequence. . . . A Bond novel but also a Boyd one, with richer and deeper concerns coursing alongside the Flemingesque flourishes that should keep fans satisfied, as well.” — The Washington Post
“William Boyd understands his man very well. . . . This is Bond done right.” — The Atlantic
“Boyd’s prose is crisp and clean, and the story fairly ricochets through its twists and turns as Bond zips from London to Africa and on to the US. Fans of the original Fleming novels will find much to enjoy.” — The Irish Times