cover image Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel

Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel

Anthony Horowitz. Harper, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-287280-7

Bestseller Horowitz boldly creates an origin story for 007 in his entertaining second James Bond pastiche (after 2015’s Trigger Mortis), a prequel to Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (1953). The arresting opening sentence, “So, 007 is dead,” refers to Bond’s predecessor, whose body was found floating in the water off Marseilles, where he was investigating the activities of the Corsican underworld. M dispatches Bond, newly recruited to the Double-O section, to the South of France to track down the agent’s killer. In his last radio transmission, the first 007 mentioned Sixtine, a mysterious independent operative, whom Bond makes a point of meeting at a casino. Sixtine leads him to Corsican mobster Jean-Paul Scipio, a classic Bond villain who’s so obese that he can “pulverize his enemies using his own weight.” A fine storyteller, Horowitz employs all the tropes fans know and love (including an elegant explanation for the famous martini mandate, “shaken, not stirred”), but he also delivers a conclusion whose moral complexity will surprise anyone expecting an ending more in line with Fleming’s own. Bond aficionados will be well satisfied. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Nov.)