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Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel


Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel

Anthony Horowitz is taking a step that may shock a number of James Bond fans. FOREVER AND A DAY is actually a prequel to the series, outlining the origins of our favorite member of MI6 and setting the action prior to Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, CASINO ROYALE. What is even more interesting is that Horowitz uses unpublished material from Fleming for the chapter entitled “Russian Roulette.”

In FOREVER AND A DAY, we literally see a James Bond that will be unrecognizable to many. This is a young and brash agent who is finally getting the opportunity to take on the famous license to kill and step into the Double-O ranks. What we have here is an untested Bond who actually makes many mistakes and nearly finds himself being killed, more than once, on his very first mission. Everyone has their favorite Bond actor, and any can be used as you envision the action here. For me, James Bond is and always will be Sean Connery, and it was very easy to see the young, pre-Dr. No Scottish actor in this role.

The story opens with Agent 007 being listed as dead. This reference is to the agent who bore that code prior to James Bond being promoted into it. Chief of Staff M accepts the recommendation of Bond as the new 007, and his first mission is to step right into the same hotbed that saw his predecessor slain --- the underground illegal drug trade on the French Riviera. Bond earned his stripes by assassinating a Norwegian national, Rolf Larsen, who had worked for the Nazis during WWII. He comes through and gains his official license to kill.

"Anthony Horowitz's take on James Bond is fresh; you can practically smell the gin in the agent's martini. The way he seamlessly infuses original material by Ian Fleming into FOREVER AND A DAY speaks volumes as to how true he is to the source."

As he reflects on his life and the prospect of promotion, Bond thinks back to his parents who died in a climbing accident when he was just 11 years old. It is nice to look back on his formative years to help understand the man who we all know as the World's Greatest Secret Agent. He sets out for his assignment, and of course finds his way into the nearest casino. It is here where he comes across the beguiling Sixtine, who he beats at the table before offering to buy her a drink. Fans will love learning that Bond got his martini preference --- shaken not stirred --- from Sixtine. She indicated that her ex-husband would never approve of a shaken martini, so she did the exact opposite of his recommendation. This method stuck from that moment on with 007.

Bond joins forces with a member of the CIA, Reade Griffith, as they pose as businessmen in the market for insecticide. As such, they infiltrate a French chemical company, Ferrix Chimiques, that they believe is a front for high-level heroin exporting. When they are unable to find their way into the accounts department, Bond pulls the office alarm and makes his way to the files he needs. The first major blunder he makes is underestimating the middle-aged woman who confronts him there. He dismisses her because she is stout and elderly, but she ends up leading him into a trap that finds him knocked unconscious.

When Bond awakes, he is bound and gagged. Even worse, he sees a huge figure with a few smaller henchmen approaching him. This is the obese drug lord he had been made aware of prior to his mission, the man known as Jean-Paul Scipio. A Corsican who speaks through a translator, Scipio admits that he is the one who killed his colleague and then threatens to send Bond back to England alive but disfigured. The disfigurement would come as the result of sulfuric acid being poured over his head. Seeing no way out of this predicament, the doomed Bond sits there as a vial of acid is thrown in his face. After the initial shock, he realizes that it was a psychological ruse as the liquid is merely water. Scipio assumes that this warning will be heeded, and Bond will return to England with his tail between his legs. I guess Scipio doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does about our man Bond!

One thing Bond fans will notice in FOREVER AND A DAY is the lack of creative gadgets. There is no Agent Q here, and Bond is left to his wits and lack of experience alone. Little does he know that Scipio is just one player in the dangerous illegal drug trade, and proceeding further will find him placed in even more peril. He attempts another way into the information he needs from Ferrix Chimiques and understanding why his predecessor had been there. Bond pesters the secretary he and Reade encountered during their visit until she agrees to meet him at a café in her home village of Aubagne. He gets some information from young Monique de Troyes, but in doing so makes his second big mistake. Someone sees the two of them together, and moments after Monique leaves Bond, she is struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Bond needs help and “reconnects” with the mysterious Sixtine, who is engaged to wealthy American entrepreneur Irwin Wolfe. Wolfe takes Sixtine and her new friend on a tour of his grand ocean liner, the Mirabelle. It doesn't take Bond long to realize he is walking upon the vessel that will be shipping tons of heroin to the United States. When you learn about Wolfe's impetus for his involvement with Scipio and the heroin trade, it will give you chills.

Whenever Bond and Sixtine are together, things get really interesting. There is the expected, classic chase scene, as well as the anticipated capturing by the bad guys and yet another confrontation with both Scipio and now Wolfe. It is when Bond and Sixtine are confined to a cabin on the ocean liner that we learn how the novel got its title. The action on the now-moving ship reaches breakneck pace, and the mission ends on a successful note but with some unanticipated casualties.

Anthony Horowitz's take on James Bond is fresh; you can practically smell the gin in the agent's martini. The way he seamlessly infuses original material by Ian Fleming into FOREVER AND A DAY speaks volumes as to how true he is to the source. I always felt bad that Fleming passed away in 1964 and never had an opportunity to truly witness the global phenomenon that James Bond has become and still is to this day. If he was around today to read this origin story, I am confident he would give it a hearty cheers and a thumbs up.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on November 9, 2018

Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel
by Anthony Horowitz

  • Publication Date: November 5, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062873628
  • ISBN-13: 9780062873620