Charlie Higson is the author of the official Young James Bond novels and has finally written an adventure about an adult 007.
On His Majesty Secret’s Service is set two days before King Charles III’s Coronation and is released the same day, with Fleming’s spy having to save the new monarch from a self-proclaimed pretender to the throne.
The writer says there’s a formula for Bond: “Guns, cars, a supervillain and a woman. M, Q, Moneypenny. 007 is a fantasy figure who solves things with a fist and doesn’t overthink.”
Speaking with The Sunday Times, Higson said: “I think that was wrong. I went to see No Time to Die with my oldest boy, Frank, who is 30, and he said, ‘That felt like a Bond film made by people who are embarrassed to make a Bond film.’ You had to watch two films in advance to know who such and such is and you think, ‘Oh, f*** off with that.’ Make it a new mission each episode and let him be Bond. They overcomplicate him. The best ‘Bond films’ now are the Mission: Impossibles. There is no inner life, it’s just, ‘Woah! Look at that building — I’d love to climb it and blow things up.’”
Yet despite his issues with the latest screen incarnation of Bond, the author isn’t bothered if some fans find his 007 “a bit woke”.
The 007 of On His Majesty’s Secret Service is in his mid-thirties with black hair. When asked if the character’s white, the author simply smiled and replied “It’s black hair” leaving that one open to the reader.
Higson’s Bond of 2023 also eats kimchi and reads the New Scientist, a far cry from Fleming’s 1950s chain-smoking alcoholic.
The author said: “It doesn’t bother me if someone says he’s a bit woke. Younger people tend to be. There is nothing wrong with being woke.”
On His Majesty’s Secret Service is published on May 4, 2023.