Anyone up for WW2 / Post-WW2 Era Bond prequel novels?

MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
in Literary 007 Posts: 4,198
Well now that Anthony Horowitz’s third Bond novel is out now, and while there’s nothing officially confirmed, I have a feeling it might be the last of his contributions. He’s covered the beginning, middle and now the end of the Fleming timeline after all.

Which inevitably brings up the question of what’s next for the literary Bond. Do they continue with novels set after or during the Fleming canon, which has been the norm since 2008 (Carte Blance notwithstanding?) Do they attempt another modern-day reboot?

One option which I haven’t seen discussed yet anywhere but which could be interesting is the possibility of additional prequels - but not to Bond’s early missions as 007, but rather, to his service during WW2 and/or his early post-war service.

A WW2 set novel could feature the exploits of Lieutanant Bond during the war, as part of Naval Intelligence. We’d see the beginnings of his career in espionage, and the experiences that start to transform a teenaged orphan into one of Britain’s finest agents. Or we could see Bond work with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), as it is often speculated he did.

Then there’s the post-war era of course, with Bond first joining the Secret Service. We already know, from the odd reference in the Fleming novels, that Bond spent some time on a long assignment in Jamaica after the war, working with a man called Charles DaSilva. This could be an interesting period to explore - we have a Bond who’s a war veteran but who’s starting to navigate the realities of being a secret agent just as the Cold War begins. And it would also present us with Bond in the years leading up to his becoming a 00.

Both are exciting options, with the post-war option giving us something a little closer to the kind of Bond adventure we’re used to. Of course, an argument could be made that this approach doesn’t exactly give us the ‘‘James Bond 007’’ we all know and love. But if the world can accept Young Bond, then I think a Bond who’s actually old enough to be a spy, but young enough to be a very different take on the character, could be interesting.

Yet another option is to maybe set the book across two timelines, and have Bond in the 50’s or 60’s dealing with a mission that has its roots in an earlier mission from the war or post-war period.

I thought I’d be put off a bit by the fact that “prequel” stories by their nature rule out any real suspense, but I quite liked them. Also, if you’re determined to do an “origin” for Bond, I’d prefer to see him as he’s presented in these comics: thanks to his age a little unpolished when it comes to the particulars of spycraft, but already extremely clever and inventive, and highly adaptable with nerves of steel in moments of crisis. That works better for me than the Craig era “origin” where Bond is a lumbering bull in a china shop, all muscles and rage with a LOT of rough edges to polish off.

Jeff Parker’s excellent “James Bond Origin” comics which are literally this - young Bond in WW2 being recruited into a new, special branch of naval intelligence that train him up in all the skills we see him exhibit in the books and the films. It skews a little bit closer to Movie Bond with Fleming wallpaper, but it’s wonderful, cracking fun. It’s a shame that Bond Origins from Dynamite ended because of Comicsgate. There was still quite a lot of material and ways that it could have gone. I would approve, as long as a novel or two would be set in modern day on a yearly basis.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • TheSkyfallen06TheSkyfallen06 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    edited October 2023 Posts: 1,006
    Love it! Where do i sign?
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    edited October 2023 Posts: 4,198
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited October 2023 Posts: 15,334
    There was certainly a sizeable hunger for Higson to press on and do more stories with a slightly older James in WW2 at the time he ended his Young Bond novels. Fans at the time even gave this a nicely punning name:
    War Bond (ho ho!).
  • TheSkyfallen06TheSkyfallen06 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Posts: 1,006
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.

    I actually headcanon DalBond being a Vietnam War veteran and BrosBond being a Falklands War veteran.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    edited October 2023 Posts: 4,198
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.

    I actually headcanon DalBond being a Vietnam War veteran and BrosBond being a Falklands War veteran.

    I can agree with that. Nice viewpoints. I’d actually like to end one of the novel(s) with Bond/Trevelyan meeting with M. They could be looked as future agents for MI6, with foreshadowing in one novel, then at the end of the series, both become 00 agents. Have Mathis join the French police force and Leiter join the CIA. Like I said, character development. The series wouldn’t have to lead into CR, CB or FAAD. Ironically, those are some of my favorite novels.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited October 2023 Posts: 17,921
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.

    I actually headcanon DalBond being a Vietnam War veteran and BrosBond being a Falklands War veteran.

    The only thing is the British were never involved in the Vietnam War, thanks to the then prime minister Harold Wilson refusing to send British troops to it. In John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983) it mentions that Bond was involved in the Falklands War and had even appeared on television, so that fits.
  • TheSkyfallen06TheSkyfallen06 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Posts: 1,006
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.

    I actually headcanon DalBond being a Vietnam War veteran and BrosBond being a Falklands War veteran.

    The only thing is the British were never involved in the Vietnam War, thanks to the then prime minister Harold Wilson refusing to send British troops to it. In John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983) it mentions that Bond was involved in the Falklands War and had even appeared on television, so that fits.

    Wasn't the British Air Force involved?
  • edited October 2023 Posts: 3,193
    I think the issue with a character like Bond is that without him being a part of this elite, secret part of MI6 that is the 00 section you risk losing something vital to the character. That said, if such a premise was going to be done, novels are the best vehicle I think.

    But honestly, I think in practice it'd end up a bit like how the Young Bond novels did. That's to say they contain the broad elements of a James Bond 007 adventure (fantastical villains, lairs, Bond girls etc) but with an implausibly young, inexperienced version of the character. They'd be very self referential too. I like those books, but I'm not sure if I'd view them as 'cannon' or anything. I think you also lose something to Bond when he doesn't have that mixture of jadedness, cynicism and/or experience to him that comes with his job. He becomes a different character almost. I suppose that's something to play on though.
  • TheSkyfallen06TheSkyfallen06 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    edited October 2023 Posts: 1,006
    007HallY wrote: »
    I think the issue with a character like Bond is that without him being a part of this elite, secret part of MI6 that is the 00 section you risk losing something vital to the character. That said, if such a premise was going to be done, novels are the best vehicle I think.

    But honestly, I think in practice it'd end up a bit like how the Young Bond novels did. That's to say they contain the broad elements of a James Bond 007 adventure (fantastical villains, lairs, Bond girls etc) but with an implausibly young, inexperienced version of the character. They'd be very self referential too. I like those books, but I'm not sure if I'd view them as 'cannon' or anything. I think you also lose something to Bond when he doesn't have that mixture of jadedness, cynicism and/or experience to him that comes with his job. He becomes a different character almost. I suppose that's something to play on though.

    They could do something akin KSDO, a separate continuity from the mainstream novels.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 15,334
    KSDO?
  • TheSkyfallen06TheSkyfallen06 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Posts: 1,006
    mtm wrote: »
    KSDO?

    Kim Sherwood's Double-O
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited October 2023 Posts: 15,334
    Probably quicker just to write that :P
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,198
    mtm wrote: »
    KSDO?

    Kim Sherwood's Double-O

    Took me until you explained it to realize that. I think it would work for her series as a whole. I honestly think that IFP should do 2 series at once. Two books a year, or one book every year. IFP needs to step their game from the publishing standpoint.
  • Posts: 5,871
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.

    I actually headcanon DalBond being a Vietnam War veteran and BrosBond being a Falklands War veteran.

    The only thing is the British were never involved in the Vietnam War, thanks to the then prime minister Harold Wilson refusing to send British troops to it. In John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983) it mentions that Bond was involved in the Falklands War and had even appeared on television, so that fits.

    Wasn't the British Air Force involved?

    Indeed, the RAF was involved, and they were not the only one :

    https://www.worldhistoryblog.com/britain-vietnam-war.html

    And if we extend to the Commonwealth, I know that Australian SAS commandos were there too.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited October 2023 Posts: 17,921
    Gerard wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    I actually wouldn’t mind Bond being a veteran of a more modern war. Jeffery Deaver did this with Bond as a Afghanistan veteran, which I liked. He also made his parents involved with the Cold War, which was interesting. Now, with Russia at war with Ukraine and Gaza−Israel conflict in place, Bond could easily get involved with those wars while in the army. Semi-seriously, René Mathis, Felix Leiter, Alec Trevelyan could meet with Bond as side stories, and develop as future characters. Even Elliot Carver could have an origin story born out of how crazy the media is today with war.

    I actually headcanon DalBond being a Vietnam War veteran and BrosBond being a Falklands War veteran.

    The only thing is the British were never involved in the Vietnam War, thanks to the then prime minister Harold Wilson refusing to send British troops to it. In John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983) it mentions that Bond was involved in the Falklands War and had even appeared on television, so that fits.

    Wasn't the British Air Force involved?

    Indeed, the RAF was involved, and they were not the only one :

    https://www.worldhistoryblog.com/britain-vietnam-war.html

    And if we extend to the Commonwealth, I know that Australian SAS commandos were there too.

    The thing is Bond was never in the RAF though. As for the Vietnam War, James Bond isn't Rambo. A Falklands veteran would work much better, as he actually was one in Gardner's Bond novels.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 659
    Not interested. Fleming started with Casino Royale because that's where bond's story starts.
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