A new James Bond novel has been commissioned to celebrate King Charles’ coronation: 'On HIS Majesty's Secret Service'. Where do they get their ideas?
'Casino Royale'. 'From Russia With Love'. 'Goldfinger'. 'On His Majesty’s Secret Service'?
Yes, you read that right and it wasn’t a typo.
Ian Fleming Publications has commissioned Young Bond series author Charlie Higson to write a new James Bond adventure to celebrate the coronation of King Charles. And the title they’re going with is the somewhat cringe-worthy 'On His Majesty’s Secret Service', a mild deviation from Fleming’s tenth novel 'On Her Majesty’s Secret Service', originally published in 1963 and which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
According to Variety, the new 007 story brings Bond into the present day.
The pitch goes along these lines: It is 4 May, two days before the coronation of King Charles III. Bond is sent to thwart an attempt to disrupt the coronation by the wealthy and self-styled Athelstan of Wessex, who is on a deadly mission of his own to teach the UK a lesson. Bond must dismantle his devious plans and defeat his privately hired team of mercenaries.
Well, at least it’s some temporary – if on-the-nose – respite from Ian Fleming Publications’ censoring of the original Bond novels.
'On His Majesty’s Secret Service' will be published on 4 May, ahead of the coronation on 6 May. All royalties from sales of the book will support the work of the National Literacy Trust, an independent UK charity working with schools and communities to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills to succeed in life.
Higson has written five novels in the Young Bond series, which are young adult spy novels featuring Bond as a teenage boy attending school at Eton College in the 1930s.
Higson said: “When Ian Fleming Publications came to me with the idea of writing an adult Bond story a little more than a month ago I was thrilled – until I realised it had to be ready for the coronation in May. Getting it written and turned around in such a short space of time was going to be as tense and heart-pounding as any Bond mission. Although, of course, nobody would actually be shooting at me.”
Managing director of Ian Fleming Publications Corinne Turner said: “The coronation of King Charles III is a momentous occasion for the country. We asked ourselves how we at Ian Fleming Publications could celebrate it, and the answer seemed obvious. Ian Fleming’s ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was first published on 1 April 1963. What better way, 60 years on, to mark this new chapter in history than with a brand new story: ‘On His Majesty’s Secret Service’? We shared our thoughts with Charlie, and he was delighted to take on the challenge of writing a Bond adventure in time for publication in May.”
'On His Majesty’s Secret Service' will be published on 4 May. King Charles III’s coronation takes place on Saturday 6 May at Westminster Abbey.