> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099578970
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $19.99

Solo

A James Bond Novel




The bestselling new James Bond novel written by William Boyd (‘English fiction's master storyteller’ The Times)

*The Sunday Times Bestseller*
It is 1969 and James Bond is about to go solo, recklessly motivated by revenge.
A seasoned veteran of the service, 007 is sent to single-handedly stop a civil war in the small West African nation of Zanzarim. Aided by a beautiful accomplice and hindered by the local militia, he undergoes a scarring experience which compels him to ignore M’s orders in pursuit of his own brand of justice. Bond’s renegade action leads him to Washington, D.C., where he discovers a web of intrigue and witnesses fresh horrors.
Even if Bond succeeds in exacting his revenge, a man with two faces will come to stalk his every waking moment.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099578970
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

William Boyd

William Boyd is the author of one work of non-fiction, three collections of short stories and thirteen novels, including the bestselling historical spy thriller Restless – winner of the Costa Novel of the Year – and Any Human Heart, in which the character of Ian Fleming features. Among his other awards are the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Jean Monnet. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2005, he was awarded the CBE.

Born in Ghana in 1952, William Boyd spent much of his early life in West Africa. He now divides his time between the south-west of France and Chelsea, where he lives a stone’s throw from James Bond’s London address.

Also by William Boyd

See all

Praise for Solo

“This is well-plotted, exciting stuff and Boyd has a great sense of time and place. His boozy, maturer, more fallible Bond is totally believable. Mission accomplished, Mr Boyd.”

Natasha Harding, Sun

“Boyd was a smart choice for a Bond thriller. The action clips along. There are welcome literary flourishes and a dense plot.”

Richard Fitzpatrick, Irish Examiner

“Written with aplomb, Boyd’s Bond novel is a terrific twisting thriller.”

Sunday Times

“Anyone wishing this autumn to enjoy the Cold War with the assurance of a happy ending should seek out William Boyd’s new James Bond novel, Solo, in which 007 is dispatched to West Africa and the fictitious country of Zanzarim, where he finds himself in the midst of a civil war.”

Stephen McGinty, Scotsman

“A fantastic read, which I ripped through in the time it would take to watch Skyfall, as it happens, and I found it significantly more enjoyable.”

The Times

“Triumphantly the equal of the great Bond adventures… A brilliant imitation that’s occasionally superior to the prototype. Boyd IS Bond.”

Robert McCrun, Guardian

“The poised, lyrical writing is a joy to read.”

The Telegraph

“[William Boyd has] a straightforward gift as a story-teller, coupled with a genius for evoking time and place… Boyd’s prose gives at least as much pleasure as the first taste of a freezing cold beer, consumed at dusk on a tropical terrace, at the end of a long hard day.”

Mail Online

“Sebastian Faulks was the first author invited to pen a new Bond story…and Jeffrey Deaver the second. Now William Boyd has had a go, setting his story in 1969 and launching the spy on yet another mission.”

Essentials

“Events in Africa in 1969 drive 45-year-old James Bond to embark on an unauthorized solo mission in America, for which he’s prepared to accept the consequences. 007 is back!”

Fanny Blake, Woman and Home

“The man with the golden gun is back in William Boyd's new novel paying tribute to the late great Ian Fleming.”

Scott McMullon, So So Gay

“Look how nice the new Bond novel looks.”

Shortlist

“Boyd has said the Bond films have turned the agent into a 'cartoon character' and he wants to show Bond as he originally was: 'far more troubled, nuanced and interesting.' That all sounds great.”

Viv Groskop, Red

“It might just be the ultimate in fan fiction.”

Deirdre O’Brien, Sunday Mirror

“Freeing Bond from all that usual world-in-his-hands nonsense, making him just that bit less invincible and the action just that bit more credible, Boyd has done something rather unlikely: he’s given us a middle-aged, fallible Scottish hero we can almost believe in.”

David Robinson, Scotsman

“William Boyd brings back the real Bond, triumphantly… To bring a much-loved character back to life in this way is a formidable literary achievement.”

Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail

“Boyd is forging the Bond of Fleming rather than the sanitised version of film… Boyd has recreated the hero with wit, invention and no little humour.”

Richard Kay, Daily Mail

“The late Ian Fleming would surely have approved of novelist William Boyd continuing his James Bond writing franchise.”

Hugh MacDonald, Herald

“Solo’s true literary craft lies in the subtlety of its correspondences – the way Bond’s solitary celebration of his birthday at the beginning mirrors his solo mission at the end – and also the suspenseful quality that keeps us on our toes until the closing pages. Mission accomplished.”

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times

“[Boyd’s] novel stays faithful to Fleming’s character, from his meticulous approach to clothes to his fondness for cigarettes and whisky to his famous penchant for attractive women.”

Jill Lawless, Irish Examiner

“Terrific new outing… A tremendous Bond story, close to the model of the early Fleming novels.”

David Mills, Sunday Times

“Frankly, Faulks and Boyd are top-drawer writers. Yes, better than Fleming, though one can never take away his marvelous character creations.”

Richard Brooks, Sunday Times

“Boyd avowedly returns to the Fleming roots… Boyd’s prose is lean, confident and well-crafted.”

Ben Felsenburg, Metro

“Showing the superspy as a complex character who weeps.”

Sun

“I was gripped by the story.”

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Bookseller

“This is a straightforward spy thriller the likes of which Ian Fleming would have loved. An excellent read by an excellent author.”

Ben Keenan, UK Regional Press Syndication

“The geographical and historical detail is excellent, Bond’s character is beautifully fleshed out, and it all works brilliantly well.”

Charlie Higson, Mail on Sunday

“This is a novel, by a grown-up, and could only have been achieved by someone who had been enthralled when young and still believed, and also believed, with the thrilling self-confidence accorded to few writers, that he could make it better… A triumph. Bond is back.”

Euan Ferguson, Observer

“Boyd’s strengths are at play here: from the names that stick like a tic (Digby Beadalbane the hack; Kobus Breed the killer) to the portrayal of a cracked African state weeded with mercenaries. And in 007 he has stripped the gadgets away to reveal a driven but existentially torn spook dealing with betrayal and a thirst for revenge.”

Christian House, Independent on Sunday

“[Boyd’s] approach, he has said, was to write his own novel using Fleming’s characters, and his gift for sustaining narrative momentum is the key to its success.”

Richard Williams, Guardian

“Written with aplomb, Boyd’s Bond novel is a terrific twisting thriller.”

Deirdre O'Brien, Sunday Mirror

“Introduces a surprisingly sensitive Bond, but happily one who still has an eye for women, an impressive capacity for violence and a fondness for an eye-watering amount of booze.”

Deirdre O'Brien, Sunday Mirror

“It takes a brave chap to assume the mantle of Ian Fleming's Bond, but William Boyd is just the fellow.”

Independent

“The complex plot, full of twists and turns, as well as Bond’s penchant for fine food and fast women, make this book a fitting addition to the 007 oeuvre.”

Good Book Guide

“Mixing the best ingredients of the Fleming novels with some unusual details, Boyd’s take on 007 is crisp and invigorating like a stiff Martini.”

Lady

“A brilliant James Bond pastiche by a better writer than Ian Fleming.”

Barry Humphries, Spectator

“Brand-mad boys will love it. Boyd outdoes Fleming in politically incorrect, cocktail-slurping, Sobranie-smoking glamour, gastronomic and sexual specificity, gun technology and violence.”

Christian Hardyment, The Times

“Boyd's prose is crisp and clean, and the story fairly ricochets through its twists and turns as Bond zips from London to east Africa and on to the US. Fans of the original Fleming novels will find much to enjoy.”

Declan Burke, Irish Times

“Slyly deconstructs the assumptions – paternalist, imperialist, patriarchal – that underpin Bond’s world, and concludes with a potent denunciation not only of the realpolitik of the late 1960s but of our own time... It is a lonely and chastened 007 whom we leave on the final page, one who possesses a sense of cultural and historical perspective that could only have been granted to him by someone like Boyd.”

Jonathan Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

“A terrific twisting thriller”

Sunday Times

“William Boyd brings back the real Bond, triumphantly”

Daily Mail

“A triumph. Bond is back”

Observer

“Works brilliantly well”

Mail on Sunday

“Superb”

Scotsman

“The late Ian Fleming would surely have approved”

Daily Mail

“Brilliant”

Spectator

“Keeps us on our toes until the closing pages”

Financial Times

“Terrific… A tremendous Bond story”

Sunday Times

“Exciting stuff… Mission accomplished, Mr Boyd”

Sun

“Manages to enrich and refresh a character we thought we knew too well. Solo is a terrific twisting thriller – just when you smugly think you have spotted a huge hole in the plot, Boyd turns it breathtakingly around.”

David Mills, Sunday Times

“Since the death of Ian Fleming, plenty of writers have tried their hand at perpetuating the career of James Bond, with mixed results. Boyd’s Solo is undoubtedly one of the best.”

Mail on Sunday

“A triumphant thriller worthy of Bond’s creator Ian Fleming.”

Daily Express

“I found myself wondering if Boyd had outdone Fleming.”

Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

“[Boyd is] an ideal writer of James Bond novels, and this one, his first, is very good”

William Leith, Evening Standard

“Perfectly judged homage”

Mail on Sunday

“A brand new James Bond adventure combining all the glamour and excitement of Fleming’s original novels with the masterful storytelling of William Boyd”

Western Morning News

“A very good piece of literary ventriloquism, with a great baddie”

Heathrow Express

“Perfectly judged homage”

Mail on Sunday

“Fleming’s James Bond lives again in this perfectly judged homage”

Mail on Sunday


Related titles