James Bond books: the continuation novels

The James Bond books

Anthony Horowitz’s book Trigger Mortis is just the latest addition in a long line of James Bond continuation novels started following the death of Ian Fleming. Here we look at the authors of all the continuation novels to date.

The continuation authors

Also see: the James Bond Books

When Ian Fleming died on 12th August 1964 he left behind a single novel written at the beginning of the year during his annual holiday at Goldeneye.

With his health failing and unable to write at his usual pace, by the time of his death he had not yet completed the substantial revisions needed to bring the manuscript up to standard. Glidrose Productions (now Ian Fleming Publications), who controlled the literary rights to James Bond, therefore hired Kingsley Amis, an established author and well-known Bond fan, to suggest changes prior to publication.

Although Amis did make a number of suggestions, when The Man With The Golden Gun was published in 1965 it was apparently without amendment.

Fleming’s final book collected two previously published short stories, Octopussy and The Living Daylights. This volume was expanded to three stories for the paperback edition, with a fourth story added in 2002.

With no more Fleming material available, Glidrose therefore decided to commission a series of novels instead. And so James Bond lived on in a series of continuation novels that by far outnumbers Fleming’s original series of books. The authors and their books are discussed below.

Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham)

Colonel Sun

Despite not implementing Amis’s suggestions for The Man With The Golden Gun, Glidrose approached Amis to write the first continuation novel.

Amis was a fan of James Bond and penned one of the first critical studies of the James Bond phenomenon, The James Bond Dossier, as well as the light hearted The Book of Bond: or Every Man His Own 007 (as Lt Col William “Bill” Tanner) in 1965, the same year as The Man With The Golden Gun.

Completed by early 1967, Colonel Sun was published in 1968 to broadly positive reviews.

Although a series of continuation novels had been planned using a number of established authors all using the pseudonym “Robert Markham”, Fleming’s widow vetoed further novels.

Colonel Sun (1968)
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John Pearson


John Pearson worked for Fleming to work at the Sunday Times and wrote the hugely successful The Life of Ian Fleming, published in 1966.

Lord Longford, chairman of publisher Sidgwick & Jackson, suggested he write a fictional biography of James Bond, which Pearson found easy to do. In many respects he saw Ian Fleming and James Bond as one and the same. Although Longford needed to secure permission from Glidrose prior to publication, James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007 was released in 1973.

Because of this it is the only James Bond novel on which the copyright is shared between the author and Glidrose. Glidrose/Ian Fleming Publications holds full copyright of all others.

James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007 (1973)
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John Gardner


In 1979 Glidrose approached John Gardner to write a series of continuation novels. Gardner was already known for writing the Boysie Oakes novels, which parodied Fleming’s works, as well as a series of novels based on Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis.

Following John Pearson’s biography of Bond there had been no further continuation novels. However, screenwriter Christopher Wood did write novelizations of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).

Gardner’s first Bond novel, Licence Renewed, appeared in 1981. Gardner wrote a total of 14 novels and two film novelizations (Licence to Kill and Goldeneye) before he retired as official Bond author in 1996.

License Renewed (1981)

For Special Services (1982)

Icebreaker (1983)

Role of Honour (1984)

Nobody Lives for Ever (1986)

No Deals, Mr Bond (1987)

Scorpius (1988)

Win, Lose or Die (1989)

Licence to Kill (1989)

Brokenclaw (1990)

The Man from Barbarossa (1991)

Death is Forever (1992)

Never Send Flowers (1993)

SeaFire (1994)

GoldenEye (1995)

COLD (1996)

John Gardner’s 007 novels: Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Raymond Benson


Raymond Benson first came to the attention of Bond fans worldwide when he published the James Bond Bedside Companion in 1984. Benson examined Ian Fleming, his books and the films spawned by them. He also covered the continuation novels including, quite critically, those of John Gardner.

On the basis of this work Benson was approached to write a new series of continuation novels when Gardner retired. He started out with a short story, Blast From the Past, published the January 1977 edition of Playboy and in total wrote six novels, three short stories (below marked *) and three novelizations.

Benson officially retired as Bond author in 2003, wanting to explore other projects while Ian Fleming Publications, wanted to move in a different direction.

Blast From the Past * (1997)

Zero Minus Ten (1997)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

The Facts of Death (1998)

Midsummer Night’s Doom * (1999)

High Time to Kill * (1999)

Live at Five (1999)

The World Is Not Enough (1999)

DoubleShot (2000)

Never Dream of Dying (2001)

The Man with the Red Tattoo (2002)

Die Another Day (2002)

Raymond Benson’s 007 novels: Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Sebastian Faulks


Following Benson’s departure, Ian Fleming Publications focused on launching the Young Bond series. Charlie Higson wrote the popular series of children’s books between 2005 and 2008.

However, in July 2007 Ian Fleming Publications announced that Sebastian Faulks would write a new Bond novel, Devil May Care, in the style of Ian Fleming and set after his last novel, The Man With Golden Gun. Devil May Care was published on 28th May 2008 to celebrate the centenary of Fleming’s birth.

Devil May Care (2008)
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Jeffery Deaver


Although Faulks could have written a follow up to Devil May Care, he decided not to. Instead American author Jeffery Deaver, best known for The Bone Collector, was signed to write a new Bond novel.

Deaver decided to follow the example of the film series and reboot Bond rather than follow Fleming’s chronology. He also made no attempt to write in a similar style to Bond’s creator. First announced in 2010, Carte Blanche was published in June 2011.

Carte Blanche (2011)
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William Boyd


Ian Fleming Publications announced William Boyd as the next Bond author in April 2012. Boyd set much of the action in the fictional African country of Zanzarim, which he based on his experiences of being brought up in Nigeria during the country’s civil war. Solo was published in September 2013.

Solo (2013)
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Anthony Horowitz


Long time Bond fan Anthony Horowitz is the latest author contribute to the continuation novels. For several years Horowitz was considered by some fans to be a natural fit for James bond because of his Alex Rider series for young adults and inspired by 007.

Trigger Mortis was published on 8th September 2015 to almost universal critical acclaim.

Trigger Mortis (2015)
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