LONDON - Flanked by vintage sports cars and glamorous flight attendants, author William Boyd on Wednesday unveiled the new James Bond novel "Solo" in which he opts for a 1960s settings for 007's exploits.
Setting off from The Dorchester hotel in London, copies of the book were driven in a convoy of Jensen cars to London's Heathrow Airport from where they were flown to Amsterdam, Cape Town, Delhi, Edinburgh, Los Angeles and Sydney.
Boyd said the novel, adorned with a dust cover pierced through with six 'bullet holes', was the culmination of a lifelong passion for the original books about the dashing British secret agent, penned by Ian Fleming.
"I was always interested in Fleming, the man, to such an extend that I had to put him in one of my novels, in 2002, 'Any Human Heart'," he said.
To prepare for writing the latest Bond novel, Boyd re-read all the Fleming books, "in chronological order, pen in hand, taking notes".
"I came to admire what he's done as a writer," said Boyd, who decided against donning a Bond-like dinner suit for the occasion and came in a blue suit and white shirt instead.
"Solo" steps away from the cinema incarnation of Bond - currently played by the muscular Daniel Craig - and portrays 007 as a veteran agent sent to single-handedly stop a civil war in the fictional West African nation of Zanzarim in 1969.
The plot also takes Bond to Washington, where he discovers a complicated web of geopolitical intrigue, and to a host of cities around the world.