We may not have a new James Bond film for a while, so why not read the novelisation of a James Bond film treatment that was never made?
In the mid-1990s, prolific mystery and crime thriller author Donald E. Westlake submitted two treatments for the 18th Bond film (which would ultimately become 'Tomorrow Never Dies'). Working with producer Michael G. Wilson, Westlake's plot centered around the British handover of Hong Kong back to the Chinese in 1997. Outside of EON Productions, these two treatments were unseen until Philip Poggiali, an academic librarian at Pace University, researched the Donald E. Westlake collection of papers at the Howard the Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. His report can be found in issue #32 of MI6 Confidential magazine and is the first detailed reporting on these two unmade Bond treatments.
Never one to waste a good story, Westlake turned his treatments into a novel. Although jettisoning the James Bond character for obvious legal reasons, this manuscript also went unpublished. Westlake died in 2008. Publisher Hard Case Crime and Westlake's estate is now bringing the story to light next year as 'Forever And A Death,' one the titles Westlake had suggested for the Bond film.
Phil Nobile Jr. broke the exciting news on the excellent Births Movies Death blog yesterday. Artist Paul Mann has created a stunning retro cover for the book. As Nobile Jr. reports, a 'Bond producer' (presumably Michael G. Wilson) is to pen the afterword describing the history of the story and its roots with James Bond.
A FORTUNE IN STOLEN GOLD...
A DEVICE THAT WILL KILL MILLIONS...
AND JUST ONE MAN CAN STOP IT!
Two decades ago, the producers of the James Bond movies hired legendary crime novelist Donald E. Westlake to come up with a story for the next Bond film. The plot Westlake dreamed up—about a British businessman seeking to destroy Hong Kong after being kicked out when the island was returned to Chinese sovereignty—had all the action and excitement, the danger and the sex appeal, of a classic Bond film—but for whatever reason, the Bond folks decided not to use it. Never one to let a good story go to waste, Westlake wrote a novel based on the premise instead—but then never published the novel either! Hard Case Crime is proud to give that novel, FOREVER AND A DEATH, its first publication ever, and to give fans their first taste of the Westlake-scripted Bond movie that might have been.
You can now read a sample chapter online, to whet your appetite until June 2017 when the world will finally get to read what could have been Pierce Brosnan's second big screen adventure as 007.