There are currently 39 officially licensed James Bond books authored by six writers since 1953. The first and most famous 14 were written by Ian Fleming, spawning a wide world of Bond media including films, comic strips, comic books, and video games.
Several novelizations, spin-off books, short stories, and anthologies have also been published.
FlemingEditAfter serving in the British Naval Intelligence Division during World War II, Fleming was inspired to write a novel about an international spy. Fleming bragged to his friends about how good he believed the book would be. Fleming chose a bland but masculine name for his main character and gave the character many of his own personal tastes including golf and gambling. He began writing his first Bond novel in 1952 in Jamaica over two months to take his mind off his upcoming wedding and pregnant fiancé. Casino Royale was published in 1953 to moderate reviews but great sales in the UK.
Fleming, who's full time job was a Foreign Manager for a UK newspaper, used his yearly 3-month holiday to write each Bond book resulting in 1954's Live and Let Die, 1955's Moonraker, 1956's Diamonds Are Forever, 1957's From Russia with Love, 1958's Dr. No, 1959's Goldfinger, 1960's For Your Eyes Only -- a collection of short Bond stories -- 1961's Thunderball, 1962's The Spy Who Loved Me, 1963's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and 1964's You Only Live Twice. Fleming was a heavy drinker and smoker and suffered heart disease. He suffered his first heart attack in 1961 and a fatal heart attack in August 1964. His final two books, 1965's The Man with the Golden Gun and 1966's collection of short stories Octopussy and The Living Daylights were published posthumously.
Gildrose PublicationsEditWith the success and fortune found by Casino Royale, Fleming purchased the small publication company Gildrose Publications, which had only published his novel. Gildrose, later renamed Ian Fleming Publications in 1999 continues to license the Bond franchise and expand the literary catalogue.
Gildrose planned on having several authors use the pen name "Robert Markham" to continue to scribe more Bond books but the idea was scrapped after only one work, Colonel Sun, was written by English author and Bond fan Kingsley Amis in 1968. Amis also wrote a short story about an elderly Bond returning in a time of crisis, but was refused permission to publish it.
After a thirteen year hiatus of original content (and recently after the death of Anne Charteris, Fleming's wife) Gildrose contracted John Gardner to scribe several Bond novels and to bring Bond in the modern 1980s. In 1981 Licence Renewed was published to mediocre critical response and sales. Nevertheless Gardner wrote a total of 16 Bond novels, including two novelizations of feature films. In 1996 Gardner published his last Bond book, COLD.
After Gardner's departure Raymond Benson was contracted by Gildrose to continue the Bond story. Benson, an American, was accused by fans of Americanizing the series but was also hailed as returning to Fleming's roots more than Gardner had managed. Benson wrote six original Bond novels, starting with 1997's Zero Minus Ten. Benson's novels, like Gardner's, featured James Bond in a modern year. He also wrote three film novelizations and three Bond short stories. In 2002 Benson left the Bond series. He is, to date, the only continuation author to release any short stories.
Ian Fleming Publications asked British author Sebastian Faulks to pen a new Bond novel in the early 2000's. Faulks delivered a novel set in the 1960's in 2008 titled Devil May Care. Faulks chose to not continue and was replaced with American author Jeffery Deaver who penned Carte Blanche in 2011. In 2013 Ian Fleming Publications announced that William Boyd would pen the thirty-eighth Bond book in time for the 60th literary anniversary. Solo was released in September 2013 in the UK and October 2013 in the US.
In 2014 it was announced that Anthony Horowitz would write the thirty-ninth Bond novel. He would be using previously unreleased material by Fleming as an inspiration. This would take the form of several plot treatments for a James Bond television series that was never made and ended up turning most of the plots into the short stories that formed the collections For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. The book titled Trigger Mortis was released in September 2015.