|Colonel Sun (1st edition cover)|
|Hardback:||(UK) 1968 (U.S.) 1968|
|Paperback:||(UK) 1970 (U.S.) 1969|
|Preceded by:||Octopussy and The Living Daylights|
|Followed by:||Licence Renewed|
Colonel Sun was the first continuation James Bond novel published after the 1964 death of Ian Fleming. Published in 1968 by Glidrose Productions, it was written by "Robert Markham", a pseudonym created by Glidrose for British novelist Kingsley Amis. Glidrose had intended publishing a series of James Bond novels written by different authors under the Robert Markham name, but Colonel Sun was the only novel published.
Discounting the two screenplay novelisations by Christopher Wood, and James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 (1973), by John Pearson, Colonel Sun was the last, new James Bond novel published until Licence Renewed, by John Gardner in 1981.
It is often claimed that Amis requested Colonel Sun not be filmed, however an introductory chapter to the Titan Books 2005 reprint of the Colonel Sun comic strip reveals that, quite the contrary, Amis approached EON Productions (home production company of the Bond film franchise) in 1976-77 with the idea of his novel being adapted as a future Bond film. According to Titan Books, however, Amis was told that Harry Saltzman (co-producer of the Bond series up until 1974) had "blackballed" any use of Colonel Sun as a Bond film, apparently in response to Glidrose having rejected the publication of the post-Fleming Bond novel, Per Fine Ounce, which Saltzman had championed.
Nonetheless, the novel may have inspired elements of several James Bond films, such as the Greek setting of For Your Eyes Only (1981), the kidnapping of M in The World Is Not Enough (1999). The name of the North Korean villain of Die Another Day (2002), Colonel Tan-Sun Moon, is acknowledged on the film's DVD release as having been a nod to Colonel Sun.
After his superior officer in the British Secret Service, M, is violently kidnapped from his house, Quarterdeck, James Bond follows the clues to Vrakonisi, an Aegean island of Greece, where he teams with Ariadne Alexandrou, a Greek Communist agent working for the Soviet Union. Together, they plan to rescue M while thwarting the complex military-political plans of People's Liberation Army Colonel Sun, the Chinese agent sent to sabotage a Middle East détente conference, of which the Soviets are hosts, and implicate Great Britain.
Comic strip adaptation
- Main article: James Bond comic strips
Colonel Sun has the distinction of being the only non-Fleming James Bond novel adapted as a comic strip by the British newspaper, the Daily Express, and also syndicated worldwide. The strip ran from December 1, 1969 to August 20, 1970; adapted by Jim Lawrence with artwork by Yaroslav Horak. A notable difference between the novel and the strip is that the main villain, Colonel Sun, is an agent of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in the strip.
Colonel Sun was reprinted by Titan Books in December 2005. Included in the collection, also titled Colonel Sun was River Of Death, an original James Bond strip published prior to Colonel Sun strip in 1969.