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Solo

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Solo is a James Bond novel written by William Boyd. Commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, it was published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape on September 26, 2013 and released by HarperCollins in the United States on October 8, 2013. Solo is the thirty-eighth official James Bond novel.

Background

Ian Fleming Publications announced that William Boyd was penning the next Bond novel on April 11, 2012. Twelve days prior Boyd announced his next book would be set in Africa. A year later on April 15, 2013 Boyd announced the title of the book to be Solo during a press conference. During the conference Boyd also revealed the book would be set in 1969 with a 45 year-old James Bond and action would primarily take place on the continents of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Says Boyd of the origin of the title:

"Titles are very important to me and as soon as I wrote down Solo on a sheet of paper I saw its potential. Not only did it fit the theme of the novel perfectly, it's also a great punchy word, instantly and internationally comprehensible, graphically alluring and, as an extra bonus, it's strangely Bondian in the sense that we might be subliminally aware of the '00' of '007' lurking just behind those juxtaposed O's of SOLO …"
― William Boyd[1]

Plot

After celebrating his 45th birthday alone at The Dorchester, Bond is sent to Zanzarim to bring a speedy end to the civil war in the country which has seen the delta region of the country split to form the Democratic Republic of Dahum. Before leaving for Africa, Bond visits Gabriel Adeka—the rebel leader's brother—who runs AfriKIN, a London-based charity who send aid to Dahumni children; Gabriel tells Bond that he is not in contact with his brother Solomon, as the pair have fallen out.

On his arrival in Zanzarim, Bond is aided by a local agent who introduces herself as Efua Blessing Ogilvy-Grant. The two travel from the capital city to the rebel enclave, but are attacked shortly before reaching their destination and taken captive by Kobus Breed, a mercenary assisting the rebels. The group are attacked on their return journey and Ogilvy-Grant goes missing in the confusion, while Bond escapes.

Bond proceeds to the enclave, where he is met by Breed, who accepts Bond's cover as a journalist. Bond meets Solomon Adeka and realises that the leader will shortly die of cancer: his mission to kill Adeka is needless. Bond sees supply flights of arms and equipment coming into the country, all funded by billionaire Hulbert Linck; the airplanes all show the AfriKIN name on the fuselage. When Adeka dies a few days later, Bond tries to leave the country on one of the supply flights, but is confronted by Breed and Blessing, who both shoot him and leave him to die.

Bond is saved by a journalist he befriended and returns to the UK, where he spends time in a military hospital. After discharging himself, he decides to go on a revenge mission against Breed and Ogilvy-Grant. Discovering AfriKIN has relocated to Washington DC, Bond travels to the US and tracks down both of them at the AfriKIN offices. While conducting surveillance against the company, Bond is briefly detained by Brigham Leiter—nephew of Felix—of the CIA, who explains Ogilvy-Grant also works for the CIA.

Bond meets Ogilvy-Grant, who assures him that she shot to wound him in order that Breed would not shoot them both. The following day Bond watches a mercy flight bringing in maimed and injured Zanzarimi children; he dines alone and returns to his hotel to find that Breed has killed Ogilvy-Grant.

Bond attacks the house where Breed is staying with the children, and incapacitates the mercenary, leaving him for dead. He establishes that the children are being used as drug mules to smuggle raw heroin into the country and locates Solomon Adeka, who had not been killed in Africa, but been turned into a heroin addict in order to control him. Adeka's older brother had been killed in London, ensuring Solomon became chief of the tribe whose lands held massive amounts of oil: as he was an addict, these rights were signed away in favour of Hulbert Linck. Linck was killed by the CIA during the raid on the house.

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