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Trigger Mortis is the thirty-ninth official James Bond novel and the first continuation novel to be written by English novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz. Commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, it was released in September 2015. The title of the novel was revealed on 28 May 2015 which coincided with Ian Fleming's 107th birthday.[1][2] The novel is dated two weeks after the events of Fleming's 1959 book Goldfinger and is set against the backdrop of the Space Race, in 1957. The novel is known for its use of previously unpublished Fleming material, as well as the reintroduction of the character Pussy Galore.

After a positive reaction to the novel, Horowitz wrote a second Bond novel (also with material from Fleming) named Forever and a Day, released on May 31st 2018.[3]

Plot

Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers! Plot and/or ending details follow.


Set in 1957, following the events of Goldfinger, the novel begins with a U.S. Naval Research Laboratory supervisor bribed into sabotaging their new Vanguard space rocket. At the same time in London, Pussy Galore takes up temporary lodging with James Bond in his Chelsea flat to avoid investigations by the FBI and CIA. Meeting with his superior, M, Bond is informed of a new SMERSH plot. Unsure of their chances against British racing champion Lancy Smith, the Soviets plan on cheating at the Nürburgring by forcing a crash during the race. Their man, Ivan Dimitrov, a racer with an unsavory reputation, is sent to compete in the race. The British Secret Service send their best driver - 007 - to dispatch Dimitrov before he can crash Smith. Bond trains at Foxton Hall racing circuit, where he meets his instructor, Logan Fairfax. While he is there, Galore travels to Bond's hotel in an attempt to evade two suspicious Americans. She is kidnapped and 007 tracks her to a Celtic stone monument in the countryside. There, Pussy is tied up and covered in gold paint. Bond kills her captors with two makeshift Molotov cocktails and rescues her. After recuperating, and with their relationship deteriorating, Galore leaves Bond and heads back to Harlem, accompanied by Logan.

Travelling to the Nürburgring, Bond oversees a meeting between SMERSH Chief, Colonel Gaspanov, Dimitrov, and a third suspicious man - a wealthy American-Korean businessman named Jason Sin.[4] On the day of the race, Bond narrowly manages to crash Dimitrov before he can ram Smith. He drags the badly burnt Russian from his mangled vehicle in an act of mercy. On a hunch, 007 investigates Sin's castle residence during a lavish post-race party. There, he discovers suspicious photographs of the space rocket, along with a mysterious girl named Jeopardy Lane. They escape together and, after she steals the photographic evidence from Bond, the spy heads to the U.S. to investigate the rocket launch site. 007 finds the local authorities uncooperative and is rescued from a SMERSH assassination attempt at his motel by Jeopardy. She turns out to be a U.S. Secret Service agent following a trail of counterfeit currency which the Russians had used to bribe the NRL supervisor. They team up and investigate Sin's construction depot in New York State. There, 007 discovers that Sin is building a replica Vanguard and both agents are taken prisoner.

Over dinner with the villain it is revealed that he is plotting to destroy the U.S. space program for the Soviets by staging a fake rocket crash in the middle of Manhattan using a subterranean bomb and the replica Vanguard. Bond is buried alive, but manages to escape and pursues Sin to his explosives-laden subway train at a Coney Island depot. He narrowly misses the departing train, but intercepts it with the help of Jeopardy Lane's motorcycle skills. He leaps on, works his way across the vehicle's roof, disables the bomb and derails the train using makeshift grenades composed of C4 and blast caps. Meanwhile, the real malfunctioning Vanguard launches and is harmlessly self-destructed using its "Trigger Mortis" fail-safe switch. Knocked unconscious, 007 awakes to find Sin kicking him to death. As the Korean raises his firearm to finish him off, Bond whips a metal chain around his leg and tosses the other end onto the live electric rail - electrocuting Sin to death. After consummating his relationship with Jeopardy, the pair mutually part ways and Bond returns to London. There, he is ambushed by a vengeful Dimitrov. Held at gunpoint, Bond is saved from the assassin's first bullet by his car's bullet-proof door window, which shatters, but provides Bond the opportunity he needs to grab his Walther PPK from a hidden compartment and shoot his assailant dead.

Behind the scenes

The book is set in the 1950s and contains previously unseen Fleming material. The material chosen takes 007 into the world of motor racing. In the 1950s, Ian Fleming wrote several episode treatments for an ultimately unmade James Bond television series. The material, was an episode treatment for it. "It's a huge challenge... but having original, unpublished material by Fleming has been an inspiration." said Horowitz. Horowitz said Fleming's hero had had "a profound influence" on his life adding: "This is a book I had to write." "When the estate approached me to write a new James Bond novel how could I possibly refuse?" said the 59-year-old, who was made an OBE in the New Year Honours.[5] Several of the plots turned into the short stories that are now in the collections For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. There are still several plot outlines which Fleming never adapted and which, until now, have not been published. "Given that Anthony is as brilliant a screenwriter as he is a novelist, we thought it would be exciting to see what he would do with one of them." said Jessie Grimond, Fleming's great-niece.[6] Originally entitled "Murder on Wheels", the story serves as the starting point for Horowitz's novel. Fleming's original story was set at the Nurburgring in West Germany and would have seen Bond thwart a Russian plot to cause racing legend Stirling Moss to die in a deliberate car crash. The treatment saw Moss himself appear as a character, with Bond's superior M and his secretary Miss Moneypenny and second in command Bill Tanner also appearing.[7]

Adaptations

On October 26, 2015 the BBC Radio 4 drama series Book at Bedtime broadcast the first of ten episodes in a serialization of Horowitz's Trigger Mortis, read by Rupert Penry-Jones.[8]

Characters

Vehicles

Main article: Trigger Mortis equipment

Covers

References

  1. "James Bond: Pussy Galore returns in new novel", BBC News, BBC, 28 May 2015. Retrieved on 28 May 2015. 
  2. Flood, Alison. "New James Bond novel Trigger Mortis resurrects Pussy Galore", Guardian Media Group, 28 May 2015. Retrieved on 28 May 2015. 
  3. "Anthony Horowitz to Write the New James Bond Novel", Ian Fleming Publications, 4 October 2016. Retrieved on 5 January 2017. 
  4. Horowitz, Anthony (2015). "Chapter 6: Nürburgring", Trigger Mortis (in English). Hachette UK, p.81. ISBN 9781409159155. 
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  8. Book at Bedtime. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved on 2 November 2015.