"Devil May Care," the newest installment of the iconic James Bond series, arrives in bookstores today.
More than 40 years after "Octopussy and the Living Daylights," the estate of Ian Fleming, the original Bond novelist, commissioned best-selling British author Sebastian Faulks to write this most recent follow-up.
"Devil May Care" picks up right where Fleming left off in 1966, with a racy tale of adventure and mystery that plays across two continents, exotic locations and several of the world's most glamorous cities.
Read an excerpt from the first chapter below:
It was a wet evening in Paris. On the slate roofs of the big boulevards and on the small mansards of the Latin quarter, the rain kept up a ceaseless patter. Outside the Crillon and the George V, the doormen were whistling taxis out of the darkness, then running with umbrellas to hold over the fur- clad guests as they climbed in. The huge open space of the place de la Concorde was glimmering black and silver in the downpour.
In Sarcelles, on the far northern outskirts of the city, Yusuf Hashim was sheltered by the walkway above him. This was not the gracious arch of the Pont Neuf where lovers huddled to keep dry, but a long, cantilevered piece of concrete from which cheap doors with many bolts opened into grimy three- room appartements.
It overlooked a busy section of the noisy N1 and was attached to an eighteen- storey tower block. Christened L'Arc en Ciel, the Rainbow, by its architect, the block was viewed, even in this infamous district, with apprehension.
After six years of fighting the French in Algeria, Yusuf Hashim had finally cut and run. He had fled to Paris and found a place in L'Arc en Ciel, where he was joined in due course by his three brothers. People said that only those born in the forbidding tower could walk its airborne streets without glancing round, but Hashim feared nobody. He had been fifteen years old when, working for the Algerian nationalist movement, the FLN, he took his first life in a fire- bomb attack on a post office. No one he had ever met, in North Africa or in Paris, placed much value on a single life. The race was to the strong, and time had proved Hashim as strong as any.
He stepped out into the rain, looking rapidly back and forth beneath the sodium light. His face was a greyish brown, pocked and wary, with a large, curved nose jutting out between black brows. He tapped the back pocket of his blue ouvrier's trousers, where, wrapped in a polythene bag, he carried twenty- five thousand new francs. It was the largest amount he had ever had to deal with, and even a man of his experience was right to be apprehensive.
Ducking into the shadows, he glanced down for the fifth or sixth time at his watch. He never knew who he was looking out for because it was never the same man twice. That was part of the excellence of the scheme: the cut- out at each end, the endless supply of new runners. Hashim tried to keep it equally secure when he shipped the goods on. He insisted on different locations and asked for fresh contacts, but it wasn't always possible.
Precautions cost money, and although Hashim's buyers were desperate, they knew the street value of what they dealt in.
No one in the chain made enough money to be able to act in absolute safety: no one, that is, except some ultimate, all- powerful controller thousands of miles away from the stench of the stairwell where Hashim was now standing.