LONDON, July 16, 2007— -- The world's most-famous spy is set to go on a new literary adventure.
"Devil May Care," the 15th James Bond book, is set to be published May 28, 2008. We'd like to tell you what it's about, but Ian Fleming Publications will not reveal details about the novel's plot.
We know that the book has been written by Sebastian Faulks, a British author who wrote spy books, and that it features classic Bond elements. For example, the British spy travels to exotic locations across two continents.
"The novel happens during the Cold War," said Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications. "This is James Bond in his element."
In an attempt to learn more about the plot, ABC News asked John Walsh, a close friend and rival of the author, whether he had a sneak peek at the manuscript.
"Are you kidding, no?" answered Walsh. "It would be like reading 'Harry Potter' before publication."
So far, the book has been available to just a little circle of people in the entertainment industry, but there are already rumors that it could be adapted to a movie. "It would be fantastic," said Turner.
Turner said she gave a copy of the manuscript to Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the James Bond movies, without giving her the name of the author.
After Broccoli read the book, she said it could have been a lost manuscript by Ian Fleming, the original author of the James Bond books, according to Turner.
Turner also said that "Devil May Care" will feature a very humane version of the British spy. "He is the James Bond that Ian Fleming created," said Turner, adding, he is "flawed."
Fleming and Bond shared some attributes — they both drank the same spirits and shared the same taste for women and exclusive gentlemen's clubs in London.
Faulks is a "family man," said Walsh. "I don't think that he would be too keen on gentlemen's clubs."
Legend has it that when Fleming, who died in 1964, had to write a James Bond book, he would always fly to Jamaica, where he could mix work and pleasure.
He would write 1,000 words in the morning, go snorkeling, write another 1,000 words and spend the rest of the day drinking cocktails and socializing with gorgeous women. After six weeks of this grueling schedule, Fleming would turn in the finished manuscript.
Faulks tried to mimic Fleming, said Walsh, "without cocktails and snorkeling." Faulks churned out the manuscript in record time, according to Walsh.
Unlike Fleming, Faulks didn't serve as an intelligence agent, but he went to a public school "full of chaps who were sons of people in the army," said Walsh.
"You don't need specialized knowledge [to write a good James Bond novel]," said Walsh. "You just have to look at the MI6 building, see people coming around and imagine what they are up to."
There might be something else than his sense of observation that made Faulks the man for the job: He would be a very good spy, said Walsh.
"He is very discreet."