Copies of the book by the best–selling American writer Jeffery Deaver were delivered by Royal Marine Commandos in a display involving abseiling, a fast car and a beautiful Bond girl on a motorbike.
In a scene that could have been lifted from a James Bond novel, Jeffery Deaver pulled up at Europe’s longest bar – The Champagne Bar at St Pancras International – in a special Carte Blanche-red Bentley Continental GT flanked by a Bond girl clad in black leathers.
It was by air, however, that the author received the first copy of his novel. In a dramatic twist to the launch, four members of the Royal Marines Display Team descended from the roof of St Pancras onto the concourse below, bearing copies of the novel.
The books were handed to Deaver in front of members of Ian Fleming’s family and invited guests, before being put under lock and key in an undisclosed location. The plot of the book remained a closely guarded secret ahead of its launch.
Despite the secrecy surrounding Carte Blanche, it can be revealed that each part of the launch had particular relevance to the new novel and to Ian Fleming, the creator of the original James Bond novels, who would have been 103 this Saturday, 28 May.
St Pancras International, at the heart of London, is a fitting venue for a very British icon who became an international phenomenon. The Bentley Continental GT is the car of choice for Deaver’s Bond. While the Bond girl, who drove a 1966 BSA Spitfire motorbike to the launch, was inspired by one of Bond’s love interests in Carte Blanche, whose passion for speed rivals Bond’s own.
As an integral component of the Naval Service, the role of the Royal Marines Commandos was also pertinent. A Commander in the Royal Navy, Ian Fleming worked as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence during WW2 and was responsible for the creation of a specialist unit of commandos known as 30 Commando or the 30 Assault Unit: trained commandos specializing in targeting enemy headquarters to secure documentation with an intelligence value.
In Carte Blanche, Jeffery Deaver’s 21st century Bond served in the Royal Naval Reserve, including a tour in Afghanistan, before joining the secret service. Lucy Fleming, Ian Fleming’s niece, commented at today’s launch: “On Saturday my uncle, Ian Fleming, would be 103 years old. If he had been here today he would have loved the occasion. Carte Blanche will be published by Hodder & Stoughton. For more information, visit www.007carteblanche.co.uk