James Bond to tackle King's coronation plot in new book On His Majesty's Secret Service

James Bond author Charlie Higson pictured at The Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2006.  (Drew Farrell/Avalon/Getty Images)
James Bond author Charlie Higson pictured at The Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2006. (Drew Farrell/Avalon/Getty Images)

Fast Show star Charlie Higson is writing a new James Bond book to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III in May.

On His Majesty’s Secret Service will be published on Thursday, 4 May ahead of the coronation on Saturday, 6 May. The new book comes 60 years after the publication of Ian Fleming’s tenth novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in 1963.

All royalties from the sale of the book will go to support the work of the UK charity, the National Literacy Trust.

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Set in the present day, the new novel will see Bond "sent at the last minute to thwart an attempt to disrupt the coronation by the wealthy, eccentric and self-styled Athelstan of Wessex, who is on a deadly mission of his own to teach the United Kingdom a lesson."

"Can Bond dismantle his shady plans and defeat his privately hired team of mercenaries?"

IVER HEATH, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Britain's Prince Charles (L), Prince of Wales meets British actor Daniel Craig as he tours the set of the 25th James Bond Film at Pinewood Studios on June 20, 2019 in Iver Heath, England.  The Prince of Wales, Patron, The British Film Institute and Royal Patron, the Intelligence Services toured the set of the 25th James Bond Film to celebrate the contribution the franchise has made to the British film industry. (Photo by Niklas Halle'n - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
King Charles – then the Prince of Wales – with Daniel Craig at Pinewood Studios, where the Bond films were made. (WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Higson previously wrote five books in the Young Bond series, which covered the events of the secret agent's time at Eton College in the 1930s, and has sold over a million copies in the UK alone.

“When IFP [Ian Fleming Publications] came to me with the idea of writing an adult Bond story a little more than a month ago, I was thrilled – until I realised it had to be ready for the coronation in May," Higson said.

"Getting it written and turned around in such a short space of time was going to be as tense and heart-pounding as any Bond mission. Although, of course, nobody would actually be shooting at me. But I’ve been thinking about writing an adult Bond adventure ever since working on the Young Bond books, and he came bursting out of me with both fists flying.

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"It was all I could do to keep up with him and get his story down on paper. Fleming famously wrote fast, and I channelled that energy. And now it’s so exciting for me to finally enter the world of grown-up Bond.

"Everything you want from a Bond story is in there – sex, violence, cars, a colourful villain with a nasty henchman, and of course, Bond himself. So well-known and yet so unknowable.”

George Lazenby as James Bond in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. (Credit: United Artists)
George Lazenby as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (United Artists)

2023 marks 70 years since the publication of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel Casino Royale in 1953. Ian Fleming Publications is celebrating 70 years of 007 throughout 2023, with many events planned, including the release of the Bond books under their own imprint on 13 April.

Corinne Turner, managing director of IFP, said: “The coronation of King Charles III is a momentous occasion for the country.

"We asked ourselves how we at Ian Fleming Publications could celebrate it, and the answer seemed obvious. Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was first published on 1 April 1963. What better way, 60 years on, to mark this new chapter in history than with a brand new story: On His Majesty’s Secret Service?

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"We shared our thoughts with Charlie, and he was delighted to take on the challenge of writing a Bond adventure in time for publication in May. Together we hope this book will give valuable support to the National Literacy Trust.”

On His Majesty’s Secret Service is published by Ian Fleming Publications. It will be available digitally as an eBook, as an audiobook (read by Charlie Higson), and as a hardback, online and in bookshops from 4 May.

Watch a trailer for 60 years of Bond