Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks

In 2008. a fter a seemingly endless stream of 007 publicity, Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming was released and breathed new life into the James Bond franchise. Devil May Care quickly became the No.1 bestseller on AbeBooks and also generated huge interest in the collectable copies. The velvet slipcase signed editions of the novel were limited to just 500 copies and AbeBooks sold one for £425 ($839) on May 28, 2008 - the book's release day.

Penguin also teamed up with Bentley, the famous high-end car manufacturer, to produce a special Bentley edition of Devil May Care. Only 300 copies were published and they sold out in minutes. The Bentley edition of Devil May Care is bound in Burnt Oak leather from an Italian tannery. The leather casing is stitched in the Bentley diamond pattern. The Bentley ‘Flying B’ adorns the front cover and spine. Each edition is individually identified by a number on a black lacquer machined aluminium plate. Each book block is die-cut with a car-shaped silhouette and into this die-cut hole is inserted a cast and polished 1:43 scale model of the modified R Type which 007 drove.

Released to commemorate the centenary of Fleming's birth, Devil May Care was launched onboard a Royal Navy warship with a leggy blonde in red and an armed escort providing 007-style imagery for the paparazzi. Faulks, 55, is an acclaimed writer with novels like Birdsong and Charlotte Gray under his belt. His attempt at recreating Fleming's style sees Bond return in 1967 at the height of the Cold War. There is, of course, sex, violence and the usual Bond escapades.

Reviews were mixed - from welcoming to damning. Sam Leith in the Daily Telegraph wrote, "Faulks (takes on) Ian Fleming's whack-thwap style but also his whack-thwap working method. He cracked out Devil May Care in a flat six weeks, and it's all the livelier for it."

Mark Lawson in The Guardian wrote, "The novel's weakness is a surprising one; although much of the publicity has been encouraged by the idea of a superior novelist taking on a populist genre, Faulks's prose is actually simpler than that of Fleming, who favoured baroque metaphors and was notably warmer. Devil May Care misses the chilling tonal indifference that Bond's creator brought to both kissing and killing. The book, though, is a smart and enjoyable act of literary resurrection. Among the now 33 post-Fleming Bonds, this must surely compete with Kingsley Amis's for the title of the best."

Meanwhile in The Scotsman, David Robinson wrote, "If you forget the hype, there's not the slightest thing special about this book."