Ian Fleming's family to boost its fortune with new 007 novel

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London, May 18 : Ian Fleming's family is set to boost its fortune with the publication of a new James Bond novel.

The initial print run is 400,000 copies in Britain and America, and the possibility of a spin-off film is strong.

The book, written by Sebastian Faulks to mark the centenary of Fleming's birth, is thought to place 007 at the centre of the heroin trade during the cold war.

There has been tight secrecy surrounding the plot but a few details have trickled out - a female character called Poppy is said to feature prominently.

The theory appears to be borne out by the cover of the novel, Devil May Care, which features a blood-spattered opium poppy with the outline of a naked woman forming the stem.

Fleming's family are banking on Faulks, 55 - who has won a loyal readership with his sensitive depiction of women - to provide them with a bestseller that will help to revive the flagging literary legacy of Bond's creator.

Speaking at The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival earlier this year, Faulks predicted that the book would significantly add to the wealth of the Fleming estate.

"Ian Fleming comes from the Fleming family, who are one of the richest families in Britain. Fleming's bank was bought by J P Morgan for an unbelievable sum of money . . . But like a lot of people they have remained very keen on making lots more money - that's the difference between rich people and us!" Times Online quoted Faulks, as saying at the time.

Penguin, which is publishing the novel in Britain under licence from the family-owned Ian Fleming Publications, has gone to the lengths of hiring a Royal Navy warship for the press launch of the new novel the day before it goes on general sale on May 28.

ANI

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