In 1979 Glidrose Publications (now Ian Fleming Publications) approached John Gardner and asked him to revive Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of novels.
Between 1981 and 1996, Gardner wrote fourteen James Bond novels, and the novelizations of two Bond films. Gardner stated that he wanted “to bring Mr Bond into the 1980s”, although he retained the ages of the characters as they were when Fleming had left them. During this period, the book dust jackets continued in the same vein that Richard Chopping had started during the Fleming years, even creating the first Gardner artwork for Licence Renewed.
License Renewed (Dust jacket by Richard Chopping)
Successfully relaunched the Bond literary franchise, being the first of 14 original novels by Gardner until his retirement in 1996. In that time frame Gardner also wrote two novelizations. The cover featured many of the traditionally associated elements of the previous James Bond novels: A gun, flowers and Chopping’s signature fly.
The handgun featured is Bond’s own FN model 1903 from the novel, which replaces the Walther PPK, and the flowers are heather and wild iris, to indicate the Scottish setting.
However, Chopping was least proud of his final Bond cover: “They asked me to read it, and heather came up in it, and a string of pearls which I used to wear when I was the glamorous dame in the Royal College of Arts pantomimes… It’s a dreadful bit of work. I’m really ashamed of it. I only did it for the money, and I’d lost my touch. It’s quite clear.”
For Special Services (Dust jacket by Bill Botten)
First published in 1982, was the second novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming’s secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.
Botten picks up where Chopping left off with italicized font for the title and the classic Tea Crate font for the author and series names. Lovely detail of the snake and the flower motif can be seen at the bottom.
Icebreaker (Dust jacket by Bill Botten)
First published in 1983, was the third novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming’s secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and was the first Bond novel to be published in the United States by Putnam, beginning a long-standing association.
The skeletal hand is reminiscent of the Thunderball cover by Chopping and Botten returns to the classic wood background used by Chopping with Tea Crate font.
Bill Botten remarked in an interview with us: “The cover images were prompted by the books themselves. As I have noted, one was painted in oil and the other three in gouache.”
Role of Honour (Dust jacket by Trevor Scobie)
(published in American editions as Role of Honor), first published in 1984, was the fourth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming’s secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Putnam.
Trevor Scobie‘s fabulous design for John Gardner’s Role Of Honour in itself a great homage to Richard Chopping. Lovely detail on the padlock and wood background; probably the best and closest example of the Trompe L’oeil style used in a continuation novel.
Trevor Scobie: “From what I remember this was a link to Jay Autem Holys battle simulation game. In the end I managed to get the tin solder from the Tradition of London Shop which specialises in hand made toy soldiers before they moved to Nottingham, when they still had a wonderful old shop near the British Museum. Once I had the reference of the solder the cover artwork was hand drawn and painted in designers gouache on a water-colour washboard. The original painting for the cover is no bigger than the printed cover.”
Nobody Lives for Ever (Dust jacket by Trevor Scobie)
(published in American editions as Nobody Lives Forever), first published in 1986, was the fifth novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming’s secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Putnam.
My personal favorite here is ‘Nobody Lives Forever‘ with the juxtaposition of the scorpion and flowers. They could have used a Bentley motor cars key fob in my opinion but it will do!
These novels are clearly homages to Chopping’s style, and other novels such as Mark Gatiss’ ‘Black Butterfly’ also emulate Chopping’s distinctive covers.
Trevor Scobie: “The reference for the cover Nobody Lives for Ever was a Scorpion I borrowed from the Booth Museum of Natural History in Dyke Road, Brighton from the curator Dr. Legge, a museum I have visited since I was a child. This was the last cover in the Bond series to have the wood grain as a background. Painted in designers gouache on water-colour washboard.”
No Deals Mr. Bond (Dust jacket by Trevor Scobie)
Trevor Scobie: “The reference for the cover No Deals Mr. Bond was a pilots headphone which I was kindly lent from Shoreham Airport as it was known then and now known as Brighton City Airport. Hand drawn with the background airbrushed and the rest painted in designers gouache on water-colour washboard.”
Exclusive interview with Trevor Scobie
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10 thoughts on “John Gardner Continuation Novels”
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I’ve seen it mentioned several times (not here), with no evidence to support the claim, that the US & UK versions of Gardner’s books were edited/printed differently. Not just the covers – I know different versions receive different covers. It was suggested that minor details and dialogue, etc were changed – American English was used for US editions, British English (if that’s the proper term) was used in UK editions. And one edition, can’t recall which it was, was less descriptive an graphic that the other.
It all sounded ridiculous to me, but recently I came across a couple of hardcovers published by Random House, each containing three of Gardner’s novels all in one book. (The second book was called Back in Action, I think). On the cover of these books it states “Complete and Unabridged”. This made me less skeptical and I started to wonder if the comments in question did have merit.
Also, are there abridged versions of JG’s continuation novels? I have read his full catalogue of Bond books, once through, and did so reading copies of varying editions from different publishers.