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Robert Markham: Wikis

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1978 reprint by Panther Books of the first and only James Bond novel by "Robert Markham".

Robert Markham is a pseudonym created by Glidrose Publications in the mid-1960s. By 1967, Glidrose, the publishers of the James Bond novel series created by Ian Fleming, had exhausted all available material written by Fleming before his death in 1964. Desiring to continue the high-selling James Bond novel franchise, Glidrose decided to commission a series of new novels, which would be written by different authors but all credited to "Robert Markham."

Kingsley Amis

The first, and to date, only, author commissioned was Kingsley Amis, who had written a number of Bond-related books, including the popular The James Bond Dossier. It's also been suggested that Amis assisted in finishing Fleming's last Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun, which was published after Fleming's death, although James Bond historians and Ian Fleming biographers have debunked this rumour in recent years.

For the pseudonym, the name "George Glidrose" was initially suggested by Peter Fleming, Ian Fleming's brother, however, this was shot down by Jonathan Cape who claimed the name had no selling power. Markham was then chosen and the novel Colonel Sun was subsequently published in 1968 to generally good reviews and moderate sales. Amis' involvement as a continuation author was not a secret, and some early editions of the book identified Amis as the author, though the main Robert Markham credit remained.

No further Markham novels were commissioned, although some sources suggest that Per Fine Ounce, a Bond novel by Geoffrey Jenkins that had been commissioned by Glidrose c.1966 but never published, might have been intended as a Robert Markham release.

Future ideas

According to an introduction in the 2005 Titan Books reprint volume of the Colonel Sun comic strip, Amis had considered writing a follow-up novel, possibly set in Mexico, but never followed through; the introduction also states that Amis approached Glidrose with an idea for a Bond short story that would have featured a 70-year-old Bond coming out of retirement for one final mission, but the publishers refused to allow him to write it. It is not known if either project would have been released under the Markham name.

With the exception of an apocryphal "biography" and two film novelisations published in the 1970s, the next serious attempt to relaunch the James Bond literary franchise would not occur until the early 1980s by John Gardner.

Preceded by
Ian Fleming
1953-1966
James Bond writer
(Kingsley Amis)
1968
Succeeded by
John Pearson
1973
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