Dear Barbara Broccoli,
An article in The Guardian suggests you’re stumped for ideas on how to take the James Bond franchise forward, especially as he’s supposed to have been blown to pieces.
I’ve no idea if that’s true (I somehow doubt it), but the newspaper has asked a number of famous thriller writers to come up with some ideas, and then published the results. I found few of them enthralling. Most seemed pedestrian.
So here’s my own take, though I’m not (yet) a particularly famous author:
THE NAME’S BOND, CALISTA BOND
The daughter of the late James Bond, Calista, is living rough in London in fear for her life.
She’s a tough, multilingual young woman of mixed ie. African, Asian and European origin.
She won’t use a mobile phone, visit a bank or cash machine, use her own credit or debit cards and she wears IR reflective shades that protect her from facial recognition technology used by police on the streets of the UK capital. She only drives (stolen) cars when she needs to cover distance at speed – otherwise it’s a one gear bicycle or public transport.
Calista buys clothes from charity shops and transforms her appearance with wigs. At any one time, she has several, temporary identities – mostly based on ID cards, passports and other material she’s bought from shady contacts or which she has stolen herself from the well-off – mostly dipping into their handbags, snatching their wallets or breaking into their homes in London’s wealthiest districts.
Before he died, Calista’s father revealed to his only child a terrible secret – the government he served with such selfless devotion and courage has evolved into a hydra-headed monster, led by a populist prime minister in the pay of the ultimate global corporation run by twenty Russian, Chinese, Wall Street and City of London financiers and known as Vantage Summit.
Vantage has its headquarters in London, the world’s money laundering capital, but its banking operations are spread across the world’s tax havens and low tax domains.
Vantage controls all mainstream media everywhere. It buys more US Treasury bonds than China. It has seats on the boards of all the oil majors and mining companies – particularly precious earth metals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and has majority shareholdings in eleven of the world’s leading arms manufacturers. It represents 68 percent of the capitalisation of the world’s leading financial and equity markets and accounts for 52 percent of global growth. It is the UK’s biggest single landlord.
Vantage does not tolerate dissent in any shape or form.
It controls law enforcement, security and intelligence services in 114 countries.
At its beck and call are half a dozen mercenary armies.
It is above the law – because it is the law.
The Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party is on the board. So too are the Russian president, the U.S. secretary of state and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Vantage buys elections with multi-million dollar donations to individuals and the extremist parties it favours.
All it requires in return is absolute loyalty – and absolute silence.
For Vantage, global warming is fake news promoted by mentally unstable subversives, anarchists and criminal troublemakers, nothing more.
Calista’s family name and her knowledge of Vantage make her a target. She knows state agencies are trying to track her down and silence her.
The disappearance and death of her best friend, Naomi, a journalist who ran an independent online ‘ezine’ championing human rights, changes everything. Naomi was the 23rd UK-based journalist to vanish over the past year – only in her case, Naomi’s remains wash up at low tide on a sandbank in the Thames.
The autopsy report is suppressed, but Calista obtains a copy from a guilt-ridden coroner.
Naomi was tortured for information about Calista before she died.
Calista stops running and goes on the offensive.
During his career as an MI6 spy, her father salted away his own ‘insurance policy’. It is now a large fortune in several currencies as well as gold bullion, broken up and hidden in secret caches around the world, and only Calista knows where. She will use this inheritance to fund her campaign to bring down Vantage’s man in Number 10, an old Etonian and playboy named Tony Rafter, a populist prime minister who is one of several Vantage advisers and vice-presidents with an annual, extra-parliamentary income of $2 million. She believes Rafter personally sanctioned Naomi’s murder.
First, Calista has to create her own dissident intelligence network reaching into Westminster, Whitehall and the City of London. She plans to disrupt Rafter’s life and that of his cronies – in short, make his life, and theirs, quite unbearable.
Vantage itself will be her final target, provided she survives that long.
Calista Bond gathers about her like-minded people on the fringes of society: out-of-work mathematicians, IT specialists, experts in ergonomics, cryptologists, linguists, hackers and cyber warfare operatives. Angry, bitter yet brilliant people with vengeance on their minds.
One for every Vantage board member.
Let battle commence.