In USA Today, readers have learned a little more about Jeffrey Deaver’s fothcoming 007 novel. Deaver won the U.K.’s Crime Writers’ Association’s coveted Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden of Beasts (2004), a thriller about an American assassin sent to Berlin during the run-up to Hitler’s rise to power.In his acceptance speech, Deaver talked about Fleming’s influence on his work.

Most of the details surrounding Project X, to be published in May, are being kept under wraps, but under intense interrogation (more like gentle coaxing) Deaver begins to spill his guts.

"The novel," he says, "is set in the present day, in 2011. Bond is a young agent for the British secret service. He’s 29 or 30 years old, and he’s an Afghan war vet." That in itself is big news. After all, if Bond were aging in real time — he first appeared in Fleming’s in 1953 — the now doddering (although assuredly still handsome) 007 would be nearly 90."There’s no more Cold War to fight," says Deaver, so his new Bond, of the Fleming estate, will fight "post-9/11 evil."

"I want to stay true to the original James Bond, who many people don’t know much about," he says, referring to the secret agent Fleming portrayed in 14

novels, and not the movie Bond. "People know Daniel Craig, they know Pierce Brosnan, they know Roger Moore and Sean Connery, all of whom brought a great deal to the stories of 007. But the original Bond was a very dark, edgy character."

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