Do fans of Fleming’s Bond dream of new material by the master? A lot of them do indeed. And for German fans amongst them the dream does come true this autumn, a full 59 years after ‘Casino Royale’ was first published.
Cross Cult, renown German publisher specialised in quality comics and graphic novels (WHITEOUT, FROM HELL, THE WALKING DEAD) as well as genre fiction ( STAR TREK, CASTLE and TORCHWOOD novels, amongst others) picks up the Fleming originals. This is the first time the entire run of 14 James Bond books by Ian Fleming gets a complete and consistent edition in Germany, and with Michael Gillette’s unique cover artwork, if you please. It marks also the very first time German readers get a complete, unaltered and unabridged translation of all original 007 novels and short stories .
Previous German translations date back to the first editions of the early 1960s. Due to post-war sensibilities and a generally less liberal atmosphere the books then were heavily edited and omitted all chapter titles, many descriptive passages, brand names and at times even whole chapters. The result were distorted and chopped affairs, missing out a lot of the atmosphere the originals were so rich with. It’s a testament to Fleming’s talent his works in their German translation sold well for decades, in spite of the desecration they had to suffer.
So it’s not an exaggeration to call this edition by Cross Cult the first real chance for German readers to discover the whole talent of Ian Fleming and experience Bond’s world in a depth and detail previously not shown. It’s obvious an enormous amount of fervour and dedication went into this project, beginning with the all-new translations of every single book to the complex adaptation of several titles – which are part of the artwork in Gillette’s design - to their German translations (see the two covers above) and including the pioneer step to offer the Bond canon for the first time in a German Kindle edition, simultaneously with the release of the print edition.
According to Cross Cult’s Andreas Mergenthaler there initially had even been plans to incorporate some kind of introduction/comment. Sadly the publisher had to drop these due to the tight schedule in which the books will be released. Release dates for the first seven books are already set. September will see ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘Moonraker’ on the shelves of book-stores and newsagent’s as well as on readers’ Kindles. In November ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘From Russia with Love’ will follow. March 2013 then will round up the first half of Cross Cult’s Bond Library with ‘Dr. No’ and ‘Goldfinger’. The dates for the further releases are not yet set in stone, but these seven can be pre-ordered via Amazon.de or Cross Cult’s online store.
Asked if collectors could expect boxed sets of these landmark editions Mergenthaler sadly replied that was currently not in the cards for them. But he hinted that, should the paperbacks sell well enough to justify the effort, Cross Cult might consider a small hardcover run with these distinctive covers. So casual readers and collectors alike may have something to look forward to.
Thanks to Andreas Mergenthaler for the kind permission to use the images above and the background information he gave so willingly on short notice.