Website last updated: 7-5-2024

Report from the UK launch events for Kim Sherwood's A Spy Like Me (2024)

By: Brian Smith
A Spy Like Me, Kim Sherwood, London, Edinburgh
Double Double-0 Celebration. Two book launches were held in the UK to celebrate the release of Kim Sherwood’s second Double 0 book, A Spy Like Me, published on 25th April 2024. The first at Dukes Hotel in London on 27th April, and the second at Topping & Company Booksellers in Edinburgh on 1st May.

Dukes Hotel, London – Saturday, 27 April 2024

Tucked away in the heart of St James’s, London, the 5-star Dukes Hotel was the venue for the main book launch. The event was co-hosted by Harper Collins Publishers, Ian Fleming Publications and 007GB The British James Bond Fan Club.

People came from across the United Kingdom and around the world to celebrate the new novel. “It just means the world to me that you’re here, and so many of you have come from all over the world,” said Kim, “So, thank you so much.”

The evening was book-ended with a wine reception and author’s signing. The centrepiece was an interview and audience Q&A. The emcee for the evening was David Lowbridge-Ellis, MBE. David is creator and editor of Licence To Queer, as well as Editor-in Chief for 007GB’s website and magazine, Keeping The British End Up.

During her conversation with David (which you can hear on Spotify), Kim revealed that the biggest difference between Double or Nothing (2022) and A Spy Like Me was that “in that time I got to know all of you folks, and got to know the James Bond fan clubs all over the world and come to all of your amazing events, and got to know authors I’ve admired all my life like Charlie Higson, like Anthony Horowitz, who really took me under their wing.”

Obviously keen to avoid spoilers, Kim gave a brief overview of the new book’s plot:

“At the start of A Spy Like Me a bomb goes off at BBC New Broadcasting House and MI6 work out that there’s this smuggling network funding terror and they’re smuggling diamonds, art and antiquities, even people and MI6 realizes that in six days another detonation is going to happen somewhere around the world. So, our Double 0 agents are now in a race, and they’re going down these different smuggling pipelines. Very much inspired by Goldfinger (1959), by Diamonds are Forever (1956).”

“Because it’s a James Bond adventure, it’s very globe-hopping and I have multiple protagonists and I wanted to give them all equal weight,” added Kim.

Kim said that when she was invited by the Flemings to write a trilogy, she mapped out the three books. “The final scene of book three has remained exactly the same, so I knew where I was heading. But then world events have come along, and world events are moving very, very quickly at the moment, so when I first planned these books, I thought the main issue facing us would be Brexit. And of course, since then we’ve had a global pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we’ve had the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan became a big part of this book because of course with Dryden’s background as a soldier in Afghanistan, and getting injured there, it felt to me like that would be a more authentic next step for his character to kind of focus on that. So, the book kind of took me in new directions.”

David asked about the theme of time, which is at the forefront of the book:

“I was really intrigued by this idea of the quote that Fleming uses, “I shall use my time” which of course was in No Time To Die (2021). There’s a line in one of the books where Fleming says that the statutory age of retirement of a Double 0 is 45, if they’ve lived that long, but they’re unlikely to. And I found that really fascinating. What kind of person would sign up for their life being that short? And because of that what would their attitude to time and duty be, and what they want to achieve in that time.”

“Watches become very important as a plot moment in the story, and it also actually made me shift the tense of the book. So, this book is in present tense, Double Or Nothing was in past tense. There’s this great line from literary critic Roland Barthes, who says that third person past tense supresses the trembling of reality, but in this book, I really wanted to make it about the trembling of reality, because in present tense you don’t even know if your protagonist will make it to the end of the sentence, let alone the end of the book.”

This elicited a humorous question from special guest Charlie Higson during the Q&A: “Is the third book written in the future tense?” Kim replied that would be a massive spoiler!

Dukes was the perfect venue, and the event was particularly well organised and presented.

Kim Sherwood, A Spy Like Me, Dukes Hotel, London
Kim Sherwood signs a copy of A Spy Like Me at Dukes Hotel in London.

Topping & Company Booksellers, Edinburgh – Wednesday, 1 May 2024

The city that Kim calls home is important to the author. As with Double Or Nothing (and Kim’s non-Bond books) a Scottish book launch event was hosted by Topping & Company Booksellers in Edinburgh (my favourite book shop) in their fabulous premises just round the corner from the Playhouse (where, incidentally, the stage musical of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang begins on Ian Fleming’s birthday, 28 May).

Guests were received with a martini (or non-alcoholic equivalent). The event ticket could be redeemed for a pre-signed copy of the book. A meet-and-greet at the end of the evening ensured that books could be dedicated.

Grace Oeth of Toppings, who is already a vocal supporter of Kim’s 2023 book A Wild And True Relation, interviewed Kim about A Spy Like Me. What was rather nice was that this event appropriately enough felt like a sequel to the Dukes launch. When discussion turned, for example, to ‘time’, Kim expanded on her previous comments, which provided additional insight into A Spy Like Me.

“I think the theme of the book is time, and on a practical level what I was asking myself is can I write this book in time because I only had ten months to do it. This is the first time I’ve written a sequel, and I thought a lot about the nature of a sequel; what it means to follow something up. I wanted there to be real consequences from Double Or Nothing, to pick up on some of the losses that the characters experienced by the end of the first book.”

Kim Sherwood, Grace Oeth, A Spy Like Me, Topping, Edinburgh
Grace Oeth in conversation with Kim Sherwood at Topping & Company Booksellers in Edinburgh.

Kim also read an excerpt from A Spy Like Me, avoiding spoilers as best she could. Even though this was a more intimate event than its London counterpart, and not a fan club-organised event, it was clear from the many insightful questions during the Q&A that those present knew their Bond and Sherwood. One gentleman who had recently read Thrilling Cities asked if Ian Fleming’s travel writing influenced Kim either consciously or subconsciously. It turns out that it very much influenced one of Sherwood’s characters. “There are sections in these books where we occupy M’s perspective – my M,” explained Kim, “who’s in his seventies and I have essentially given him Fleming’s memories from Thrilling Cities. So, when M is looking back on what Hong Kong or Macau used to be like, I’ve kind of lifted that out of Thrilling Cities. And the same when he’s looking back at Berlin and the Cold War, I’ve lifted that out of Thrilling Cities. With permission, of course!”

Kim Sherwood, A Spy Like Me, Topping, Edinburgh
Kim Sherwood reads an extract from A Spy Like Me at Topping & Company Booksellers in Edinburgh.

Kim Sherwood is a rare talent in the literary world of James Bond. She is a genuine fan of Ian Fleming’s books and the James Bond films. These events are an opportunity not only to celebrate the release of a new Bond novel, but also to hear from someone who is so enthusiastic about the work she does and the wider world of 007.

People who I have spoken to at these two venues, and who have read A Spy Like Me, all agree. It is a terrific addition to the Bond canon and with bated breath we look forward to this time next year and the final instalment of the trilogy.

Text and photos by Brian Smith. Copyright © 2024 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.

Editor's Note:
Available A Spy Like Me editions:

>UK hardback edition
>UK paperback edition (to be published on 29th August 2024)
>US hardback edition
>UK audio book edition
>Kindle edition

(For more information about Kim's books, check out her official website at



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