New Bond novel
Rob Sharp

The world's most debonair spy is to swap Monte Carlo's casinos for the sun-scorched souks of the Middle East. The next James Bond book is to be called Carte Blanche and will see 007 face down peril among the chintzy nightclubs and towering skyscrapers of Dubai.

The book is being written by US thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver, best known for his 1997 bestseller The Bone Collector, which was later made into a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington. The Bond novel's name and front cover were unveiled at a ceremony in Dubai. It will be released in Britain on May 27.

"As with all my novels, I like there to be layers," said Deaver. "James Bond generally operates as an agent with a carte blanche, acting as he sees fit. He may or may not enlist associates. He comes up with solutions on his own. In my story, Bond needs to ask himself serious questions about exercising that freedom. This is not a simple car chase, shoot 'em up book. There's an internal conflict as well."

According to the book's publishers Hodder and Stoughton, it is the first time that Dubai has featured in a James Bond novel.

Deaver's book will have a contemporary setting. However, the author refused to reveal whether the novel would tackle the Middle Eastern city's poor human rights record or true-life scenes of espionage. Last year, a Mossad hit squad assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior commander of the Islamist group Hamas, in the Emerati capital.

"I travel through the whole of the Commonwealth and without sounding like a member of the tourist board I was very comfortable in Dubai," added Deaver. "It's a very different world and I found it fascinating culturally and architecturally. In November the Fleming estate asked me if I wanted to write the book and I realised this was the sort of exotic setting that Fleming would have used." The Independent