Bond is damaged, ageing and in a sense it is the return of the gunfighter for one last heroic mission. ... He has been widowed and been through a lot of bad things ... He is slightly more vulnerable than any previous Bond but at the same time he is both gallant and highly sexed, if you can be both. Although he is a great seducer, he really does appreciate the girls he seduces and he doesn't actually use them badly.The novel is set in 1967, the year after Fleming's final Bond book - a collection of short stories called Octopussy and the Living Daylights - was published posthumously. The Fleming family is said to be delighted with it.
Faulks says he did his best to emulate Fleming's working method when writing the novel, which took him six weeks to complete:
In his house in Jamaica, Ian Fleming used to write a thousand words in the morning, then go snorkelling, have a cocktail, lunch on the terrace, more diving, another thousand words in late afternoon, then more Martinis and glamorous women. In my house in London, I followed this routine exactly, apart from the cocktails, the lunch and the snorkelling.