Trigger Mortis is the first Bond novel released since the death of British writer Fleming 51 years ago to be set in the “tradition and timeline” of the original series, according to publisher Orion.
It begins two weeks after Bond’s defeat of arch-criminal Goldfinger, immortalised in the Oscar-winning 1964 film of the same name.
“It was always my intention to go back to the true Bond,” said the 60-year-old British author.
“My aim was to make this the most authentic James Bond novel anyone could have written.”
Gang leader Pussy Galore, who set the benchmark for the so-called “Bond Girls”, the spy’s series of glamorous love interests and sidekicks, makes a return in the novel.
Bond also comes up against Korean supervillain Jason Sin and his plot to sabotage a US rocket launch.
Horowitz was selected by the estate of Fleming. Niece Lucie Fleming said the newcomer had “written a James Bond book that could have come from Ian’s typewriter”.
Indeed, the novel includes previously unpublished material, featuring a car race, written by Fleming for an unfilmed television series.
But the release was overshadowed in recent weeks by comments Horowitz made about previous books in the series, current Bond actor Daniel Craig and the possibility of black actor Idris Elba taking on the role.
He criticised Jeffery Deaver’s 2011 Carte Blanche, which featured a 32-year-old Bond as an Afghanistan War veteran, saying the “contemporary setting was wrong”.
The author called actor Craig “weak” and said that the most recent film Skyfall was riddled with errors. “Skyfall is my least favourite,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“The villain wins. The villain sets out to kill M [head of the Secret Intelligence Service]. The film finishes with the villain killing M. So why have I watched it?,” he asked.
He said Elba, known for his onscreen portrayal of Nelson Mandela, was “a bit too rough” and “probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond,” but stressed it was nothing to do with the colour of his skin.
Despite the controversies, the reviews were mostly complimentary.
“Horowitz seems to me to have captured the spirit of Fleming more successfully than his recent illustrious predecessors in the Bond-sequel game,” said Jake Kerridge from the Daily Telegraph.
The Bond stories are among the top-selling series of fictional books, selling over 100 million copies worldwide.