British Airways ambassadors had a licence to thrill when William Boyd’s new James Bond book, Solo waslaunched with luxury, glamour and 1960’s flair at The Dorchester Hotel in London

The first seven copies of the book were signed by the author before being entrusted into the hands of an ambassador, whose mission was to guard it on its journey to London Heathrow.

Travelling past some of London’s best-known landmarks, the ambassadors made their way to the airport in a convoy of seven vintage Jensen cars – Bond’s motor of choice in the new book – every car marked with the country flags of each book’s destination.

At Terminal 5, a red carpet was rolled out in first class departures to greet the arrival of the ambassadors and their special cargo. They books were stowed in a secure safe before being despatched to Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, Los Angeles, Delhi, Cape Town and Sydney.

Each book, encased in a perspex briefcase, will be personally picked up by the captain of its plane and strapped into the cockpit for the duration of its flight.

On arrival at the destination, the captain of each plane will then hand deliver his book into the hands of a dedicated contact, including Fleming’s great-nephew Robert Laycock in Los Angeles.

In the new book, Bond travels solo to America on his renegade mission, flying first class with BOAC. William Boyd remembers his own experiences as a child, particularly the sight of his parents descending the spiral staircase of a Stratocruiser, Bond’s favourite plane in the original Fleming novels, as they headed to the bar.