James Bond, the nation's most famous fictional spy, is to return next year for a new mission - as a teenager.
Sean Connery is seen by many as the definitive 007
Set in the 1930s, the books will tell the story of the future 007 and his schoolboy adventures at Eton, the Independent newspaper reports.
Actor and novelist Charlie Higson - best known for his work on TV's The Fast Show - has been commissioned by Penguin Books to write the prequels.
The first book is under way and is due to be published in March 2005.
Higson, 45, is reported to have described the chance to write about a teenage James Bond as "too good an opportunity to turn down".
He said: "I've grown up with Bond, and while I've had to finally accept that I'll never play him in the films, writing about him is even more exciting."
The first book will see the schoolboy Bond travel to a Scottish castle, where, according to Penguin, a wealthy American has been conducting "some very disturbing experiments".
It will also describe his struggle to come to terms with the deaths of his parents in a skiiing accident - an event often alluded to in Fleming's books.