The novelisation takes place outside the timeline of Gardner’s other Bond novels, as his next book, Brokenclaw, disregards the events of Licence to Kill. It also appears that the novelisation takes place sometime prior to Gardner’s novel Win, Lose or Die in which Bond is promoted to Captain (in the novelization, as in the movie, Bond is still a Commander).
Bond book: Licence to Kill
Author: John Gardner
Publication year: 1989
Licence to Kill is the novelisation by John Gardner based on the film with the same name.
Licence to Kill was the first James Bond film since Moonraker to be novelised. Then-current Bond novelist John Gardner was commissioned to write the novel based upon the screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson. Gardner was faced with a challenge because his books maintain the continuity of Ian Fleming’s original novels (albeit updated), and, in Fleming’s and Gardner’s continuity, Felix Leiter lost his leg in a shark attack in Live and Let Die. As a result, Gardner’s book requires readers to suspend disbelief as James Bond comes to terms with his friend being maimed twice using the same method – complete with the same note (“He disagreed with something that ate him”). Gardner does not attempt to reconcile the return of Milton Krest, who, supposedly, was killed in Fleming’s short story “The Hildebrand Rarity”.