April 12, 2004 10:21 AM

James Bond author Ian Fleming may have died in 1964 — at the very peak of Sean Connery’s screen popularity as Britain’s sexiest secret agent — but the adventures of his great creation will live on, and not only at the movies.

Bond will be back in action in book form, though not in the image of the Martini-drinking, adventurous adult who’s been played by the likes of Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and, currently, Pierce Brosnan.

This time, Bond will be a teenager, attending the prestigious Eton prep school in the 1930s and coming to grips with the death of his parents in a skiing mishap (an incident ripped from the pages of Fleming’s books, where it was only inferred), according to an announcement by Penguin Books.

English actor and novelist Charlie Higson, 45, best known in his native land for his work on a 1994-97 TV comedy called “The Fast Show,” has been commissioned by Penguin to write the prequels, with the first volume already underway and due for publication next March, reports the Independent newspaper.

Higson called the chance to write about 007 “too good an opportunity to turn down. … 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 teen James traveling to a Scottish castle, where a wealthy American has been conducting “some very disturbing experiments.”

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