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By Royal Command  
By Royal Command Cover Art.jpg
Author Charlie Higson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series James Bond / Young Bond
Genre(s) Spy fiction
Publisher Ian Fleming Publications
Publication date 3 September 2008
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 354
ISBN 978-0-141-38451-1
OCLC Number 230989341
Preceded by Hurricane Gold
Followed by Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier

By Royal Command [1] is the fifth novel in the Young Bond series depicting Ian Fleming's superspy James Bond as a teenager in the 1930s. The novel, written by Charlie Higson, takes place in 1934 and see James at the age of fourteen. Locations include The Alps (Kitzbuhel), England, France, Lisbon, and Vienna.[2]

By Royal Command was published in hardcover by Puffin Books in the UK on September 3, 2008. Cover art (featuring a black and red Union Jack) was not revealed until the day of publication. The paperback was released on May 28, 2009, and includes an extract from a new Young Bond short story by Charlie Higson, "A Hard Man to Kill".[3][4][5]

By Royal Command will be released by Disney/Hyperion in the U.S. in May 2010.


Official summary

Puffin Books plot synopsis [1]

Following a treacherous rescue mission high in the freezing Alps, James Bond is preparing for life back at Eton. But James is under surveillance; his every move is being watched. He alone holds the clue to a sinister plot that will bring bloodshed and carnage to his school - and his country.

Forced to flee from Eton to Austria, James must leave behind everything he knows, with only a beautiful - and dangerous - girl by his side.

Soon he is trapped in a deadly war of secrets and lies, as a nightmare reunion with a bitter enemy plunges him once more into the face of death.

Life for James Bond will never be the same again.

Plot details

In an interview, Higson stated that By Royal Command will deal with Bond being forced to leave Eton College due to an incident with a maid. The incident was previously mentioned from the point of view of M in Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice.

It must be admitted that his career at Eton was brief and undistinguished and, after only two halves, as a result, it pains me to record, of some alleged trouble with one of the boys' maids, his aunt was requested to remove him. She managed to obtain his transfer to Fettes, his father's old school.
Ian Fleming You Only Live Twice, Chapter 21: Obit: [6]

According to Higson, M's comment about the incident was a deliberate attempt to cover up the truth. "Basically, it is decided that things need to be hushmccessdate =March 8 2006}}</ref>

The Royal Family and the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) also play a role in By Royal Command. Because of talks of communism, anarchism, and fascism, this book is meant for an older audience than the usual '11 and up' age group. Bond meets Princess Elizabeth and her uncle the Prince of Wales during the course of the book.[7] Even though the book will be partially set in The Alps, it does not offer any revelations about Bond's parents' deaths in an Alpine climbing accident.[2]

At the launch party for Hurricane Gold, Charlie hinted that Amy Goodenough (from Blood Fever) and the villain Babushka (from Double or Die) return in this Young Bond adventure.[8] He also revealed that James Bond falls in love. [9]


Whether on holiday or at school, James finds it hard to keep out of danger. Even on school skiing holiday, he has a feeling he is being followed. But who could be watching him? And why? Recovering in a clinic after saving the life of a school contemporary in the vast expanse of the Swiss Alps, James witnesses a sinister scene and meets Graf von Schlick. Has as James seen the Graf somewhere before..? Later, he meets the royal princesses and then their uncle, the King, himself. And then Sedova, a senior member of the Russian secret service turns up at school. Despite promising his friends he’ll be the model schoolboy, James is back in the thick of international action. James also falls in love with a tough witty and beautiful maid, Roan Power. But then as always James is deceived by the ones he trusts the most. Roan and her fellow communist husband, Dandy O'Keefe plan to blow up the church and the visiting dignitaries including the Royal Family and also have plans for Bond. After destroying Dandy's plan James finds himself running from the SIS as well as Sedova. But what Bond tries to figure out is why are so many people after him? After being caught by SIS James finds that his favourite teacher, Mr. Merriot is a SIS recruit and now requires James' help. James is told to deceive his love, Roan, who doesn't yet know that her husband has been slain. But as he leads Roan into the SIS trap, he decides that he must save her from these shadow games of secret services. And they both run away from England and to Continental Europe. Eventually after weeks of running from God knows who all? They find a haven in Bond's friend's farmhouse. However, this time around it is Roan that leads James into a trap. Roan informs her handlers and they are arrested by Graf's men and taken to his castle. There James discovers that the Graf is Dr Perseus Friend, who James encountered in his adventures in Scotland. Friend tells Bond that he escaped by using Hellebore's aeroplane after injecting himself with the Silverfin serum because he was badly burnt. The serum helped him reach Germany where he joined the fascist movement and plans to destroy England and Soviet Union. On the other hand, Roan is shocked to learn that she is working for the fascist and not the communists. However like always James escapes and rescues Roan too. While escaping Roan dies due to the cross fire between SIS, Sedova's troops and Dr. Friends Fascists. The SIS defeat the communists and fascists but Sedova as always manages to escape. The SIS and Mr. Merriot make up a cover story to escape embarrassment and record that James Bond left Eton College after just two halves instead of the four halves that he spent there. Mr. Merriot also informs James that he will be moved to Fettes, which was his father's school.Which is where Perry Mandeville now goes to school after the danger society was found out by the beaks, and he, as founder was expelled.

Tie-in game

On August 11, 2008 Puffin Books announced the first Young Bond alternate reality game (ARG), The Shadow War, designed to tie-in with the release of By Royal Command.[10] The online game started on the 23rd August, when Charlie Higson set the first mission during his appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. In the game, players around the world use a range of media, including the Young Bond books themselves and the World Wide Web, to complete the missions and influence the outcome of the game. Charlie Higson took part in a live online event that concluded the game on October 8, 2008.[11]


  • Working titles for By Royal Command were "The Shadow War"[12], "Diamond Rain", and "Dynamite Kiss".[13] The final title was announced on March 6, 2008[1], the same day author Charlie Higson completed the manuscript.[14]
  • The incident with the maid is foreshadowed in Hurricane Gold when Pritpal Nandra mentions in a letter that the boys have a new Irish maid called Roan who is considered very attractive.
  • Charlie Higson got the idea to give James a Mido Multifort watch from a fan at the forums.[15]
  • Charlie Higson said he had to "tone down" some of scenes having to do with the Royal Family because the Fleming family knows the Royal Family. Likewise, Higson rewrote the scene in which Bond meets the Prince of Wales because, as originally written, he showed the Prince as not being very comfortable with children. But Fleming relatives, who knew the Prince, said he was just the opposite and was very good with kids.[16]
  • One of the book's major characters is Hannes Oberhauser, who appears in the short story "Octopussy".


  1. ^ a b c "Young Bond 5 is BY ROYAL COMMAND". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved March 6 2008.  
  2. ^ a b "The Charlie Higson CBn Interview II". CBn/The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved September 1 2007.  
  3. ^ "By Royal Command cover will be kept Top Secret". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved July 31 2008.  
  4. ^ "By Royal Command paperback coming in May 2009". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved September 3 2008.  
  5. ^ "New Young Bond short story preview in By Royal Command paperback". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 20 2009.  
  6. ^ Fleming, Ian (1964). "21". in William Plomer (in English). You Only Live Twice. Jonathan Cape.  
  7. ^ "Charlie talks By Royal Command". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved March 11 2008.  
  8. ^ "Report on today's Hurricane Gold launch party". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved September 6 2007.  
  9. ^ "Charlie drops a Book 5 bombshell". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 7 2007.  
  10. ^ "The Shadow War press release". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved August 11 2008.  
  11. ^ "The Shadow War is won!". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 8 2008.  
  12. ^ "Young Bond 5 working title revealed". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 11 2007.  
  13. ^ "Major Young Bond 5 update from Charlie Higson". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved February 25 2008.  
  14. ^ "'By Royal Command' is a wrap!". Retrieved March 6 2008.  
  15. ^ "CBn Forum Member Suggestion Makes The Cut In 'By Royal Command'". Retrieved September 7 2008.  
  16. ^ "Interview: Charlie in Command". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved September 4 2008.  

External links



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