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Young Bond
Illustration of a young James Bond by Kev Walker
Blood Fever
Double or Die
Hurricane Gold
By Royal Command
A Hard Man to Kill
Author Charlie Higson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Spy fiction, Thriller
Publisher Puffin Books (UK)
Hyperion Books (USA)
Published 3 March 2005 – 3 September 2008
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)

Young Bond is a series of five young adult spy novels by Charlie Higson featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond as a young teenage boy attending school at Eton College in the 1930s. The series was originally planned to include only five novels, however, after the release of the fifth novel, a second series has been mentioned as a possibility.[1]

Since the release of the first novel SilverFin in 2005, the series has become very successful [2] and has led to further works including games, a graphic novel and even a supplemental travel guide. The last book, By Royal Command, was published in September 2008.

English-language versions of the books are published by Puffin Books in the United Kingdom and Hyperion Books For Children in the United States.


Books in the series

According to Charlie Higson, Ian Fleming Publications initially planned for him to only write one novel and that every subsequent novel would be written by a rotating author, possibly similar to the defunct Robert Markham pseudonym of the late 1960s. This plan fell apart and Higson agreed to author future books in the series. However, comments made by Higson in an interview could suggest that after Higson's five books are completed, the series may be continued by another author.[3]

  • SilverFin (2005): In 1933, thirteen-year-old James Bond arrives at Eton College for boys for the first time to continue his schooling. There he meets an American bully and his arms dealing father, Lord Randolph Hellebore. While on Easter break, Bond's adventure continues in the Highlands of Scotland where James investigates a local boy's disappearance. Teaming up with Red Kelly, the boy's Cockney cousin, James finally reaches a castle and a loch which is home to the Hellebores and discovers their deadly secret.
  • Blood Fever (2006): In 1933, James Bond is back at Eton where he is now a member of a secret risk-taking club known as the Danger Society. When summer vacation arrives Bond goes on a field trip to the Italian island of Sardinia where he stays with his much older cousin Victor. While there, James investigates a Roman secret society known as the Millenaria that had plans throughout history to restore the Roman Empire. It seems the Millenaria are still active and are led by the sinister Count Ugo Carnifex.
  • Double or Die (2007): The third Young Bond novel is set entirely in England during Christmas and finds James searching for a missing school master in the darkest corners of London. The book involves Russian spies attempting to build an early computer. The title of the book was chosen by fans via an online poll and kept secret until the day of publication.[4]
  • Hurricane Gold (2007): The fourth Young Bond novel, Hurricane Gold, is set in Mexico and the Caribbean. The book was released on September 6, 2007 in the UK.[5] The plot is centered around Bond trying to foil the robbery of a team of professional criminals, only to end up following them around Mexico and eventually to a mysterious Caribbean island called Lagrimas Negras. The book contains many references to Mayan mythology and much of the end is focused on it.
  • By Royal Command (2008) : The fifth Young Bond novel[6] was released in the UK on September 3, 2008. The book deals with Bond leaving Eton College due to the incident with the maid, as mentioned in You Only Live Twice.[7]This book is set in multiple European countries including Austria, England, France, Germany and Switzerland. The Royal Family and the British secret service also play a part in the plot (revealing that Bond's tutor is a British spy).[8] In this book, James Bond falls in love with his Irish maid, Roan.[9][10]

Graphic novels

  • SilverFin: The Graphic Novel (2008) : The first Young Bond novel, SilverFin, was released as a graphic novel on October 2, 2008 by Puffin Books. The book was written by Charlie Higson and illustrated by renowned comic book artist Kev Walker.[11] It will be released by Disney Publishing in the U.S. as both a hardcover and paperback in July 2010.[12]

Supplementary books

  • The Young Bond Rough Guide to London, Puffin Books/Rough Guides (2007)
64-page booklet featuring London locations from Double or Die.
  • Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier, Puffin Books (2009)
Complete and definitive guide to the world and adventures of Young Bond. Includes the brand-new Young Bond short story "A Hard Man to Kill" by Charlie Higson. Release date: October 29, 2009.[13][14]

Short story

An original Young Bond short story by Charlie Higson titled A Hard Man to Kill was published in the companion book Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier on October 29, 2009. The story is set between the books Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command and involves Young Bond traveling back to London aboard the French ocean liner SS Colombie. An extract from the story appeared in the paperback edition of By Royal Command. It is the longest James Bond short story yet written.[15][16]

Young Bond Series 2?

Charlie Higson says that a second cycle of Young Bond books is a possibility. This second series would be aimed at a "slightly older readership" and would include Bond losing his virginity in Paris at the age of 16 (as established in the Ian Fleming short story, "From A View To A Kill").[1] However, Ian Fleming Publications have not yet commissioned a second series of Young Bond novels.[17]

History and controversy

Prior to the release of SilverFin, the idea of a Young Bond series had not gone over too well with the fans of the more traditional Bond literature and had come under heavy fire, with some fans comparing it to an unsuccessful 1960s attempt by Bond's publishers to launch a youth-oriented line of fiction that resulted in only one book: 003½: The Adventures of James Bond Junior written under the pseudonym R. D. Mascott. There was also a moderately successful James Bond Jr. television series in the early 1990s aimed at children that dealt with Bond's supposed nephew.

John Gardner, who had written fourteen original novels and two novelisations featuring the adult Bond, was also critical of the series prior to the release of the first book. He stated:

"It's just the last desperate attempt to draw in a new audience. The films have little to do with the Bond we used to know, and now the books are going the same way."[18]

Higson, for his part, has been on record as stating that he intends to stay true to the backstory Ian Fleming created for Bond, though this in many ways contradicts the popular James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 by John Pearson.

When SilverFin was published in March 2005, reviews of the novel were good. This, in addition to a large marketing campaign in the United Kingdom, elevated SilverFin to the number eight spot on the Booksellers list of bestselling children's books in the UK.[19] By November 2005, SilverFin had already sold 500,000 copies worldwide.[20]

A second book in the Young Bond series, Blood Fever, was released on January 5, 2006 in the UK having been delayed from an initial release in October 2005. The book reached the number one spot on the Booksellers list of bestselling children's books in the UK in its second week of release and held the spot for eleven weeks.[21]

Double or Die, the third book in the series, was released in the UK on January 4, 2007, having had its title announced the day before. The title was voted on in a national poll on the official Young Bond website; the other two titles to choose from were N.E.M.E.S.I.S. and The Deadlock Cipher. After the first three days of Double or Die's release it took the number two spot on the Booksellers list of bestselling children's books in the UK and number fourteen in the overall UK Top 50 list. A week later it had climbed to number one on the children's list and the number twelve spot overall.[22][23]

As of March 2009, the Young Bond novels have have sold over 5 million copies and have been translated into 25 languages.

U.S. publication

In June 2004 it was announced that the Young Bond series would be published by Miramax Books, then still a part of Disney. The acquisition was announced by Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein and Miramax Books president & editor in chief Jonathan Burnham. The deal’s price tag was not disclosed, but was understood to be in the six-figure range.[24] Miramax, in conjunction with Disney's Hyperion Books for Children label, published SilverFin in 2005 and Blood Fever in 2006. Following Miramax's split from Disney, Ian Fleming Publications struck a new deal for the remaining books with Hyperion Books for Children. This created a gap between publication of the books in the UK and U.S., with the third book, Double or Die not appearing in the U.S. until April 2008. Book Four, Hurricane Gold, was published by Disney-Hyperion in April 2009. Also in 2009, Disney-Hyperion re-released SilverFin and Blood Fever with new cover art by artist Kev Walker.[25] By Royal Command and SilverFin: The Graphic Novel will both be released in the U.S. on May 18, 2010.[12]


With the release of the Hurricane Gold book TAMBA and Fleming media released the Avenue of Death game which is based on one of the chapters in the book.

On August 11, 2008 Puffin Books announced the first Young Bond alternate reality game (ARG), The Shadow War.[26] 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 worldwide 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.[27]

Other media

On January 27, 2005 Puffin launched the official Young Bond website[28] The site contains downloads, games, character images by Kev Walker and book extracts. Joining "the Danger Society" allowed users to post in a forum (now closed) and receive email newsletters with the latest Young Bond news. Originally, the site was designed to look like Young Bond's room at Eton, but the site received a major overhaul in May 2008 and now features a more contemporary look.[29] Official news is streamed to the site from the fansite run by "zencat" (American screenwriter John Cox).[30]

On April 23, 2005, Ian Fleming Publications released the first illustration of the thirteen-year-old James Bond drawn by Kev Walker. Walker illustrations have also been used on the covers of the U.S. hardback editions of Blood Fever and Double or Die. Walker will illustrate the SilverFin graphic novel to be released in the UK on October 2, 2008.[31]

Due to the success of SilverFin and Blood Fever, Hollywood has been interested in adapting these novels to film; however, Ian Fleming Publications and Charlie Higson have said they hope to release a few more books before possibly considering it.[2] Today, it is believed the film rights to James Bond on film reside exclusively with Danjaq, LLC, the parent company of EON Productions, however, according to Charlie Higson this is not exactly the case.[32] Other books among teen readers include the popular Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz; the Jimmy Coates series by Joe Craig; and Agent Cody Banks. These books, along with Charlie Higson's Young Bond series, have introduced many teens into reading for the first time.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Higson plots new Young Bond books". BBC News. Retrieved April 24, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Author resists Young Bond movie". BBC News. Retrieved May 30, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Charlie Higson interview with". The Charlie Higson CBn Interview. Retrieved February 23, 2005. 
  4. ^ "Video of Double or Die title announcement". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved January 3, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Hurricane Gold official announcement". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 24, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Young Bond 5 is BY ROYAL COMMAND". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved March 6, 2008. 
  7. ^ " interview with Charlie Higson". In Conversation With Charlie Higson. Retrieved March 8, 2006. 
  8. ^ Major Young Bond 5 update from Charlie Higson
  9. ^ "Young Bond 5 working title revealed". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 10, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Charlie drops a Book 5 bombshell". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  11. ^ "SilverFin The Graphic Novel released in UK". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 2, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "SilverFin Graphic Novel coming to US July 2010". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Young Bond companion book in November". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 16, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Danger Society release date pulled forward". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Exclusive: Title and details revealed of new Young Bond short story". Retrieved May 16, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Young Bond is back in ‘A Hard Man to Kill’". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Charlie says Young Bond Series II a possibility". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 24, 2008. 
  18. ^ "John Gardner on Young Bond series". Boys' own James Bond. Retrieved February 28, 2005. 
  19. ^ "'Blood Fever' sales". Blood Fever is #1 Bestseller. Retrieved January 18, 2006. 
  20. ^ "SilverFin sales". The name's Bond - Bond junior. Retrieved September 5, 2006. 
  21. ^ "Young Bond sales and acclaim". Young Bond at IFP's official site. Retrieved January 18, 2006. 
  22. ^ "Double or Die sales -". Bestsellers. Retrieved January 20, 2007. 
  23. ^ "Double or Die sales and acclaim". Double or Die is #1 Bestseller. Retrieved January 20, 2007. 
  24. ^ "Miramax Buys Rights to First Two Young James Bond Novels". Retrieved June 23, 2004. 
  25. ^ "US Young Bond titles getting cover refresh in 2009". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved September 16, 2008. 
  26. ^ "The Shadow War press release". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 
  27. ^ "The Shadow War is won!". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Young Bond Website Launched!". Retrieved January 27, 2005. 
  29. ^ "Youngbond.come gets a makeover". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved May 28, 2008. 
  30. ^ "Young Bond Dossier now OFFICIAL news source". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved September 7, 2007. 
  31. ^ "New release date for SilverFin graphic novel". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved June 8, 2006. 
  32. ^ "Young Bond film rights". Charlie Higson in Los Angeles. Retrieved October 20, 2005. 

External links

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