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Product Description

This thrilling prequel to the James Bond dynasty shows young James at boarding school at Eton in the 1930''s, where he spent his formative years. Acclaimed British writer Charlie Higson, with the Ian Fleming Estate, writes an edge-of-your seat thriller that brilliantly plants the seeds to show how young James learns the skills that will eventually make him history''s most formidable and suave super spy.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–Meet Bond–James Bond–at 14, before he became the suave, lady-killing international spy. An orphan, he attends Eton and lives with his Aunt Charmian during school breaks. While the premise for this prequel sounds intriguing, it fails to deliver. Action, adventure, and mystery are not a part of the plot until the end. While visiting his dying Uncle Max in Scotland, James discovers that his enemy at Eton, George Hellebore, is visiting his father, Lord Randolph, who owns the castle in the same town. On the train to Scotland, James met Red Kelly and learned that Red''s cousin Alphie is missing. Rumor has it he disappeared near Loch Silverfin, which is part of the Hellebore estate. It doesn''t take long for James and Red to determine that Alphie''s disappearance is connected to the castle. Red Kelly, Meatpacker, Wilder Lawless, and her horse, Martini, are interesting and quirky characters while James is positively dull. He is merely a part of the plot instead of a driving force. The book may appeal to serious Bond fans, but for students who are looking for mystery and adventure, Anthony Horowitz''s "Alex Rider" books (Philomel) are a better choice. –Angela M. Boccuzzi-Reichert, Merton Williams Middle School, Hilton, NY

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. The name''s the same--Bond, James Bond. But the face is different. And no wonder: the late Ian Fleming''s fabled superspy is only 14 years old in this newly launched, lavishly promoted, high-concept series. Higson struggles heroically to incorporate all Fleming''s trademark ingredients. There''s a ravishing heroine (who rides a horse named Martini); a larger-than-life villain (a wealthy American with large, flashing white teeth who is "mad, I tell you, mad"); and lots of melodramatic nonsense about eels and eugenics. The problem is that young Bond is a bit of a cipher, and the story takes forever to get going. Then once things heat up, they go on too long and, worse, too predictably. Part of the problem is endemic to all new series: the need to establish characters, background, etc. But one hopes that Higson will give more attention, in future volumes, to fresher plotting and fleshing out the character of his hero. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"A terrific adventure story." -- World

About the Author

Charlie Higson is an acclaimed British comedy writer, producer, and actor. His previous novels include Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen, Full Whack, Happy Now, and King of the Ants.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
441 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Richard Schwindt
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good first book
Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2014
I have commented before that Ian Fleming''s writing is difficult to emulate but Charlie Higson, writing about James Bond''s youth, doesn''t have to. This "origin story" of the young Bond does a terrific job of creating a plausible antecedent for the hero we all... See more
I have commented before that Ian Fleming''s writing is difficult to emulate but Charlie Higson, writing about James Bond''s youth, doesn''t have to. This "origin story" of the young Bond does a terrific job of creating a plausible antecedent for the hero we all recognize today. The strengths of this story lie in the characterization of a determined and unique young man and the evocative creation of pre-war Eton and a foreboding Scottish Loch. I am looking forward to reading more of this series.
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Wearsteel
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Rattling Good Yarn
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2016
I appreciate that I no longer fit the criteria for the target market but still wanted to test a toe in the Bond genre books. I was not disappointed, the book gripped and did not let go until the last word. You can try to look for the bond nods to the past/future... See more
I appreciate that I no longer fit the criteria for the target market but still wanted to test a toe in the Bond genre books.
I was not disappointed, the book gripped and did not let go until the last word.
You can try to look for the bond nods to the past/future or you can enjoy the book for their own sake as either work equally as well.
I may not be this bonds target but to paraphrase the end of all the bond movies bond will be back and I''ll be reading it.
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SciFiChick
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not Just for Kids
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2007
Young Bond: SilverFin, by Charlie Higson is an action-packed look back to the early days of James Bond. James starts out at a new boarding school at the age of 13. He quickly makes a couple good friends, but has his share of bullies. When he goes home for break,... See more
Young Bond: SilverFin, by Charlie Higson is an action-packed look back to the early days of James Bond.

James starts out at a new boarding school at the age of 13. He quickly makes a couple good friends, but has his share of bullies. When he goes home for break, James and another boy decide to investigate a missing boy from the area. But the missing boy seems to have disappeared on the land of one James'' meanest schoolmates.

While the story is written for youth, it''s a fast-paced thriller with fun characters and evil bad guys. A few times during the book, science and technology is explained in detail, so it could be considered almost educational as well.

James hasn''t become a spy yet, but this is a fun look at his early years and what helped shape him into the man he will become.
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Dr J ReadsTop Contributor: Poetry Books
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great spy stuff
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2017
A faithful and well-done adaptation of the young Bond novel of the same name. My students loved this to the point of wearing it out. Great spy fiction. Also check out the Alex Rider books and graphic novels.
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Chris Wright
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
SilverFin Will Hook You! (Contains Spoilers)
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2005
SilverFin by Charlie Higson puts the pleasure in pleasure reading. It is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I stayed up very late on many school nights reading it because I couldn''t put it down. It is a very addictive book. I''ve read six James Bond novels by... See more
SilverFin by Charlie Higson puts the pleasure in pleasure reading. It is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I stayed up very late on many school nights reading it because I couldn''t put it down. It is a very addictive book. I''ve read six James Bond novels by Ian Fleming in my time and I enjoyed reading SilverFin more than some of them. Mr. Higson is a fantastic author because he writes with great detail, his writing style makes the story very easy to comprehend, and it is evident that he did much research. SilverFin started off the Young Bond™ series very nicely with a perfect introduction to James Bond''s formative years.

I liked how Higson made James weak in the beginning and made him grow tougher as the story progressed. James was vulnerable and scared of bullies in the beginning but that all changed at the end of the story. I am eager to see more evolution in young James as the series continues. I am a little disappointed that James wiped off the kiss he received from Wilder Lawless because at thirteen years old a boy should not believe in "cooties" anymore. When I was thirteen years old I was kissing girls but maybe it was different in the 1930s but I doubt that. I would have expected James Bond to enjoy that kiss even at thirteen. Isn''t this the same James Bond that lost his virginity at sixteen, only three years later, to a prostitute in Paris? I was also a little disappointed by James'' group of friends at Eton. To me they came off as the school "rejects" but I guess that Higson wanted to show us that James is an outsider, which makes sense. James'' friend, Red Kelly, is a good character. He is important to the plot and also a source of comic relief, which got annoying at some parts.

I enjoyed learning about James Bond''s family. The part about his parents is very touching. Higson keeps the reader hooked by hinting about his parents throughout the beginning. Later on the story of their death is revealed in an appropriate way. Aunt Charmian and Uncle Max are great characters and they obviously had influences on James that carried on into adulthood, which is evident in the Fleming novels. For example, James learned about spying and fast cars from his Uncle Max. I like how May was Uncle Max''s housekeeper. If you''ve read the Fleming novels you would know that she becomes James'' housekeeper. I am disappointed that Uncle Max passed away because he was such a lovable character but it was obvious that he would die at some point since his health was pretty bad.

The villain in SilverFin is a very good villain. He is a very sick and cruel man, which is surprising since this book is aimed at pre-teens. His plan of creating a genetically altered race of men and beasts is very interesting especially because this story takes place in the era of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. His son, George Hellebore, was a good enemy until his predictable change of heart. He turned on his father therefore becoming a good ally for Bond later on when together they destroyed Lord Hellebore''s castle in Scotland where he conducted his evil experiments.

SilverFin is as perfect as can be but I am concerned about how it will be accepted by the parents of its target audience. The book has a lot of violence, death, and a little gore and I certainly understand why it was toned down in the United States. That stuff doesn''t really bother me but it may bother some strict parents. The only violent part I didn''t really like was the abuse and murder of some piglets by Cleek MacSawney, Lord Hellebore''s right hand man.

I recommend SilverFin to readers of all ages and it is a must read for fans of James Bond. This book makes reading fun and I should know because reading has never been my favorite thing to do. If you decide to read SilverFin, don''t read it too fast because Book 2 is coming out in January 2006. Waiting for it will be as painful as being mauled by Lord Hellebore''s killer, genetically altered eels from Loch Silverfin. Well, maybe not that painful but still pretty painful!
21 people found this helpful
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maconga
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Terrible state of arrival
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2015
Not ok. This book was sliced wrong at the manufacturer. It''s terrible. The pages literally do not fit inside the cover and the print on some of the pages is crooked. It is a Christmas present so too late to return it. Send me a new one immediately.
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DJ Daddy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wow!
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2017
If you love the Alex Rider books, you will love the Young Bond books!
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John Cox
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A View From A Bond Fan
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2005
Critics complained that John Gardner and Raymond Benson could never step free of the shadow of Ian Fleming in their 007 "continuation novels." The good news is Charlie Higson has finally stepped clear of that shadow...the bad news is he''s landed squarely in the shadow of... See more
Critics complained that John Gardner and Raymond Benson could never step free of the shadow of Ian Fleming in their 007 "continuation novels." The good news is Charlie Higson has finally stepped clear of that shadow...the bad news is he''s landed squarely in the shadow of J.K. Rowling. Parts of SilverFin read a bit too much like a Harry Potter clone, and while this may please the pre-teen target audience, it may make Young Bond Book #1 a tough read for the more seasoned James Bond fan. (But make sure you read this review to the end -- it get''s better.)

After a thrilling opening prologue that would not be out of place in a legitimate...err, I mean, adult James Bond novel, we meet young Bond as he arrives at Eton in the 1930s (kudos to Higson and the copyright holders for making these books period). Like Potter, James is an orphan sent to a school filled with eccentric headmasters, odd slang, and old rituals. Like Potter, he is polite and self-effacing. For much of the novel he is really an observer of more talkative and flamboyant characters. In what is certainly a low point of young Bond''s masculine development, Wilder Lawless, the spunky "girl" of the story, wrestles him to the ground and shoves leaves into his mouth. This is clearly NOT Fleming''s Bond. It''s not even Roger Moore''s Bond. But know this is also by design...

It''s no spoiler to say Young Bond #1 is a story of transformation and that, by the end of the novel, the timid boy has found his 007 steel and menace via his harrowing experience on Loch Silverfin. If nothing else, this book HAD to be that. And when Bond finally shakes off his yammering Potteresque companions, the action of the final third of the book is downright thrilling! Age becomes less of a factor when Bond is facing off with a madman or battling for his life in the waters beneath a Scottish Castle. It''s here Higson begins to channel Fleming at his best and shows us the true potential of a Young Bond series. For this old Bond fan, the final third was a last minute save; a rousing return to Bondian basics with a dash of sci-fi horror thrown in. I would still rather be reading the adventures of an adult 007, but like young Bond himself, I found myself transformed in the end by SilverFin.

So for those die-hard Bond fans predisposed to not liking the Young Bond series, know that SilverFin will probably not change your mind, and I recommend seeking out a secondhand copy of John Pearson''s superb James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, which offers up a far more interesting -- or at least more adult -- version of young Bond''s upbringing. But for those more pliable fans, like myself, who have enjoyed the various "continuation novels" and are willing to gamble on this Young Bond series, SilverFin will satisfy (and maybe even surprise). It''s a good start. I just hope Higson will shake off the Harry Potter contrivances and edge back toward that shadow of Ian Fleming in Book #2.
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Top reviews from other countries

M. Crossman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
For the young James Bond fan!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2012
My Son, who is 8 years old, has recently become enamoured with the James Bond film franchise since I introduced it to him when I bought the blu ray movie collection. Since then he has watched most of the films and thoroughly enjoyed them so I thought this series of books...See more
My Son, who is 8 years old, has recently become enamoured with the James Bond film franchise since I introduced it to him when I bought the blu ray movie collection. Since then he has watched most of the films and thoroughly enjoyed them so I thought this series of books would be fun for him. He read them in a matter of days and thought they were fantastic and I''m happy because the subject matter in the films is sometimes a tad too dark for a pre-teen whilst these books are perfect. My Son highly recommends them.
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Broxi3781
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Does a picture really paint 1,000 words?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 7, 2011
My six year old son has recently finished reading Silverfin, in the regular paperback form. I was extremely surprised to see a child so young so enthralled by spy thriller, even if it a young adult version. Although he loved the book - in fact he has talked about little...See more
My six year old son has recently finished reading Silverfin, in the regular paperback form. I was extremely surprised to see a child so young so enthralled by spy thriller, even if it a young adult version. Although he loved the book - in fact he has talked about little else other than James Bond, spies and secret agents since, I thought he might enjoy a copy with pictures even more. My hopes were not too high for this book. At 160 pages, less than half that of the paperback, and being made up, in large part of pictures, I assumed a great deal of the story would have to be sacrificed. I was wrong. While the pictures a single picture may not paint 1,000 words, the whole of the pictures effortlessly replaces quite a bit of the text without any loss of story line. Having read both this and the original paperback, I have found the storyline identical. There really is nothing lost in the transfer to a graphic format. I do have a slight preference for the unillustrated version, simply because I like to let my imagination fill in the details, and I read too fast as it is. A good paperback rationed out can last me a few days - and I do have to limit myself so as not to finish it one night. This on the other could be used up in hour, although it took my son a full day to read it. It is still very much a book I could enjoy though. My son on the other hand loves this book. He immediately asked for Bloodfever in this format, and seeing the joy this has brought I decided to buy it. Unfortunately this is the only young James Bond book available as a graphic novel. More''s the pity. These are the type of books that would make any boy into avid readers! I honestly think the decline in comic books has been matched by a decline in literacy. Many studies have shown that children who enjoyed comics were more likely to become fluent readers. More recent studies show how much more students understand and enjoy the classics in graphic form, and even the bible is now available in comic strip style. Fpr those who have not read the full length version, this is the first in a series about James Bond as young boy. An unimaginable terror as a crazed arms salesman and a mad scientist team up to create an aberration of nature. When a young boy sneaks under the fences for a chance to fish in this secret lake, an chain of events is set off which include Bond, and deeply affect the man he will become. This book gives us the chance to see Bon''s character develop and watch him mature from a kind but somewhat frightened young boy, into a confident, couragous and very resourceful young man. It is full of action and excitement, and provides a good role model as well. I think this is one of the very best children''s books ever written. I am only sorry there are no more books like this. I fully recommend this book for all ages.
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David James
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 13, 2016
My headline for this review sums this book up in one word, to add a few more one words to do the same. Brilliant, fantastic, incredible. A very well written book a must for all James Bond fan''s. To Charlie Higson what can I say he certainly has the measure of James Bond to...See more
My headline for this review sums this book up in one word, to add a few more one words to do the same. Brilliant, fantastic, incredible. A very well written book a must for all James Bond fan''s. To Charlie Higson what can I say he certainly has the measure of James Bond to write this as someone younger playing The....James Bond I was sceptical to say the least. I needn''t have been he portrays the character perfectly with all the same attributes of the adult James Bond. He keeps you on the edge of your seat not knowing if Young Bond is going to survive on a number of occasions throughout the book, just like the James Bond we all know. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series. Make them in to a film just like Harry Potter! I will finish with another word I have not used. Amazing.
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S RiazTop Contributor: Children''s Books
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Silverfin
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 3, 2013
This is a graphic novel version of the first Young Bond novel, which tells the story in an exciting way. I purchased some graphic novels for my eight year old son, who I noticed was dilligently reading his school book, but much less likely to pick up a book for pleasure...See more
This is a graphic novel version of the first Young Bond novel, which tells the story in an exciting way. I purchased some graphic novels for my eight year old son, who I noticed was dilligently reading his school book, but much less likely to pick up a book for pleasure (which worried me I have to admit). Since receiving a batch of graphic novels over the holidays, he has picked them up, flicked through them and become hooked on reading again. These are an ideal way to introduce reluctant readers to a love of books and my son has now asked me for the next in the series, as well as the original version of this novel. However, graphic novels are not a poor second at all - this is a well produced book with a great attention to detail and great fun. Which is, after all, the whole point of reading.
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Renko
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read for all ages!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2018
Higson perfectly captures the spirit of Bond-at times this is as gripping as the best Bond movies!Quite gruesome at times so not suitable for younger readers but great for both adults and young teens
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