Illustration of a young James Bond by Kev Walker
|Author||Charlie Higson, Steve Cole|
|Genre||Spy fiction, Thriller|
|Publisher||Puffin Books (UK)
Hyperion Books (US)
|Published||3 March 2005 – 3 September 2008|
|Media type||Print (hardback & 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 was considered by Higson as a possibility. In October 2013 it was confirmed that a second series was in development, with the first novel due for release in Autumn 2014, but it would be penned by Steve Cole while Higson continued work on his young adult zombie series, The Enemy.
Since the release of the first novel SilverFin in 2005, the series has become very successful 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.
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. 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.
- 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. Teaming up with Red Kelly, James finally reaches a castle and a loch and discovers a 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.
- Hurricane Gold (2007): The fourth Young Bond novel, Hurricane Gold, is set in Mexico and the Caribbean. The book was released on 6 September 2007 in the UK. The plot is centred 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 was released in the UK on 3 September 2008. The book deals with Bond leaving Eton College due to the incident with the maid, as mentioned in You Only Live Twice. 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). In this book, James Bond falls in love with his Irish maid, Roan.
- SilverFin: The Graphic Novel (2008) : The first Young Bond novel, SilverFin, was released as a graphic novel on 2 October 2008 by Puffin Books. The book was written by Charlie Higson and illustrated by renowned comic book artist Kev Walker. It was released by Disney Publishing in the US as both a hardcover and paperback in 2010 and was awarded the 2011 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award the following year.
- 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. It includes the brand-new Young Bond short story "A Hard Man to Kill" by Charlie Higson. Release date: 29 October 2009.
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 29 October 2009. The story is set between the books Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command and involves Young Bond travelling 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.
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: The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½ written by the pseudonymous 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."
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 Authorized 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 best-selling children's books in the UK. By November 2005, SilverFin had already sold 500,000 copies worldwide.
A second book in the Young Bond series, Blood Fever, was released on 5 January 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 best-selling children's books in the UK in its second week of release and held the spot for eleven weeks.
Double or Die, the third book in the series, was released in the UK on 4 January 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 best-selling 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.
As of March 2009 the Young Bond novels have sold over 5 million copies and have been translated into 25 languages.
In December 2010 all five Young Bond books were released as eBooks by Ian Fleming Publications.
On 5 May 2011 Puffin Books released two special editions of SilverFin
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. 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 US, with the third book, Double or Die not appearing in the US 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. By Royal Command and SilverFin: The Graphic Novel were released in the US on 18 May 2010.
On 11 August 2008 Puffin Books announced the first Young Bond alternate reality game (ARG), The Shadow War. The online game started on 23 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 8 October 2008.
On 27 January 2005 Puffin launched the official Young Bond website www.youngbond.com. 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. Official news is streamed to the site from the fansite www.youngbonddossier.com run by "zencat" (American screenwriter John Cox).
On 23 April 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 2 October 2008.
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. 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.
On 9 October 2013 Ian Fleming Publications announced that a new series of four Young Bond books were in development, written by Astrosaurs creator, Steve Cole. Cole's novels will follow on from Higson's last entry, By Royal Command and the aftermath of Bond's expulsion from Eton. The first novel will be published in the UK by Random House in the autumn of 2014. A life-long fan of the original Bond novels, Cole described the task as "a thrilling privilege and an exciting challenge".
In an interview with the Bucks Herald, Cole confirmed that Bond would be 14-15 years old in his novels and that the books would show how the adult Bond was formed. As part of the process for securing the position, Cole was tasked with creating a pitch for a story arc that would stretch across all four books.
- James Bond Jr.
- Alex Rider
- Jimmy Coates
- Henderson's Boys
- Cody Banks
- Spy School
- Outline of James Bond
- "Higson plots new Young Bond books". BBC News. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
- "More Young Bond adventures coming with new author Steve Cole". MI6-HQ. 9 October 2013.
- "Author resists Young Bond movie". BBC News. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2006.
- "Charlie Higson interview with CommanderBond.net". The Charlie Higson CBn Interview. Retrieved 23 February 2005.
- "Video of Double or Die title announcement". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 3 January 2007.
- "Hurricane Gold official announcement". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 24 April 2007.[dead link]
- "Young Bond 5 is BY ROYAL COMMAND". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
- "MI6-HQ.com interview with Charlie Higson". In Conversation With Charlie Higson. Retrieved 8 March 2006.
- Major Young Bond 5 update from Charlie Higson
- "Young Bond 5 working title revealed". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Charlie drops a Book 5 bombshell". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 6 October 2007.
- "SilverFin The Graphic Novel released in UK". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
- "SilverFin The Graphic Novel nominated for Eisner Award". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- "Young Bond companion book in November". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
- "Danger Society release date pulled forward". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 29 April 2009.[dead link]
- "Exclusive: Title and details revealed of new Young Bond short story". MI6-HQ.com. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
- "Young Bond is back in ‘A Hard Man to Kill’". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- "John Gardner on Young Bond series". Boys' own James Bond. Retrieved 28 February 2005.
- "'Blood Fever' sales". Blood Fever is No. 1 Bestseller. Retrieved 18 January 2006.
- "SilverFin sales". The name's Bond – Bond junior. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
- "Young Bond sales and acclaim". Young Bond at IFP's official site. Retrieved 18 January 2006.[dead link]
- "Double or Die sales". Bestsellers. Retrieved 20 January 2007.
- "Double or Die sales and acclaim". Double or Die is No. 1 Bestseller. Retrieved 20 January 2007.[dead link]
- "Young Bond novels released as eBooks in the UK". The Book Bond. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
- "EXCLUSIVE: NEW YOUNG BOND SILVERFIN SPECIAL EDITIONS". The Book Bond. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- "YOUNG BOND 2012 REFRESH COVERS REVEALED!". The Book Bond. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "Miramax Buys Rights to First Two Young James Bond Novels". CommanderBond.net. Retrieved 23 June 2004.
- "US Young Bond titles getting cover refresh in 2009". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- "The Shadow War press release". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- "The Shadow War is won!". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
- "Young Bond Website Launched!". CommanderBond.net. Retrieved 27 January 2005.
- "Youngbond.come gets a makeover". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
- "Young Bond Dossier now OFFICIAL news source". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
- "New release date for SilverFin graphic novel". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 8 June 2006.
- "Young Bond film rights". Charlie Higson in Los Angeles. Retrieved 20 October 2005.
- "New Young Bond series in 2014". Ian Fleming Publications.
- "Licence to thrill: Author selected to write young James Bond novels". Bucks Herald. 23 November 2013.
- Young Bond official website
- The Young Bond Dossier – Official Young Bond news source
- Young Bond coverage on MI6
- Young Bond coverage at CommanderBond.net