Charlie Higson is a well-known writer of screenplays and adult thriller novels. He's also a performer and co-creator of The Fast Show. He has written five mega-selling novels about Young Bond - Silverfin, Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command, as well as Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier and best-selling teen thrillers The Enemy and The Dead.
Boasting 12 novels and 22 films, the Bond legacy continues to expand with Ian Fleming Publications authorizing the original "Young Bond" series of YA novels. In this adaptation of the first novel, we meet the 14-year-old newbie at Eton, bullied by a swaggery Yank kid who inevitably recalls Draco Malfoy. But young George Hellbore's only under the thumb of his truly malevolent dad, Lord Hellbore, who lives in a moat-ringed castle. As James makes friends and trains to improve his physical prowess-the better to keep George out of his hair-he learns that a local lad has disappeared near the castle. So against all reasonable advice, our future spy is off to find out what Hellbore has done with the missing kid. VERDICT While the components and characters in this adventure offer few surprises, including a pretty young woman avatar for the older Bond's harem, Walker's excellent, semirealistic color art offers limpid menace. More generally, the equally excellent pacing and storytelling as well as the nicely written dialog elevate this into a captivating read that will appeal to adults and teens.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Higson's first novel depicting the life of the young James Bond gets a graphic adaptation. The story opens with Bond's arrival as a teenager at Eton in the early 1930s, where, far from his suave later self, he is an outsider who soon makes enemies with a rich brute from America. The first half of the tale examines the forces that shape Bond, including the loss of his parents and his discovery of his beloved uncle's mysterious role in WWI. The second half plunges into an adventure tale as Bond attempts to determine what dire deeds are taking place behind the walls of a Scottish castle near his aunt and uncle's home, placing himself in grave danger in the process. The shift is slightly jarring, although the final few pages foreshadowing Bond's adult profession help tie the two parts together. Walker's brooding illustrations capture Britain's damp climate and the country's lugubrious culture between the wars; a reader might almost feel a chill as the young Bond hides in the Scottish moors. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 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 Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.