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Silverfin (Young Bond, Book One) Paperback – December 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax Books (December 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423101138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423101130
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,742,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–The first of a projected series sanctioned by the Ian Fleming estate finds young James at Eton. It's the 1930's and memories of World War I intrude often as James finds a place among friends but attracts the unwanted attention of an older American boy and his very rich father, a Scots lord. Lord Hellebore and his son are bullies with over-the-top ambition for success at all costs. When the term ends, James heads north to his Uncle Max's cottage in Scotland where his Aunt, who has raised him since his parents' death in a climbing accident, has gone to care for her dying brother. The discovery that the frightening Lord Hellbore is the local laird comes just as James meets a cockney boy named Red Kelly who has stowed away on the train, off to help locate his young cousin, Alfie, who has gone missing near the laird's estate at Loch Silver Fin. James and Red team up to solve the mystery of Alfie's disappearance. James's leadership skills are apparent as he recruits a local girl and even young George Hellebore in his quest to undo the vile experiments occurring at the laird's castle. Charlie Higson's novel (Miramax Books, 2005) is skillfully and dramatically read by Nathaniel Parker, who gives every character a distinct voice. Fans of James Bond movies as well as Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books will be eager to listen to this fine spy thriller.–Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Charlie Higson is an acclaimed comedy writer, producer, actor, and genuine James Bond aficionado. He is the author of the adult thrillers, Full Whack and King of the Ants; the internationally best-selling Young Bond series: SilverFin, Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold, and By Royal Command; and the YA apocalyptic thriller: The Enemy, which he wrote to frighten his ten-year-old son. He lives in London. Follow him on Twitter at: twitter.com/monstroso

Customer Reviews

A great story for fans of James Bond.
Brian
There could have been a little more action and blood-chilling suspense but overall, this book was very well written.
purple
My son wanted me to read the books, he is reading the series.
daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chris Wright on April 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By LA Brushwood on June 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book at the library and decided to preview it before recommending it to my 11-year-old son. So glad I did! It is a good story, well written, etc., but other reviewers have covered that. What bothers me is the recommended age level. Here in the description on Amazon, it lists grades 5-8. But the "technical" portion of the listing says young adult. Young adult is the category that should contain this book, not juvenile. Sure, it doesn't contain sexual scenes or foul language. But it does contain detailed descriptions of animal cruelty, descriptions of killer eels mauling a young boy and a man, a mutant eel/man creature, and discussions of germocide, chemical warfare, and biological experiments. It's really scary, disturbing material, and it would bother a whole lot of kids in the 11-12 year old group. It bothered me enough to stop reading even though I was nearing the end of the book. I just didn't want those images in my head....and the story wasn't compelling enough to make me want to find out what would happen to James Bond.

Please don't get this for your young kids. It is definitely more appropriate for teens and adults.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John Cox on April 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on May 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thoughtfully written and engaging, "Silverfin" doesn't take the easy way out and simply present a younger version of the glamourous and lethal James Bond of the movies. In other words, the 13 year-old Bond seen here isn't chasing his female classmates, sneaking vodka martinis, and killing thugs left and right. Quite the contrary, he's quiet, well mannered, still lonely from the recent death of his parents, and just wanting to get along and make friends at his new boarding school.

No doubt this sensitive, understated portrayal is due to the fact that author Charlie Higson is a fan of Ian Fleming's Bond novels, and in those novels Bond was never the ruthless killer and incessant womanizer of the movies. Rather, he was a decent sort who preferred to perform his assignments without fanfare and, if possible, without violence. And while Fleming's Bond certainly had girlfriends and relationships, usually it was the women who eventually left him: by ultimately seeking out "safer" men or (in two of the novels) dying in Bond's arms.

"Silverfin", then, shows in an entertaining fashion the genesis of the gentlemanly, professional, and worldly agent of the Fleming novels. It does so by introducing us to young Bond's early personal mentors (his delightful aunt and uncle, primarily) and showing us how those mentors stoked Bond's inherent personal strengths and talents. We then see young Bond use those strengths and talents as he takes on the first nemesis of his career, the mysterious and dangerous Lord Hellebore.

Though officially a "novel for young people", there's enough shading and subtlety to the characterizations and enough true danger in "Silverfin" that adults will enjoy the ride, too. I know I did.
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