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SilverFin: Young Bond    by Charlie Higson order for
by Charlie Higson
Order:  USA  Can
Miramax, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

SilverFin is the first episode in a Young Bond (that's right, 'My name is Bond. James Bond') series. We meet tall, fourteen-year-old, orphaned James, after his parents die in a climbing accident and he enters boarding school at Eton in the 1930s.

Charlie Higson has fun introducing James to fast cars and a lovely Scottish blonde (named Wilder Lawless and with a horse called Martini) in this episode. But, in addition to establishing the character traits that we've all come to enjoy in the books and movies about the adult 007, the author gives him an equally wild, lurid adventure, with the obligatory evil villain and mad scientists. It all begins in a Scottish loch, where we see a boy attempting to do some illicit fishing, but instead being attacked by vicious, unusually aggressive eels. His fate remains unknown until late in the book.

At Eton, new boy James makes friends (mainly of foreign students), but also an enemy, a bullying American named George Hellebore, whose wealthy father expects him to always win. James develops a love for running (which will serve him well in later adventures), and ends up competing with George for the Hellebore Cup - you can guess how that goes). During the holidays, James stays with his uncle Max (an ex-spy now dying of cancer) and his aunt Charmian in Scotland, near the Hellebore estate and Loch SilverFin. He befriends a boy named Red Kelly, and the two try to find out what happened to Kelly's cousin Alfie, who disappeared on a fishing expedition.

They get into serious trouble after they break into the castle, where James discovers that Lord Hellebore has a passion for eels and is involved in illegal experimention on animals and human beings. He and his cohorts are trying to 'turn an ordinary man into a superman'. Just as in the adult book and movie versions, James is captured and escapes, but ultimately defeats the villains in an explosive finale. After this experience, he discovers that Eton bullies 'were just boys ... and boys could never scare him again.' SilverFin is a great start to what looks like an exciting new teen series.

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