Posts Tagged ‘steve cole’

Young Bond Shoot to Kill

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and here is a case in point. The black and shiny silver look might help this novel stand out on the booksellers’ shelves, but it’s garish and quite possibly gives the wrong message about the content. Besides, who buys books in a store these days?

In fact, serious pains have been taken to create stories set in the teenage years of James Bond as Ian Fleming might have written them. This is one of a number of prequels to the Bond novels, which are set firmly in the 1930’s (Bond was supposed to have been born around 1920). This series was begun by Charlie Higson in 2005, and has now been taken over by Steve Cole. Now, I haven’t read any of the earlier books, so I can’t compare them, which is probably a good thing.

Here, the young James Bond has been sent to a new and modernist school near Totnes in Devon (coincidentally enough, a real town I’ve actually visited). He, along with a group of students and principal, are invited on a field trip by airship to Hollywood to visit another progressive school which is sponsored by a movie mogul. Of course, certain parties are up to no good, and young Bond is drawn into combating a villainous plot to take over the minds of humanity…

The zeppelin count is definitely up in this one, although I certainly wouldn’t call it steampunk. It is action adventure for young adults, with the emphasis on the action. Sometimes it gets a little over the top, but then it is Bond after all, and excessive scenery-chewing is only to be expected. I loved the attention to detail in the setting – I found only one tiny anachronism, a reference to early magnetic tape as “compact” which it certainly wasn’t. But one consequence of this will be that young people who are looking for the ultra-rapid pace of events achievable with modern technology won’t find it here – the past really is another country. Not that there was any real lack of excitement. A fun read for teens, and who knows, they might learn something!


Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui