SilverFin

SilverFin

SilverFin is the first novel in the Young Bond series that depicts Ian Fleming's superspy James Bond as a teenager in the 1930s. It was written by Charlie Higson and released in the UK on March 3, 2005 by Puffin Books in conjunction with a large marketing campaign; a Canadian release of the same edition occurred in late March. The U.S. edition was released on April 27, 2005 by Miramax Books, however this edition was edited.

SilverFin's success spawned a mobile game published by PlayerOne on January 5, 2006 in conjunction with the release of the second novel in the Young Bond series, Blood Fever. The game features 3 locations, 15 levels, and a variety of enemies that the player must avoid.

Because Ian Fleming never explicitly said when James Bond was born, Ian Fleming Publications and Charlie Higson chose the year 1920 as his birth year. SilverFin takes place in 1933.

Plot summary

SilverFin is broken up into three parts in addition to a prologue. During the prologue an un-named boy attempts to catch a very legendary fish at Loch Silverfin, a loch in Scotland. This part is left on a cliff-hanger - the boy is about to be captured - but by what or by whom?

The first part of the book chronicles Bond's starting attendance at Eton College. There he meets Pritpal, a boy from India and the son of a maharajah. The two become good friends and live together in the dorms along with another of his friends, a Chinese boy named Tommy Chong. Bond also comes into contact with George Hellebore, an American bully two years older than James. George's father, Lord Randolph Hellebore is an armament dealer who sold weapons to various countries after World War I. It's later revealed that Lord Hellebore knew Bond's father, Andrew Bond, who also sold arms for a company named Vickers post-World War I. Lord Hellebore arrives at Eton to direct and host a tournament cup ("Hellebore Cup") for the boys. The cup is broken up into three competitions; shooting, swimming, and running. Bond places seventh in shooting, third in his heat in swimming (which wasn't good enough to qualify for the final race), and first in cross country running. During the running sequence Lord Hellebore attempted to help his son cheat so that he could win the tournament, however, Bond after watching George take a shortcut a first time decided to follow George the next time, which allowed Bond to take first place being the superior runner. Because Bond won first in running George Hellebore won second place in the cup overall, which was unacceptable by his father's standard.

The second part of the novel details Bond's Easter break. James travels to Scotland to meet with his Aunt Charmian who is visiting Bond's ailing uncle, Max, who is dying of cancer. Both Charmian and Max are siblings of Bond's father, Andrew. It's also in this part of the novel that Bond reveals the details of his parents' death that were first mentioned in Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice. While travelling to Scotland, Bond befriends an older boy named "Red" Kelly who is travelling to the same place in search for his missing cousin, Alfie - who disappeared whilst out fishing (thus tying in with the prologue). James also meets a girl that loves her horse, Wilder. While staying at his Uncle's place Bond learns how to drive his Uncle's car and finds out that his Uncle was a spy during World War I. Bond also learns that Lord Randolph Hellebore owns a large stretch of land nearby that includes Loch Silverfin. He later meets back up with Red and ventures to Hellebore's estate where the two encounter Mike "Meatpacker" Moran, a Pinkerton's detective from New York City sent to investigate Lord Randolph Hellebore at the behest of Hellebore's wife, who suspects Lord Randolph of having killed his brother, her lover, Algar. Decays later.

Prior to infiltrating the castle, Red falls out of a tree and breaks his ankle, and is unable to continue on. James, however, climbs the tree and enters the castle. After snooping around Bond bumps his head and is captured. When Bond regains consciousness he is tied to a table and Lord Hellebore begins to interrogate him. Hellebore explains to James that he and his brother set out to create better and stronger soldiers by manipulating the endocrine system. Because it's difficult to find humans to test on, Algar tested the first "SilverFin serum" on himself. Initially it worked, however, it later failed when they increased the dosage and Algar was physically transformed into a man with a distorted body. Lord Hellebore later perfected the serum and was able to turn it into a pill. The pill essentially acts a steroid making anyone who uses it more agile, stronger, etc. for a temporary set of time. Hellebore even tests this pill on his own son (James had actually witnessed this during the cross-country race). Lord Hellebore reveals that he tested the SilverFin serum on Alfie Kelly, the boy whom Bond is searching for, however, Kelly couldn't handle it-his heart gave out- and died. Later Bond is also drugged with the SilverFin serum and locked in a cell. Bond, however, escapes the cell and the estate, with the help of Wilder Lawless (who kisses him at some point), only to return shortly later with George Hellebore as an ally to destroy Lord Randolph's lab. George has increasingly become upset with his dreadful father and his work, and secretly wishes to be with his mother more than anything. The two destroy the lab and are later confronted by Lord Hellebore who intends to kill them both. He, however, is drowned by his brother, Algar, who Lord Hellebore had imprisoned in the castle. Algar is also killed in the fight.

Bond collapses due to a lung infection and exhaustion shortly after and for ten days goes unconscious. When Bond regains consciousness he learns that George has moved back to America to be with his mother, and that his Uncle Max has passed away.

Graphic Novel

A graphic novel adaptation of SilverFin written by Charlie Higson and illustrated by artist Kev Walker was released in the UK on October 2, 2008.

Bond & book facts

  • Silverfin begins with a similar opening to Ian Fleming's Casino Royale.

Fleming: "The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning"
Higson: "The smell and noise and confusion of a hallway full of schoolboys can be quite awful at twenty past seven in the morning."

  • Bond's Aunt Charmian drives an identical Bentley to one Bond drives in Casino Royale and in subsequent books. Bond also inherits his Uncle's 1.5 liter Bamford & Martin Sidevalve Short Chassis Tourer. Bamford & Martin later became Aston Martin.
  • During a scene at a circus the announcer presents "The Mighty Donovan". "The Mighty O'Donovan" is Donovan "Red" Grant's father, referenced in From Russia with Love.
  • When released in Germany in August 2005, SilverFin was retitled "Silent Waters Are Deadly".
  • A special signed limited edition hardcover was released exclusively at Waterstone's Bookstores in the UK on October 6, 2005.
  • The U.S. edition of the book was edited to remove descriptions that were considered too racy for young readers. One such example includes a description of Wilder Lawless' legs during a tussle between herself and Bond.
  • Higson's original working title was "Out of Breath," but it was felt this sounded too much like an Elmore Leonard novel. Several permutations on "Silver" were tried including: "SilverBack", "SilverSkin", "SilverHead", and "SilverFist", before settling on "SilverFin".
  • Hellebores are poisonous plants in buttercup form, similar to Lord Hellebore's Aryan (blonde) looks resembling something beautiful yet deadly.
  • Lord Hellebore tells his son while they are hunting that they are a lot like Indians and when his son kills a deer he says he's a true Red Indian this is a reference to Ian Fleming's World War 2 days where his soldiers were nicknamed 'Flemings Indians' References to Red Indians also appear in the novel Casino Royale where Le Chiffre calls Bond a boy playing Red Indians and on the last page where Bond tells himself to stop playing Red Indians and go on with his grandparents

Publication history

References

See also

  • Alex Rider, a series of books by Anthony Horowitz about a fourteen year old boy working for MI6. Often referred as a 'youthful James Bond.'

External links

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