SilverFin is the first book in the bestselling Young Bond series.
There’s something in the water at Loch Silverfin. Something deadly. Something that must be kept secret… It’s James Bond’s first day at Eton, and he’s already met his first enemy. This is the start of an adventure that will take him from the school playing fields to the remote shores of Loch Silverfin and a terrifying discovery that threatens to unleash a new breed of warfare.
A page-turning adventure that will get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck. – Sunday Express
Meet the characters
When we first meet James he’s thirteen years old and has just started at Eton. He’s determined not to be daunted by the rules and regulations and the centuries old traditions of the place. He’s tough and resourceful, quick to make friends but a loner at heart.
‘He was a new boy; tall for his age and slim, with pale, grey-blue eyes and black hair that he had tried to brush into a perfect, neat shape, but, as usual, failed. One stray lock dropped down over his right eye like a black comma…’
One of the first people James meets at Eton is an older boy called George Hellebore. George is an arrogant, American bully and a cheat. He quickly becomes James’s worst enemy, but it is obvious that it is George’s father who has made him the way he is.
‘He was different from the English boys. He looked healthier – as if he’d been pumped up with vitamins and goodness, with orange juice and milk and fat steaks. He had wide shoulders and clear, sun-tanned skin. His big, strong, jaw was packed with gleaming white teeth and his eyes were so blue they looked unreal…’
James’s classical tutor, also in charge of athletics at Eton, Merriot becomes something of a mentor to James. Although part of the Eton system, he admires independent thinking.
‘He was a tall, thin man with grey eyes, untidy hair and a big, hooked nose sticking out of the front of his face like a fin. His black gown was too small for him, barely hanging down to his waist, and he was rarely seen without a pipe in his mouth, as often unlit as lit.
James liked Merriot. He was friendly and kind and was very fond of saying that he was there for the boys and not the other way around, as some beaks seemed to think was the case. He was excited about what he taught and easily distracted into talking about one of his favourite topics rather than what they should’ve been studying. And he was absolutely fanatical about athletics.’
Max Bond is James’s uncle. By the time we meet him in SilverFin, he is desperately ill, but this doesn’t stop him teaching James to drive and to fish. As he takes stock of his life, Max tells James of his experiences as a spy during the Second World War. His quiet determination to live his life to the full until the last has a profound effect of James.
‘Excitement,’ snapped Max. ‘That’s all modern youth is interested in – speed, thrills, noise and drama! Can’t say as I blame you though. I learnt in the war that you’ve got to take life by the scruff of the neck, you don’t get a second shot at it. What was it the man said? ‘I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.’
Charmian is James’s aunt and has been responsible for his upbringing since the death of his parents. She’s a strong, independent woman and she believes wholeheartedly in treating children as adults.
‘James’s Aunt Charmian was waiting for him on the platform. He held out his hand for her to shake, but she brushed it aside and gave him a big hug.
‘You’re so formal, James. Sometimes a lady wants more than just a handshake.’ Aunt Charmian was wearing olive-coloured trousers tucked into high riding boots and a matching jacket with a simple white silk shirt and scarf. You didn’t often see a woman in trousers, but Charmian carried herself so confidently that nobody would have dared to criticize her.’
James teams up with Red to try and find out what has happened to Red’s cousin, Alfie, who has gone missing on Loch Silverfin. Red is a cockney petty criminal and he teaches James a thing or two about fighting dirty.
‘Red was half-smiling, as if he knew James didn’t believe his story for one minute, but might think it was a good game anyway. Although a few years older than James, he wasn’t much bigger and he had a scrunched up, wiry body and quick clever eyes…’
Wilder is the Bond girl in SilverFin. A tough Scottish lass who probably loves her horse more than any person, but comes to James’s rescue just when he needs it most.
‘The light picked out just one face in the crowd. A girl with long blonde hair tied back in a pony-tail. The reflections from the acrobats’ sequins sent dancing starry lights across her pale skin and her eyes seemed to shine. They were the most vivid emerald colour that James had ever seen. She was absolutely hypnotised by the horses. James had never seen anyone staring with such intense happy concentration before…’
Randolph is the chief villain of SilverFin. A big, powerful American who has returned to his ancestral home in Scotland on Loch Silverfin. He is an arms manufacturer and is working on a topsecret new weapon. He will let nothing and no one stand in his way.
‘Lord Hellebore laughed into James’s face, and his hot breath, which smelt sour and sulphurous, blasted him, almost making him choke. James was reminded of one time when he had been to London Zoo and, standing too close to a lion’s cage, the great beast had roared right at him. The lion’s breath had stunk of meat and something else, something inhuman and frightening. Without the bars between them, that stink would have been the smell of death…’
Randolph’s twin brother, Algar has been made physically monstrous by the SilverFin serum. It is Algar, however, rather than Randolph, who has retained his sense of mercy and compassion.
‘James recoiled, but then forced himself to look at what had once been a man. Algar was taller than Randolph, though stooped over. His arms were enormous, and great knots of swollen muscle showed through his thin, filthy shirt, but there was something ruined about him, as if he could hardly carry his own weight. His skin was smooth and shiny and grey, stretched tight over his vast frame, and it glistened with oily sweat. The face was wrecked; it looked like it had been split down the middle and forced apart, so that the nose was flattened and stretched, the teeth had separated and the eyes had curved round almost to the side of his head. The eyes were the worst part. They were dark and wet, and James saw in them, not murder, but sadness and pain.’