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Double or Die

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Double or Die is the third novel in the Young Bond series depicting Ian Fleming's superspy James Bond as a teenager in the 1930s. The novel, written by Charlie Higson, was released in the UK in January, 2007 by Puffin Books.

Plot summary

While visiting Highgate Cemetery, Professor Alexis Fairburn, a professor at Eton College, was kidnapped by two thugs for his knowledge of "Project Nemesis", but he dropped a clue on his way out of the cemetery. At the Duck Inn in Pett Bottom, James Bond was contacted by his headmaster, who informed him of the cover story for the events of Blood Fever, and told James to stay out of trouble and never to speak of what had happened to him.

Months into the school year, James was again contacted by the Headmaster regarding the disappearance of their maths professor, Alexis Fairburn. Fairburn had sent a vague notice of resignation, and a letter to Bond's messmate Pritpal Nandra, which they hoped might help them understand the situation. Pritpal read the cryptic letter, but could make nothing of it. The Headmaster then took it to his office, but by remembering a phrase from the letter, the boys realized that it was a puzzle with their first hint being from the morning crossword, which had been set by Fairburn, "Solve Seven Cryptic Clues". Bond then arranged with the school Danger Society to make a copy of the letter by spying on the Headmaster from the glass roof of his study. They then worked through two more clues and deduced that a man by the name of Gordius, an alieus used by the morning crossword setter that had replaced Fairburn.

Gordius agreed to come to the school crossword society meeting, but the man that came was less interested in crosswords than in the letter left by Fairburn. He challenged James and two other boys to a card game called Hearts, which James was able to win, much to Gordius' dismay. Before they parted company, James asked for Gordius' name, and after some thought he replied with Ivar Peterson. With this information, James began to plan a meeting with the real Professor Ivar Peterson at Cambridge. When James and Pritpal returned to Eton they were nearly run over by a skull faced man, and found that their house had had a fire after a break in, the perpetrator of which, the housekeeper swore was death itself. The boys were then transferred to Eton Mission, a church in Cambridge until the house was repaired. In Cambridge, James went to see Petersen, and waited outside of his study with a young Alan Turing. When Bond entered the study, he found Petersen murdered at his writing desk. Deducing that the murderer was in the next room, James took the letter Petersen had been writing, a paper with binary code on it, and a photograph of Fairburn, Peterson, and a third man.

Outside, James ran into Turing, whom he told to take the police to Petersen's room, but he spotted the skull faced man who had nearly run him down, and ran away. He went to the tea shop where he had arranged to meet Perry Mandeville who had driven to Cambridge with him, but Mandeville was not there. After reading the letter from Petersen, James went to his car, where he was cornered by the skull faced man and his colleague. James sped away in his car, but his pursuers dd not give up.

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