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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.
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. A graphic novel adaptation of SilverFin was released in 2006.
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.
Alfie Kelly approaches the fence surrounding the local Laird's land and shimmies under the fence through a trench he had been digging for the last few weeks. Five years ago, the new Laird had put up the fence and began guarding the property with armed guards. Alfie, however, was determined to fish in Loch SilverFin, which was on the property. It had been a favorite fishing spot of his father's before he had been injured in World War One and died of lead poisoning after having been disabled for many years due to shrapnel. Alfie finds a great fishing spot where he casts and recasts to no avail. After trying live bait, Alfie gets a bite that after a great struggle to reel it in turns out to be an eel. Highly disappointed, Alfie prepares to remove his hook and return home, however the eel's flailing drives the hook into Alfie's thumb. After cleaning the wound and beginning to cry for his wasted effort, Alfie tries to return to shore to go home, but finds that the eels seem to be attacking him. As their mass drags him under, he calls for help, and sees a man on the far bank running toward him before being dragged down again. When he resurfaces, he finds that the man has disappeared, or so he thinks before seeing his flat and deformed face beneath the water before he is dragged under.
Far to the South, James Bond arrives at Eton for the first time. After having been taught by his aunt Charmian Bond for most of his life, he begins his schooling a term later into the year than the other boys. On his first day, he meets Pritpal Nandra, who helps him learn the very peculiar ropes of Eton. On his first schoolday, James gets up at the maid's call at 6:45 and dresses in the embarrassing Eton uniform, only to discover that the corridors were entirely deserted. Just as he is about to look for Pritpal for answers, a cascade of boys rushes past him. Being the only stationary person in the chaos, he is quickly found by Headmaster Codrose, who apologizes for not having met with him the day before before going on his way. James finds Pritpal in the chaos and the two run to their first classes, while Pritpal explains that the boys never get up until 7:15. As they run to their next class, they collide with some older boys, which gets them into trouble with George Hellebore, an incredibly muscular American two years their senior. The group bullies Pritpal into reluctantly running away and James tries to keep his cool before the fear of tardiness sends them all to class. That night, while having tea with James Pritpal and their messmate Tommy Chong, James was sent to deliver a message to an older boy. While running to the boy's dormitory, he saw Hellebore and his father speaking with Headmaster Alington. When James is spotted, Lord Randolph Hellebore
The second part of the novel details Bond's Easter break. James travels to Scotland to meet up with his Aunt Charmain who is visiting Bond's ailing uncle, Max. Both Charmain 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 traveling to Scotland, Bond befriends an older boy named "Red" Kelly who is traveling to the same place in search for his missing cousin, Alfie. 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 Moran ("the meatpacker"), a Pinkerton's detective from New York City sent to investigate Lord Randolph Hellebore at the behest of Hellebore's ex-wife who suspects Lord Randolph of having killed his brother, her lover, Algar. Days later the meatpacker goes missing and Bond along with Red infiltrate the Hellebore estate and finally attempt to gain access to the castle.
Prior to infiltrating the castle, Red fell out of a tree and broke his leg and was unable to continue on. James, however, climbed the tree and entered the castle. After snooping around Bond bumps his head and is captured. When Bond regains consciousness he is tied to a table and Lord Randolph 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 its difficult to find humans to test on, Algar tested the first "SilverFin serum" on himself. Initially it worked, however, it later failed and Algar was physically transformed into a half-man half-eel. Lord Randolph 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 Randolph reveals that he tested the SilverFin serum on Alfie Kelly, the boy whom Bond is searching for, however, Kelly couldn't handle it and died. Later Bond is drugged as well with the SilverFin serum and locked in a cell. Bond, however, escapes the cell and the estate only to return shortly later with George Hellbore as an ally to destroy Lord Randolph's lab. George has increasingly become upset with his dreadful father, his work, and secretly wishes to be with his mother more than anything. The two destroy the lab and are later confronted by Lord Randolph who intends to kill them both. He, however, is drowned by his brother, Algar, who Lord Randolph had imprisoned in the castle. Algar is also killed in the fight.
Bond collapses shortly after and for ten days goes unconscious due to the SilverFin serum, which doesn't appear to affect him after awakening. When Bond regains consciousness he learns that George moved back to America to be with his mother and that his Uncle Max had passed away.
- 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 Charmain drives an identical Bentley to one Bond drives in Casino Royale and in subsequent books. Bond also inherits his Uncles 1.5 liter Bamford & Martin Sidevalue 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.
- SilverFin is the only Young Bond novel to receive a graphic novel adaptation.
|Young Bond Series|
SilverFin (2005) -- Blood Fever (2006) -- Double or Die (2007) -- Hurricane Gold (2007) -- By Royal Command (2008) -- A Hard Man to Kill (2009)