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Last Updated: Thursday June 02 2005 11:05 GMT

Book Review: SilverFin


Charlie Higson

Publication date
March 2005


The story
This is the first in a series of new novels about the young James Bond - before he became a spy.

We first meet James as a schoolboy at Eton, where he has to cope with bullying and cheating during school sports day.

But the main action takes place in Scotland, where a remote castle holds some sinister secrets - and there are some very hungry fish in the loch.

The characters
James is a young hero who is still developing the powers that will one day make him a superspy.

He has a great friend in Red Kelly, who helps him through all sorts of adventures in Scotland.

There's even a girl called Wilder Lawless, who keeps popping up on her horse, Martini, when James needs her most. She's the very first "Bond girl"!

The big villain is Lord Randolph Hellebore, who owns the castle and has an obnoxious son at Eton who bullies James.

The scenes when James and Red break into the castle are really gripping and, at times, quite horrific.

Any weak bits?
The hero is an orphan, at a boarding school, bullied by a blond-haired boy with an important father, and who catches a train at King's Cross Station. Oh, and his best friend has red hair. Sound familiar?

But you can forgive the Harry Potter echoes, as this novel does go its own way in the end.

It's an easy, exciting read. If you're a fan of the Alex Rider novels about a teenage spy by Anthony Horowitz, you'll love this.

NR rating:

Four out of five

Have YOU read this book?

This book is so fantastic I read it in 3 days. I have already started reading it again. I would definitely give it a 9/10.
BJ, 11, Colchester

This is a must read if you are a Alex Rider fan. If you get real addicted come to the Hay Festival this May and meet Charlie Higson. I've got my ticket!!
Elly, 13, Herefordshire

I am a very loyal reader of the Harry Potter books, and only recently became a bit of fan of James Bond. SilverFin is a great book, it's set out a bit like HP Book 5, but it's a really good read!
Emma, 12, Oxhey

I have read SilverFin and found it amazing! I have also read all the Alex Rider series and I think that SilverFin is in the same league as them...However one thing I found lacking in SilverFin is that there isn't much about James' feelings as there is in the Alex Rider series. Overall a very good book...9/10!
Laura, 13, Newcastle

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. For a start, the book comes too late to make much of an impact; Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series has already stolen all the lime light. The book wasn't that gripping and I found one of the characters in the story to be seemingly pointless and undeveloped. Also, the plot was too far-fetched, as was the climax which I wish had been better. Bond fans however will adore this book.
Chantal, 14, Sevenoaks

Brilliant. Very exciting and unpredictable read. Overall rating 8/10.
Edward, 10, Fifield

A great book. I would give it 8/10. It gets a bit boring when he escapes from the castle and then strangely goes back there!!!! A great book to read especially people who like spy books.
Felix, 10, Dorset

Silverfin is a great book. It freaked me out at some points but you should definitely read it.
John, 10, Newcastle

I've read it and it's really good! It's a bit weird, because you wouldn't imagine James Bond being that plain and he's not portrayed as he is in the films. It's a bit like Harry Potter though! I'd give it 8/10!
Annabelle, 13, Hemel Hempstead

It is a little boring but as you read the book it starts to get better. I would give this book 7/10.
Jasmine, 9, Yeovil

Yes I have read the book and it's funny the fact of Bond getting bullied. I mean the biggest detective in the world getting bullied at a young age. I think later on James started to discover that he has a special potential in him.
Priya, 14, Luton

As a keen Bond fan. I was slightly turned off the idea of a younger Bond. But I was surprised on how much of a gripping read I found it. SliverFin really explores the depths of the soon to become 007. It really gives a lot of credit to the original source books by Ian Fleming. I was also surprised how true it stayed to it's 1930 setting. Though there are to many Potter references, I still really enjoyed the novel. It's great to see how the boy evolved into the hero he is today. Well done Charlie Higson, you're done Fleming proud.
Amandeep, 14, Hitchin

I thought it was good, because you see some of Bond's past and childhood. And you see how he learns many of the skills he uses. The story line (which I won't give away) is far fetched and not Bond-ish, it's more sci-fi than action/adventure. The book is well written, but the idea of James Bond being a kid is a little weird because the idea of James Bond is very "adult."
Sofie, 13, Chicago

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