Thursday, December 18, 2008

James Bond: The History Of The Illustrated 007

Now for the first time, the complete history of the illustrated James Bond is chronicled by pop culture historian Alan J. Porter in James Bond: The History Of The Illustrated 007. Porter’s new book examines James Bond’s adventures in newspaper strips and comic books.

Before Bond became world famous with his movie series, the character was the subject of successful English newspaper strips and later in comic books. With the explosion of Bond on the screen the character and his exploits become even more popular in comic strip and comic book versions all over the world. James Bond: The History Of The Illustrated 007 examines it all, and covers Bond’s newspaper strip and comic book appearances from the 1950s to the present.

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Closer look at the HURRICANE GOLD prototype cover

Publisher Disney Hyperion have posted on their website Kev Walker’s prototype artwork for the U.S. hardcover edition of Hurricane Gold, due for release April 7, 2009. This is a much larger image than what was revealed on the official Young Bond site back in June.


Mind you, this is not the final art (as it says on the cover itself). The final art will reflect the “Bond vs. Villain” theme as seen on Double or Die and the new paperback editions of SilverFin and Blood Fever due for release next year.

Still, this is beautiful work by Walker (who’s work can be seen in the new SilverFin Graphic Novel) and it’s nice to get a closer look. We hope to bring you the FINAL cover sometime this month.

The Hurricane Gold hardcover is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Monday, December 8, 2008

DOUBLE OR DIE cover concept sketch

Illustrated 007 strikes again, this time showing us Kev Walker’s original cover concept sketch for the U.S. hardcover edition of Charlie Higson’s Double or Die.


This art appeared largely unchanged on the hardcover released in 2007 and, as we revealed last week, will also appear on the paperback edition due out on March 10, 2009.

This cover proved so popular that Disney asked Kev to redesign the covers of SilverFin and Blood Fever using a similar “Bond vs Villain” theme for new paperback editions due next year.

Thanks to Illustrated 007 for sharing this rare art.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Original BLOOD FEVER concept cover art

Illustrated 007, a terrific website devoted to James Bond artwork of all kinds, has uncovered rare original Kev Walker concept art for the U.S. hardcover edition of Charlie Higson’s Blood Fever.


As with unused titles, I find this kind of thing fascinating. While the final Blood Fever hardcover did follow this basic design, there are still some notable differences.

First, Young Bond is holding a gun in hand. While this certainly gives it a Bondian flare, Charlie once told us that guns were forbidden on the cover of kids books, so it’s understandable why this needed to be changed.

Second, the title case runs together as one word, similar to the UK edition. Happily, this was changed, as there is still sometimes confusion whether the book is called Blood Fever (two words) or BloodFever (one word). We can also glimpse the name of the ship in this artwork, which did not appear on the final design.

Thanks to Illustrated 007 for sharing this rare art.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Young Bond US cover art

The Young Bond Dossier has revealed all-new cover art for the US editions of Charlie Higson's SilverFin and Blood Fever. These new editions will be released alongside the US paperback Double or Die on March 10, 2009.
















UPDATE: The Young Bond Dossier has now revealed the final cover art for the U.S. hardcover edition of Hurricane Gold (due April 7, 2009). CLICK HERE to view.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Devil May Care paperback cover art

Cover art for the paperback editions of Sebastian Faulks Devil May Care have been reveled on CommanderBond.net. The paperback edition will be released May 28, 2009, exactly one year after the much-hyped release of the hardcover.

1. Penguin UK paperback (May 28)
2. U.S. mass market paperback (May 19)
3. U.S. trade paperback (May 19)
4. Anchor Canada trade paperback (May 12)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The secret origins of Graf von Schlick

The thrill-seeking Graf von Schlick enjoys fast cars and the cool air of his native Austria. But when the young James Bond encounters him after a tumble in the mountains, he is sure that all is not as it seems. Has James seen the Graf somewhere before..?

Bond historian Craig Arthur (Craig Arthur on James Bond) has made a remarkable discovery about the origins of By Royal Command’s villainous Graf von Schlick (seen above in Kev Walker’s beautiful artwork). Turns out the Graf was actually dreamt up by a 19-year-old Ian Fleming while he was staying in Tennerhof in 1937.

In a detailed post on the CBn forums, Craig directs our attention to The Life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson, Chapter 4, which reads:

"He [Fleming] invented an endless story about Graf Schlick, the local lord of the manor who lived in the big castle at the end of the valley, and had him committing the most terrible crimes and perpetuating unspeakable tortures. At the end of one of these stories, when the Graf had performed multiple villainies upon some unprotesting virgin, retribution caught up with him."

Furthermore, Craig discovered that Schlick was based on an actual Czech adventurer who called himself by that name and started the first ski club in Kitzbuhel (a location featured prominently in By Royal Command). According to Andrew Lycett's 1995 biography of Ian Fleming:

"As later often happened with his books, Ian found some of his best material closest to hand. He was fascinated by the exploits of the local aristocrats, the von Lambergs. The Graf (or Count) Max von Lamberg had a formidable reputation for drinking and womanizing. While his wife and three children lived in the family castle, a sugary Gothic confection called the Schloss Kaps, Graf Max camped out in a nearby chalet with a blonde mistress who worked in the photographer's shop and who was consequently known as the Photo-Grafin. Count Max's exotic sister, Paula, was a close neighbour in the Schloss Lebenberg. She was an artist and sportswoman, widely known as the best female ski-jumper in the world. She married a Czech adventurer who adopted the name 'Count Schlick' and who started the first ski club in Kitzbuhel. Schlick ran through her money, but not before introducing her to motor racing which led to her death. She was competing with her husband in a race in Salzburg, when she mysteriously fell out of the car and was killed. Local gossip had it that she was pushed by Schlick who, having inherited her castle and land, methodically sold it off piece by piece [in By Royal Command Schlick’s wife is pushed from an opera box]. Ian liked to concoct stories about the evils perpetuated by Schlick, including graphic details of tortures the Count devised."

Craig concludes, “So from this extract it is apparent that Higson has combined aspects of Max von Lamberg with Fleming's Schlick. I consider the integration of this early Fleming character into By Royal Command a stroke of genius on Higson's part. Well done CH.”

I agree. A brilliant nod to Ian Fleming, and a brilliant bit of research by Craig Arthur!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Latest release from Titan: 'Polestar'

Titan Books latest collection of classic James strips, Polestar, is now shipping from Amazon.com.

The Polestar collection includes the title story along with "Flittermouse", "The Scent Of Danger", "Snake Goddess" and "Double Eagle." Intro this time is by Bond Girl Valerie Leon.

Next up from Titan will be The Girl Machine in July 2009.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Exclusive: BY ROYAL COMMAND paperback cover art

Today we are thrilled to show you cover art for the UK paperback edition of Charlie Higson’s fifth Young Bond bestseller, By Royal Command. Very nice!


Our friends at Puffin, who generously provided the beautiful high res image above, inform us that the silver portions of the cover artwork will be finished in foil.

The By Royal Command paperback will be released on May 28, 2009. It is currently available for pre-order on the French and German Amazon websites, but not yet the UK site (we will let you know when it is).

By Royal Command finds James Bond in action from England to the chilling heights of the Austrian Alps. The book is currently available in the UK as a hardcover and audiobook.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: "The maid" is revealed

Today we have an exciting exclusive for you; Kev Walker’s brand new illustration of Roan Power, the infamous boys maid from By Royal Command. Just click here to see James Bond’s first love in all her glory.


Walker has also provided illustrations of By Royal Command’s villainous Graf Von Schlick and Dandy O’Keefe. Those images can be viewed as thumbnails at youngbond.com.

By Royal Command finds James Bond in action from England to the chilling heights of the Austrian Alps. The fifth Young Bond bestseller is out now in the UK as a hardcover and audiobook.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Precious GOLD

The Young Bond Dossier reports that Puffin has released a Hurricane Gold Limited Collector’s Edition in the UK. Limited to 999 copies (which means there is a copy #007 out there), the hardcover book is signed and numbered by author Charlie Higson and comes in an attractive slipcase.

The
Hurricane Gold Limited Collector’s Edition is a Waterstone’s exclusive and retails for £25. It can be purchased online at Waterstones.com and Hatchards.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lucy Fleming says no decision on Young Bond films

Sony Pictures recently flew a select group of online journalists and bloggers to England for what sounded like a spectacular four days of Bonding with the stars and filmmakers of Quantum of Solace.

Interestingly, a report at Ain’t It Cool News reveals that part of the junket included tea at Browns Hotel (a favorite haunt of Ian Feming’s) with Lucy Fleming herself (pictured left at the Devil May Care launch in May). Even more interesting is the talk, for a moment at least, turned away from Daniel Craig’s 007 and to Charlie Higson’s Young Bond.

Hey, when Lucy Fleming talks, we listen, so here’s the relevant paragraph from AICN.

“Daughter of actress Celia Johnson and writer Peter Fleming, Lucy Fleming was really enjoyable to talk to about her history with her uncle's work. Since 1997, she and her sister Kate have been in charge of Ian Fleming Publications, which continues to publish James Bond titles as well as a series for young adults called Young Bond, which are apparently quite popular in the UK and have seen five books published since 2005. She admitted that she's been approached about adapting Young Bond into movies, but the company hasn't decided whether this will happen.”

So there’s the latest on Young Bond films from the very top. Nothing yet.

For more about the junket, check out the report by our good buddy Jim Vejvoda (aka Stax) at IGN.com.

Benson is back in 'The Union Trilogy'

Pegasus Books has released a Raymond Benson James Bond omnibus, The Union Trilogy. The collection includes the novels High Time To Kill, Doubleshot, and Never Dream of Dying.

As a bonus, the book also includes the full version of Raymond's first Bond short story "Blast From The Past." This uncut version has never before been published in English.

Raymond Benson was the James Bond continuation author from 1997 to 2002.

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Shadow War is won

The groundbreaking Young Bond online alternate reality game The Shadow War concluded yesterday with a very special live event hosted by author Charlie Higson.

Agents of the SIS and OGPU joined together to rescue “Major” Higson from the Schloss Donnerspitze. The mission included clues to decrypt, secret passages to find, and helping Charlie defuse a bomb...all live!

Click the image below to view the YouTube message sent by Charlie at the conclusion of the game.


And even if you missed the live event, you can still play or replay the other missions at www.youngbondshadowwar.com.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shadow War LIVE EVENT with Charlie Higson TODAY

PRESS RELEASE: Today (Wednesday 8th October) sees the finale of the first ever Young Bond alternate reality game, The Shadow War. Charlie Higson, author of the bestselling Young Bond books, will be taking part in a live online event at 5pm (BST) today.

The Shadow War, a gripping interactive online game and the first alternate reality game connected to a children’s series of books, was launched on Saturday 23rd August on www.youngbond.com. It has since seen an incredible 10,000 people taking part in a series of six missions, all set in the Young Bond world: from crossing the Alps without being caught or tracking down a ship in the dangerous Docks of London’s East End to joining the Eton Danger Society or unravelling some strange goings on in Hellebore Castle.

The seventh and final mission, set today, will see Charlie Higson taking part and helping players solve the mission. For seven nail-biting weeks, the game has put Young Bond fans and online gamers in the shoes of either a British SIS agent or a Soviet OGPU and this last mission will see each side pitted against each other, interspersed with a live video of Charlie Higson posing as a captured British soldier, held in a cell in a castle in the Austrian Alps.

The 007th mission:

The OGPU and SIS are sending commando teams to attack the castle and racing to reach the control centre first. Players on each side will be collectively solving puzzles and cracking codes that will get them through the danger-filled castle. Charlie Higson will be on hand to help in the form of a captured British soldier who will regularly appear, giving each side hints about solving puzzles and updating them on the state of the battle. In addition, players will be able to submit their own questions to him. The end of game will see an unexpected turn when both sides will be forced to work together.

Charlie Higson comments: “The Shadow War has been a great way to follow the Young Bond story in a different way. Over the past few weeks kids from around the world have been working together as secret agents to crack a series of ingenious plots. It's the final stage of the game this week, and a chance for all those kids to come together in a race against time and finish the story. I'm really looking forward to playing a part in it and appearing live in the game as a British agent. I just hope the kids solve the problems in time or I risk being liquidated by a fiendish foreign power!

Written by Charlie Higson and developed by specialist creators of alternate reality games Six to Start, The Shadow War is an innovative combination of reading, story-telling and online gaming. It is designed for children aged 9 plus, but can be enjoyed by adults too, and is played completely free of charge. Set within the Young Bond world, the game allows fans to explore familiar locations and see memorable characters from the series – including James Bond himself.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Shadow War concludes with LIVE EVENT October 8

This Wednesday, 8th October, the Young Bond online alternate reality game The Shadow War will conclude with a very special LIVE event hosted by author Charlie Higson.

The event will happen at 5PM BST (British Summer Time) on the official Shadow War game site. Make sure you save the time and date. This is one mission you won’t want to miss!

This groundbreaking Young Bond alternate reality game, written by Charlie Higson and designed by Six to Start, takes intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond and his new adventure, By Royal Command.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Young Bond’s dog got the boot

During his appearance at the London Apple Store last week, Charlie Higson revealed an interesting piece of Young Bond/Ian Fleming trivia. He originally intended to give James Bond a companion dog in SilverFin. Says Charlie:

“In the first book, in SilverFin, I thought I’d give James Bond a dog. Every boy in an adventure story needs a dog. But then it came back from the Fleming’s that Ian hated dogs. So I took the dog out. Which was good because I couldn’t ever really think of anything very much for the dog to do in the books. So I was relieved in a way.”

Charlie’s talk is now available as a “Meet the Author” podcast via the iTunes UK store.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SilverFin: The Graphic Novel

SilverFin: The Graphic Novel has been released in the UK. Running 160 pages with approximately 300 full color illustrations, this first Young Bond graphic novel was written by Charlie Higson and illustrated by renowned comic book artist, Kev Walker.

The Times calls the book “a bold and brilliant Manga-inspired treat.”

Preview 1
Preview 2
Preview 3
Preview BONUS

The Shadow War Mission 6: Crossing Europe

The spymaster needs you to get to the Alps and find out who was on that airship...

The sixth mission of The Shadow War is online now at youngbondshadowwar.com. This time you need to find your way across Europe, hot on the trail of the mystery airship and its even more mysterious passenger.

And, remember, next Wednesday (8th October) The Shadow War concludes with a very special LIVE event hosted by Charlie Higson. Make sure you save the date. This is one mission you won’t want to miss!

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Shadow War Mission 5: Never say never again

Who said you'd never have to go back to some places you've been before?

The fifth mission of The Shadow War is online now at youngbondshadowwar.com. This time you’re returning to Keithly to hunt down a mysterious person who's on the move. You'll need some eagle-eyed help in this one.

This groundbreaking Young Bond alternate reality game, written by Charlie Higson and designed by Six to Start, takes intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond and his new adventure, By Royal Command.

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Shadow War Mission 4: Lisbon

You’re to investigate a bookstore in Lisbon, where it appears something deadly has occurred...

The fourth mission of The Shadow War is online now at youngbondshadowwar.com. This time you’re off to Lisbon to search for a clue in a familiar bookshop. And if you couldn’t complete last week’s mission because you didn’t have a copy of By Royal Command in hand, CLICK HERE for the codeword clue.

This groundbreaking Young Bond alternate reality game, written by Charlie Higson and designed by Six to Start, takes intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond and his new adventure, By Royal Command.

Good luck.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Variant hidden in 20 copies of By Royal Command

If you’ve been playing the Young Bond alternate reality game, The Shadow War, then you learned last week where to find a secret codeword hidden inside By Royal Command that helped complete the mission. If you couldn’t find it, or if you’re a non-player but still curious, CLICK HERE to see the word.

However, did you know there is different codeword hidden in only 20 copies of By Royal Command worldwide that unlocks more information?

While this is exciting for gamers, it is even more exciting (or frustrating) for collectors, because a copy of By Royal Command with this rare variant codeword is certain to be a mega hot collectible!

So what is the other codeword? I have no idea. Thus far, no fan has come forward with one of the elusive 20. But now that we know where the word is hidden...let the search begin!

And if you think you’ve found it, please EMAIL ME and I can verify it with Puffin HQ.

UPDATE: Here it is! Does your book have it?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Shadow War Mission 3: The Royal Docks

The spymaster sends you to the Royal Docks to solve the mystery of ‘Sapphire’...

The third mission of The Shadow War is online now at youngbondshadowwar.com. This time you’re off to search the London Docklands, and if you have a copy of By Royal Command in hand, a rare clue in the book itself can help you find your destination.

This groundbreaking Young Bond alternate reality game, written by Charlie Higson and designed by Six to Start, takes intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond and his new adventure, By Royal Command.

Good luck.

Friday, September 5, 2008

BOOK BOND REVIEW: Young Bond loses his innocence

With By Royal Command Charlie Higson brings the Young Bond series in for a picture perfect landing, touching down cleanly and evenly on every aspect of James Bond’s past and future life. Within its own universe, By Royal Command is the equivalent of 2006’s Casino Royale or this year’s The Dark Knight -- a surprisingly profound, introspective, and ultimately tragic chapter that takes a leap in quality and maturity from all that has come before.

At the same time, By Royal Command is a kinder and gentler Young Bond novel that doesn’t have nearly the level of gruesome violence that has become a hallmark of the series (and may have actually gone too far in the last book). It’s an utterly surprising book in just about every way. Of course, all the Young Bond books have been individualistic and, in their own ways, surprises, so By Royal Command fits perfectly into a series that has never repeated itself.

CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD

By Royal Command is divided into three sections so distinct that it’s worth reviewing one section at a time.

PART ONE (“Kitzbuhel”) finds James Bond joining a school skiing party in the Austrian Alps. For my money, these pages contain Charlie Higson’s best work. Without much main plot to address, Charlie serves up an atmospheric slow burn. His descriptions of the Alps and his skiing details put the reader right into Bond’s snow boots. The reader is transported and even lulled into the beauty of the mountains. But then the clouds come in and so does the danger, and Charlie turns his skills toward creating a thrilling and frightening battle for survival. It’s brilliant and harrowing stuff. For those who have resisted the Young Bond series, read these first 100 pages and I guarantee you will pick up the entire series.

PART TWO (“Eton”) finds young James back at school in England, and here’s where the main plot and caper kicks in. For Fleming buffs, this is what they have been waiting for as we are finally introduced to the infamous “boys’ maid,” who Ian Fleming established in You Only Live Twice as being instrumental in Bond leaving the school. Yes, By Royal Command gives us the full “maid incident” and, no, it’s not sexual (well, at least not on the page -- adult readers may be able to read between the chapters). Feisty Roan Power is a raven-haired Irish beauty who likens herself to a witch, and young James falls hard for the older woman (she’s 17). Despite saying he’d avoid romance in the Young Bond series for fear of putting off his young male readers, Charlie takes the plunge and gives us a full-blown love story in By Royal Command.

But it’s clear from the very first chapters that Charlie is not necessarily writing a book for kids, or at least he is asking more of his young readers. By Royal Command is full of sophisticated political and historical references, especially in this second section (Bond has a historically fascinating conversation with the Prince of Wales), and the plotting is an intricate web of spy intrigue. Far from being a turn off, I expect even the youngest readers, having invested in the first four books, will be rapt with attention, waiting for the next revelatory shoe to drop. But even if they ultimately opt for the eels of SilverFin, the pirates of Blood Fever, the puzzles of Double or Die, or the death mazes of Hurricane Gold, the mature themes of By Royal Command will certainly attract over time and provide a perfect bridge to a possible Young Bond Series II (please oh please).

Interestingly, the big caper in By Royal Command – an attempt to assassinate King George during a visit to Eton – is resolved near the end of this second section, which still leaves a good 100 pages to go. This is where By Royal Command takes its most surprising turn.

In PART THREE (“Fugitives”), James Bond resolves to do the wrong thing – bigtime. He follows his heart instead of his new SIS controllers, says the hell with King and Country, and uses all his formidable skills to help Roan – revealed to be a communist conspirator – escape to Europe. It’s here that By Royal Command becomes a wonderful NOVEL, throwing off all conventions of a typical James Bond book. It’s as exhilarating for the reader as it is for Bond to be freed of convention and plunge back into Charlie’s wonderful descriptions of the Austrian Alps, this time during a summer bloom (nicely symbolic). But danger is close behind, and Higson throws us a wonderful surprise twist in the form of a returning character that plunges Bond back into familiar territory for an exciting climax, where we finally get a generous helping of Young Bond gore (I knew he couldn’t resist).

As for the very end… I’ll leave it to the reader to discover. Suffice to say, I was able to brings tears to the eyes of a female friend by just describing it.

Structurally, By Royal Command is somewhat similar to Devil May Care (the celebrated Centenary adult Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks), particularly in its post-caper third act flight. But By Royal Command has an emotional depth that the adult Bond adventure didn’t. There is a real sadness that permeates By Royal Command, a steady drip drip drip of Bond’s innocence, of which Bond is all too aware. After the bloody events of the past four books, especially the relentless Hurricane Gold, this James Bond wants nothing more than to live a normal schoolboy’s life. He’s a 14-year-old with post traumatic stress. (Ironically, the young Bond of By Royal Command is much more the damaged “old gunslinger” as described by Faulks.)

But Bond discovers he is fated to be a magnet for danger and death, and his reserves of stamina and strength in such situations have not gone unnoticed by leaders who soon need young men with such reserves. Not only does Bond lose what remained of his innocence in By Royal Command, it’s made clear to him that the world will soon lose what remains of its innocence as well. The specter of World War II and the Cold War looms large over this novel and, in the end, Bond is resigned that his will never be a normal life. In time, he will become a number.

Okay, what are the flaws? I’ll leave it to fandom to nitpick, but for me, I was never able to completely fall in love with Roan as I was past Bond girls. Maybe it’s because her calling James “darling” sounded to matronly. But this also contributed to the tragedy. Despite Roan’s own claims of love, Bond was clearly in a relationship that was one-sided. And after the last two books, some may find By Royal Command too light on gore and violence. But this is not a complaint I’d level. Like Blood Fever, I think this book strikes a perfect, realistic balance of all elements that make up a great James Bond novel.

So where does By Royal Command stand among the other Young Bonds? For me, it’s clearly the best -- which qualifies it as one of the very best James Bond continuation novels, period. For fans who still refuse to read the series based on the concept alone, it’ll be hard to justify why they won’t at least read By Royal Command, as it depicts a key event established by Fleming and IS a spy novel. While it’s preferable to have a knowledge of what came before (the book touches on all the past Young Bond novels with several returning characters), By Royal Command can still be read as a stand alone.

While there has been talk of more Young Bond adventures at some point in the future, Charlie makes it clear in his acknowledgments that By Royal Command is the end of a five book cycle started in 2005 with SilverFin.

What a spectacular end it was.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2000 By Royal Command signed limited editions

Young Bond fans and collectors will want to be on the watch for a By Royal Command “Signed & Numbered Limited Edition” that was released alongside the hardcover yesterday.

Charlie signed and numbered 2000 of these special editions for sale in independent bookstores. Aside from the signature and number stamp, the book is identical to the retail hardcover.

By Royal Command finds James Bond in action from England to the chilling heights of the Austrian Alps. The book completes Charlie’s five book cycle that began in 2005 with SilverFin.

Watch for my review of By Royal Command on Friday.

Interview: Charlie Higson in command

What an amazing few weeks it’s been for Bond fans. We’ve had the release of the newest Young Bond bestseller, By Royal Command, the Young Bond alternate reality game, The Shadow War, is going strong and, oh yeah, some sort of trailer was released.

Luckily, in the midst of all the excitement, I was able to sit down for an informal iChat with the man at the center of the action, Charlie Higson.

For talk of Irish maids, airships, Nazi sympathizers, and why Charlie thinks he may have screwed up his chances for a knighthood, click below and go:


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Young Bond is BACK!

James Bond is BACK in Charlie Higson’s fifth Young Bond adventure, By Royal Command.

By Royal Command sees James Bond thrown into the midst of a dangerous, spy-ridden plot that threatens to put both King and country at risk. Set between the two World Wars and moving between Eton and the chilling slopes of the Austrian Alps, By Royal Command sees the young James Bond put to the test as never before. Not only are his bravery and loyalty on trial, but the arrival of a pretty, young maid at Eton also teaches him a lesson of the heart.

By Royal Command completes Charlie’s five book cycle of Young Bond novels that began in 2005 with SilverFin. Says Charlie, “It’s a great way to finish off the series, and at the end of it we really feel that James is poised for the next phase of his life.”

By Royal Command is released by Puffin Books as a hardcover and audiobook.

Read my exclusive interview with Charlie Higson to find out what the future holds for Young James Bond.

The Shadow War Mission 2: The Danger Society

The Danger Society files at Eton contain a key to a national security threat...

The second mission of The Shadow War is online now at youngbondshadowwar.com. This time you’re off to the world famous Eton College to uncover a clue in the files of the Danger Society. Who knows, you may even bump into James Bond himself!

This groundbreaking Young Bond alternate reality game, written by Charlie Higson and designed by Six to Start, takes intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond and his new adventure, By Royal Command.

In fact, it’s important that you have a copy of By Royal Command in hand to complete a future mission. Luckily, the book is out today.

Good luck.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Shadow War Mission 1: Keithly

Something odd has happened at Castle Hellebore; there’s been a fire and some fishy goings-on...

Today sees the launch of the first mission of The Shadow War, the groundbreaking new Young Bond alternate reality game that can be played at www.youngbond.com.

Each week, for seven weeks, a new mission will appear on The Shadow War website, taking intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond. You can play as either a British SIS agent or a Soviet OGPU spy. Missions will take up to an hour to complete and players can join and leave at any point, as well as change sides. At the end of each mission there will be a mission debrief before the next is set.

The game culminates on 8th October with a live event, hosted on the game site and featuring Charlie Higson.

Good luck.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Quantum of Solace' short story collection

To tie-in with the release of the new James Bond film, all Ian Fleming's short stories are being published in one volume for the first time. The new collection, titled Quantum of Solace, includes: From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Quantum of Solace, Risico, The Hildebrand Rarity, Octopussy & The Living Daylights, The Property of a Lady, and 007 in New York.

Quantum of Solace is published in the U.S. as a trade paperback with cover art by Richie Fahey (left). In the UK, Quantum of Solace is published as a mass market paperback and in a nice collectible hardcover edition.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

THE WAR BEGINS

During his appearance at the Edinburgh Book Festival today, Young Bond author Charlie Higson launched The Shadow War, the groundbreaking new Young Bond alternate reality game that can be played at www.youngbond.com.

Today fans are asked to choose a side. You can play as either a British SIS agent or a Soviet OGPU spy in anticipation of your first full Mission which will launch on Wednesday, 27th August (we will announce each new Mission here on our news page).

The Shadow War will total seven exciting missions, culminating on 8th October with a live event, hosted on the game site and featuring Charlie Higson, in which players will be able to ask questions and influence the end of the game.

So head on over to www.youngbond.com, choose a side, and prepare for WAR.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eon says no DEVIL MAY CARE film adaptation

Showbiz trade paper Daily Variety reports that Eon Productions, the producers behind the James Bond film franchise, will not be picking up an option to film the bestselling new James Bond novel Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks.

“We love the book, but because it is set in the 1960s, we haven’t considered making it in the near future,” Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson told the paper.

However, Variety draws attention to the Young Bond series and states: “The Higson books would appear ripe for cinematic adaptation.”

Rumors of a possible Young Bond film began almost the moment the series was first announced in 2005 (with Daniel Radcliffe repeatedly touted for the lead roll), and author Charlie Higson admits they’ve “had offers from Spielberg on down.”

However, the official word from Ian Fleming Publications is that they want to firmly establish Young Bond as a literary franchise before they even consider films.

Says Charlie; “We wanted to remind people about the books and the literary origins of Bond, we wanted kids reading books, and we thought if we just start making films, the kids will just go and watch the films and they won't read the books.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

Puffin announces Young Bond alternate reality game, THE SHADOW WAR


Today Puffin Books announces a new Young Bond alternate reality game, The Shadow War on www.youngbond.com. This groundbreaking game is the first alternate reality game made specifically for children around books. The launch will precede publication of the fifth book in Charlie Higson’s best-selling Young Bond series, By Royal Command, on 3rd September 2008.

The Shadow War is a gripping interactive online game which will put Young Bond fans in the shoes of a British SIS agent or a Soviet OGPU spy. They will embark on a story that spans seven missions over seven weeks. The game starts on the 23rd August, when Charlie Higson will set the first mission during his appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Players around the world will use a range of media, including the Young Bond books themselves and the worldwide web, to complete the missions and influence the outcome of the game.

Written by Charlie Higson and developed by specialist creators of alternate reality games Six to Start, The Shadow War is an innovative combination of reading, story-telling and online gaming. It is designed for children aged 9 plus, but can be enjoyed by adults too, and is played free of charge. Set within the Young Bond world, the game will allow fans to explore familiar locations and see memorable characters from the series – including James Bond himself.

Charlie Higson comments, “I'm really excited about this new Young Bond game, which offers a parallel experience to reading the books. As it is a perfect combination of game playing and poking about on the internet, it’s right up my street. My only regret is that I won’t be able to play it myself as I have been so closely involved in the design of it!”

From 11th August 2008, fans can sign up to play the game by visiting www.youngbond.com. The game culminates on 8th October with a live event, hosted on the game site and featuring Charlie Higson, in which players will be able to ask questions and influence the end of the game.

Adrian Hon, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Six to Start comments, “The Shadow War is the first alternate reality game aimed at children, allowing players to enter the world of Young Bond. Fans of the books will have an unprecedented opportunity to see the places they've read about and find out more about the key characters. It's one of the first games to cross over with such a famous and popular series, and to take place entirely on the web, for free.”

The Shadow War will appeal to the huge online gaming and Bond communities as well as the thirty-five thousand members of The Danger Society - the Young Bond fan club on www.youngbond.com.

Emily Cox, Marketing Manager, Puffin Books comments, 'Children are increasingly spending their time online for their entertainment and information. With The Shadow War Puffin is taking the lead in creating an opportunity for young people to interact with one of our biggest brands in a unique and innovative way online. We are taking our books directly to young readers.'

The Shadow War

The seven missions will take the intrepid player through adventures in the world of Young Bond: from discovering who escaped the fire at SilverFin’s Hellebore Castle to tracking a ship down in the Royal Docks, uncovering a secret code in a bookshop where a gruesome murder has taken place and revealing the mysterious passenger of an airship crossing the Alps.

Each mission will take up to an hour to complete and players can join and leave at any point, as well as change sides. At the end of each mission there will be a mission debrief before the next is set.

Six to Start

The Shadow War has been developed by specialist, cutting-edge alternate reality game creators Six to Start, working closely with Charlie Higson and Puffin Books.

Dan Hon, Co-founder and CEO of Six to Start has been at the forefront of alternate reality gaming since its inception in 2001, when he co-moderated the groundbreaking online community Cloudmakers, formed to play The Beast, Microsoft’s production for AI. Dan was one of the UK’s first bloggers.

Adrian Hon, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Six to Start, is one of the world’s leading alternate reality game designers, having been influential in the genre since its birth. Previously, Adrian was Director of Play at Mind Candy, where he designed and produced Perplex City, the world’s first commercially successful alternate reality game.

Penguin has previously worked with Six to Start on the digital fiction initiative We Tell Stories, which saw more than 150,000 people visiting the website during the six weeks it ran.

Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson is author of five Young Bond books which have, to date, sold over three-quarters of a million copies and been translated into 24 different languages.

The Young Bond titles are included in a recent list of books compiled by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the School Libraries Association to encourage school boys to read (www.boysintobooks.co.uk). Charlie also contributed to the World Book Day / Evans Schools competition this year which challenged children across the country to write their own short stories.

Full quote from Charlie Higson:

“People often ask me what my working day is. I tell them I do regular office hours, a strict nine to five at my computer. What I don’t always tell them is that far too much of that ‘working’ day is spent playing games on my computer and poking around on the internet. By playing online you are playing against real people, not the computer, and it adds a very exciting and addictive edge. Playing computer games is often dismissed as a solitary, antisocial activity, but playing online with other people is surprisingly social. I've seen how my own boys play games - sharing with their mates, talking to each other over headsets, chatting about tactics on the way to school, typing messages during game play with enviable speed and accuracy. Actually playing games is a very communal activity. Paying ARG games is even more sociable as it requires players to share information and work together to solve clues and move forward.

“I'm really excited about this new Young Bond game, which offers a parallel experience to reading the books. As it is a perfect combination of game playing and poking about on the internet, it’s right up my street. My only regret is that I won’t be able to play it myself as I have been so closely involved in the design of it!”

Thursday, July 31, 2008

By Royal Command cover will be kept Top Secret

If you’ve been wondering why we haven’t yet seen cover art for Charlie Higson’s By Royal Command, today we have the answer for you.

It appears Puffin and IFP have something special planned for the fifth Young Bond adventure and will keep the cover art Top Secret until the day of publication, September 3, 2008 (note: this is a NEW release date).

The last time Puffin concealed cover art was to shroud the title Double or Die. That title was the winner of an online competition and kept secret until the day of publication. Based on how successful they were in keeping Double or Die under wraps, don’t expect the BRC cover to leak.

Of course, we will have a beautiful high res version of the Top Secret By Royal Command cover just as soon as we are able to reveal it, so make sure you check us out on September 3 -- not too far away!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Higson on QUANTUM OF SOLACE song announcement

The Bond world has dominated the news this week with the announcement that Jack White and Alicia Keys will record the theme song for the upcoming 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

So what does Charlie Higson think about this? The Times has the scoop:

 “Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond novels and a self-confessed Bond junkie, said that the glory days of the stirring Bond tune were long gone. “There were five or six of them that were really fantastic in the early days, like Diamonds Are Forever, Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice, but I don’t think there’s been a true classic since Nobody Does It Better for The Spy Who Loved Me [in 1977].”

Of White and Keys, he said: ‘This pairing doesn’t sound that thrilling to me, but let’s not judge it before we’ve heard it. Think what they all said about Daniel Craig and look how good he turned out to be.”

To keep up with all the latest Quantum of Solace news, visit CommanderBond.net.

Monday, July 21, 2008

SilverFin Graphic Novel promotional poster

Thanks to our friends at Puffin Books we can show you this fantastic new promotional poster for SilverFin: The Graphic Novel, due for release October 2, 2008.


The hugely anticipated first-ever Young Bond graphic novel is adapted from Charlie Higson's bestselling SilverFin and explosively illustrated by renowned artist Kev Walker. The book will run 160 pages with approximately 300 full color illustrations.

Black and white preview panels can been seen in the new Hurricane Gold paperback and the latest editions of the Young Bond books currently on UK store shelves.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Young Bond Old Bond James Bond

Here’s one for fun. The all-new teaser poster for the upcoming James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, has been released. It’s a terrific image from what promises to be an exciting film. But what I particularly like about this poster is how it matches, both in image and attitude, the latest Young Bond image from Kev Walker.

The similarity is coincidental, but it’s a nice coincidence that brings these two successful James Bond “reboots” together in a cool visual way.

Quantum of Solace will be released October 31st in the UK and November 7 in the U.S. The fifth Young Bond novel By Royal Command will be released September 4, 2008.

SilverFin Graphic Novel preview booklet

Puffin has released an 8-page promotional booklet for the upcoming SilverFin: The Graphic Novel. Previewed scenes include James held captive in the castle lab, his underwater escape, and his climatic battle with the villainous Hellebore. The Kev Walker images are in full color and spectacular!

The SilverFin preview booklet is a trade proof that, unfortunately, will not be commonly available to the public. However, black and white preview panels from the graphic novel can been seen in the new Hurricane Gold paperback and the latest editions of the Young Bond books currently on UK store shelves.

SilverFin: The Graphic Novel will run 160 pages with approximately 300 full color illustrations. The book will be released on October 2, 2008.

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