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SilverFin: A James Bond Adventure
Charles Higson

Publishing Information: Hyperion Books for Children: New York, 2005
ISBN: 078683661x
: 335 p.
Ages: 12 & Up

This prequel to the adventures of James Bond, 007, introduces us to the young James when he's just started boarding school in England and is about to become involved in his first adventure.

Book Talk:
What does it take to become the greatest secret agent the world has ever known? Meet young James Bond when he is a student at Eton during the 1930's. James befriends a local boy named Red whose cousin Alfie disappeared near Loch Silverfin in the Scottish Highlands. Action follows as they discover that Alfie's disappearance is linked to a madman and his sinister plot for global power.     

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Bond, James (Fictitious character)
Boarding Schools
Great Britain
Intelligence officers/Spies

Awards & Reviews:
Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Novel (nominees), 2005

Booklist, March 15, 2005
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005
Publishers Weekly, March 7, 2005
School Library Journal, March 2005

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What was the legend of Silverfin? (Silverfin was a giant salmon who swallowed a giant & then spit him out into Ireland.) Why is the lake named after Silverfin? (The giant salmon is still thought to be in the lake.)
  2. How does Eton Prep School seem to you as a student? (Strict; rigorous; structured; demanding.) Would you like to attend a school like Eton?
  3. What were some of the sports at Eton? (Running, swimming, cricket, rowing.) What's a "dry bob?" (Cricket player.) What's a "wet bob?" (Rower.) Where did they swim? (Thames River.) What was James' favorite sport? (Long-distance running.)
  4. What was the Hellebore Cup? (A prize for the winner of 3 competitions completed in one day - running, swimming, & shooting.) What would we call such a competition today?   (Triathlon.)
  5. What do you think of Lord Hellebore's reaction to his son's losing the cup? Did you sympathize with George at that point?
  6. How did the character "Red" help develop young James as a future hero/spy? What were some of Red's qualities that served him well as James' friend & ally? (Gutsy, street-smart, adventurous, fearless, loyal, family-centered.)
  7. Except for Aunt Charmian, James had no family left at the end. How do you think this lack of close family ties contributes or not to James' future as a successful spy?  
  8. Do you think a true literary hero is more successful as a loner, dependent only on himself & his wits?

Related Websites:
BBC: Crime Fighters - Intelligence -

Central Intelligence Agency -

Charles Higsons's Website -

Federal Bureau of Investigation -

The International Spy Museum -

The Internet Movie Database -

James Bond :: MI6 - The Home of James Bond -

The Official Secret Intelligence Service Website -

Alex Rider series by Anthongy Horowitz, 2001-
The Aliias series by various authors 1998-
The CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore
. 2004-
Enter the Game
by Debbie Bishop 2003
The Fearless series by Francine Pascal, 2000-
The Montmorency series by Eleanor Updale, 2002-
Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz, 2005
The Spy High series by A.J. Butcher, 2001-
The Spyboy graphic novel series by Peter David, 2000-
Tom Clancy's Net Force series by various authors, 1999-2003
The Vanishing Chip by Mark Delaney, 1998
Zach's Lie by Roland Smith, 2001(A 2002 RITBA Nominee)

Other Books by the Author:
King of the Ants (1992)
Happy Now (1993)
Full Whack (1995)
Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen (1996)
Blood Fever: A James Bond Adventure - Book #2 (2006)

About the Author:
Charlie Higson is a well-known television comedian. His comedy career began in partnership with his friend Paul Whitehouse.

Their first big success came in 1987 on the cult TV show Saturday Live when they wrote the character of Stavros for Harry Enfield. They followed this up with an even bigger hit, Loadsamoney, which they created for the next season.

Since then they have been much in demand in the field of television comedy. Hits include the Harry Enfield Television Programme for the BBC.

In 1994 Charlie and Paul wrote, co-produced and performed in a sketch show of their own, The Fast Show. They completed three seasons of the show which gained a cult following.

Charlie is also a novelist. His first novel King of the Ants was published in March 1992.

| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair