Website last updated: 18-5-2017

#steve_coles_young_bond_novels

Review of Red Nemesis by Steve Cole (a Young Bond novel)

Red Nemesis (2017) – A mild spoilers review by Brian James Smith

Although Ian Fleming’s original novels were written for adults, they were greatly enjoyed by teenagers. Conversely, Young Bond is a series of teen books that adults can enjoy. Well written, entertaining, educational and authentic in spirit.

In Red Nemesis we catch up with James as he journeys with his Aunt Charmian from Edinburgh to London. She reveals that Andrew Bond’s rucksack has been recovered from the Aiguilles Rouges, location of his parent’s fatal climbing accident a few years earlier. His father has left a cryptic note contained within, intended for James’s late Uncle Max. James takes it to the Secret Intelligence Service, at their real-life 1930s H.Q. in Broadway. Quickly shown the door, James, who has copied the note, follows clues to the Mechta Academy in Millbank. As one would expect, it is not long before he gets into trouble and, after being knocked unconscious, awakens to finds himself in a police cell. Adam Elmhirst, the SIS agent last seen watching James from afar at the end of Shoot to Kill (2014), arrives on the scene. Soon the two of them are en route to Moscow (via Sweden) to follow the clues left by Andrew Bond. Thereafter, James amply displays ‘The Nelson Touch’ as he gets into, and out of, various predicaments. Along the way he picks up a girl, Anya Kalashnikova, the quintessential ‘bird with a wing down’. There is an array of villains for James to deal with, one of whom shares a talent with the Bond movie villain Necros [in the 1987 film The Living Daylights], but in a much more plot-driven and dramatic fashion.

The litmus test for these Young Bond books has to be their adherence to the Bond canon. Novels set after the Flemings can follow their own path or, in the case of Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche (2011), reboot the Bond literary universe (indeed, Carte Blanche has its own subplot involving the death of Bond’s parents). Charlie Higson and Steve Cole, guided only by the Times obituary of James Bond in You Only Live Twice (1964), have created stories that do not contradict Fleming. In fact, too much information from Fleming could have had a detrimental effect; instead a few pages in You Only Live Twice have provided fertile ground in which to expand the James Bond myth.

Red Nemesis is the most consistently exciting, fast-paced read in the entire series. You may find yourself having to stop for a few minutes after each chapter, just to get your breath back, before succumbing to the next onslaught of mayhem and intrigue. Well done Steve Cole, and Ian Fleming Publications, for producing such a consistently first-rate series of books. Not only are they great reads, but the jacket designs and added value content in the hardbacks make these pleasing additions to the Bond book shelf.

Red Nemesis concludes this chapter in the life of James Bond, but with Eton’s Mr Merriot lurking in the background maybe, just maybe, Young Bond, or at least a younger version of Bond than Fleming's, could return.

Available Red Nemesis editions: >UK hardback / >UK paperback / >Kindle



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Red Nemesis

First edition UK hardcover (2017)
First edition UK paperback (2017)
James is on home soil when he receives a package with a message from beyond the grave. The package’s mysterious contents put James at the heart of a long-running plot that, if it runs its course, will paint London’s streets red with blood. Not only will James have to fight to stay alive and save the country he loves, but to clear the Bond family name, which he holds so dear. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and James doesn’t know who he can trust . . .
Year:
2017
ISBN:
0-8575-3543-9
Original price:
14.99 GBP
Author:
Number of pages:
384
Weight:
N/A
Translated to Swedish by:
N/A
Dust jacket design by:
N/A
First released:
May 4, 2017
Released in Sweden:
N/A
Volume:
N/A
Format:
Hardcover
Publisher:
Comments:
The title was revealed on 14th September, 2016.
Characters:
- James Bond
Locations:
N/A
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Strike Lightning

First edition UK hardcover (2016)
First edition UK paperback (2016)
James Bond is back again in Steve Cole's third Young Bond adventure.

When James stumbles upon a horrific sight, he knows things are not what they seem. His school is determined to make him believe what happened was an accident, but James believes what he saw was murder.

The significance of the events at school only come to light in the course of an adventure that takes James across Europe and puts him within range of a warmongering villain. Has James got what it takes to triumph over this man, the worst kind of enemy, who boasts a new kind of weapon?
Year:
2016
ISBN:
0-8575-3528-5
Original price:
14.99 GBP
Author:
Number of pages:
288
Weight:
N/A
Translated to Swedish by:
N/A
Dust jacket design by:
N/A
First released:
September 1, 2016
Released in Sweden:
N/A
Volume:
N/A
Format:
Hardcover
Publisher:
Comments:
Author Steve Cole confirmed on 5th May 2016 that Strike Lightning will be published in the autumn of 2016. The title was revealed during an Ian Fleming evening at Whitstable Literary Festival on 13th May, 2016.
Characters:
- James Bond
- Dr Whittaker
- Perry Mandeville
- Marcus
- Kitty
Locations:
Scotland, Netherlands
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Heads You Die

First edition UK hardcover (2016)
Special edition UK hardcover (2016)
James's Cuban holiday has become a nightmare mission to save an old friend from a villain who has perfected 1,000 ways to kill.

With corrupt cops and hired assassins hot on his heels, James must travel through Havana and brave Caribbean waters to stop a countdown to mass murder.

Fates will be decided with the flip of a coin. Heads or tails. Live or die.
Year:
2016
ISBN:
0-8575-3507-2
Original price:
14.99 GBP
Author:
Number of pages:
336
Weight:
N/A
Translated to Swedish by:
N/A
Dust jacket design by:
First released:
May 5, 2016
Released in Sweden:
N/A
Volume:
N/A
Format:
Hardcover
Publisher:
Comments:
A (mild spoilers) review by Brian James Smith:

James Bond literally hits the ground running in Steve Cole’s second Young Bond adventure. Following on from the events of Shoot To Kill, an old family friend of Andrew Bond’s, Dr Gerald Hardiman, offers a rest cure for James and his school friend, the diminutive Hugo Grande, as guests of his in Cuba before they return to Britain. It’s not long before James is caught up in a pick-pocket incident, rescues a young girl from the clutches of a pair of hoodlums and ends up on the tail of the two deadly henchmen when they abduct Hardiman. This leads James to biologist Audacto Solares a.k.a. Scolopendra, and his partner, the mysteriously veiled (hence her name) La Velada, and a plot to launch a Soviet-backed poison attack far from the shores of Cuba.

As one would expect, there are some rewards for the seasoned fan with references to other authors’ stories. These are neatly woven into the narrative, rather than shoe-horned in. There is a subtle nod to Ian Fleming’s 1958 novel Doctor No when James spots something in a jar at Scolopendra’s penthouse (which will now read like Fleming is referencing Cole!) and there is a CIP agent named Valentine Barbey. Perhaps slightly less subtle is when James acquires notes hidden within the manuscript of A Field Guide To Birds of the West Indies (although James does not see the author’s name). The genius here is that Cole is spot on with the timing of the ornithologist’s publication and the real James Bond was, after all, a member of the Academia de Sciencias, Havana.

Cole is much more assured in his second outing. His double-act of James and Hugo works tremendously well. The writing is atmospheric. Cole immerses the reader in the sites, the sounds and the smells of the 16th century Cuban capital (although he steers clear of the politics of the era) and he creates a beautiful turn of phrase that, like all the Young Bond novels, elevates them above mere teen fiction. The novel has tremendous pace and energy and is also extremely violent. Like Charlie Higson before him and, more recently Anthony Horowitz, Cole understands the character of James Bond. The way to present action is not to describe it as if one is watching it on the big screen, but to get inside James Bond’s head to convey his emotions, pain, and sheer will to survive. Cole still allows moments of introspection for James, and foreshadowing. At one point he considers the shooting of a man in cold blood. "I could never do that", he decides.

Steve Cole’s latest thriller maintains the high standard one now expects of Young Bond. Heads You Die - this tale is a winner.
Characters:
- James Bond ... Hero
- Dr Gerald Hardiman
- Hugo Grande
- Audacto Solares aka Scolopendra
- La Velada
- Valentine Barbey
Locations:
Cuba
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Shoot to Kill

First edition UK hardcover (2014)
James-Bond in Shoot to Kill. Image by Kev Walker © Ian Fleming Publications. All rights reserved.
BEFORE THE MAN BECAME THE LEGEND.

BEFORE THE BOY BECAME THE MAN.

James Bond hits Hollywood . . .

Lights. Camera. Murder.

Young Bond is back – in his most action-packed, explosive adventure yet; something terrible is happening in Tinseltown.
Year:
2014
ISBN:
0-8575-3373-8
Original price:
12.99 GBP
Author:
Number of pages:
304
Weight:
N/A
Translated to Swedish by:
N/A
Dust jacket design by:
N/A
First released:
November 6, 2014
Released in Sweden:
N/A
Volume:
N/A
Format:
Hardcover
Publisher:
Comments:
The other books in the YOUNG BOND series are Silverfin (published in 2005), Blood Fever (2006), Double Or Die (2007), Hurricane Gold (2007) and By Royal Command (2008).

Official website at http://www.youngbond.com/
Characters:
- James Bond ... Hero
- Boudicca "Boody" Pryce ... Bond girl
- Tori Wo ... Friend
Locations:
Cardington (UK), Lakehurst (USA), London, Los Angeles and Totnes (UK).
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