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Young Bond `SilverFin` sales reach 500,000 copies milestone

20-Nov-2005 • Young Bond

Before the days of ejector seats, vodka martinis and Miss Moneypenny, there was a younger James Bond. But even as a pupil at a public school there was no shortage of excitement - reports EDP24.

Even so, it may come as a surprise to hear that yesterday the centre of the James Bond world was a factory on the Norfolk-Suffolk border in the Waveney Valley.

The latest escapades of young Bond, a pupil of Eton in the 1930s, are told in Blood Fever, a book written by ex-University of East Anglia student Charlie Higson and launched by Matthew Fleming, from Horsford, near Norwich - whose great-uncle was original Bond author Ian Fleming.

And to cement links to the region, printers Clays Ltd have produced the 372-page paperback, which goes on sale on January 5.

The first book in the five-part series, called Silverfin, has already sold 500,000 copies around the world after being released at the beginning of the year.

And Mr Fleming said yesterday that the books brought home the sheer excitement of their adult predecessors.

The former Kent and England cricketer, who now lives near Norfolk County Cricket Club's Horsford Manor ground, said the stories were so exciting they could make anyone wish they were a spy.

“The books are really very exciting and would captivate anyone's imagination,” he said.

“They remind me of when I was younger and went to see Top Gun and came out wanting to become a pilot. It's just like that.”

Mr Fleming, after watching thousands of paperback copies of the new book rolling off the production line at Clays, said he expected a film or television series to follow.

“When you think that it's targeted at teenagers and alongside the books there is already a website and a mobile phone computer game coming out next year, it would be a surprise if there wasn't some kind of visual element in the future,” he said.

And he said it had been an easy choice for Ian Fleming Publications to commission Charlie Higson to write the stories.

“He may be well known for comedy, but he is also an excellent writer who is also a Bond nut with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the original books,” he said.

Blood Fever is a pacy book, and the interplay of characters, along with the myriad dangers that follow young Bond more than makes up for the lack of gadgets - inevitable in the 1930s setting.

The story takes in a shadowy Latin-speaking society, a school field trip to the Mediterranean, pirates, art thieves and a hot-blooded girl from Sardinia.

Charlie Higson, perhaps most recognisable as the face of Swiss Toni and Bob Fleming, from the Fast Show, said he had been able to “live the James Bond lifestyle” while working on Blood Fever.

“Climbing the Supramonte Mountains in bandit country was thrilling and romantic and I hope some of this comes across in the book,” he said.

“It's a wild adventure with bandits, pirates, a battle in a cave, several large explosions and a super villain with a morbid fear of dirt having once spent the night hiding out in a septic tank.

“Yes, Bond is back!”

Thanks to `JP` for the alert.

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