Young Bond - By Royal Command
Charlie Higson




Following a treacherous rescue mission high in the freezing Alps, James Bond is preparing for life back at Eton. But James is under surveillance; his every move is being watched. He alone holds the clue to a sinister plot that will bring bloodshed and carnage to his school - and his country. Forced to flee from Eton to Austria, James must leave behind everything he knows, with only a beautiful - and dangerous - girl by his side. Soon he is trapped in a deadly war of secrets and lies, as a nightmare reunion with a bitter enemy plunges him once more into the face of death. Life for James Bond will never be the same again.

"Would have made Ian Fleming proud" (Daily Telegraph)

"More action, more demented crime and more flesh-crawling deaths than ever before" (The Observer)
Ankita, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

The story is about a young James Bond and his friendship with Roan, the maid at his school. When he finds out that Roan is associated with ‘Operation Snowblind’ and wanted by the SIS, James chooses to be on her side but how will it all end…..

 

At first I did not think that I would like this book, but I found By Royal Command a wonderful read. I think that it is an amazing book that has everything from romance to adventure to sadness. It is also very well written and it is very hard to stop once I started to read it. It was also easy to understand even though some of the situations were a bit unrealistic when the spies came into the story. The beginning was a bit slow, but it gathered pace as it went on. Overall, I think that this book was excellent and I would recommend it to anybody over the age of 10.

Annabel, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

High in the Alps, James Bond is preparing for life back at school: Eton. However, James is being watched and he gets the feeling of some terrible plot. Can he alone save his country? With a beautiful, dangerous girl he is once again trapped in a world of war, fear, secrets and lies as an unwanted, nightmare reunion throws him into the path of death. Can he protect everyone and everything he knows? Or will his world collapse with everyone else?

 

I liked this book a lot. James Bond is the most well known spy in the history of the world and Higson describes the perfect balance of adventure and relationships. The tension is built up through not giving everything away. I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to any adventure-loving person.

Beckie, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

The story was about a young man called James Bond, who goes to an all-boys boarding school. He soon finds out that an agency wants to kill him; and he thinks he has fallen in love with a girl called Roan Power ...

 

I think the story was unusual because James’s teacher Mr.Merriot had been observing James and after a while offered him a place as a secret agent himself. It was also a bit unusual because in the first few chapters James has to rescue his friend on a mountain as an avalanche takes place.

 

The opening of the story was exiting and dramatic. It made you want to read on more and to not put the book down.

 

I think the story was written in the first person. This was important because it gave the story more feeling. The setting was described very well and I could picture every moment in my head.The feelings and attitudes were described very well and it felt as if I were there in the story myself, seeing everything going on.

 

I was a good story because it was exciting, different and it seemed a fun book. It had lots of adventure and excitement in it.

 

My favourite moment in the story was when James and Roan were held captive and James was hanging out of the window trying to get a gun so that they could escape. This was my favourite part because I found this chapter most descriptive and I felt like I was James hanging out of a window.

  

I think the story deals with lots of friendship and a small bit of relationships as James thinks he had fallen in love.

 

I cannot be sure if the writer had a particular reason to write the book; he might have related the story to events in his life or what a friend had done, but I could not be sure.

 

I learned that you have to get to know people before you can start to trust them.

Charles, from University College School London

This is the fifth novel in the Young Bond Series by Charlie Higson. I have only read the first two in the series but could still understand the plot perfectly.  The story picks up pace very quickly and continues to excite throughout.

 

The story starts in Austria with James Bond on a skiing holiday. As you would expect, before long James is fighting for his life in a dangerous situation. An irritating boy from Eton, Miles, is drunk and gets lost while skiing down a mountain. James follows him and manages to save his life. Higson uses much descriptive language, which brings the scenes in the Alps to life and grips you to the page.

 

As he returns to Eton, James gets caught up in a battle between the English, Russian Communists and Fascists. At the same time he falls in love with a beautiful maid called Roan. After nearly getting killed by a bomb, James runs away with Roan back to Austria. In Austria he meets an old ‘Friend’ and faces another fight for his life.

 

As with the original Ian Fleming novels, I both love and hate the unrealistic superhuman abilities of James Bond. It is entertaining but personally I prefer realism. The fragility of the young Bond’s emotions adds an interesting dimension that is not present in Fleming’s novels. By Royal Command is my favourite of the Young Bond novels I have read: an entertaining read and a real page-turner.

Charley, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Young Bond: By Royal Command is an extremely exciting spy novel.  It is full of twists and turns so it is always catching you off guard.  The way it is written is fantastic and the storyline is very original.  It is quite difficult to read as there are a lot of strange names that are important in the story. 

 

 

The basic story is that James Bond is on holiday but gets lost skiing down a mountain.  He gets rescued and gets ready for school but someone is following him.  He goes back to Eton and meets a girl named Roan and her friend Dandy [who is plotting …] He and Roan run away to Austria to the place where he spent his holiday and stay with a friend.  James is later kidnapped but escapes ...

 

 

All in all, a fantastic read for the more skilled reader.

Charlotte, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

I have passed many books in the Young Bond series when in libraries and bookshops, but have never thought to pick them up or read them. I used to always think of them as ‘action books’ or ‘boring boys’ books’, but when receiving this in my review pile, I was pleasantly surprised.

 

By Royal Command is the 5th and currently penultimate book in the series by Charlie Higson. Although it is not related to the contents of the book, I felt I had to mention the book’s cover - it is very eye catching and appealing to the reader. [The story] follows James, the Young Bond, as he journeys from Austria to Eton, and the many dangers, adventures and clues he comes across on the way.

 

Despite its name, it is not your typical action book. It is more than just villains, heroes, fighting and saving the world. It has a dark, sinister intensity about it. It educates the reader on how the characters react and behave in situations. I like the way that the introduction/ first page of the book has a humorous touch, as the writer explains: “Colonel Irena Sedova of the OGPU hated tractors. She would be happy if she never saw a tractor again as long as she lived. ’’

 

I feel that the storyline is more about adventure than comic-style action, and the novel has taught me to never judge a book by its… readers. (Most of the people I know that have read the book have been boys!)

 

By Royal Command includes some complex literature, although it is in a minority, so it should be manageable for readers of an average level upwards.  I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing it and hope to read other books from the Young Bond Series.

Constance, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

When I started this book I couldn't put it down!  I had to carry on reading it until the end.  It was really enjoyable to read with an exciting plot and a good storyline. 

 

I would recommend this novel to other people. 

 

Dan, from University College School London

James Bond has just come back to Kitzbuhel, Austria, from an exhilarating mission in Mexico: for a relaxing ski trip on the Hahnenkamm with his schoolmates from Eton, before school started its summer term. He felt that he was being watched and followed sometimes - he could every now and then sight a shadow looming over him, but when he turned round to investigate, this ‘illusion’ vanished. One day he and the group of novices learning how to ski went up the mountain to enjoy a fantastic and refreshing ski down to the bottom of the mountain, although whilst descending the weather changed its mood and fog appeared so the students had to stop but an agitating boy called Miles, who was drunk, had skied away from the group so James decided to follow him. Evidently in these poor conditions James and Miles were badly injured and sent to a clinic – where, as a coincidence, James heard shouting one night and to his curiosity he went to the sound and found a man shouting about his cousin Jurgen being killed. James did not know this at the time but the man lying in the bed all bandaged up identical to the man lying next to him, who was staring at James, was von Schlick - who was very significant in the months ahead for England and James’s duty.

 

A few days later James left for Eton. When he arrived he did not only have an adventure ahead of him but also an annoying head boy called Bentinck, who endured with happiness the pain that the boys got when he beat them to keep order in the house. There was also a new nurse who was beautiful and made James fall in love with her. But what evil secrets did she have hidden deep inside her…

 

This book is a great action book covering a variety of genres. It captivates you and it makes you imagine that you are in the story. I read this book in a very short period of time compared to other books. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author’s amazing description made you stick to your seat and automatically turn to the next page and read. There is only one problem: that in one of the epic scenes where it explains about communism, I would not think a younger child of 11 years old would understand the meaning of all of it. It also has a touch of a formal style to it although I personally enjoy an informal side to things.

Dan, from University College School London

James Bond has just come back to Kitzbuhel, Austria, from an exhilarating mission in Mexico, for a relaxing ski trip on the Hahnenkamm with his schoolmates from Eton before school started their summer term. He felt that he was being watched and followed sometimes; he could every now and then sight a shadow looming over him but when he turned round to investigate, this ‘illusion’ vanished.

 

One day he and the group of novices learning how to ski went up the mountain to enjoy a fantastic and refreshing ski down to the bottom of the mountain, although whilst descending the weather changed its mood and fog appeared so the students had to stop. But an agitating boy called Miles, who was drunk, had skied away from the group so James decided to follow him. Evidently in these poor conditions James and Miles were badly injured and sent to a clinic. There, as a coincidence, James heard shouting one night and to his curiosity he went to the sound and found a man shouting about his cousin Jurgen being killed. James did not know this at the time but the man lying in the bed all bandaged up, identical to the man lying next to him who was staring at James, was von Schlick - who was very significant in the months ahead for England and James’s duty.

 

A few days later James left for Eton. When he arrived he did not only have an adventure ahead of him but also an annoying head boy called Bentinck - who endured with happiness the pain that the boys got when he beat them to keep order in the house. There was also a new nurse who was beautiful and made James fall in love with her. But what evil secrets did she have hidden deep inside her…

 

This is a great action book, with a variety of genres. It captivates you and it makes you imagine that you are in the story. I read this book in a very short period of time compared to other books. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author’s amazing description made you stick to your seat and automatically turn to the next page and read. There is only one problem: that in one of the epic scenes where it explains about communism, I would not think a younger child such as 11 years old would understand the meaning of all of it. It also has a touch of a formal style to it, although I personally enjoy an informal side to things.

Drashti, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

By Royal Command by Charlie Higson as I guess is the 5th book of the whole series. It is a fascinating book with fascinating events, one after another. A thrilling book filled with pages of laughter, moments of death, sad moments and much more. Each page is more thrilling than the previous one.

 

James Bond in [one of] the previous stories had let one of the world’s most dangerous women escape – instead of shooting her to her death. I haven’t read them but I am presuming it happened just like that.

 

James Bond – in this book – regrets having not killed her, because now she is avenging him for his smartness. She has different secret groups under code names trying to plot a massive death of one of the most important men in England.

 

This story takes place in England and Austria – and this time she is hoping James will not come in her way, if so then terrible things would be facing him. He goes skiing and luckily manages to save himself and his so-called friend. The boy ends up in hospital. James, however, meets a man who is one of his enemies – but he does not know that yet.

 

James goes back to Eton, wanting to be with his friends again. He discovers that he has fallen in love with the new boy’s maid. She is extra kind but there is something strange about her. What could she be hiding from him? However while all this is happening, James is constantly conscious of being followed by a man in a trilby coat.

What is going on? Too many things happening to him all in one go. Does he or will he be able to put the jigsaw together? Will he be able to sacrifice himself or his love for the future of the country? Or will he finally come to the bottom of this and put an end to his worst enemy?

 

As I mentioned before, this is an amazing book with an amazing story line. Once again James Bond interrupts one of the world’s most feared women’s plots and does his thing. The story uses good descriptions of scenes and character, and … uses adventures and ideas [very well]. I would definitely recommend children aged 10 and over to read this book.

Ed, from Sturminster Newton High School, Dorset

This is the fifth book in a series of stories about James Bond as a teenager. In this one he is confronted by a plot to blow up the king and must run away from Eton to Austria with a girl called Roan.

 

I enjoyed this book only slightly as I found this one did not quite live up to my expectations. As I have read all four of his other books in this series I had been expecting more of an adventurous book with a storyline similar enough to the others to tie it to them, but different enough to give you a fresh dose of the brilliance. It was uneventful in places and the storyline was almost unbelievable: for example, when he cut the ropes holding him with a tiny razor blade. Although having great potential, this story did not use it as well as it should have been.

 

However, this was also a great book as well as a disappointment, if you can understand it being both. There were parts like the one where he had to apprehend Dandy and stop him blowing up the chapel and the one where James was told his skin was going to be worn by Friend which made me just want to keep reading on.

 

This book was a rollercoaster with high bits, low bits, bits which made you speed up and bits which made you wonder what would happen. I did enjoy this book and would give it 7/10.

Elliot, from University College School London

I cannot think of a single fast-paced and action packed teen book that could face the Young Bond series in the bloody ring of literature and come out alive.

 

At first, I doubted as to whether or not I was going to enjoy By Royal Command but Bond’s opening expedition to Austria really got me interested. Charlie Higson has a real skill for getting inside the heads of his characters, carefully entwining their personalities with their actions (but I am by no means saying that the book is predictable).

 

The constant twists and turns glued me with excitement onto every page. Lies and betrayal caused there to be no safe haven at any point in the book. A person James thinks he can trust might be his worst enemy yet. There is not a single part of this book where you couldn’t cut the tension with a knife.

 

Charlie Higson has a brilliant style of writing. Not only are his stories really unpredictable, the words he uses to describe motion and pain spark empathy for the characters like no other book.  He can make the quickest movements last for half a page when they should really be one sentence. This is one of the reasons a person is so glued to By Royal Command; half a page feels like a fraction of a sentence. If one were to put down the book after finishing it one would not feel satisfied, and would crave for more of the biblical Bond series.

 

I can’t really say much more apart from read this book! It will not disappoint you in any way.

 

Evelyn, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

By Royal Command follows the joys and delights, thrills and spills of the young James Bond.  It is a medium-sized book that is sure to be read incredibly quickly due to the enthralling and engrossing content.  Full of action and conspiracy, it is easy to see why many gave it brilliant reviews.  Just like myself!

 

James Bond has just returned from Mexico and is joining a school skiing trip in the Alps.  Whilst up in the slopes, the weather draws in and Bond is stuck up the mountain with his nemesis, Miles.  When trying to catch up with the party Miles and James ski over a ravine and Miles badly breaks his leg.  James is then forced to navigate his way back and to aid his fellow student.

 

Following the accident, both of them are allowed to return to Eton after spending a couple of weeks in an Austrian clinic.  When James returns, he finds the pecking order has changed and now must adjust quickly or face constant thrashings.

 

Preparations for the 4th of July celebrations take shape and James keeps thinking he imagines a man in a trench coat and trilby following his every move.  However, Bond also has the new maid on his mind.  Whilst a visit from one of the Royal Family is taking place, James uncovers a plot to blow up the chapel when the royal is inside.  Bond quickly foils it and is now forced to run.  Run for his life... and that of Roan, the maid.  

 

Little does he know danger is only just around the corner!

 

I really, really enjoyed this book because the pace of it never slowed and therefore it was never boring!  Brilliant plot developments and twists keep you PERMANENTLY on the edge of your seat, just waiting for what is going to happen next.  I would be a fool not to recommend it to everybody who likes fast-paced novels!  Now I just HAVE to read the rest of the series!  If I could give it more I would, but an easily deserved 5/5.

 

And as a British person would say... jolly good!

Garima, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

I really enjoyed this book! I was unable to put the book down till I finished the book. I read the whole thing in one day!

 

The plot was put together well and I found it very adventurous... very interesting. I loved the story. There was no particular setting. This book was set all over Europe; some others in the series were not even set on the same continent. As it was set after WWI but before WWII, it was interesting to try and imagine what the thoughts of people were at the time.

 

I loved James Bond’s character: always daring, even for a boy. The beginning was wonderful, just hinting what may happen towards the end. I was rather unhappy when it ended. I wanted the book to go on forever.

 

I think it may become one of my many favourite books. I don’t have any criticisms to make really. My favourite part of the book was the part where James returned to Eton (his school) and he met Roan.

 

I really loved the book and I would highly recommend that you read this book.

Gregory, from University College School London

By Royal Command by Charlie Higson is set in both Eton and Austria. It starts with James Bond, an orphan boy, thinking he is just going on a normal school ski trip but little does he know what the mountain has in store for him. He ends up having to follow his drunken, irritating roommate, Miles, down the mountain having taken a wrong turn onto a deadly track in a blizzard. Little does he know but this is only the start of the adventure. He meets a royal princess, her uncle, the King and then Sedova a member of the Russian Secret Service, who turns up at Eton.

 

I like this book because it is fast moving and the adventure never seems to end. James never seems to get enough thrilling events and in every one he always seems to be up to his neck in it. I also like the book because it is very deceptive about the characters and that they are not all they seem to be.

 

My favourite character is Roan, James’ girlfriend, because she has two secret identities; one as a maid at Eton who slowly falls in love with James which helps her second secret life with Dandy as a communist. She starts to get too attached to James and after a number of adventures she ends up following him through Europe.

 

Overall this book is a great read of adventure and action and I would recommend it to anyone of any age. I have also read some of Charlie Higson’s other young Bond books and would recommend those as well. The series is a gripping set of novels and a worthy successor to Ian Fleming’s original Bond books.

Isaac, from University College School London

By Royal Command is an adventure action book of fiction; the fifth book in a series of books about a young secret agent called James Bond. It is set between World War I and II in the 1930s and the story is based between a traditional private boys boarding school called Eton College and the Austrian Alps.

 

The story starts when a 14-year-old schoolboy is in the Austrian Alps on a school skiing trip. Whilst he is skiing James rescues a classmate from trouble and nearly dies in the process. When he wakes up in hospital James witnesses a sinister scene. Later, he meets the royal princesses and then their uncle, and the King, himself. Then Sedova, a senior member of the Russian secret service turns up at young James’ school. Despite promising his friends he’ll be the model schoolboy, and wishing he had a ‘normal’ life James ends up back in trouble involved in international spy thriller action. He also ends up falling in love with one of the girls at his school.

 

This book is filled with descriptive explanations of scenery and builds up tension well. There are several twists in the story line. This is the fifth book in a series that traces the spying activities of James and since I have not read the other preceding books it is difficult to put this in context of what James’ life has been before. It is clear from reading this book that there have been many other dangerous encounters in his life but it is hard to say if this is the best book in the series. This is not the sort of book I have been reading recently, and would probably recommend it to a younger age group of boys along with the Anthony Horowitz series of Alex Rider stories. I have become more interested in reading books that pose a political or ethical debate.

 

Isabel, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

The book  was about James Bond falling in love with a girl named Roan ... It was slow at the beginning but it soon became very dramatic

 

James Bond was very peculiar in many ways and also brave ... Roan Power was deceiving and two-faced and I didn't like her because she acted as though she really cared for James but she was using him so she could keep her own life. Dr Friend was very unpleasant and evil, I definitely didn't like him as he was power-crazed and wanted to peel off James' skin. Mr Marriot was very friendly but also quite a pushover; I didn't like him as he just laid all of the burden on James about the bomb and Roan and he couldn't tell anyone. James was my favorite character but I also liked Perry.

 

My favorite moment of the story was the skiing trip because you didn't know what would happen to Miles and James and if they'd ever get home. I loved the story as it was so dramatic and you think you have figured a character out and then suddenly everything has changed about them.

 

I think Charlie Higson might have had the idea of the book because of the books about James Bond and the movies. I would recommend this book to anyone as it changes a lot and you never know what will happen next.

Ishan, from University College School London

By Royal Command is the latest Charlie Higson book and the last Young Bond book.

 

His latest book sees young Bond on the run from MI6 but also some unknown assailants. This book is slightly different to its prequels as James Bond is wrestling with his feeling for this mysterious girl Rowan Power, much more than in other books where there are girls. This book is more grown up too. Politics plays a much larger role. I feel this slightly older attitude towards the plot comes from James Bond becoming more of an adult.

 

James Bond is the main character in this book but is slightly different. You start to realise truly how much trauma has been inflicted on him over his past adventures and how it changes a fragile teenager. What is fun about this book is how this Irish lass changes his life and how love itself can truly blind you and impair your judgement. In his latest book James Bond also suffers heavy emotional and physical pain and I feel this was a great climax to end this series.

 

Roan is two faced and also has two fairly complex sides to her. There is the light hearted, fun, funny and clever side. Then there’s the deep communist, gullible and slightly sinister side. These two play very effectively throughout the whole book making her character very engaging.

 

I felt this book gave a compelling argument as to why communism might and might not have succeeded in Europe in the 1930s. There are many fair examples and the book even taught you a little about the delicate balance of a revolution and even good and evil.

Jack, from University College School London

In By Royal Command Charlie Higson brings the Young Bond series in for a fantastic ending, touching down cleanly and evenly on every aspect of James Bond's past and future life. All conjured up within its own universe - 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 much expected throughout the series, and even contains a bit of love! It's a surprising book in many ways. Of course, all the Young Bond books have been unique and, in their own ways, surprises, so By Royal Command fits perfectly into a series that has never repeated itself.

 

The book 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. 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 here, it's made clear to him that the world will soon lose what remains of its innocence as well. The spectre 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.

 

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 (the infamous "maid incident") and IS a spy novel. While it's preferable to have some 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 - What a spectacular end it has.

 

James, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

This is an enthralling and eventful book that expertly merges the modern day spy that we have all come to love with a 1930s’ English era, highlighting the political tensions that were about just before the war and Hitler’s gradual build of a fully-fledged army that came to do so much harm. It also ponders the issues that every young boy has, showing a side of Bond that we have never seen before.

 

In it unfolds a series of events that causes the young Bond to question so much about himself, what he believes in and what the right thing to do is. A book in which no one can be trusted as everything turns out to be more than it first appears. It is an incredible finale to an entirely credible series of events in his life that show just how he came to be the James Bond that we all grew up with.

Luke, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

In my opinion this book is quite dull at the start but does eventually get better with more exciting things starting to happen, and the suspense building, making you want to read on. Although parts of this book can get confusing with different characters changing names, sides, nationalities and attitudes it also means we are constantly being surprised. I would say that overall the book is worth a read. 

Marcus, from University College School London

By Royal Command is the fifth, and last, instalment in the Young Bond series. Bond goes from Kitzbuhel in Austria, to Eton School, and back again. This adventure has a twist – it changes Bond’s life forever and things can never return to normality.

 

The teenage crime-thriller starts with Colonel Irena Sedova, one of Bond’s mortal enemies, in an ugly industrial quarter of Lisbon watching a parade of Russian tractors.

 

Higson tells you about Sedova’s passionate comical hatred for the machines and that she is pretending to be part of a Soviet trade delegation, while her real mission is to channel spies and agents throughout Europe – right from the start, Higson stimulates excitement and you can already tell that this book is going to be another cracking Young Bond read that’s going to match-up and quite possibly exceed the quality of the other stories. Sedova later encounters a man who shoots her with a semi-automatic pistol, with every single bullet thudding harmlessly into her concealed bulletproof jacket. But of course highly trained Sedova, or ‘Babushka’ meaning grandmother, as her colleagues know her, is wittier than to just get-up and give him a roundhouse kick or whatever spies do. No, she waits until he advances on her to finish her off with a fatal shot to the head, then WHAM!  She punches both hands forward, one knocking the man’s weapon out of his hand and the other powering into his face like a ‘steam-hammer’, the force jerking his head back and to one side, snapping his neck

 

After this chapter we move straight to Austria, where Graf Von Shlick is pushing his Bugatti Type 55 Supersport to the limit, winding down the Alpine Roads. Higson really does know how to capture a boy’s imagination and compel him to read on – he adds all the right ingredients to his books: fast-cars, mortal enemy spies, lethal hand-to-hand combat. It just doesn’t get any better! You’re probably now thinking when does Bond come in? Well, the book is 325 adrenaline-packed pages long so there’s plenty of time for him to make his appearance.

 

Further on in the book, when Bond is just about settling back into the dreary school-life that he must lead at Eton after going on an exciting and eventful school skiing trip in Kitzbuhel, he uncovers a massive communist plot to assassinate King George and he almost regrets doing this as he’s chucked straight-back in to the murky, uncertain waters of dangerous adventure. With a mysterious girl by his side who has already attempted to take his life, Bond flees and returns to the mountains of Kitzbuhel, embarking on a treacherous few days where Bond must somehow escape being skinned alive by another mortal enemy whom he thought he would never set-eyes upon ever again.

 

This book is highly-recommended to even the most reluctant reader and is sure to have you up all night enthralled by Bond’s experiences and sending countless numbers of fan emails to Charlie Higson, begging him to carry on this truly remarkable series which is Young Bond.

 

Max, from University College School London

By Royal Command is an action filled and thrilling book. It follows the life of the young James Bond, during the days when he is attending Eton, though he does not spend very much time there.

 

The book takes place in England, Austria, France, Lisbon, and Vienna, and the atmospheres of all the countries and captured wonderfully, and especially focuses on England and Austria.

 

Some parts of the story I find to be a bit “thick” and slightly hard to grasp though, and at the beginning of the book the swapping between sub-plots can be confusing, but this is my only criticism of an otherwise wonderful book. 

 

The young Bond is a very complex but likable character, who I prefer to the older Bond who we all know and love. He is skilled at many things, and is a character who you try to relate to, as he has such an exciting lifestyle, though he does not see it that way, and wants to try and live a normal life. Near the end of the book, we see a new Bond, one more like the older version, as he matures quickly and starts to think about things in more depth. In the final scene we see him really thinking about life and questioning his beliefs and views, which I found to be one of the most powerful scenes I have read in quite a long time.

 

It is historically interesting as well, being set sometime between the first and second world wars, when Nazism is just starting in Germany. This plays a large part in the plot, and you can almost tell that a war is coming in the near future, on the horizon even, as we see the events leading up to it.

 

I find this book better than the other four, though I’m not quite sure why. It somehow makes you feel like you are right there beside the characters, instead of just reading about them which happens in the other books. It may be because the descriptions are more vivid than in the others, but it is hard to say.

 

The book is filled with secrets and new plots, but as the book progresses you find that they all fall in to place and everything fits perfectly. All the secret services and spies intrigue you, to the point of you wanting to read the book just for them, and make you understand how much trouble follows Bond around.

 

The story is intertwined with the story of James falling in love. I think this is done very well, and although not to perfect, is strong enough to show us that it is serious, and is quite realistic for the beginning of a relationship. The only problem is that I find it goes slightly too quickly, and does not give us time to truly get to know the person he falls in love with, but this may have been done on purpose considering that she is a different person to the one we thought she was.

 

Overall I think that the book is a great action-filled page turner, but also tackles some large subjects, and has a very heavy and serious plot line, which Charlie Higson tackled wonderfully, making the book a great piece of literature, though also something which a younger audience can enjoy.

Oliver, from University College School London

The Young Bond books by Charlie Higson are based on James Bond in his years of being a teenager, and about his many adventures as a spy for the secret service. This book is the latest and final edition to the Young Bond series but, unfortunately, it was extremely disappointing.

 

The book is based in England and in Austria. Whether on holiday or at Eton School, James finds it hard to keep out of danger. Even on a school skiing trip to Austria, he has a feeling he is being followed. However after saving a drunken boy’s life on the skiing trip, James witnesses a sinister scene at a clinic. Later, he meets the royal princesses and then their uncle, the King, himself.  Soon after a woman called Sedova, a senior member of the Russian secret service, turns up at school. Despite promising his friends he’ll be the model schoolboy, James is back in the thick of international action as an agent, as he investigates if someone is plotting to blow up the most important man in the country. The king of England.

 

Honestly I did not like this book. I thought it was mainly very slow-paced, and it was a lot longer than it needed to be. However the action sides of the book were very interesting but, for me, it was not my read. This may be because I have not read all of the Young Bond books but the book, for me, was not very believable. I do believe, however, that this is a great book for others who like a bit of action.

 

If I would recommend this book to someone, I would recommend it to everyone who likes a good action story that has many twists and turns, but I think that a lot of the vocabulary would be hard to read. I think that ages from 11 and up should read this.

 

To conclude I think that this book was, although very well written, not a book for me.

Olivia, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

By Royal Command is about James Bond when he was younger (before he was a spy), in school. He comes back to school after being away on a skiing trip to Austria, and he feels like he’s being followed. During the skiing trip he rescues a fellow student from the freezing temperatures. When he returns to Eton, he makes a few new friends and meets Prince Edward, and many other interesting characters, and also finds a lady whom he falls in love with. This is all set a bit before the Second World War starts. I find this to be a good storyline full of things happening, making it enjoyable and good to read, even though it isn’t a storyline you would find in many books, but it is one you’d expect to find in this kind of book involving James Bond, even when he was younger.

 

The main character, James, is described with just enough description that you know what to think; I find it’s the right amount for this type of book - full of actions and things happening pretty much all the time. None of the characters really get that much description but it doesn’t matter…

 

The story is written in the third person which allows it to not always follow James around, but allows things to happen which James doesn’t notice. It may be the last of the Young Bond books, but there are only a few bits where it refers back to the [previous] books… But really there is no problem with reading this book first rather then in order.

 

Overall I think it was a great book, with a great action-filled story, a few gory-ish bits, and parts where you just want to know what’s going to happen next. It’s a hard book to put down as you just want to find out what’s going to happen in those epic next pages in the book - so close, but still pages to read before you can get to the bit which tells it all, about why someone did something. Even though the first part in Eton isn’t full of guns and those James Bond things, it’s still got parts to do with fighting bad people, who aren’t nice, even if they are just the school bully whom the teachers overlook. Deeming it a book in which something is always going on, I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good action-packed book.

Raphael, from University College School London

As most people will know, By Royal Command is part of the Young Bond series. This latest book in the series is by far my favourite. It is hard to say what the story is about without ruining the plot line, however I shall try my best. Bond has just come back from an extremely adventurous skiing holiday with his school; when he arrives back in Eton many things have changed. At the same time a war is going on…a ‘shadow war’ - the battle between communism and Nazis.

 

Moving on from the plot, the structure of the book is excellent and it is really well written. By Royal Command is written in the 3rd person and mainly follows the life of James Bond. This book is much more like James Bond as most people know him. There is slightly less action and instead of this there is a bit more romance. In this book James is too easily misled, which ends him up in a lot of trouble, which even he struggles to get out of.

 

Other characters in the book include Roan, the pretty maid who has complete power over James because of her beauty, and Dandy the sinister gardener who has slightly ‘different’ views on life. Another slightly creepy and mysterious character is the Graf Von Schlick; he keeps the book a total mystery with his shady appearance and the fact that he crops up everywhere.

 

The combination of the characters and the plot make By Royal Command a comedy, action, adventure, drama and romance, and it is a really exciting book, which I would recommend to all teenagers. I do not think By Royal Command would be as appreciated by adults; however, if you are a teenager who wants to read a really great action story, this book is perfect for you.

Robert, from University College School London

The fifth novel in the Young Bond series you would think would be much the same as the last four and Charlie Higson’s best sellers might be running out of ideas. Far from it, the novel is a real page-turner. It may start off slowly but by chapter four you’re really rocketing. The book is packed full of all the things you would expect in a spy story; the deception, secrets, live rounds and most of all, Ian Fleming’s favourite, love.

 

The story begins with Bond on a train to Austria, he is going on a ski trip with school, Higson’s descriptions may on many occasions be monotonous but some of his description in the Alps really brings the scene alive. Of course Bond is soon in trouble and the switching between characters and different paths of the story keeps the plot flowing and nails you to the page.

 

The disappointing thing about the book was that because it is all set in a high-class Eton world so it does not feel real as James just has to click his fingers and he has a car or money - so there is no struggle. It all feels very set up and unreal.

 

Having only read one of the preceding books did not ruin the read for me, I could still understand everything so you can easily start it without reading the earlier books. Not usually liking spy stories I was not looking forward to reading this book but I was surprised when I was able to read it in a week.

 

Rufus, from University College School London

By Royal Command is the fifth novel in the Young Bond series depicting Ian Fleming's super spy James Bond as a teenager in the 1930s. The novel, written by Charlie Higson, takes place in 1934 and sees James at the age of fourteen. Locations include Kitzbuhel in the Alps, England, France, Lisbon, and Vienna. The book is set after The Great War but before the outbreak of World War Two. It starts with James travelling to join his classmates on a school trip to the Austrian Alps. He is entertaining himself by gambling with some Hitler Youth, and, naturally, he is winning. He gets into a squabble with one of the bigger boys who has lost all of his travel money and ends up exiting the train hurriedly.

 

In Austria, James saves a boy’s life while they are skiing and by doing so comes in contact with a main "baddie" in hospital; once the excitement dies down and they have returned to Eton, things start taking a turn for the worst. James feels he is being followed and regularly sees "a man in a trilby" following him. All is not bad though: James and his friends have finally finished repairing James’ “wrecked” Bentley and Roan, the new boys’ nurse, becomes the beautiful and intriguing Bond Girl. But is she hiding something from James?

 

Soon after he uncovers an intricate plot by some old and new villains to blow up the most important man in England - the King! Can James stop them in time and also save himself? Will he have to make sacrifices of those he loves to succeed? And most of all can he save the world? I would give it 81/2 out of 10.

 

Seeta, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

By Royal Command is the fifth book in the Young Bond novels. You don’t need to read all of the other books to understand this one, but it does help. The series is about a young James Bond and it tells us about the adventures he had, even when he was an ‘innocent’ schoolboy.  

 

 

The main characters are a teenage James Bond and another major character called Roan. Some other characters who were in previous books appeared again and there were also some constant characters - like Pritpal and Tommy who are James’ messmates. The characters were well represented and acted according to their personalities and current emotions and situations. My favourite characters were James Bond and Hannes Oberhauser, who is the ski instructor that taught James how to ski.

 

 

James Bond is taking a break in the Alps and his biggest worry is learning how to ski. However, nothing can stay peaceful for long when he is around and he ends up in a rescue mission. When he gets back to Eton he gets involved in a dangerous plot, or was he involved from the very beginning? He is forced to flee Eton and ends up in Austria with the most beautiful, and deadly, girl he has ever seen. Amongst a tangled-up world of secrets and lies, James will meet someone that he thought (and hoped) that he would never see again…

 

 

I thought that the way the story played out was good as it wasn’t non- stop action: it was more real with scenes of ordinary life. In this book, James gets older mentally which is largely credited to Roan Powers. There were also some funny parts in the book like when James and his roommates are joking around. While I was reading, I really wanted to change some parts of the book or wanted to add something but overall I thought that the plot was good.

 

 

Most messages in the book are about normal life, though the book is set in the past. There is a part in the book about a confrontation with a bully and James doesn’t really deal with it the right way but the author says that James knows that he could have done it differently and used it as a last resort. Another message is that fighting physically isn’t always the answer, which is shown through James (though he usually regrets getting into fights afterwards).

 

 

The genres of Young Bond books are action and adventure and in By Royal Command there is also romance. I would recommend this book to people who like those types of books and to people aged 12+. I liked the book a lot and it answered some questions from previous books. In short, it’s an action-packed, average James Bond adventure… but in miniature.

Shibani, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Sixteen-year-old James Bond is a not-so-ordinary English boy who attends Eton. This is the fifth book in a series called Young Bond about a teenage James Bond who gets himself into all sorts of trouble before he becomes known as an international secret agent.

 

James meets up with his school in the Alps after recovering from a previous adventure and that is when problems start to arise, beginning with a near-death experience in the region.

 

On returning to the school James meets the beautiful but dangerous Roan Powers, an 18-year-old Irish woman who works as the boy’s maid and catches James’s eye.  He soon uncovers a communist plot … which he attempts to foil, [and returns] to the Alps only to meet an old enemy …

 

This is Charlie Higson at his best.  Having read the previous books in the series, this book lacks the gore of its predecessors but has enough twists and tails to make you breathless with anticipation - making By Royal Command my favourite (until the next one).   

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I rate it ten out of ten, five stars, one hundred percent. I recommend this book to children from nine years old and upwards because younger readers may not fully understand the historical backdrop of the book and the relationship between the Irish and the English sovereign George V.

 

This book needs to be read as part of the series to be able to understand how James is maturing and also to understand some of the dilemmas he faces and the decisions he takes. This is a unique and fun book for readers who are searching for a well-written and intelligent book.  

Steffy, from St James Catholic High School

The book starts with James traveling to join his classmates on a school trip to the Austrian Alps. He is entertaining himself by gambling with some Hitler Youth. (The book is set after WWI but before WWII) And, naturally, he is winning. He gets into a squabble with one of the bigger boys who has lost all of his travel money and ends up exiting the train hurriedly. In Austria, James saves a boy’s life while they are skiing and by doing so comes in contact with a main "baddie" in hospital.

Once the excitement dies down and they have returned to Eton, things start taking a turn for the worst. James feels he is being followed and regularly sees a man following him.

All is not bad though: James and his friends have finally finished repairing the Bentley and Roan and the new boys’ nurse is a beautiful and intriguing Bond Girl. But is she hiding something from James?

Soon after, James uncovers an intricate plot by some old and new villains to blow up the most important man in England - the King!

Can James stop them in time and also save himself? Will he have to make sacrifices of those he loves in order to succeed? And most of all can he save the world?

I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 11 who likes action, mystery or thriller genres. I loved this book and would give it 8 and 1/2 out of 10.

Thulashika, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

This action-packed book was, in my opinion, honestly one of the best books I have ever read! At first I thought that this book was aimed at and more suitable for boys and I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this. However, as I started to read the novel, I grasped the character of James Bond whom I could relate to as he was quite a young boy and similar to my brother’s age.

 

The story begins with James Bond joining his classmates in Austria on a school trip. It was when he was in Austria that the first adventurous mission took place as James nearly faced death. There were many mysteries building in my head whilst reading this novel. For example, near the beginning: the hidden man who was following James Bond, wherever he went unseen. This caught my attention as I wanted to read on, find out who this peculiar male was and what happened next.

 

I like the way the author introduces characters in a mysterious and thoughtful way and links it later on to the main story. This is quite different to the way new characters are introduced in other books as they are only seen when they meet the main character. This introduction of the new character is very intellectual as it makes readers think about the story more and therefore makes them enjoy it.

 

This thrilling novel has a great plot which includes preventing a murder from taking place. I enjoyed every bit of it. I like the way the character James Bond participates in many adventurous and life-threatening journeys and yet copes with normal everyday life. As this was the last book of the series of Young Bond, this book has made me want to read the other books from the beginning and I would recommend this book to people interested in action-filled novels.

Tia, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

The novel is about a boy called James Bond whose parents have died.  We discover that he is a good fighter and that someone is trying to kill him.  He falls in love with Roan, a maid, but doesn’t realise that she is employed by Hitler. 

 

I really enjoyed this book and think that the best part was when they went skiing.  My favourite character was Roan.  I found the ending a bit sad.

 

I would read this book again and intend to read any of the other books in the same series.

Zoe, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

I thought it was an incredible book because I didn’t think I was going to get pleasure from it but in the end I actually thought it was very enjoyable

 

James Bond wants to go and live a normal life but is being followed everywhere he goes, even to Austria on a school trip. Finding it hard to have fun at school whilst tricking a girl he loves, he decides to make a plan

 

I think Charlie Higson has made this book thoroughly thrilling and a must read novel. I would suggest By Royal Command to ages 12+ because of a considerable amount of fighting in it, but anyone younger enough to take it would also enjoy it.