18th June 2017
The fourth (and apparently final) novel in Steve Cole's set of Young Bond novels follows the teenager as he learns more about the accident which killed his parents. A chance discovery leads to him joining forces with an MI6 agent to attempt to uncover a Soviet plot.
It's an entertaining if slightly unbelievable adventure, which very much puts it into the Bond world. Cole has done a good job of moving Bond from the character that was left at the end of Higson's original Young Bond series towards where he needs to be pointed to turn him into the post-war character of the Ian Fleming novels. Each book makes clear steps toward this, and this one feels like the ti[[ing point. It seems appropriate that this is the last novel, as going back to the mundanity of school doesn't really feel like the next step in Bond's life.
The locations, the twists, and the characters are all very Bondian. It's a well-crafted narrative that follows a recognisable Bond structure. But there are moments where I had to put in effort to pay attention and follow exactly what was happening without my eyes skipping down the page, and I kind of missed some of the asepcts of the earlier novels in this series that are now missing.
A good finale, but I still feel like there's some more stories to be told to fill the gap between this story and Casino Royale in the character's life.