On His Majesty's Secret Service
Bond is sent at the last minute to thwart an attempt to disrupt the Coronation by the wealthy, eccentric and self-styled Athelstan of Wessex, who is on a deadly mission of his own to teach the United Kingdom a lesson. Can Bond dismantle his shady plans and defeat his privately hired team of mercenaries?
Reviewed on 6th May 2023
Charlie Higson and James Bond make a surprise return in this coronation tie-in novel. When it was announced I thought that probably the publishers had had it up their sleeve for a while and were just waiting for the day to come - but actually it’s filled with right up to the minute references which make it feel like it was written within the past two months.
The book looks short - but feels on the inside quite reasonable in length. Less of a novella and more of a short novel. The narrative is comfortable and familiar, it’s not quite Fleming in tone, but it’s close enough that it definitely has the feel of a proper Bond story. And all the usual elements are there, some with an amusing modern twist to them.
I had wondered if this would be in continuity with Higson’s other Young Bond novels, but no, this isn’t the tale of a 103-year-old come back to save the country once again.
I enjoyed reading - it’s a nice visit to the character and the world, and the timely nature does add to the fun.