I brought the final instalment of Charlie Higson’s Young Bond series, By Royal Command, yesterday on the day of it’s release. Unfortunately my local branch of Borders didn’t seem to know it had been released, as I had to scour the shop, then asked a shop assistant who checked her computer and said “Well it says we have 50 copies” and then it took ages to locate the manager to see if it was actually released that day, tch, tch.
I’ve just finished the book now (it’s an easy book to devour), the final instalment, it shows James Bond growing up a bit more and getting increasingly world weary, at which the book did tend to descend into a bit of preachiness about how ‘bad’ the world was. Featuring Germans, Communists, Eton, a dark and dingy castle and a rather good mountain scene, I don’t think it was quite as exciting as the previous Hurricane Gold, which I loved. However, By Royal Command does however have a particular gruesome scene, which I was reading this morning outside the library, I was sitting on the bench and as soon as I got to the scene, when a particular something happened (I’m not going to tell you what it was, you’ll have to read it), I sat up on the bench and let out an involuntary “yeugh”, if anyone walking by had seen my face they would have wondered what I was reading! It was a good scene though and very well written.
Talking about the writing though, I think whenever I read a Young Bond, poor Charlie Higson has a tough deal from me, as it’s in his genre of books that I would like to write (as in action / adventure, although my plot lines tend to be a bit more historical than early twentieth century). I would give anything to be able to write an action scene half as good as one of Higson’s but I get annoyed when he goes into much over researched detail, although this book, like the previous Hurricane Gold, doesn’t suffer as much from this as the earlier books do. So whenever I read his work I find it hard to dissociate the writer keen to learn in me from the reader reading for pleasure.