In part five of an MI6 exclusive interview, author Charlie Higson talks about Young Bond book five, graphic novels, videogames, and beyond...

Hurricane Gold: In Conversation With Charlie Higson (5)
10th January 2008

Exclusive: MI6 caught up with Young James Bond author Charlie Higson to talk about his new "Hurricane Gold". Speaking for the fourth time to MI6 about the series, Charlie Higson talks about how Young Bond book five and beyond in this serialized MI6 interview.

Book 4 introduces us in passing to a young Eton maid, can we assume this is the maid for book 5?

I think seasoned Bond fanatics will recognise that, yes. It is the maid from book five, and the obituary. Although the events will not be quite as implied by Ian Fleming... or dirty minded readers [laughs].

We've already talked about the Alps location for book five, but have you decided whether or not you will make any reference to his parent's climbing accident?

It will inevitably arise, yes. But I have decided not to bring it in to the plot or a make it a suspicious death or anything that might imply espionage or anything of that nature. It will be used as a climbing accident but left as a climbing accident. Bond will obviously have very strong memories of that in book five.


Above: Cover artwork for the UK paperback edition of Hurricane Gold.

It's been rarely used in the film series, with only a brief mention in GoldenEye and a passing reference to him being an orphan in Casino Royale. It's perhaps the greatest untapped aspect of Bond's back story that has yet to be exploited.

Yes. I think they're doing in the films what Fleming did in the books now, which is not to give us anything about Bond - except Fleming did cave in at the end. There is only a couple of scenes in all the films where we see Bond at home. He's always on the move, he's on a mission, he lives totally in the present... and that's the sort of great allure of the character. He's got no wife of kids or dependants or friends, he's just this guy who's out there doing the things he does. I think the only way it'll make sense to use his parents death now would be to bring it in as a plot device, like a villain who had been instrumental in their death or something. But I think one of the main reasons for Bond's continued success is that he isn't a man with a backstory.

Above: Author Charlie HIgson signing limited edition hardbacks of Hurricane Gold

Have you completed work on book 5?

Oh, I wish I had! [Laughs] No... It's going to be pretty tight up against the deadline for this last book.

Is there a tentative release date in mind yet?

I think we're looking at September/October/November some time. Towards the back half of the year. (MI6 Note: The release date has since been confirmed as September 4th 2008). I was ahead of myself at the start of the series because I started SilverFin about two years before it was published, so I had finished Blood Fever before SilverFin came out. It meant that I was ahead of the series, but by bringing forward Hurricane Gold, I now no longer have that buffer. I'm playing catch-up now.

You've told us before about Eton's location close to Windsor and a Royal element. Can you give us any more teasers on what to expect in book 5?

Well, I don't want to give too much away! But yes, the Royal Family do play a part in the plot.

Which segues nicely in to the next question... Is book 5 going to be titled "On His Majesty's Secret Service"?

A-ha!... Because he's not in the secret service until WWII, so no, although he gets involved in the world of espionage, he's not a spy in book five. Err.. I can't really say any more than that!

Above: The cave sequence from Blood Fever

Last time we spoke you mentioned there were some negotiations with video game companies. Any progress on a Young Bond video game yet?

Things have sort of come and gone on that. In the end it tends to come back to the fact that it's an extremely expensive job to do a videogame and to guarantee money back is very tricky. They also like to hang these investments on something major like a feature film despite the fact that the books are selling in big numbers for our publishers around the world. I think the feeling is that it's not the right time to do it, yet.

That would be to hang it off a major feature film then, would it?

[Laughs] I think the feeling is you'd need that kind of big boost to make it successful. Like what we've done with the graphic novel, you have to spend a lot of time on it to come up with a really good game. I think there is another complication with the problem of positioning it in the market place when you've already got the adult James Bond games which are action based. It's tricky with Young Bond, it would have to be something very different because it can't be him running around shooting people.

But there are ongoing discussions, but you're talking two or three years from inception to get a game out, and how much that costs and who is going to fund that...

Above: Young Bond joins the Danger Society

How is the SilverFin graphic novel coming along?

It's been a while in progress. It's a hell of a huge job of work to do draw a complete novel. We had the final sketches through recently and they are looking fantastic. It's going to be a really fantastic book. Puffin are doing it properly and really giving Kev Walker the time and resources to make it as gorgeous as possible. He's such a brilliant artist. I've always loved comics and comic books and sometimes stuff like this has been done as a quicky cash-in and rushed out, but this I think will stand up against the likes of Asterix and Tin Tin for the level of craft that has gone in to it. (MI6 Note: The release date of the SilverFin graphic novel has since been delayed until September 4th 2008 to coincide with the release of book five)

Is this one of those things that if the first one does well we may see more?

I think so, very much so, yes. If it sells reasonably well then there'll be a strong impetuous for more and so we're hoping it will do well. It costs a lot of money to put one of these things together and a huge amount of work so we do have to wait and see how the first one goes.

The hope is that, although book five is the last novel I'm writing in the Young Bond series, through the graphic novels and other stuff IFP and Puffin have got planned that the Young Bond thing will continue in one form or another. I think there are other spin-off books and stuff you could do around it. I would certainly like to continue to be involved with it as much as possible...

Hurricane Gold was released on Thursday 6th September 2007 in the UK.

Many thanks to Charlie Higson.

Young Bond Novels
Blood Fever
Double Or Die
Hurricane Gold
By Royal Command
Shoot To Kill

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SilverFin : 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06
Blood Fever : 01 - 02 - 03 - 04
Double Or Die : 01 - 02 - 03
Hurricane Gold : 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05
By Royal Command : 01 - 02 - 03