By Royal Command (2008) - The Young James Bond Series by Charlie Higson: Book Five

Author: Charlie Higson
Published: 3rd September 2008 (UK), 18th Mary 2010 (USA)
MI6 Rating:

Data Stream
Villains: Dr Friend, Babushka, Wrangle
Plot: James Bond must foil an assassination attempt on the King of England
Bond Girls: Roan Power
Locations: The Alps, Austria; London, England; France; Lisbon; Vienna
Highlights: Skiing, travelling with Road, finale.

Data Stream
Publisher: Puffin (UK)
Format: Hardback
Price: £12.99
Pages: 354

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Above: UK first edition hardback artwork (the grey regions are embossed silver).

Official Synopsis
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.

"James Bond.
For king and country."

By Royal Command sees James Bond thrown into the midst of a dangerous, spy-ridden plot that threatens to put both King and country at risk. Set between the two World Wars and moving between Eton and the chilling slopes of the Austrian Alps, By Royal Command sees the young James Bond put to the test as never before. Not only are his bravery and loyalty on trial, but the arrival of a pretty, young maid at Eton also teaches him a lesson of the heart.

About The Author
Several authors were approached by Ian Fleming Publications to write the Young Bond series. They were gathered in a secret mountain hideaway and sat around a huge marble-topped table. Charlie Higson pulled a lever and the other authors disappeared into a shark-infested tank. So Charlie got the job and the Young Bond series is a phenomenal No. 1 bestselling success. Charlie Higson is also a well-known writer of screenplays and novels, as well as a performer and co-creator of The Fast Show.

James Bond is the most famous spy the world has ever known. His life in the shadowy world of the British Secret Services was brilliantly documented in fourteen classic books by Ian Fleming, from Casino Royale to Octopussy. Ian Fleming wrote about James Bond over fifty years ago. He was uniquely placed to chronicle Bond's secret-service career - he was himself involved at a high level in intelligence-gathering operations in World War II.


Above: UK paperback artwork (the white regions are embossed silver), released May 28th, 2009.

Above: USA hardback first edition artwork.

Chapter Listing

Part 1: Kitzbuhel

  1. What WIll Be Will Be
  2. It is Only When We Are Close To Death That We Feel Fully Alive
  3. Hitler-Jugend
  4. Austrian Waltzing Blood
  5. You're Going The Wrong Way!
  6. There is MOre Than One Way to Come Down a Mountain
  7. White Death
  8. Goodnight, Vienna
  9. The Man Without a Face

Part 2: ETON

  1. Bloody Bentinck
  2. Consorting With a Common Maid
  3. An Invitation and an Order
  4. The Invisible Man
  5. By Royal Command
  6. Guest of Honour
  7. A Blunt Object
  8. Science is Not a Boring Subject
  9. The Infernal Device
  10. One Move and I'll Tear Your Throat Out
  11. The Shadow War
  12. The Men in Grey Hats
  13. A Cold-Blooded Killer


  1. Blonde Bombshell
  2. The Marseillaise
  3. Fallen Among Friends
  4. The Stink of Death
  5. Keeping Up Appearances
  6. You Never Give Up, Do You?
  7. For King and Country
  8. Someone Has Let the Rabbits Out of Their Hutches
  9. Diamond Heart
  10. From on Top of a Mountain

Above: Promotional poster

Above: UK audiobook cover artwork

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Official Announcement
Puffin and Ian Fleming Publications announce that the next book in Charlie Higson’s bestselling Young Bond series, to be published on 4th September 2008, will be entitled By Royal Command. Young Bond’s most daring adventure yet takes him from England to the chilling heights of the Austrian Alps. When his whole world explodes, James is forced to go on the run, pursued by enemy agents and the British authorities. James must choose between friendship and duty. His life will never be the same again...

Above: Young Bond from "Double Or Die" as depicted by Kev Walker

Behind The Books
Over the course of the previous four books, author Charlie Higson gave exclusive interviews about the Young Bond series to MI6. The following excerpts concern book five - By Royal Command. Click the links in the sidebar to read the interviews in their entirety.

"[Hurricane Gold] came out of the blue because I'd had a rough scheme for the five books and then I shunted two books-worth of ideas in to one book - all of which is now in book five - it was going to be two different books. It’s going to be a more complex book compared to the others."

"I have a story that finishes at book five, which is the story that started at the beginning of SilverFin. It will tie up all the various threads, characters and themes that run through all the five books. It will end with Bond leaving Eton, which is part of the Bond mythology, which we had from Ian Fleming."

"The fifth book involves elements of a fairly major nature. Yes, the Royal Family do play a part in the plot. It does involve the maid and it does involve him leaving Eton. Basically, it is decided that things need to be hushed up, kept out of the way and swept under the carpet, official secrets, the government and the establishment closing ranks and all that, trying not to let out what has really happened, and that Bond is never allowed to speak about it ever again. Which is why he never mentions it when he's an adult! And so, they actively go about changing the dates and circumstances. But so that the general public and the newspapers can 't put two and two together, the exact dates get altered and obscured, so that James's activities and involvement never come to light."


Above: Author Charlie Higson

"I hope to have fun with the maid incident and show that it was a lot bigger and more complex than what was presented in the obituary, and that the obituary is a deliberate attempt to cover the truth up. And I hope it will also help explain some of his attitude towards women in later life."

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By Royal Command : 01 - 02 - 03

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