Excerpt from Silverfin by Charlie Higson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


A James Bond Adventure

by Charlie Higson

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 352 pages
    Apr 2006, 368 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

He had no idea how far he'd gone, but he knew that it was going to be a struggle reaching the far side, let alone turning round and swimming back again.

He felt awful, as if a cold iron cage were clamped round his head; all he wanted to do was to get to the surface, stick his head out and be up in the fresh air, warmth and light. But he resisted the urge and swam harder, using a clean, strong breaststroke, deciding that the quicker he went, the less time he'd need to hold his breath. However, the quicker he went, the more oxygen he used up, and soon his lungs began to burn. He struggled on, the pounding in his head getting worse and worse. A few more strokes and he had to let some air out, then some more, until his lungs were completely empty and the pain was crippling him. Still he battled on, one more stroke, another, then -- no, it was too much, his whole body was crying out for oxygen, he couldn't fight it any longer. He bobbed to the surface and gulped in several great mouthfuls of air. Then he trod water, panting and choking. He'd drifted way off course and was nowhere near the other side, but where was Butcher? He must still be down there somewhere. Was he all right? Maybe he'd got tangled in weeds?

No, he saw his feet splashing near the far bank. He'd reached the other side, but still he didn't come up. James caught sight of him doggedly sculling back towards the start point. Bond forgot all about losing, forgot all about the cold, forgot all about the older boys jeering from the edge of the Mead. He marveled at Butcher's capacity for holding his breath. It was only when he was within five or six feet of the edge that he finally floated up and took in more air, although he hardly seemed out of breath at all.

"Well done, Butcher," yelled Hellebore. "You're a champion turtle."

James swam to them. He was looking forward to getting warm and dry but, as he reached the older boys, Hellebore suddenly grabbed him by the hair again and forced him back under the water. He had had no time to take a breath and was soon struggling, but, try as he might, he couldn't break free of Hellebore's grip and come up again. The last of his air came out in a huge bubble and he swallowed a gut-full of water. He mustn't panic, that would only make things worse. The American wasn't going to drown him . . . he wasn't . . .

Or was he? A few more moments and he'd be breathing in water . . . He couldn't force himself upwards, the boy's arm was too strong . . . But if he couldn't go upwards . . . maybe he could go the other way.

It was drastic, but it was the only solution.

He suddenly grabbed hold of Hellebore's wrist and pulled. Caught off guard, the boy tumbled over and landed in the water with an almighty splash, letting go of James in the process. James quickly squirmed on to the bank and vomited up a stream of mucus and river scum.

Hellebore was furious; he yelled something, and Sedgepole and Pruitt grabbed James. He knew he was in big trouble now, but anything was better than drowning.

Hellebore clumsily scrambled out in his soaking clothes. His eyes were red, his blue lips pulled back from his teeth in a snarl, his hair flattened to his head. All traces of the handsome young boy had gone, to be replaced by the features of a crazed animal.

"You shouldn't have done that, Bond," he rasped.

From SilverFin by Charlie Higson, pages 33-40 of the hardcover edition.  Copyright © 2005 by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
  • Book Jacket: Mercury
    by Margot Livesey
    Margot Livesey explores the moneyed suburbs of Boston and creates a modern morality tale chronicling...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.