Young James Bond, ostensibly recovering from the events detailed in Double or Die, is headed to Mexico with his Aunt Charmian. Once there, the two are separated by a hurricane, and due to mistaken identity, James finds himself a member of a ruthless international gang that has kidnapped two children. He and Precious Stone (one of the kidnapped kids) form an uneasy alliance to thwart the gang’s intentions and to clear Precious’ father’s reputation.
The fourth Young Bond book brings James ever closer to his eventual role as Her Majesty’s secret servant. His attitudes and philosophies toward life (and death) are taking shape as he is exposed to more deranged criminals. His self-confidence is also growing, and he experiences less fear in the face of danger, although he is still disturbed by the amount of killing he witnesses. A hint of rashness with a healthy dose of cockiness is also seasoning his attitude as he determines to help the girl accomplish her personal goals.
Higson is a gifted writer and storyteller, and any fan of the literary James Bond will relish this series, which only has a single title remaining after this. The characters are certainly over the top, yet not comically so; they have solid backgrounds and the attention to period detail (the books take place in the late 1930s) is obvious. Bond is developing over the series in a believable fashion, and the author continues to toss out the occasional Easter Egg, which makes these stories just plain fun to read.
Rated: Moderate. I suppose the growing use of foul language should not be surprising, although I do not recall this level in the Fleming novels. There are more than 50 incidents of mild terms, 3 medium terms, and a handful of crude references to Deity.