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Literature / Heads You Die

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The seventh Young Bond novel, and the second by Steve Cole, released in 2016.

James and his friend Hugo Grande have come to Cuba to stay with old family friend Gerald Hardiman until his Aunt Charmian returns from her Mexican anthropological expedition. But they've barely arrived before Hardiman is kidnapped, and James and Hugo find themselves on his trail from Havana and across the Caribbean to face down a Mad Scientist with a pharmaceutical fortune and genocidal ambitions.


Tropes include:

  • Action Girl: Jagua, probably the greatest example in the Young Bond series.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Scolopendra for Jagua. She even says that Audacto Solares, her father, was killed by Scolopendra years ago.
  • Big Bad: Audacto Solares, alias "Scolopendra", after the species of giant centipede he discovered, Scolopendra Deltadromeus.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Scolopendra named himself after a giant centipede he discovered. He also lets loose a swarm of botflies against James and Hugo at one point. And unconnected to all that, James has a run-in with a tarantula.
  • Call-Forward: This marks the first time Bond is introduced to diving.
  • Co-Dragons: Ramón and El Puño.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hugo, as usual. He admits it's a coping mechanism he developed long ago due to his height.
  • Evil Plan: Using money infected with a deadly virus to hold whole countries to ransom. And Britain is to be the test case.
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  • For Science!: Scolopendra is quite willing to infect innocent people with deadly diseases to test his pathogens.
  • Freudian Excuse: Scolopendra is a Cuban of mixed descent, and also a genius. So he has a serious chip on his shoulder about having spent his youth in menial labour and as a porter for less gifted scientists, before he made his name and fortune.
  • Karma Houdini: La Velada sees the whole scheme going up in (literal) smoke, and gets the hell out of there.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Scolopendra's daughter Jagua Solares, named after the jaguar goddess.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: James stumbles upon Ramón and El Puño kidnapping Maritsa and helps out, which brings him into contact with Jagua and kicks off the whole plot.
  • Mythology Gag: A particularly daring one. James retrieves Jagua's notes from inside the manuscript of an older ornithologist friend of hers. The manuscript (which wouldn't be published for two more years) is A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies, and the (unnamed) ornithologist is the real James Bond!
  • Red Right Hand: Ramón has an ugly scar running from under his nose to his chin, while his co-Dragon El Puño ("The Fist") lost a hand and had it replaced with a block of granite carved into a fist.
  • The Unreveal: What's behind La Velada's veil?
  • The Woman Behind The Man: La Velada is more responsible for Scolopendra's success than he thinks, and despite what she says, it seems clear she's really been working for the NKVD all along.