The sixth Young Bond novel, and the first by Steve Cole, released in 2014.
It's the early summer of 1934, and Bond is temporarily staying at the famous progressive, co-educational Dartington Hall school in Devonshire while Aunt Charmian finally mounts her expedition in Mexico. He once more gets into trouble when the film reel the Film Club obtained for viewing turns out to have something a lot more dangerous than Mae West on it.
Now Bond and three new friends are taking an airship to Hollywoodland—but someone is willing to kill to get that film back.
- Airships: Studio boss Anton Kostler owns two, the Allworld and the smaller Zelda. Naturally, one of them gets blown up.
- Big Bad: Allworld Studios founder Anton Kostler.
- Call-Forward: Bond reckons he "could get a taste for cocktails", and is introduced to judo for the first time.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Bond is told for the first time that he looks like Hoagy Carmichael. This comes in useful later when he briefly claims to be Carmichael's son.
- Character Development: After the events of the last year, James is notably colder and more distant towards his classmates, and more aware that knowing him can be dangerous. He also shoots Kostler in the brain with his air pistol - he's slowly becoming more comfortable shooting people.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hugo Grande, who admits it's partially a coping mechanism for his condition.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Anton Kostler is a rotten bastard and Serial Killer, but he truly loved his wife and cares for his equally rotten son. From what we can see, his son reciprocates his feelings, as his father's apparent death sends him into despair.
- Good All Along: "Fedora Man", aka Dürr, turns out to be an SIS agent named Adam Elmhirst investigating Kostler.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Dan does not do a good job of trusting the right people (James aside) throughout the novel even after knowing of the danger in the air after uncovering a snuff film.
- I Call It "Vera": Bond's air pistol. Boody Pryce carves "Queensmarsh" into the butt of Bond's air pistol, in reference to the place he got it. Bond thinks the name (one part patriotism, one part muck) is oddly fitting.
- Red Right Hand: Less exaggerated than usual, but one of Kostler's henchmen has a port-stain birthmark from his ear to his jaw. Noticing this is the first indication Bond gets that Kostler and the film are connected.
- Serial Killer: Anton Kostler is a deranged director who tortures and murders people while filming the results in order to enjoy and immortalize it for himself.
- Snuff Film: Anton Kostler is a movie director who fell into despair after his wife's death and decided all life was meaningless. To fuel his nihilism, Kostler tortures and murders people on tape before having the deaths staged as part of his "films" in order to enjoy the suffering of others, with his ultimate plan being to take over Hollywood and convert the entirety of it to his evil business.
- The Stinger: SIS agent Adam Elmhirst is keeping an eye on young Bond, and knows some people who'll be interested to know what Andrew Bond's son is up to.
- Straw Nihilist: After the death of his beloved wife, Anton Kostler now believes that all life is pointless and hence death itself has no meaning. To prove his twisted worldview, he murders people on tape in order to showcase how he now controls life and death itself.