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Literature / Strike Lightning

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The eighth Young Bond novel, and the third, penultimate volume by Steve Cole.

Bond has finally enrolled at Fettes College in Edinburgh. But when his new friend is killed, and the entire affair covered up as a tragic accident, he wants answers - and revenge - and trails the perpetrators across Europe to discover a conspiracy bigger and more powerful than he imagined.

Tropes in this installment include:

  • Accidental Murder: Stephenson's death appears to be this - at first it seems he was accidentally killed testing the Steel Shadow's lightning strike resistance. Then it turns out it was plain murder on Axmann's part - step one in killing everyone with knowledge of the project.
  • Arms Dealer: Blade-Rise Industries.
  • Big Bad: Maximilian Hepworth Blade, then Bond discovers things aren't quite so simple, and Grünner takes the position for the rest of the book.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Bond and Kitty are trapped in the arena, and James is genuinely convinced they're dead this time... and then Perry Mandeville bursts through the door in an armoured car.
  • The Bus Came Back: Perry Mandeville, who got expelled from Eton before Bond and transferred to Fettes in By Royal Command, finally makes his reappearance.
  • Call-Forward: When James is convinced he and Kitty are dead in the arena, the context makes clear he's about to tell her they have all the time in the world before they're saved.
  • Continuity Nod: Bond forming the first Judo club in Fettes was established in his obituary in You Only Live Twice. The plot of this novel is kicked off when his co-founder Marcus Stephenson ends up dead.
  • Cool Car: Maximilian Blade's two Tatra 77s.
  • The Dragon: Herta Axmann.
  • Evil Plan: Blade-Rise is selling weapons to Those Wacky Nazis in contravention of the Versailles treaty. Of course, it's not quite that simple.
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  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: Blade reveals to James that the only way he could afford to develop Power Armour to sell to Germany is if the British government funded him to do it. He's not a nice man, but he's a patriot.
  • The Man Behind the Man: First, Maximilian Hepworth Blade for Whittaker. Later, German ambassador to the Netherlands Grünner for Blade.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The minor crime here being manslaughter, which leads Bond to discover a British company selling arms to Hitler's Germany in contravention of the Versailles Treaty, then discovering that's part of a British operation to track down the secret Nazi weapon labs, and that there's a German Powered Armour programme.
  • Powered Armour: Blade's invention of a workable Power Armour drives much of the plot.
  • Rail Enthusiast: Perry Mandeville's cousin Kitty Drift. Her knowledge of Dutch train timetables comes in useful more than once.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: The German Blutbanner Powered Armour.
  • Red Right Hand: Maximilian Blade has Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or Stone Man Syndrome - his soft tissues are gradually ossifying into solid bone, leaving him twisted and in constant risk of injuring himself. The real Big Bad, Grünner, has a more low-key version in that he has a disconcertingly girlish giggle.
  • Super Soldier: The aim of Blade's Power Armour project is to make these for the inevitable upcoming war.