Sep 16, 2007

Gilt Edged Bond

My copy of Charlie Higson’s newest Young Bond novel, Hurricane Gold, finally arrived yesterday from (much later than their shipping estimate). I know a lot of others have already been showing up on US shores, but I haven’t seen a detailed description anywhere yet, so for those who still haven’t gotten hold of it, here are some pictures of the shiny gold book that hopefully offer a better sense of how cool it looks than Amazon’s cover image. The book itself is a shiny, mirrored gold surface all over. (Luckily, the glistening surface didn’t get too scratched in the shipment from England.) The boards are gold, and the gilt edges of the pages are the same color. The whole thing is the literal realization of the title of that old Ian Fleming anthology, Gilt Edged Bonds! (Unfortunately, its reflective qualities also make it remarkably hard to photograph accurately, so I’m afraid these dreary images still fail to capture its magnif-icence...)

This volume would look set to store in Fort Knox were it not for the scant dust jacket, a narrow strip of paper covering about 1/4 of the book with the title (which is also embossed on the book itself) and the crucial bar code. It would look so much cooler without the dust jacket (and I never thought I’d be saying that about a Bond book!), but the collector in me couldn’t possibly discard it. Creating even more of a dilemma for collectors, the jacket is taped into place inside the cover on each side. I haven’t tried removing the tape yet, for fear of damaging the endpapers, which are emblazoned with the recurring Young Bond logo. It doesn’t look like the sort of tape that would tear, but of course removing the tape would also alter the book from its original state and thus reduce its potential value. The true first state of this first edition technically (and unfortunately) includes the tape.

The pages seem to be printed on the same low-quality paper that the previous English paperback first editions were printed on, an odd choice for a hardcover. But the really good news is... the binding is sewn! (In gold, of course.) I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s been an unfortunate trend in UK publishing of late to bind hardcovers with glue, like a paperback, instead of stitching. Both the Moneypenny Diaries books and the Young Bond limited editions (the only way the previous volumes were available in hardback in England) sadly suffered this fate. Books may be cheaper to produce like this, but they’re also much less durable. So it’s very nice to see that Hurricane Gold is well bound, and actually of a higher quality than the more expensive, slip-cased, limited editions!

Now for the reading! I can’t wait to dig in... (Carefully, of course!)

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