Moonraker (James Bond 007)

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9780141002989: Moonraker (James Bond 007)

The club where James Bond is asked to settle a dispute over ungentlemanly behaviour is embarrassed. The accused is the unimpeachable Sir Hugo Drax, head of the multi-million-pound Moonraker missile programme on which Britain's future depends.

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Review:

Moonraker is a treat of a classic Bond spy thriller. There is intrigue at M's exclusive gambling club "Blades" on Park Lane where Sir Hugo Drax, a multi- millionaire business tycoon, revered by the British public because of his Moonraker missile defence programme, has been accruing millions of pounds at the Poker table. Why would Drax wish to make more money? How could he be achieving such success against the world's premier gamblers? As "the best card-player in the service", Bond is called in to find out the answers.

Bond quickly adjudges Drax a "bullying, boorish, loud-mouthed vulgarian" and, more importantly for his mission, a cheat at cards. Bond beats Drax at his own game, winning thousands of pounds and severely unsettling the millionaire in the process. His advice to 007 before leaving the club is: "I should spend the money quickly, Commander Bond." Indeed.

Never one to ignore a hot tip, Bond is preparing to splash his winnings on a Rolls-Bentley Convertible and three diamond clips when he hears of a double-shooting at Drax's Moonraker base. Concerned about the possibility of sabotage, Bond is sent undercover to investigate, but things just don't add up. Why are the workforce all German--this is post-war Britain after all? On the job, Bond meets Special Branch Agent Gala Brand, planted onsite ostensibly as Drax's private secretary. Despite initial fractious relations, the two spies grow to respect each other and eventually discover the frightening and horrific truth about Drax and Moonraker. Here the plot speeds up and we are treated to some vintage Fleming lines: "Bond set his teeth and rode his car as if she was a Lipizaner at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna."

Moonraker is a finely honed Bond novel displaying all of Fleming's distinctive innuendo and humour. Head and shoulders above the more recent action-packed bestsellers. --Julian Broster

Review:

"A series of blood-curdling and incredible excitements…I couldn’t put the book down" ( Daily Telegraph)

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