I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
As the super patriot and war veteran who’s bankrolling Britain’s top-secret Moonraker rocket program, Sir Hugo Drax should be above reproach. But there’s more to this enigmatic millionaire than he lets on. When M suspects Drax of cheating at cards in an exclusive gentleman’s club, he sends Bond in to investigate. But exposing the deception only enrages Drax—and now 007 must outwit an angry man with the power to loose a nuclear warhead on London.
The mysterious death of the head of security at Drax’s missile base gives Bond the perfect opportunity to go undercover to find out the secret agenda of the supposed British war hero. With the help of another agent, the lustrous Gala Brand, 007 learns the truth about Drax’s battle scars, his wartime allegiances—and his murderous plans for the deployment of Moonraker.
***2018 Summer of Spies***
The oddest so far in the James Bond series. I was about two thirds of the way through when I started to wonder when something of significance would happen! The last third, however, held all the action that I’d been asking for.
A very slow start, back to Bond & his card expertise. Having just read Tim Powers’ Last Call, which heavily involves poker and other games of chance, I was maybe a bit worn out with the card games! However, what I did find fascinating in the opening pages of the book was Fleming’s description of James Bond’s schedule:
”It was the beginning of a typical routine day for Bond. It was only two or three times a year that an assignment came along requiring his particular abilities. For the rest of the year he had the duties of an easy-going senior civil servant—elastic office hours from around ten to six; lunch, generally at the canteen; evenings spent playing cards in the company of a few close friends, or at Crockford’s; or making love, with rather cold passion, to one of three similarly disposed married women; weekends playing golf for high stakes at one of the clubs near London.”
This is Fleming, the now-married man, describing his life during his stint in naval intelligence! It could almost have been written by his biographer, Andrew Lycett.
The third book in the Bond series, this is first one in which Bond doesn’t get the girl. I found the last sentence to be a bit sad: “He touched her for the last time and then they turned away from each other and walked off into their different lives.” Fleming drew so much from his personal life for these books that it makes me wonder who he had in mind when he wrote such a melancholy final line.