Moonraker (James Bond)
Hardcover – 320 pages
ISBN: 0718153855 / 9780718153854
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