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Moonraker (1955)

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Title:Moonraker
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Moonraker by Ian Fleming (1955)

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Moonraker is distinguished by being the only James Bond (apparently) where Bond neither has sex nor leaves England. I don't really have much to say about the former, but the latter is kind of fascinating; this book gives us a glimpse of what Bond is like between missions. It's clear he really only comes to life when traveling abroad for Her Majesty's Government; when he's in England, he's trapped, a caged animal forced to act civilized to fit in with everyone else, and hating it. Fleming's depiction of Bond as a barbarian disguised as a member of the British elite is my favorite part of these novels, and Moonraker gives us some new angles on it by never leaving England.

The opening of the novel is another high-stakes card game, where Bond helps M out with a man cheating at bridge; I'm learning that no one can make a card game feel high stakes quite as well as Fleming! The latter part of the book, where Bond helps foil a plot by the same man, isn't quite as interesting, though there's a very tense car chase sequence. Gala Brand has probably been the best "Bond girl" so far, a competent professional who has her own life, though I can't help but feel the narrator sneers at her a bit for being a woman.

Casino Royale has clearly been the best of these books so far, but it's also quite interesting how little they resemble the formula I know from the films. Do they ever get there, or is that formula entirely an invention of the big screen? I guess I'll find out as I continue to read.
  Stevil2001 | Jan 23, 2016 |
As one of the most thrilling Bond installments, Moonraker raises the stakes. Appealing more towards the true, English, gentleman air of Bond rather than his typical brute, kill or be killed initial persona, Moonraker is also unique. These two aspects collide in the lengthy opening scene in which Bond is engaged in a heated game of cards against his suspected criminal antagonist, Hugo Drax. It is here that the action and plot of the rest of the novel is set up in an uncharacteristically, overly sophisticated manner. However, to remain in accordance with this enhanced loftiness of the introduction, the setting is restrained essentially only to Britain for the brunt of the plot (until his inevitable adventure to space which is so idolized in the film version). Although Bond is characterized as essentially the "perfect hero" in his other adventures, Bond's flaws as a regular person are exposed here. We see Bond fail to win over any women until the very final scene, as well as Bond training to maintain his elite physical status. Both of these features are rare for any novel in the series, yet make Moonraker even more distinctly satisfying. Moonraker's genius is in its unique characteristics, and I think the novel is absolutely worth the read. ( )
  Justantolin | Jan 21, 2016 |
Terrific reading by actor Bill Nighy in this 3rd release in the 2014 James Bond Celebrity Performances audiobook series. Nighy has the perfect tone for James Bond and is a cackling villainous best when he voices head baddie Hugo Drax and especially the lead henchman Krebbs later in the book. Bond gets a final surprise from female heroine Gala Brand in the final pages.

Comes with a short 3 minute interview with Bill Nighy who was also quite taken by the book. ( )
  alanteder | Jan 11, 2015 |
If you can stand bucketfuls of misogyny, this is kind of fun, though I'd still rather watch the movies.

HOWEVER, I wish to note that this book had not nearly as many ridiculous names and the movie. Is that true for others?? ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
If you can stand bucketfuls of misogyny, this is kind of fun, though I'd still rather watch the movies.

HOWEVER, I wish to note that this book had not nearly as many ridiculous names and the movie. Is that true for others?? ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
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Ian Flemingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dibdin, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The two thirty-eights roared simultaneously.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142002062, Paperback)

Moonraker, Britain's new ICBM-based national defense system, is ready for testing, but something's not quite right. At M's request, Bond begins his investigation with Sir Hugo Drax, the leading card shark at M's club, who is also the head of the Moonraker project. But once Bond delves deeper into the goings-on at the Moonraker base, he discovers that both the project and its leader are something other than they appear to be.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:50 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Moonraker, Britain's new ICBM-based national defense system, is ready for testing, but something's not quite right. At M's request, Bond begins his investigation with Sir Hugo Drax, the leading card shark at M's club, who is also the head of the Moonraker project. But once Bond delves deeper into the goings-on at the Moonraker base, he discovers that both the project and its leader are something other than they appear to be.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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