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Secret Servant: The Moneypenny Diaries [Hardcover]

Kate Westbrook
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Nov 2006

Jane Moneypenny may project a cool, calm and collected image but her secret diaries reveal a rather different story. In the grip of an uncertain love affair and haunted by a dark family secret, the last thing she needs is a crisis at work.

But the Secret Intelligence Service is in chaos. One senior officer is on trial for treason, another has defected to Moscow and her beloved James Bond has been brainwashed by the KGB. Only a woman's touch can save them.

Moneypenny soon finds herself embroiled in a highly-charged adventure infused with the glamour of the Cold War espionage game. Alone on a dangerous Russian mission she turns, with breathless intimacy, to writing a truly explosive private diary.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (2 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071956767X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719567674
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,204,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Brilliant ... a sort of Bridget Jones' Diary crossed with Spooks, but set in the 50s and 60s when Ian Fleming first launched Bond'

(Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror )

'Rumour has it that the proof of this latest has been doing the rounds of our own Department of Foreign Affairs -- undercover, of course.'

(Lauren Hadden, Image )

Praise for Kate Westbrook's previous book:

(. )

'Thrilling'

(Joanna Lumley )

'A damned good read'

(Roger Moore )

'A tour-de-force'

(Jeffrey Deaver )

'A thoroughly enjoyable romp'

 

(Guardian )

'Jane Moneypenny is the personification of chic sophistication and poise. She treats her 00 agents with good-humoured grace and, as every Bond lover knows, keeps 007 firmly in check. However, there is more to this lady than meets the GoldenEye, as she embarks on her very own secret mission to uncover the truth behind her father's murder. Read her riveting account in this explosive, page-turning diary. What a woman'

(Hot Stars, OK Magazine )

About the Author

Kate Westbrook and Miss Moneypenny are pseudonyms for Samantha Weinberg, frustrated spy and author of the best-selling A Fish Caught in Time - the Search for the Coelacanth, and Pointing From the Grave, which won the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-fiction.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Fans of the James Bond novels are in for quite a surprise if they are coming to Samantha Weinberg's (writing as Kate Westbrook) The Moneypenny Diaries series for the first time. What sets this series apart from all others in the literary 007 canon, and makes it all the more interesting, is that it's a bit more difficult to pinpoint exactly who the target reader is. Weinberg is painstakingly careful in tying together the action and emotions in the story to real-life historical events at the time (Secret Servant takes place from early 1963 to mid-1964). In effect, the result is a novel that has widespread appeal. Whether one is a fan of the original Ian Fleming novels or Charlie Higson's current Young Bond adventures, The Moneypenny Diaries series is one well worth examining.

While the first novel in the series, Guardian Angel, was a swift action/adventure tale from beginning to end, Secret Servant has an advantage. Book one was faced with the task of introducing and establishing the main characters of the series, but this time there is room to expand on what we know of them. This includes both allies and enemies. Guardian Angel seemed to focus equally on both James Bond and Jane Moneypenny in the storyline, bringing them together for their mission involving the Cuban Missile Crisis. This time the spotlight is clearly on Jane from beginning to end--and all the better for it.

In Secret Servant, the mission concerns the defection of Harold Adrian Russell `Kim' Philby, who is dubbed `the greatest traitor of his generation.' Without spoiling too much of the plot, the first half of the story revolves around the daily tasks Jane faces at her job, as well as the personal side of her life (her beloved "R" is present once again).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Bond girl 12 July 2007
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The premise of The Moneypenny diaries is that Kate Westbrook is the real- life niece of Miss Jane Moneypenny and that she has inherited diaries kept by her aunt during the time she was working at MI6. The diary has then been 'verified' and annotated by Westbrook.

This book is the second in the series and it really helps if you have read 'Guardian Angel' first, as the story refers back to it throughout.

Having helped to sort out the cuban Missile Crisis in the first book, this time Moneypenny is involved with the case of Kim Philby, the famous double-agent. Moneypenny befriends Philby's wife in the hope that she can persuade Philby to come back to the UK as damage limitation for MI6.

Once again, this is a brilliant novel (with a lot less footnotes this time), and although Bond is in this book he plays a minor role.

Chick-lit with brains (and a brief history lesson!!) Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally gripping 11 July 2007
Format:Paperback
I couldn't put this book down from the second I started reading it. It's a beautifully rendered, utterly convincing journey into the diaries of Miss Moneypenny - which reveal her as a far more significant character in the 007 set-up than ever previously imagined. Here she takes on the Cold War, getting involved with Russian double agents, a nail-biting adventure to Moscow, while at the same time, holding on to her normal job, holding off 007, and trying to get to the bottom of her own father's disappearance at the end of the Second World War. Just the thing for an intelligent holiday read, and definitely not just for girls. Splendid stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Moneypenny is BACK 7 Jan 2007
Format:Hardcover
The Moneypenny Diaries series really "clicks" with Samantha Weinberg's deft second book, Secret Servant. Like espionage itself, you're not too sure where things are headed nor what information is relevant, until a startling revelation suddenly makes your vision clear and you realize EVERYTHING is relevant and danger abounds. Secret Servant reveals this series to be a single narrative, reaching all the way into the present. It also reveals it to be intricately layered, ambitious, and very very clever.

Secret Servant uses a structure similar to the first book of the series, Guardian Angel. In the first half of the novel Miss Jane Moneypenny is generally an observer. This first half is tricky for the author and a little challenging for the reader as Miss Moneypenny is pretty passive. In this regard, it's very much a personal diary (Bond fans will delight in the "behind the scenes" take on Bond's assassination attempt on M). But because it's a diary there is also unique tension in how suddenly, and dramatically, the world can change in a day. In Secret Servant there are several of these dramatic entries which turn the world and the narrative on its head, including that most startling and transforming of all days, November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was killed.

The second half of the book sees Miss Moneypenny thrown convincingly into a mission of her own (this time without James Bond by her side). Here the book assumes a more conventional thriller narrative, and a very good one at that. Unlike Guardian Angel, the mission in Secret Servant remains modest in scale (maybe because it doesn't included 007) and is much better for it. But the paired down scale still delivers plenty of Cold War suspense and some genuine Bondian action.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great second book in the three-book-series
This is simply a great series! If you are not a Bond-fan, you will just enjoy the pacing of a great adventure. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rasmus
5.0 out of 5 stars the moneypenny diaries
this book proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable read by my husband whom i bought it for as a birthday present. Read more
Published on 27 July 2010 by purplefan41/51
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read; an excellent follow-up to "Guardian Angel"
The second book in "The Moneypenny Diaries" series. This book sees Jane Moneypenny become more involved in espionage work, culminating in a trip to Russia. Read more
Published on 28 April 2009 by Sarah
3.0 out of 5 stars lacked excitement and adventure
second in the series of books that are the moneypenny diaries. a look at the secret service mi6 through the eyes of the most famous secretary in the world, miss moneypenny. Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2008 by Lindymck
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant' Reviewed
Fans of the James Bond novels are in for quite a surprise if they are coming to Samantha Weinberg's (writing as Kate Westbrook) The Moneypenny Diaries series for the first time. Read more
Published on 8 Oct 2007 by J. Western N.Y.
5.0 out of 5 stars The original Bond girl...
The premise of The Moneypenny diaries is that Kate Westbrook is the real- life niece of Miss Jane Moneypenny and that she has inherited diaries kept by her aunt during the time she... Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2007 by Sarah Durston
5.0 out of 5 stars Star Spy
what a breath of fresh air it was to discover this book. Firstly, any fan of James Bond - and as we know, there are more than a few - will be delighted to be able to immerse... Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2006 by Roz Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars It only gets better..
The first book was fantastic and with Secret Servant Kate Westbrook defies convention by making the sequel even better than the original. I hope there's more to come!
Published on 18 Nov 2006 by Book Reader
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