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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonraker - A Five Star James Bond Novel
A true masterpiece from the creator himself. I've always loved Moonraker, but this reading, like all other previous ones, just got more enjoyable. I find the main location of this novel, and the only location, England to perfectly suit the dark and nasty story that lurks in this book, the pure mind of the villain, Drax, is clearly shown in Chapter 22, Pandora's Box, and...
Published on 20 Jan 2007 by J. Western N.Y.

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars So is he a good egg after all
I read this on the recommendation of Stephen Fry. No, really - he (rightly) praises the first part of the book as a taut and accurate depiction of 1950s, post war (intelligence) establishment culture. It's a world dominated by men (of course), most of whom had a 'good war' and, when not out in the field, lead a fairly leisurely life in drab ministry offices. This is where...
Published 2 months ago by Arthur potts


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonraker - A Five Star James Bond Novel, 20 Jan 2007
This review is from: Moonraker (Paperback)
A true masterpiece from the creator himself. I've always loved Moonraker, but this reading, like all other previous ones, just got more enjoyable. I find the main location of this novel, and the only location, England to perfectly suit the dark and nasty story that lurks in this book, the pure mind of the villain, Drax, is clearly shown in Chapter 22, Pandora's Box, and it is shown off to a good extent. This story works with just one location, because it allows everything else to take first place in the story with great emphasis, namely the characters and the plot, which are key in Moonraker.

Yes, it's interesting to note minimal references to Die Another Day --

He suddenly decided to be ruthless. "I'm told that Five and Five is your limit. Let's play for that. -Moonraker, Chapter 6.

Let's play for this. I picked it up in Cuba, I believe it's one of yours. -Die Another Day

The character of "good old" Sir Hugo Drax is one of Fleming's best villains ever, pure mania driving his obsession with fury and his loyalty to the Moonraker project, and any scene with Bond antagonizing him is done very, very well. The description he gets during the card scene, and how Bond uses his deformities to anger him during his telling of his true identity is very effective.

Gala Brand, the woman who is just as apt as James Bond, a true heroine who fights the whole way with Bond for the cause, and whose frosty exterior quickly melts away as soon as she gets to know Bond, without the watchful eye of Drax, Krebs, and Walter. I find their golden day encounter to be a very effective chapter, with the swimming, bleeding flowers, and the cliff accident, that is exciting.

The card scene is pure magnificence, and is quite gripping to the the reader, seeing the tension building up throughout the entire game, especially as Drax realizes that perhaps Bond does indeed have an interesting hand. True villainy as Drax spats orders and insults at his partner, and gets his comment cut short as he loses. A very fine scene.

Overall, I think I enjoy the first two-thirds of Moonraker slightly more than the final third because I think it reads a bit more exciting for me, but the final third is still quite fantastic, such as the waiting for the pressure hose to finally reach Bond and Gala, and the countdown to the launch, all well written.

A true 5 star novel.

commanderbond.net
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-discovering Bond - Forty Years On, 28 July 2003
By A Customer
It was very interesting to re-read this book after nearly forty years and to re-discover the original James Bond of the Ian Fleming novels. The book, needless to say, is very different to the film version. No trips into outer space, no Jaws, no Roger Moore style one-liners! Instead we get an enjoyable and entertaining secret agent story rooted firmly in the 1950s in which disappointed Nazi Sir Hugo Drax plots to destroy London with a guided missile while all the time pretending to be a benefactor dedicated to protecting Britain from her Iron Curtain enemies. The other interesting thing about this book is that it has a British setting. No exotic foreign locations for "Moonraker" - all of the action takes place in London and Kent, with references to such places as Dover, Deal, Maidstone and Canterbury. This is also the one and only Bond novel in which our hero fails to get the heroine into bed. Gala Brand keeps her honour and goes off to marry a police colleague at the end of the narrative. "Moonraker: the novel" makes an enjoyable antidote to the flights of fancy of some of the later films and proves to the present reviewer that 007 belongs in the Cold War era of the 1950s and early 1960s - not in the very different world of the early 21st century!
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3.0 out of 5 stars So is he a good egg after all, 17 Oct 2014
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I read this on the recommendation of Stephen Fry. No, really - he (rightly) praises the first part of the book as a taut and accurate depiction of 1950s, post war (intelligence) establishment culture. It's a world dominated by men (of course), most of whom had a 'good war' and, when not out in the field, lead a fairly leisurely life in drab ministry offices. This is where we find our hero, Bond, whose temporarily humdrum existence is shaken up by M's invitation to Blades, an upper crust gambling establishment. The reason for the invitation is that M has discovered that one of Blade's members cheats at cards. So we first encounter Hugo Drax, whose caddishness (we suspect) extends far beyond the card table. Bond exposes him and Drax issues a thinly veiled warning. But there's more to Drax than cheating at cards, because he's building - at his own expense- Britain's first intercontinental missile. So is he a good egg after all?

I haven't read a Bond book for years and I was surprised at how good a descriptive writer Fleming can be: for example his description of the Moonraker rocket is both economical and evocative. But the plot really creaks, and I found myself losing interest once the action moves beyond London clubland. Interestingly, this is the only Bond novel wholly set in England- so no exotic locations, but there is a girl, whose character and abilities are sketched with some skill.

The other interesting aspect of the book is its rather mournful view of the state of the nation. It's set in an England caught between the glories of Empire and the realities of post war decline. National penury is of course represented by the Moonraker - a weapon the country can only afford thanks to a rich benefactor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bond if not simply the best..., 30 Jan 2009
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moonraker (Paperback)
Moonraker was the third Bond novel published and as I'm reading them in order its therefore also the third I have read. After Casino Royale and Live & Let Die I am starting to get used to the literary Bond as compared to his cinematic counterpart. Reading Moonraker I found that I no longer pictured Connery, Moore or any of the other actors who played the role as the Bond on the page. I also found this historial setting and associated anachronisms less jarring; I now subconsciously accept that these are period novels and have to be read in those terms. As a result Moonraker was a far more comfortable read for me, if that is the right expression to use, than either of its predecessors.

In terms of the story however, I found it less satisfying than either Casino Royale or Live and Let Die. After a bavura opening third that includes a fantastic scene involving Bond, M, Drax and a game of Bridge that is of a sort tha no contemporary author would even contemplate attempting, I found the rest of Moonraker to be just a tad predictable.

The fact that as readers we know ahead of time that Drax, despite his initial status as a national hero, is in fact a bad'un removes some of suspense from events. Even excluding that however, I found myself guessing the precise mechanics of the plot Bond eventually uncovers down to pretty much every detail well ahead of the characters on the page. The obvious nature of the hidden threat not only makes the story far less exciting but it also results in both Bond and Gala Brand appearing somewhat slow on the uptake, reducing their appeal as capable characters.

Add into the mix some events that stretch credulity even for a Bond novel (I'm thinking of how Bond and Brand almost come a cropper on the beach, which has to be the convoluted and potentially unreliable method of attempted murder I've come across in a while) and as a whole the middle third of Moonraker doesn't manage to suspend the reader's disbelief to the necessary extent. It isn't until the final act, when Drax's duplicity has been uncovered and the story can reach its explosive (if again predictable and a tad unbelievable) climax that the furious pace of events begins to make up for deficiencies in the plot.

So not the best of the three Bonds I have read so far but by no means a dud either. Despite some dodgy plotting the book has many strong elements. Fleming's gift for characterisation and description is very much on display. Recurring characters such as M, previously little more than sketches, are fleshed out in far greater detail. We are also allowed far greater insight into the life of a Double-O away from the individual missions he undertakes. Finally in Gala Brand Fleming comes up with a strong female foil for Bond and their relationship feels satisfyingly real even as events around them sometimes stretch credibility to breaking point.

I can therefore recommend Moonraker, and not just for Bond completists either. It may not hit the highs of some of the other Bond novels but it is still a great read and moreover will dispell any lingering memories of the sub-standard film of the same name.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moonraker - A Must Read For All Bond Fans, 27 July 2006
A true masterpiece from the creator himself. I've always loved Moonraker, but this reading, like all other previous ones, just got more enjoyable. I find the main location of this novel, and the only location, England to perfectly suit the dark and nasty story that lurks in this book, the pure mind of the villain, Drax, is clearly shown in Chapter 22, Pandora's Box, and it is shown off to a good extent. This story works with just one location, because it allows everything else to take first place in the story with great emphasis, namely the characters and the plot, which are key in Moonraker.

Yes, it's interesting to note minimal references to Die Another Day --

He suddenly decided to be ruthless. "I'm told that Five and Five is your limit. Let's play for that. -Moonraker, Chapter 6.

Let's play for this. I picked it up in Cuba, I believe it's one of yours. -Die Another Day

The character of "good old" Sir Hugo Drax is one of Fleming's best villains ever, pure mania driving his obsession with fury and his loyalty to the Moonraker project, and any scene with Bond antagonizing him is done very, very well. The description he gets during the card scene, and how Bond uses his deformities to anger him during his telling of his true identity is very effective.

Gala Brand, the woman who is just as apt as James Bond, a true heroine who fights the whole way with Bond for the cause, and whose frosty exterior quickly melts away as soon as she gets to know Bond, without the watchful eye of Drax, Krebs, and Walter. I find their golden day encounter to be a very effective chapter, with the swimming, bleeding flowers, and the cliff accident, that is exciting.

The card scene is pure magnificence, and is quite gripping to the the reader, seeing the tension building up throughout the entire game, especially as Drax realizes that perhaps Bond does indeed have an interesting hand. True villainy as Drax spats orders and insults at his partner, and gets his comment cut short as he loses. A very fine scene.

Overall, I think I enjoy the first two-thirds of Moonraker slightly more than the final third because I think it reads a bit more exciting for me, but the final third is still quite fantastic, such as the waiting for the pressure hose to finally reach Bond and Gala, and the countdown to the launch, all well written.

A true 5 star novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A time capsule, 22 Aug 2014
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I read all of the James Bond novels when I was a boy as my Dad had the paperbacks lying around. Recently, I have started reading them again. They are lightweight short novels but still very entertaining. What is really interesting is the politically incorrect sexist and racist attitude and behaviour that was quite normal at the time. It is extraordinary that in 1955 people would have been impressed by a Government agent being supplied with alcohol and amphetamine to sharpen his wits for a particular project. Anyone doing that now would be regarded with disdain rather than credit. Some reviewers have commented on the fact that the story in the film is different to the story in the book. I always thought that there was a legal reason precluding the film makers from using Ian Fleming's plots after his death although they were able to use the book title. Certainly, there were two lots of legal proceedings over the Thunderball plot. I may be wrong about this as it is possible that by the time the Moonraker film was made, the public appetite might have been for sillier stories with more and more glamour and gadgets and gimmicks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At least it's better than the movie, 8 Mar 2014
By 
Inspector Gadget "Go Go Gadget Reviews" (On the trail of Doctor Claw) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Moonraker (Paperback)
Moonraker is notorious among Bond fans for being the height of the 70s stupidity which pulled the series very, very far from Ian Fleming's tone. I have not seen it for years but I recall it basically being TSWLM in space with a dumb outer space laser battle, and, of course, the pigeon doing a double take.

It had basically nothing to do with the 1955 novel apart from Bond, the villain Hugo Drax (in name only) and the title. Ev-er-y-thing else is completely different. While the movie was an expensive epic that tried to be Bond meets Star Wars, the novel is very low key and focuses more on investigation and some mystery.

M calls Bond to his office with concerns about popular high-flyer Sir Hugo Drax cheating at cards at a swanky London club. Why would a multi-millionaire want to earn a pittance and risk his reputation by cheating? As soon as Bond begins observing, and growing suspicious, of Drax there is a tragedy at his nuclear facility. The Moonraker project (basically a big nuke - an early version of an ICBM) is due for a test launch in a couple of days but when one of Drax's men apparently goes mad and does a murder-suicide Bond is moved in to investigate and soon discovers that Drax is not the man he claims to be.

I found a few similarities to Goldeneye in regards to Drax's motivations, but aside from that it will all be completely new to those of you who have just seen the movies. Fleming details a lot of the south east coast of England and many country backroads, that's about as as close to space as you get. It's maybe a bit too quaint compared to modern spy novels but does seem to be cutting edge for its time.

The ending is a bit of a downer though, but realistic. I so wish that the movies were made in chronological order.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true fan should read these stories, 12 Nov 2013
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If you love 007 it's worth reading these stories as it gives you a better insight into the characters and the way the story develops. Instead of focusing on the gadgets and the women like the movies do the story develops as do the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonraker: Ian Fleming - Bond plays for high stakes, 26 April 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Moonraker (Mass Market Paperback)
Published in 1955, this is the third print outing for superspy James Bond, in a novel that stands out even among the pretty high standard of the series.

Bond is asked by M for a personal favour - will he go down to M's card club and investigate a possible case of cheating by Sir Hugo Drax, a man held so highly in the public estimation due to his sponsorship of a certain defence project that a whiff of scandal would be disastrous. After a tense and nerve wracking card game (for the reader as well as the participants!) he takes Drax at his own game. Soon, events take him to the site of a major missile launch overseen by Drax. There is a whiff of something wrong, imperceptible perhaps, but just a lingering note, and Bond is soon enmeshed in a desperate struggle to stop a madman.

It's a thrilling ride. Fleming writes with verve and passion, and manages to get the atmosphere across beautifully. In the card game you can feel Bond's sweat, and the car chase through Kent is a masterpiece of thrilling writing, it had me on the edge of my seat. But he is not afraid to contrast this with the humdrum, the descriptions of Bond's office life, wearily reading boring files. Fleming uses his usual eye for the grotesque to create an imposing villain, and an eye for detail that fills every scene and brings it alive in Fleming's own unique style. There is a reason his novels are still so popular when contemporaries such as Alistair MacLean are being forgotten, and one of those is the superior writing and story telling style. It's a really thrilling book, and a real nail biter in places. Thoroughly recommended read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonraker: Ian Fleming - Bond plays for high stakes, 26 April 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Moonraker (Paperback)
Published in 1955, this is the third print outing for superspy James Bond, in a novel that is stands out even among the pretty high standard of the series.

Bond is asked by M for a personal favour - will he go down to M's card club and investigate a possible case of cheating by Sir Hugo Drax, a man held so highly in the public estimation due to his sponsorship of a certain defence project that a whiff of scandal would be disastrous. After a tense and nerve wracking card game (for the reader as well as the participants!) he takes Drax at his own game. Soon, events take him to the site of a major missile launch overseen by Drax. There is a whiff of something wrong, imperceptible perhaps, but just a lingering note, and Bond is soon enmeshed in a desperate struggle to stop a madman.

It's a thrilling ride. Fleming writes with verve and passion, and manages to get the atmosphere across beautifully. In the card game you can feel Bond's sweat, and the car chase through Kent is a masterpiece of thrilling writing, it had me on the edge of my seat. But he is not afraid to contrast this with the humdrum, the descriptions of Bond's office life, wearily reading boring files. Fleming uses his usual eye for the grotesque to create an imposing villain, and an eye for detail that fills every scene and brings it alive in Fleming's own unique style. There is a reason his novels are still so popular when contemporaries such as Alistair MacLean are being forgotten, and one of those is the superior writing and story telling style. It's a really thrilling book, and a real nail biter in places. Thoroughly recommended read.
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