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Moonraker: Ian Fleming, unabridged reading by Bill Nighy – Bond plays for high stakes.,
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This review is from: Moonraker (Audio CD)
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.
Bill Nighy’s unabridged reading is nothing short of masterful. He is well suited to audio-books, as he manages with the slightest of inflections in his voice to distinguish the character’s voices without having to resort to theatrical accents and vocal contortions. His reading is clear and precise, and with a natural rhythm to it that really builds up the tension. His reading of the car chase is just superb and really had me holding my breath.
The book is on 6 discs, and has a run time of just under seven and a half hours. There is a short interview with Nighy at the end. The discs are held in a spindle case. All in all an excellent production.