What it’s about
Sir Hugo Drax is a multi-millionaire tycoon and war hero, revered by the British public for his Moonraker missile defence programme. But he cheats at cards and in doing so risks his reputation and the Moonraker project. Bond is tasked with putting a stop to his cheating ways before they are exposed, but in doing so uncovers a very dark plot indeed, a plot so dark it puts the lives of millions at risk.
First things first, the book is very very different to the film version, in fact it is in a different stratosphere to the film version. The film version which the vast majority of people will know of, sees Roger Moore’s James Bond uncover a devious plot by Spectre to destroy the world, all the while repopulating it with some selected people who will be protected from the Earth’s destruction by taking refuge on a space station.
In reality Moonraker the film is Bond gone sci-fi with half the film spent in space with laser guns. The book on the other hand is nothing at all like this, the book is a basic espionage story which sees Bond uncover a plot by a group of Nazi’s from the war who have infiltrated society and plan to do some real damage to the UK, all in an effort to bring the Nazis back to life.
In terms of how good it is, this is the third of Fleming’s Bond books and it is one of the best ones, all throughout the book there is a real sense of high tension and suspense as well as impending doom as Bond digs deeper searching for what the truth of this dastardly plot is and its links to Hugo Drax and the Moonraker project.
So on an entertainment level as a Bond novel it is top-notch. But what is perhaps most interesting about this novel is how in effect Bond rather than playing his typical role as a spy and thus working abroad is playing more the role of a standard detective. In fact this could be argued as being more of a MI5 style story than a MI6 one, after all MI6 is supposed to be tasked with missions abroad not at home, which is the playing ground of MI5.
That means unlike other Bond novels this is a story set entirely in the UK. Basically Bond is tasked with taking over security of the Moonraker base after the previous head of security was killed. He needs to work out both who killed him and why he was killed, inevitably he has the aid of a lady friend who helps him along the way as well as joining him in the bedroom, this is Bond after all.
But this novel, though incorporating all the elements of Bond from the cardplaying to the bravado to the girl to the villain, places Bond in a slightly different world than the other novels meaning all in all from me it gets a thumbs up as it is indisputably an entertaining read.
Writer: Ian Fleming
Genre: spy thriller, mystery, action