At M's request, Bond has gone up against Sir Hugo Drax at the card table, on a mission to teach the millionaire and head of the Moonraker project a lesson he won't forget, and prevent a scandal engulfing Britain's latest defence system. But there is more to the mysterious Drax than simply cheating at cards. And once Bond delves deeper into goings on at the Moonraker base he discovers that both the project and its leader are something other than they pretend to be.
Reviewed on 17th May 2011
Ian Fleming's third James Bond novel goes back to the brilliance of Casino after what I found a rather duller second book. Hugo Drax has created the Moonraker - a new missile capable of striking any capital in Europe, but he also cheats at cards, and M is suspicious, so sets 007 on the case.
Ian Fleming's writing amazes me. I find it so easy to visualise his descriptions, which is something I rarely am able to do when reading, and I find the slightly formal tone of his writing very compelling. There are a few aspects that seem a little old-fashioned, but despite the fifty-five years that have passed since publication it has dated remarkably little.
Like in Casino Royale, a large chunk of the text of this novel is taken up by a game of cards, in this case bridge. Despite having no knowledge of the game, I found the chapters incredibly engaging and was easily able to follow the events - in fact I thought this was probably the best part of the book.
The plot then proceeds in what has become the traditional and almost clichéd manner of a James Bond story, but given that this is most probably the archetypal version of these events, it can obviously be forgiven. Overall, an intensely enjoyable read and I'm really glad I decided to re-read the series again.