This is Part II of the Moonraker reviews. Click here for Part I.
With 2008 marking the centenary of Ian Fleming, the newest CommanderBond.net review series, Literary 007 Reviewed, now continues with the author’s third James Bond adventure, 1955’s Moonraker.
As several CBn Forum members are already aware, every two months a James Bond adventure is chosen for members of the Blades Library Book Club to read. Proceeding in chronological order, the club first read Fleming’s Moonraker back in May 2004.
What follows are selected reviews from the Book Club Forum members. For further details on the club or to post your own review of Moonraker, simply click here.
‘Moonraker’ reviewed by… 1q2w3e4r
Definitely a good read. I think it’s a little under appriciated actually. We get a good feel for Bond and M’s relationship and is the only time apart from a visit to Quarterdeck in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that we see the two interact outside SIS.
The gambling scene is great, as is the entire Blades sequence.
Gala Brand, while I never really got Bond’s huge attraction to her because she’s not one of Fleming’s best written women (I think T. Case is) the end is great, because Bond’s human, capable of failure and mistakes while remaining himself and full of self confidence.
It’s also probably the best example of Bond’s home life. And the book reads like what a good adaption of it should have been. Bond knows Drax is up to something, but not what. He snoops around, collects circumstancial evidence at best but follows his hunch. EON tried this for about five minutes of Die Another Day and the Cuba sequences were what most viewers say was the most “Bond part” of the movie.
I like this one better than Live and Let Die which drops off in parts where Fleming plugs his friends book on voodoo. For me it’s just behind Casino Royale, From Russia with Love, Diamonds Are Forever (which I love don’t know why it gets a bad wrap) and Majesty’s.
‘Moonraker’ reviewed by… Johnboy007
Another excellent novel. I had this misfortune of starting this book, then having to stop for a few months then have to read it very fast. The gambling scene is probably Fleming at his best.
‘Moonraker’ reviewed by… rafterman
I’ll give this one four stars. An excellent third novel in the series. This one lacks a lot of the Fleming sweep, which at this point was still building, but it sacrifices all that in exchange for a great face off between Bond and the baddie. That’s all there is to this one, much like Casino Royale, Moonraker is all about the relationship between our hero and the villain. It sets them up in another high stakes world, this time Bridge and lets their personalities clash. For the first third of the book we’re practically without a major plot, just a simple case of Bond doing M a favor. It all adds to the character of Bond and illuminates his world.
The book only takes place over a week, but plenty happens and it all culminates with two things that would never find their way into a film adaptation these days–Bond loses the girl and doesn’t face the villain. Rather Drax is killed by his own plan being sabotaged by Bond. It’s poetic justice.
All in all it’s a great noveland a sure sign that the series had legs.
‘Moonraker’ reviewed by… Trident
Moonraker was the first Bond-book I read back in 1977 after seeing The Spy Who Loved Me in the cinema. I was a kid then and didn’t know what to expect from the novels. You can imagine I was thorougly surprised. And badly hooked for the rest of my life.
Moonraker simply breaths the smells and tastes and feelings of the story. While reading I could smell the cigarette-smoke at the Blades Club, the industrial-metallic mix in the rocket-shaft, the clean air of the may-afternoon at the cliffs. I tasted with Bond various alcoholics and cigarettes. Not to mention the exquisite food and wine. I felt the wind rushing by in Bonds face as he tailed Drax’ Mercedes and the leather-upholstery Gala was thrown on Drax’ backseat.
I smelled burnt rubber and spilled gasoline after Bond’s crash and the overwhelming chemical stench back at the rocket-site. I fliched with Bond as he was punched by Drax (while feeling the wires around his wrists and feet) and I hissed while Bond cut the wires with the blowtorch (after burnig his face considerably with the desk-lighter). I felt the abrasive concrete surface of the ventilation-shaft and I heard the horrible noise of the steamhose. And all these impressions culminated in the take-off of the Moonraker. I was stunned and from that day on had to read every Fleming-novel I could possibly lay my hands on. Thank you, Mr. Fleming. I owe you some of the most interesting moments in my reading-life!
‘Moonraker’ reviewed by… Robert Watts
I read this a while back last year. It was my third Fleming, after Casino Royale and Live and Let Die and I was hooked from the minute I picked it up. I finished Part One in a couple of hours, and continued on a bit before going to bed. In the morning I suitably resumed reading from the point where we learn of Gala’s morning. I finished the novel that day. The build up in the first two parts is excellent–once you reach part three and everything begins to to unravel itself so quickly you can’t put down that final part, just like the previous two.
By far one of Fleming’s best crafted stories, along with Thunderball, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the seriously underated Diamonds Are Forever.
Keep your eyes on the CBn main page for further reviews of Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 adventures in the upcoming months.