To continue my study of the Ian Fleming Bond (see my review on Thunderball at Goodreads for an explanation of what I mean) I decided to give Moonraker a read. It is, quite frankly, the worst movie of the series, and I thought I'd see if the book might turn out to be better. (I'd had a hint of this from GoodReads friend Tracey (see her excellent review here.) I was happy to discover it was much, much better.
Keeping with the Fleming characterization of Bond, we still see him as a bit more lucky than skilled. However, we begin to see flashes of his too-good-to-be-true accomplishments. (I won't spoil it for you, but the welding torch bit is, well, ahem...tough to swallow. If I tried that in one of my books I think I'd be embarrassed to let someone read it. But I digress.) He seems less petty here than he did in Thunderball. In keeping with the lengthy golf game in Goldfinger, Fleming shows Bond at another "sport", this time the not so glamorous game of "Bridge". I know this was a popular game back then, and my parents played it all the time, and I even learned to play it with them for a time, but this does date this book a bit.
The girl in Moonraker is Gala Brand. So far, she is one of the best female characters I've ever seen in a Bond movie or book. She is intelligent, beautiful (of course), an agent (not a victim) and she has her own ideas (it is her idea that 'saves the day' for Bond and all of England), including what man she wants to be with. Yes, Fleming gets her out of her clothes at some point, but it is in an action scene (not to be confused with a scene in which Bond is getting some action) and Fleming actually points out that there is nothing sensuous about it. Like Felix Leiter, who is a no-show in this book, I wish Gala Brand could show up again in another Bond outing.
|Bond drives a 1933 Bentley 4.5 litre, similar to the Bentley|
shown here in Moonraker.
One little extra I enjoyed was the behind the scenes look at Bond's office. His secretary, Ms. Ponsonby, is a nice touch, and Fleming gives her some dignity and gallantry in the short scenes she appears in. Also, during this book, there are only three 00 agents. (007, 008, and 0011) M gets a bigger role here than I've seen before, too.