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(James Bond (Original Series) #3)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  23,829 ratings  ·  1,347 reviews
‘For several minutes he stood speechless, his eyes dazzled by the terrible beauty of the greatest weapon on earth’

He’s a self-made millionaire, head of the Moonraker rocket programme and loved by the press. So why is Sir Hugo Drax cheating at cards? Bond has just five days to uncover the sinister truth behind a national hero, in Ian Fleming’s third 007 adventure.
Paperback, 247 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 1955)
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CCStrang I’ve just finished Diamonds and Moonraker is the best so far. The films are not always as good as the books and vice versa, too. So, to answer your qu…moreI’ve just finished Diamonds and Moonraker is the best so far. The films are not always as good as the books and vice versa, too. So, to answer your question, probably read them all to find out.(less)
Alex It's definitely not necessary to read the first two, as there is only a brief reference to the previous mission at the start of the book. I actually t…moreIt's definitely not necessary to read the first two, as there is only a brief reference to the previous mission at the start of the book. I actually think this one is superior, so might be a good place to start.(less)

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(A-) 84% | Very Good
Notes: James Bond, dispirited office worker, awaits assignment and considers the empty, material life his profession affords.
Joe Valdez
The two thirty-eights roared simultaneously.

So begins Moonraker, the third novel by Ian Fleming. Published in 1955, it continues the exploits of British Secret Service agent James Bond following Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, with the long-running film series adhering to Fleming's bibliography neither in order or in story content. This smooth, spare spy thriller bares next door to zero similarity to the film released in 1979 and while I grew restless with the acrobatics of the back half, I
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
For all of you who read my previous James Bond reviews (Casino Royale and Live & Let Die) this four-star review will be giving you quite a shock.

James Bond is going about his normal life as a Double 0 Operative. And I really mean normal! He reads boring reports and goes to the shooting range. Then, he's called into M's office. He and M discuss a man who's a current English celebrity: Sir Hugo Drax. A very rich man who has invested tons of money into creating a Moonraker, a large rocket/thing tha
Jason Koivu
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, spy, fiction
Moonraker gets fiendish with its plot and villains, making this the first of the James Bond books to feel like a James Bond movie.

Pure Cold War spy bliss, this book taps into our collective fear of mass annihilation after the successfully brutal bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A war hero has offered his vast fortune, ambition and knowledge to create and construct a missile supposedly capable of defending Britain in case of attack. A test of the missile is scheduled soon and Bond is put on se
Richard Derus
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

Yes, again I'm rating the 1979 movie, not the 1954 book. Get over it.

The pre-credits sequence of this film is the absolute all-time best thrill ride in the Bondiverse. Seeing it again on the teensy netbook screen was just as thrilling and pulse-pounding as it was to see it in the theater 34 years ago. A parachuteless Bond flung from a plane, chasing a villain with a parachute, wresting the parachute from the villain, and death to baddie while Bond tiptoes lightly to earth.

Dave Schaafsma
The third Bond I am reading, and in order. So after making ill-advised social commentary in his last book, Fleming begins to really get into the groove for which we know him best, fast action sequences. Bond battles against multi-millionaire and British national hero Sir Hugo Drax, who we discover is actually German, but these are the post war years, so almost all the villains in all the books that have villains are Germans. Fleming taps into our desires for wealth and luxury as we get into a ca ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Why do all the men wear moustaches?" asked Bond, ignoring Drax's question. Again he had the impression that his question had nettled the other man.
Drax gave one of his short barking laughs. "My idea," he said. "They're difficult to recognize in those white overalls and with their heads shaved. So I told them to all grow moustaches. The thing's become quite a fetish. Like in the RAF during the war. See anything wrong with it?"
"Of course not," said Bond. "Rather startling at first. I would have t
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good James Bond novel.

Ian Fleming first published Moonraker in 1955 and it is the third book featuring his master spy, 007. Oddly set in England (Bond is almost always sent out of country due to jurisdictional procedures) this features an erstwhile British rocket project with some loyalty issues. Bond takes a lead from M and then in classic Bond fashion gets in to a lot more than he bargained for.

I will need to revisit the 1979 Lewis Gilbert film starring Roger Moore as Bond, but I think that
I have to say MOONRAKER didn’t have as much action as either of the two previous Bond novels. At least at the beginning anyway. Sure there was the consummate card game and torture scene, but neither hit as hard or as fast as what happened in CASINO ROYALE. But this was certainly an entertaining read, even though the female characters seemed to wilt at the first sign of trouble, or at least gave the distinct impression of the likelihood of such an occurrence.

I know it’s too much to ask (and it’s
Mike (the Paladin)
So far I've given the Bond books I've reviewed 3 stars. They walk a sort of thin line. They seem to appeal to younger males, but have slightly adult content (though in todays market they might be thought a bit tamer than they were when published.) They are enjoyable, straight adventure yarns and may deserve a 3.5 at least one will get a 4. They're good books, just not as good as some others.

In this one James saves England's missile program, uncovers a spy and, oddly doesn't get the (a) girl. the
Bill Lynas
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The jet setting glamour we associate with secret agent James Bond is absent from Ian Fleming's third 007 novel, which is set entirely in England. However, there's still luxurious food & high stakes gambling & the setting delivers fascinating characters & a superb villain in the form of Hugo Drax.
Moonraker opens with Bond practising on a dimly lit firing range in the basement of London's Secret Service headquarters & Fleming describes this brilliantly. Setting this novel in England gave it an old
The movie Moonraker is the one I like to refer to as Bond! In! Spaaaaaace! or Star Wars: Attack of the Bond. I figured the book would be relatively similar, but you'd think I'm new at this project. Silly rabbit! The book was published in the mid-50s, the movie came out in the late 70s - the book's Moonraker referred to a nuclear weapon whereas the movie's Moonraker referred to a space shuttle. Clearly making a movie about spacelandia would be appealing to the masses following the release of Star ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was the best Bond I’ve read to date (admittedly, it is only my 3rd) with the book split into three parts and each one having a different feel to them. The action is toned down compared to what some would expect from Bond and there was no action in space – not once did Bond go Pew Pew, which I’m pretty sure he did in the film.

First things first, my approach to all the Bond books will be tainted by the films. With “Live and Let Die” I knew the film well and enjoyed it – the book less so
***2018 Summer of Spies***

The oddest so far in the James Bond series. I was about two thirds of the way through when I started to wonder when something of significance would happen! The last third, however, held all the action that I’d been asking for.

A very slow start, back to Bond & his card expertise. Having just read Tim Powers’ Last Call, which heavily involves poker and other games of chance, I was maybe a bit worn out with the card games! However, what I did find fascinating in the op
Much to my surprise, I quite enjoyed Moonraker. It's entirely set in England (and Fleming doesn't seem to have noticed the non-white population already here in 1955), so there's no scope for racism unless you count Germans. And the female lead has her own skills, qualities, ideas and, in the end, independent life, very much as if someone had sat Fleming down and had a word with him about the old misogyny.

I really liked seeing Bond in the cheating-at-cards-in-gentlemen's-clubs subplot which comp
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
First time I'm trying a James Bond novel, and even though I wasn't blown away or anything, it was still an enjoyable read... Well, an enjoyable "listen" actually, since I picked this on audiobook. And I'm glad I did, because the always excellent Simon Vance does a great job narrating Bond's adventures.
I'm sure I'll listen some more in the future. Hopefully the next one will have a bit more action and a better female character.
J.C. Greenway
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies, 1950s
What is there that can possibly be left to be written about Britain’s favourite secret agent that hasn’t already been said a million times before, by feminists, by film reviewers, even by distinguished literary gents? While the cover art is calculated to have any teenage boy’s blood racing – girls! guns! rockets! – this book delivers on both the book and recent film versions of Casino Royale’s promise of a more appealing, albeit less charming, Bond.

What you know are to become key elements of the
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spy-fiction
Moonraker was the fourth of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, appearing in 1955. By that time Fleming had the formula well and truly nailed and the result is wonderful entertainment.

A mysterious businessman has announced plans to build a missile that will ensure Britain’s defences. He is prepared to finance the project himself as a kind of gift to the nation. The rocker, known as the Moonraker, will be able to reach any city in Europe (which in 1955 made it a super-weapon).

Sir Hugo Drax is very
aPriL does feral sometimes

I think Ian Fleming finally got it right with number three in the James Bond series! I have almost no complaints about this novel as I have about the first two books in the series. After having read the first three novels in the Bond series in order, I believe modern readers maybe should read 'Moonraker' before 'Casino Royale' or 'Live and Let Die'. We all know Bond's backstory, and 'Moonraker' can be read as a standalone. It isn't, like, Great Literature, but it is fun, and James is mo
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The more of the Bond novels I read, the more disappointed I am with the movies. The novels are so good. If the movies were honest adaptations of the titles they were using, the quality of the films would have been a million times better. And I know complaining about how the movies are never as good as the books on a book site seems silly, but still. I'm 30, so I grew up knowing the movies better than the books. Most of us did. I'm just glad I'm doing the right thing and reading the Bond novels n ...more
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again I am pleasantly surprised by the pleasures of the Bond series. I read them all in high school but my memories are really based on the movies, which don't do the books justice. No gadgets here but lots of action, and a really splendid bridge match that must last for about an hour (the length of my commute today). Bill Nighy is so good as a reader, ironic yet sensitive. In the interview afterwards he talks about how unexpectedly good the writing is and how sensitively Fleming handles th ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's a point in this book when a female operative has missed an appointment with Bond because she was kidnapped after discovering a madman's plot to basically destroy the world. M and Bond are discussing her no-show and M says something like, "she probably just had a fainting fit, but I guess we should go look for her to be on the safe side."

That's pretty typical of this book. It's unrepentantly misogynistic and xenophobic, but holy crap snacks is it fun. Can I please enjoy this book even tho
Simon McDonald
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Moonraker is 007’s third adventure, and the stakes have never been higher. It’s one of Fleming’s most timely novels, playing on the rampant fears of the 1950s, of rocket attacks from overseas, and seemingly inevitable nuclear warfare. It is a clear demonstration of Fleming fine-tuning his craft, ably mixing the perfect ingredients – high stakes gambling, a thrilling car chase, and a megalomaniac villain – to concoct one of James Bond’s best, and most thrilling, escapades.

The novel starts slowly,
Tom Donaghey
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Moonraker (Bond #3) (1955) by Ian Fleming. This is the third book in the Bond series and it is far different than the Roger Moore movie version. I know it isn’t kosher to call in a movie adaptation when writing a book review, but I feel that most current readers have only seen the vapid movie version, having forsaken reading the Fleming original. Sad but true. All too many people will only know Bond, The Lord Of The Rings and even Harry Potter by their cinema incarnations and not the original wo ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Moonraker has a good premise, a very human and quirky main villian who has an interesting background, but the pace of the book is really slow. James Bond doesn't even fire his gun the entire book. I don't expect Bond to shoot someone every page, but he doesn't even engage in combat. There is very little hand-to-hand combat, a couple car chases, and no gunfire. If there is only a little action, I expect deep and thoughtful espionage to substitute, but the book doesn't give you that either. There ...more
Here you are, sat on a balcony in a faraway part of the world, at three o'clock in the morning because you have All The Jetlag - and have I mentioned this might be the hottest place you have ever been? - and you realise that what with one thing and another, you have not actually finished reading a book in close to a month.

The last time this happened was probably five or six years ago.

It has been a month full of very brain-intensive work, and you have only just managed to escape. Yesterday was th
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, spy, reread
England probably suffered as much from the Second World War as any of the defeated Axis powers, what with rationing continuing until 1954, two years after Ian Fleming began the James Bond series, and the year before Moonraker was published.

Just imagine the English taking in the scene of the duel at Blades between Fleming super-villain Sir Hugo Drax and one "Commander Bond." The gambling club is flowing with rare French champagnes and Beluga caviar. The betting involves thousands of pounds sterli
Quentin Wallace
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to enjoy the James Bond novels, but I also continue to be shocked at just how different the novels are than the books. I really shouldn't be surprised, as the novels were written in the mid 50s and this movie, for example, was made in the last 70s. I find it a credit to the movie writers that they are able to take a story and restructure it into what the movie scripts finally became.

So in this one there's no outer space action, no giant snake fight (boo!), and no Jaws. But the Moonrak
My favorite James Bond yet! A thrilling card game, a sinister plot involving a nuclear warhead, and a good old fashioned car chase fulfilled all of my action needs. I quite liked the relationship Bond had with Ms. Brand (specifically that it didn't go at all as he expected it to) and the detailed writing in this novel is just absolutely luxurious. ...more
Dean Cummings
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There were three telephones on Bond’s desk. A black one for outside calls, a green office telephone, and a red one which went only to M. and his chief of staff. It was the familiar burr of the red one that broke the silence in the room.

It was M’s Chief of Staff.

“Can you come up?” asked the pleasant voice.

“M.?” asked Bond.


“Any clue?”

“simply said if you were about, he’d like to see you.”

“Right,” said Bond, and put down the receiver.

He collected his coat, told his secretary he would be
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Play Book Tag: Moonraker / Ian Fleming - 3*** 2 12 Aug 26, 2018 05:15PM  
Espionage Aficion...: memorable meals 12 12 Dec 02, 2014 05:33AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Second World War Navy Commander. He was a grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming, who founded the Scottish American Investment Trust and the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.

Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James Bond

Other books in the series

James Bond (Original Series) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond, #4)
  • From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)
  • Doctor No (James Bond, #6)
  • Goldfinger (James Bond, #7)
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond, #8)
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)

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