Audiobook Review: Moonraker by Ian Fleming

1st September 2011

*I bought this version of Moonraker from Audible.

 I blame my aching limbs and general fatigue on Moonraker. For our Shaken, Not Stirred challenge, I knew I needed to complete the audio before the end of August. So this weekend, I downloaded it and listened at the gym Saturday morning. Then I got home and wasn’t quite ready to stop listening, so I tucked my iPhone into my pocket and started doing housework. About five hours later (which includes 6 loads of laundry, two stripped beds, mopped floors, disassembly of two cabinets and paint scraping), I was finished with James Bond’s latest adventure. So what’s it about?

M has a rather awkward problem on his hands. The esteemed gambling club of which he is a member suspects the prestigious Sir Hugo Drax, a national hero, of cheating at cards. The man is at the height of his career, preparing a test launch of the rocket, Moonraker, and Bond wonders what makes a rich man cheat.

Then, a murder-suicide and a possible breach in security at the Moonraker’s launch site brings Bond up close and personal with the rocket, its oddly-bearded German caretakers, and Drax’s secretary Gala Brand, an undercover agent with Special Branch. The two work together through several near-fatal scrapes to discover who is out to sabotage the Moonraker and why.

Moonraker was absolutely hypnotic, as the state of my house can attest. Drax’s larger-than-life personality and the mysterious events at the Moonraker’s site were suspicious right off the bat. However, in post-World War II Britain, it is difficult to know who, exactly, is on the side of right, and though Bond’s job is to focus only on the Moonraker’s security, he cannot help but intuit the rotten egg in his midst. This is the Bond I love, full of gambling, secrecy, weapons, and great cars. Plus, the tension between James and Gala was enticing but not at all over the top.

I must again entreat you guys, if you like but don’t love the Bond films, give the books (and particularly the audio) a try. I cannot imagine a voice other than Simon Vance’s issuing Fleming’s timeless stories of war, deceit, terrorism, sexual tension, and danger.


Other Shaken, Not Stirred Audiobook Reviews:

Casino Royale

Live and Let Die