"Moonraker, Britain's new ICBM-based national defense system, is ready for testing, but something's not quite right. At M's request, Bond begins his investigation with Sir Hugo Drax, the leading card shark at M's club, who is also the head of the Moonraker project. But once Bond delves deeper into the goings-on at the Moonraker base, he discovers that both the project and its leader are something other than they appear to be."
Moonraker Book Jacket Summary:
-From the 2004 Penguin Edition
Often considered to be one of the best Bond books written by Ian Fleming, Moonraker is a slow, laid back Bond adventure. It begins with M asking Bond for a personal favor. At his local gentlemen's club, local industrialist Hugo Drax is suspected of cheating at cards. Bond is sent in to determine if this is true, and, to stop him if it is. The first third of the book is devoted to this subplot that is more for the sake of introducing the Drax character than for plot development.
Universal Exports' Review:
After the card game, Bond is sent back into the lair of Hugo Drax to investigate a mysterious killing. The Moonraker project is a mission to create the ultimate weapon for Britain to use against all enemies. However, something's afoot and Bond must infiltrate the operation to save the day. Should be classic Bond but I found that much of the story line was slow and uneventful.
With all the negative criticism aside, the book still was quite good in many aspects. The card game between Bond and Drax was a high point of the novel, if not the series. It pitted two very opposite yet determined men against each other with such tension that you could almost picture yourself watching these two men fight to the death. The game is a bit remnant of the Baccarat game in Casino Royale and it worked just as well. Another interesting part was the Bond's lady this time around was a very strong female character. She took care of herself and managed to ward off Bond's charms as well as keeping Drax at bay for most of the novel.
British Pan paperback edition
So would I recommend this book? Definitely. In comparison to the film it was a godsend and even as an action/adventure novel it was very good. Fleming has begun to dig deeper into the Bond character and develop his inner feelings and thoughts more than in previous books. It leaves you with the impression that there's more to come.