On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

book review

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

written by
Ian Fleming
review by
todd kuchel

After the wonderful reception of my previous Ian Fleming book review, I have decided to write another.

Nursing his old Bentley Continental along a stretch of road headed for the Casino Royale, James Bond ponders a draft of his resignation letter from the Secret Service.

Following the mission of Thunderball, Bond has spent a year assigned with the task of relocating Ernst Stavro Blofeld, along with any remaining members of Spectre. With no trace of Blofeld, nor Spectre, Bond feels his time has been wasted, chasing nothing but a ghost.

Suddenly, a Lancia Zagato Spyder races past with the hood down, pulling Bond from his thoughts; a girl behind the wheel with a pink scarf in her hair.

If there is one thing capable of causing Bond’s blood to pump as much as a gun fight, it was being passed by a pretty girl behind the wheel of a fast car.

This is a fantastic scene that reminded me of the race between Bond in his DB5 and Xenia’s Ferrari 355 in the beginning of the GoldenEye film.

Bond is ultimately outrun by this woman, leaving him to drive the remaining stretch into Royale alone, to the casino where he had battled Le Chiffre long ago.

There, he finds the little white Lancia and its female driver carrying luggage through the entrance.

Following another of Ian Fleming’s wonderfully written casino scenes, Bond discovers the driver of the Lancia, taking an unfortunate turn of luck at the gambling tables.

Declaring that he had simply forgotten that both he and the woman had agreed to play in partnership, Bond stakes her in the game, earning himself an introduction.

Bond quickly discovers that Tracy is a woman who does not wish to live.

The following morning, Bond tails Tracy to a beach, where he finds her walking to the water’s edge.

Fearing for her safety, Bond calls to her, as they are both taken by two men.

Separated, Bond is introduced to Marc-Ange Draco, Tracy’s Father.

He explains that Tracy is a wild girl with a peculiar childhood, that led to her self-harm.

After receiving a suicide note containing the name of a man who could have changed her mind and instructions to repay this, James Bond, Marc-Ange Draco offers to pay James an incredible amount if he were to marry Tracy and make her happy.

Although he refuses, Bond, agrees to make Tracy feel wanted and so in return receives the offer of a favour from Marc-Ange Draco, a man with great resources.

Bond can think of only one favour, he wants to know if Blofeld is alive.

Marc-Ange Draco confirms, Blofeld is alive!

Without giving too much away, Bond is sent on a perilous mission to uncover Blofeld’s new identity, at a secluded allergy research facility in the Swiss Alps.

I found this book incredibly gripping and one that describes Bond’s thoughts and actions well. It’s full of suspense, emotion, and mystery, and had me sitting up late to read another few chapters each time I picked it up.

It’s been so long since I watched the film adaption of this book that I couldn’t possibly compare it.

However, there are in fact many things about this book that reminded me of recent 007 films, which I enjoyed.

One of, if not my favourite Ian Fleming 007 novel so far.

I highly recommend.

All Ian Fleming 007 novels are available from The Raven’s Parlour Bookstore, Tanunda.

Todd Kuchel

contributor // The barossa mag
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