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The third James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, released in 1955.
The novel involves a revenge seeking invidual named Hugo Drax developing a ballistic missile for the British Government, with the intention of nuking London with Soviet help. Try not to think about that too much and note the brilliant New Era Speech instead.
The eleventh Bond film has very little to do with the book, only sharing its title and the Big Bad's name.
This novel contains examples of:
- Ate His Gun: Egon Bartsch, the scientist who killed the original chief of security of Drax's base.
- Bedsheet Ladder: Bond fakes one up to cover the fact that he and Gala are still in the base.
- Bittersweet Ending: The main plot is thwarted, but the rocket landing within reporting distance of shore rather than in the middle of London means there's still collateral damage; it's made inescapably clear that a three-digit death toll isn't limited to Drax or his minions.
- Bottle Episode: This is the only novel to be set entirely inside the United Kingdom; in fact the action never leaves London and Kent.
- Commie Nazis: Drax turns out to be in league with the Soviets, more out of convenience than ideology however.
- Cool Car: Drax drives a Mercedes 300 S, which Bond describes as "ruthless and majestic". 007 himself owns a 1930 Bentley Coupé, in which he chases Drax towards the end of the book.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Drax chooses to dispose of Bond and Gala Brand by leaving them to be incinerated by the Moonraker's exhaust on lift-off. Incidentally, this is one of the few bits that made it into the 1979 film.
- Damsel in Distress: Gala Brand is a notable aversion; she proves to be as important to foiling Drax's plot as Bond (it's actually her that discovers that the rocket is to be fired at London) and while she does get captured, Bond also does shortly afterwards.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Because as it turns out, she's engaged to another man. This results in a Bittersweet Ending.
- The Dragon: Willy Krebs.
- Gratuitous German: A lot of dubious German is (naturally) used, as ex-Nazi villains play a prominent part. Most memorably, Krebs and Drax's other henchmen will frequently address their boss as "Herr Kapitän," or "Captain." The problem is that Drax was an infantry captain in the Heer, and later Waffen-SS in his glory days, while Kapitän specifically denotes a naval captain in German. Better researched Nazis would have addressed Drax either as Herr Hauptmann (an army captain) or Hauptsturmführer (an SS captain).
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Drax is killed when the Russian submarine he and his cohorts are escaping in is blown out of the water by the Moonraker, which Bond and Gala have redirected back onto its original North Sea target.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: When Bond finds Krebs rummaging through his stuff, he gives a swift kick to the arse.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Walter.
- Motive Rant: Drax gives Bond an epic one when he has him tied up and defenceless. Bond responds by taunting Drax into a Villainous Breakdown, which gives him the opportunity he needs to free himself and Gala.
- New Era Speech
- Those Wacky Nazis
- Torture Technician: Krebs and possibly Dr. Walter, as described by Drax. Fortunately, we never get to see them exercising their talents.
- Ultimate Defence of the Realm
- Villain with Good Publicity: Drax is revered by the British public as a great patriot, who is using his enormous wealth to gift Britain her own nuclear defence system. In fact, he is a Nazi in the guise of a British citizen who plans to use the missile to destroy London.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Blades sequence has no impact on the main rocket missile plot, although it does serve as an extended intro for Sir Hugo Drax, as well as giving M some much-needed characterisation.
- Weaponized Exhaust: One of the few scenes from the novel to make it into the movie.
- World War II: The background for many of the novel's events.