Moonraker saw James Bond based in the UK, where strictly he was not supposed to operate. The book again features the thrilling card games of Casino Royale and has to be noted as the only book where 007 does not get the girl. The plot centres around a wealthy industrialist, Sir Hugo Drax, and his ambition to finance Britain’s nuclear strike capability. We first meet him at M’s private members club, where he is exposed as a cheat by Bond and needless to say all is not as it seems.
The novel is unique in that it all takes place in England. The Moonraker site is located three miles north of Dover, an area known well by Fleming as the location of his weekend retreat. During the course of the investigation Bond returns to London and after eating at his (unidentified) favourite restaurant, follows Drax from Blades. From Park Street, Bond follows Drax’s Mercedes in his Bentley, along St James’s Street, The Mall, Buckingham Palace Gate and Lower Grosvenor Place to Drax’s London residence in Ebury Street. In fact Fleming had lived at 22B Ebury Street for a few years from 1934 after buying out a five-year lease on the small flat from the leader of the British Union of Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley, a fact that is now commemorated with a British Heritage blue plaque. The chase then continues across Chelsea Bridge to south of the river and Clapham Common, the South Circular and finally the A20 to Dover, the road on which Bond loses his beloved Bentley.
The film of the same name starred Roger Moore and as with all his films had almost nothing to do with the book, relying on gadgets rather than plot to get James Bond through the story.