London: Jonathan Cape, 1955. First edition. First impression, later variant with "shoot" corrected on page 10. Near Fine in like jacket, with a few light marks to boards and lower front panel rubbed. Small loss of cloth to lower front joint. An excellent jacket, with just a bit of sunning to spine and small nicks to extremities. Housed in a custom clamshell case. Inscribed on the front endpaper: "To Tony, Read & Burn! From Ian 1955." The recipient was Anthony Kemsley, later Sir Anthony Berry the Conservative MP who died tragically in the 1985 IRA Brighton Bomb attack. Kemsley had early on offered Fleming the foreign correspondent job with the Kemsley Newspapers after the war, enabling him to write his Bond novels by including a provision in Fleming's contract that he take every January and February as paid leave to write on his Jamaica estate. An exceptional association.
The third novel in the Bond series, Moonraker features James Bond working to prevent a ballistic missile hidden deep in the heart of London from destroying the city. This missile, christened Moonraker, is the project of Hugo Drax, a wealthy British businessman, who wants to protect his homeland from the simmering tensions of the Cold War Era. Little does Bond know, but Hugo Drax is actually a vengeful former Nazi named Graf Hugo von der Drache, now in cahoots with the Soviet Union. The Moonraker missile, supposedly keeping London safe from Soviet aggression, is actually Drax's vengeance against England for defeating Nazi Germany during World War II. Far from protecting London and the British people, Drax and Moonraker have adopted protectionism and patriotism as a sinister disguise.
Bond joins forces with Gala Brand, a British undercover agent whose assignment is working as Drax's personal assistant. Drax and his ilk discover Bond and Brand's covert investigations, and the two British agents soon find themselves imprisoned beneath the Moonraker rocket awaiting a fiery death. But Bond and Brand have a surprise in store for Drax and his Moonraker project. This third Bond novel brings the global terror of the Cold War home to England, where Fleming grapples with the continuing effects of World War II and the nuclear arms race. Near Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. (Item #3285)