On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Ian Fleming

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Ian Fleming

Completed another of Fleming’s James Bond novels: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The story:
This has to be one of the more interesting of Fleming’s Bond novels.  Bond is fed up.  He’s been chasing down the escaped SPECTRE leader Blofeld for over a year with nothing to show for it, nor any proof Blofeld is even still alive.  In the midst of a hiatus gambling at the same casino as found in Casino Royale, he encounters Tracy.  At the end of her rope, he rescues her from her own self-destructive behavior and finds he’s just rescued the daughter of a noted organized crime boss.  Her father makes him a proposition of marrying his daughter to end her downward spiral.  Bond is somewhat captivated by this girl and agrees to see her again after she gets psychological help.

Bond then gets a lead on Blofeld via an unlikely source – the bureau of heraldry and lineage.  Seems Blofeld is attempting to prove his lineage and unwittingly gives up his position.  He’s apparently running a private ski resort high in the Alps with a ‘treatment center’.  Bond pretends to be from the heraldry society and there he discovers the treatment center is really a brainwashing center for his nefarious plans. Bond attempts to shut down Blofeld’s operation in typical gunfire and explosion fashion; and is re-united with Tracy.  A final battle ensues and we get a wrenching ending.

My take:
One of Fleming’s more interesting novels.  Not particularly for the nefariousness of the villian (though they are pretty good and the ski chase scene over the top), but for Bond’s personal relationship with Tracy.  Rarely do we see this much of Bond’s inner workings.
<spoiler bits >
James Bond ‘in love’?  Going to get married?  The nonchalance that Bond considers the union is pretty interesting.  Is that how marriage was decided back in the day?  Despite some glaring differences, he chugs right on along.  It seems he only gives a solid page’s thought to the matter and decides, “Aw heck – why not?’.
</spoilers>

At any rate, if you’d like some decent (but not spectacular) adventure with one of the few times we see Bond in a relationship – then this is a great book.  Rating: B

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