On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming
Published by: Penguin (reprint)
Published on: September 2003
Page Count: 272
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com via monthly credit
Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Simon Vance
Audiobook Length: 7 hours 35 minutes
Audio Sample: Thank you to Blackstone Audio for this audio sample from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook
Ernst Stavro Blofeld is a back is back from his Thunderball defeat and James Bond is on the case. After saving Marc-Ange Draco’s beautiful daughter Tracy from suicide, Draco clues Bond into Blofeld’s location in Switzerland. Bond was then notified that Blofeld has assumed the identity Comte Balthazar de Bleuville and has requested that the College of Arms to confirm the title. This is all he needs to track down his slipperiest of enemies in the Alps. Bond wants his man, but his service to his Queen is about to cost him more than he had ever imagined.
Although I love to play cards, I confess to growing weary of Bond and his gambling. When On Her Majesty’s Secret Service sees Bond back at the tables, I rolled my eyes. Things quickly became interesting when Bond saves Tracy from the humiliation of gambling without being able to pay her debts. Of course she takes Bond to her bed to repay him for his gallantry. Bond doesn’t want to be tied down to her, but he cannot let her memory go. There was something special about her. Well, other than having to pay for her services anyway. From there, Bond’s adventure in the Alps kept me entertained and happy. Irma Blunt is sufficiently creepy and Bond gets into many a tight jam to get his pulse rate up.
Simon Vance’s voice has become the voice of Bond for me. In this novel, I particularly liked the assortment of English accents he took on with the lovely British women who were “guests” at Blofeld’s Swiss compound for treatment of their food allergies. As Shaken, Not Stirred draws to a close, I’m trying to determine how or if I want to proceed with additional Bond novels. The fact that Vance’s voice has become so ingrained with James Bond makes me wonder if I could ever hear another narrator’s voice as Bond. There is also the issue with subsequent authors. Ian Fleming created James Bond. Am I interested in where another author takes him? I’m not so sure. After listening to everything Fleming wrote, it will be like a complete set. Perhaps I’ll just carry on with the films.
What I hadn’t been expecting with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was how emotionally involved Bond would become with Tracy. In this novel, Fleming took Bond to a whole new level and I was as invested in the relationship as the two lovers were. It was then that Ian Fleming did to me what he had never done before. He broke my heart, making On Her Majesty’s Secret Service my favorite James Bond novel to date.
I was so happy to have listened to this book when the current James Bond, Daniel Craig, escorted the Queen to the 2012 Olympic Games. I bet Ian Fleming did a little dance of joy from the great beyond when he saw James Bond in Her Majesty’s service. I tried to find a video from YouTube to embed, but the best version from the BBC can be seen on Mashable.