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Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in London on 28 May 1908 and was educated at Eton College before spending a formative period studying languages in Europe. His first job was with Reuters news agency, followed by a brief spell as a stockbroker. On the outbreak of the Second World War he was appointed assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Godfrey, where he played a key part in British and Allied espionage operations. After the war he joined Kemsley Newspapers as Foreign Manager of the Sunday Times, running a network of correspondents who were intimately involved in the Cold War. His first novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1953 and introduced James Bond, Special Agent 007, to the world. The first print run sold out within a month. Following this initial success, he published a Bond title every year until his death. His own travels, interests and wartime experience gave authority to everything he wrote. Raymond Chandler hailed him as 'the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England.' The fifth title, From Russia with Love, was particularly well received and sales soared when President Kennedy named it as one of his favourite books. The Bond novels have sold more than sixty million copies and inspired a hugely successful film franchise which began in 1962 with the release of Dr No starring Sean Connery as 007. The Bond books were written in Jamaica, a country Fleming fell in love with during the war and where he built a house, 'Goldeneye'. He married Anne Rothermere in 1952. His story about a magical car, written in 1961 for their only child Caspar, went on to become the well-loved novel and film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fleming died of heart failure on 12 August 1964, aged fifty-six. www.ianfleming.com
Published in 1955, Moonraker is the third Bond novel. 'For several minutes he stood speechless, his eyes dazzled by the terrible beauty of the greatest weapon on earth.'He's a self-made millionaire, head of the Moonraker rocket programme and loved by the press. So why is Sir Hugo Drax cheating at cards? Bond has just five days to uncover the sinister truth behind a national hero.
Sir Hugo Drax is a multi-millionaire tycoon and war hero, revered by the British public for his Moonraker missile defence programme. So why does he risk destroying his reputation and the future of the Moonraker programme by gambling millions of pounds at the card table, and is there something suspicious about his winning streak? As `the best card-player in the service', Bond is called in to uncover the answers. But as 007 probes deeper into the activities at the Moonraker base, he discovers that there is more to the mysterious Drax his project than simply cheating at cards...