MI6 digs up one of 007's in-the-field postcards
to his housekeeper May, whilst on the Moonraker mission...
Postcards From Bond - Dover
24th April 2009
Bond is tasked to investigate
shady card-cheat Sir Hugo Drax and a series of strange
happenings at the Moonraker base in Kent. MI6 dusts of
the archive and uncovers unseen material from Bond's mission
Above: Never-before-seen postcards from the MI6 archives - postmarked Maidstone, Kent, 1953...
Whilst many 007 adventures are synonymous with exotic locations
- be it a luxurious ski resort or a lavish Bahamas beachfront, Fleming never
disappointed his travel-loving readers. However, the third Bond
first published in 1955, sees the now-famous secret agent remain
entirely on the British Isles. Fleming's penchant for travel
takes an interesting turn as he focuses the spotlight on his
home country of England. The author's vivid descriptions of everywhere
he takes Bond truly allows readers to witness for
themselves the often grueling but always fabulous situations
007 finds himself in.
"At six o'clock
that Tuesday evening towards the end of May, James Bond was
thrashing the big Bentley down the Dover road along the straight
stretch that runs into Maidstone."
At the beginning of the novel, M takes
Bond to "Blades" - a fictional gaming club - heavily inspired
by gentlemen's clubs of the time (most notably The Reform Club).
Here, Fleming describes the exclusive and suitably lavish interior of
M shouts his best agent a champagne supper and briefs 007 on his
mission for the evening. In his personal capacity, M has asked Bond
in the puzzling matter of Hugo Drax, a billionaire-cheat who has
bled the chief's funds dry playing Bridge.
In order to avoid miring the name of the club in the ensuing scandal that would surely result, Bond teaches a lesson to the cheating multimillionaire by serving him with a dose of his own medicine. In the memorable scene that follows at the Bridge tables of "Blades", Bond unmasks the cheat for what he is and swindles him with a horrendously complicated hand of the game.
Three miles north of Dover in Kent, Bond is
sent to investigate a mysterious incident at the site of Drax's "Moonraker" project.
M describes the incident at a tavern called 'The World Without
Want' where Drax's employees were often to be found, drinking
after work. This was an area Fleming himself knew well as he
owned a weekend retreat nearby and readers are treaded to some
of Fleming's best work.
"To their left the carpet of green turn, bright with small wildflowers, sloped gradually down to the long pebble beach of Walmer and Deal, which curved off towards Sandwich and the Bay."
In another scene, Bond tracks Drax from Blades to Ebury Street, where Fleming had once lived himself. The author describes Drax's raw Mercedes Type 300 S as "too short and heavy to be graceful", but Bond does spend some time admiring the brute of a car. During the journey as Bond gives chase in his Bentley - Fleming gives a detailed account of the route and the sites of London: St. James Street, The Mall, Buckingham Palace Gate, etc. After a short stop at the Drax residence, the chase continues out of London and onto the A20 to Dover. Bond looses his prize when the Bentley has a nasty accident.
MI6 Literary Locations Guide
London & Kent,
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Postcards from Bond - Istanbul
||Postcards From Bond
Delve into the MI6 archives and uncover never before seen postcards from Bond's missions around the world to various MI6 personal. Recipiants include M, Moneypenny, Loelia Ponsonby and May - 007's housekeeper.