On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963)

Author: Ian Fleming
Published: 1st April 1963
MI6 Rating:

Data Stream
Villains: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Irma Bunt
Plot: Spreading disease in Britain to destroy crop and livestock
Bond Girls: Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Tracy), Ruby Windsor
Allies: Marc Ange Draco, Sable Basilisk, Shaun Campbell, M
Locations: Royale; London, UK; Swiss Alps; Quarterdeck, UK; Munich, Germany
Highlights: Beach scene; skiing escape; battle of Piz Gloria; Tracy’s murder

Capsule Synopsis
James Bond is on a mission to track down Blofeld - the evil mastermind behind SPECTRE. 007 discovers evidence that Blofeld is hiding in a mountain retreat and goes undercover to smoke him out. In the process he meets, and falls in love, and marries Tracy di Vicenzo.
Above: 1st edition Jonathan Cape hardback (UK). Artwork by Richard Chopping.

Official Blurb (Penguin 2002 Edition)
A Lancia Spyder with its hood down tore past him, cut in cheekily across his bonnet and pulled away, the sexy boom of its twin exhausts echoing back at him. It was a girl driving, a girl with a shocking pink scarf tied round her hair. And if there was one thing that set James Bond really moving, it was being passed at speed by a pretty girl.

When Bond rescues a beautiful, reckless girl from self-destruction, he finds himself with a lead on one of the most dangerous men in the world - Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. In the snow-bound fastness of his Alpine base, Blofeld is conducting research that could threaten the safety of the world. To thwart the evil genius, Bond must get himself and the vital information he has gathered out of the base and keep away from SPECTRE's agents.

Official Blurb (Penguin Modern Classics 2004 Edition)
From the moment he first meets Teresa di Vicenzo – a reckless playgirl with a love of fast cars and danger – Bond is fascinated. She also leads him to new information on one of the most dangerous criminals in the world, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In his Alpine mountain base, Blofeld is developing weapons that could threaten the whole world. Only 007 – with the help of someone who can handle herself at speed – can stop the evil genius. Filled with ski chases, schnapps and snow-bound lairs, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service also shows confirmed bachelor Bond’s icy reserve finally melting …

Chapter Listing

  1. Seascape with Figures
  2. Gran Turismo
  3. The Gambit of Shame
  4. All Cats are Grey
  5. The Capu
  6. Bond of Bond Street?
  7. The Hairy Heel of Acilles
  8. Fancy Cover
  9. Irma La no so Douce
  10. Ten Gorgeous Girls
  11. Death for Breakfast
  12. Two Near Misses
  13. Princess Ruby?
  14. Sweet Dreams - Sweet Nightmare!
  15. The Heat Increases
  16. Downhill Only
  17. Bloody Snow
  18. Fork Left for Hell!
  19. Love for Breakfast
  20. M en Pantoufles
  21. The Man from Ag. and Fish.
  22. Something Called 'BW'
  23. Gauloises and Garlic
  24. Blood-Lift
  25. Hell's Delight, etc.
  26. Happiness without a Shadow?
  27. All the Time in the World
Above: British Pan paperback 6th edition (1969).

'Position your hands behind your neck.' The silky, patient voice was from the south, from the Mediterranean. It fitted with the men's faces - tough-skinned, widely pored, yellow-brown. Marseillais perhaps, or Italian. The Mafia? The faces belonged to good secret police or tough crooks. Bond's mind ticked and whirred, selecting cards like an IBM machine. What enemies had he got in those areas? Might it be Blofeld? Had the hare turned upon the hound?

Above: British Book Club edition; American Signet paperback 10th edition (~1965); British Triad/Granada paperback edition (1977)

Bond is on holiday with M and considering resigning from Her Majesty's Secret Service when he races along the roads against a beautiful girl, who he then plucks from the sea as she tries to kill herself. But Bond is captured and taken to Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Mafia-like Union Corse, who turns out to be the father of the girl Contessa Teresa (Tracy) di Vicenzo (why doesn't she have the same name as her father???). Draco offers Bond £1m to marry Tracy. 007 refuses, but says he will continue to see Tracy if her father will locate Blofeld for him.

Draco tells Bond that Blofeld is trying to contact the College of Arms to claim a title. Bond travels to Blofeld's swiss mountain stronghold disguised as genealogist Sir Hilary Bray. He is taken there by Blofeld's companion Irma Bunt. Blofeld appears to be running an allergy research clinic. But Bond's investigations are interrupted when another SIS agent, Shaun Campbell arrives under Blofeld's armed guard, and 007 chooses to escape knowing that Blofeld is already suspicious of him. He skis to a local village where Tracy rescues him, having been told of 007's presence there by her father. Before they return to London, she agrees to marry Bond.

But during a briefing at M's house it becomes clear that 'patients' have been hypnotised to release deadly disease on their return to England. M authorises an attack on Blofeld's HQ, and Bond teams up with Draco to take the laboratory. The women are intercepted before they can release the diseases. However, Blofeld escapes by bobsleigh.

Bond and Tracy marry, but as they leave on their honeymoon Blofeld and Bunt try to shoot the couple. Bond survives but Tracy is killed.

"If there was one thing that set James Bond really moving, it was being passed at speed by a pretty girl..."

"Bond sat down. His breakfast came and he began eating mechanically. What had he done? What in hell had he done? But the only answer was a feeling of tremendous warmth and relief and excitement. James and Tracy Bond! Commander and Mrs Bond! How utterly, utterly extraordinary!"

"Griffin Or broke in excitedly, 'And this charming motto of the like, The World Is Not Enough. You do not wish to have the right to it?' 'It is an excellent motto which I shall certainly adopt,' said Bond curtly.

"'I don't need a lecture on the qualities of the Swiss, thank you, 007. At last they keep their trains clean and cope with the beatnik problem.'"

"Bond suddenly thought, Hell! I'll never find another girl like this one. She's got everything I've looked for in a woman. She's beautiful, in bed and out. She's adventurous, brave, resourceful. She's exciting always. She seems to love me. She'd let me go on with my life. She's a lone girl, not cluttered up with friends, relations, belongings."

"the quality of the scream had been of sudden, fully realized terror as the man fell, scrabbled at the ice with his finger-nails and boots, and then, as he gathered speed down the polished blue gully, the building horror of the truth. And what a death!"

Above: British Pan paperback 1st edition (1964)

Above: American Signet paperback 19th edition (1969); British Coronet paperback 3rd edition (1989), illustration by Bill Gregory; British Penguin paperback edition (2002)


"One of Bond's most ominous and chilling adventures."
- Newsweek

"packed with danger, mystery, crime and wild pursuit, to which the author has added sex in generous proportions."
- Chicago Tribune

"Bond is what every mn would like to be, and what every woman would like to have between her sheets"
- Raymond Chandler, Sunday Times

Above: Penguin USA paperback 1st edition (2003)