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On Her Majesty's Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Author: Ian Fleming
Cover artist: Richard Chopping
Published by: Jonathan Cape
Pages: 288
Release date: 1 April, 1963
Alternate title: The Belles of Hell
Publication order
Previous: Next:
The Spy Who Loved Me You Only Live Twice

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the eleventh entry in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape on 1 April 1963. The initial and secondary print runs sold out, with over 60,000 books sold in the first month.

Fleming made a number of revelations about Bond's character within the book, including showing an emotional side that was not present in the previous stories. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the second book in what is known as the "Blofeld Trilogy", which begins with Thunderball and concluded with You Only Live Twice.

PlotEdit

Bond was driving to Royale-les-Eaux for his annual gambling vacation (and pilgrimage to Vesper's grave), composing his resignation from MI6 due to dissatisfaction with being assigned to track down Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He has been trailing Blofeld for over a year, but is convinced SPECTRE no longer exists. It's all dull detective work and he can't find any trace of him, and if he isn't appointed to real missions, he's going to quit.

He was passed by a girl doing some impressive driving, and followed her to Royale-les-Eaux. That night, in the casino, he was winning in baccarat before she entered the game, lost money she didn't have, and he covered her debt. Bond found the girl, Tracy, interesting, but clearly depressed, and after they slept together.

Saving Tracy

Bond saving Tracy.

Bond spends the next day observing her in order to keep her from committing suicide. Bond sees Tracy on the beach as she wades into the sea; he follows her, and is himself followed by two men. Bond stops her from committing suicide in the ocean, but the men grab them both and take them aboard a boat.

Bond is taken to Marc-Ange Draco, who reveals that he's Tracy's father as well as the head of the Corsican mafia, the Unione Course. Draco explain's Tracy's past as a wild youth who married a man who left her and had a daughter who died in infancy; now she's suicidal. Draco believes that she needs a capable man to love her, and asks Bond to marry her. Bond refuses to get involved with her until after she's gotten treatment and worked out her problems herself. He gets out of Draco the fact that Blofeld is in hiding somewhere in Switzerland.

Bond returns to England and works several months to track down more about Blofeld. Finally he gets the information that the Royal College of Arms has received a request from a man, whom they suspect is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, to authenticate his claim to the title of Comte de Bleuville. Bond looks into it and gets the College to persuade Blofeld to let an envoy visit him to do research in person; Bond, posing as Sir Hilary Bray, will thus get to see Blofeld.

Climb to Piz Gloria

The climb to Piz Gloria.

Bond travels out, and is taken up by helicopter to the mountaintop resort of Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps, where he is shepherded around by Irma Bunt and finds a number of British and Irish girls Blofeld is treating for allergies. Bond spends several days there, gathering information, and seduces one of the girls to learn their full names and hometowns. He also meets Blofeld, who has undergone major plastic surgery and other appearance changes, but Bond believes he's the same man; he also appears to have recreated SPECTRE with the same multinational scheme.

While Bond is there, Shaun Campbell, an MI6 agent from Zurich, is caught poking around and following Blofeld's Soviet connections independently. The man, beaten up, seems to recognize Bond, and though Bond gets through the episode, the man is taken off to be tortured. Convinced that his cover can't outlast the interrogation, Bond assumes that Blofeld's men will come during the night, prepares, and escapes first, skiing down the mountain.

He barely escapes Blofeld's men and an avalanche, making it into a nearby town, where he seeks refuge. There, by chance, he meets Tracy who has come up from the therapy centre in Zurich where she's been getting help to see Bond, on Draco's instruction. Tracy takes Bond to her car and drives them out of danger, and Bond realizes that he truly does love her. At Zurich airport, he proposes to her and she accepts, promising to wait for him while he returns to England to report in.

Escape from Piz Gloria

Bond escaping Piz Gloria.

Bond gets scientific experts to go over his information with M, and they conclude that Blofeld is targeting Britain with biological warfare, using the girls, who will be sent home soon, to introduce biological agents into the crop and livestock supplies under the influence of brainwashing. Blofeld would presumably profit on the market. They arrange to stop the girls as they come into the country, but will have difficulty striking Blofeld in Switzerland. An attack is ruled out, but a determined Bond seeks out help elsewhere.

Bond contacts Draco and convinces him to lend him men for an attack on Piz Gloria. Disguised as a pair of Red Cross helicopters on a mercy flight, they get in. Draco's men take and destroy Blofeld's operation while Bond chases Blofeld down the bobsled course. Blofeld drops a grenade on the track which blows the pursuing Bond out of the off the course, knocking him unconscious. Blofeld gets away with Bunt, but the plot his is foiled and the brainwashed girls are intercepted.

Attack on Piz Gloria

The assault on Piz Gloria.

A few days later, Bond goes to Munich with Draco and marries Tracy. As they drive off onto their honeymoon, a car follows them. Eventually, it passes them and Blofeld shoots a machine gun at their car causing them to crash off the road. Bond regains consciousness as a patrolman approaches the car. Bond cradles Tracy's still body, telling the officer "we have all the time in the world."

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