On Her Majesty's Secret Service (novel): Wikis


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On Her Majesty's Secret Service  
First edition cover - published by Jonathan Cape. Note drawing of Bond family arms and motto.
Author Ian Fleming
Cover artist Richard Chopping (Jonathan Cape ed.)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series James Bond
Genre(s) Spy novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date 1 April 1963
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Preceded by The Spy Who Loved Me
Followed by You Only Live Twice

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the eleventh novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. First published by Jonathan Cape on 1 April 1963, it is the first novel to be written after the start of the official film series by EON Productions.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is considered the second book in what is known as the "Blofeld trilogy", which begins with "Thunderball," continues with "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" after the interlude of "The Spy Who Loved Me," and concludes with "You Only Live Twice."

In 1969 it was adapted as the sixth film in the EON Productions James Bond series and was the only film to star George Lazenby as British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond. The film was also the second of three to portray Blofeld as the main villain; however, the films were in a different sequence, beginning with "You Only Live Twice," continuing with "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," and concluding with "Diamonds Are Forever." This "trilogy" is significant not only for the three different Blofeld actors (Donald Pleasence - "You Only Live Twice" 1967; Telly Savalas - "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" 1969; and Charles Gray - "Diamonds Are Forever 1971"), but also exhibits two separate Bond actors (Sean Connery - "You Only Live Twice" 1967; George Lazenby - "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" 1969; and back to Sean Connery - "Diamonds Are Forever 1971").

It should be noted that although Blofeld was not called by name, he also appeared in earlier films "From Russia With Love" (1963) and "Thunderball" (1965) as the nameless, cat-stroking head of SPECTRE. He was finally defeated by Bond in "For Your Eyes Only" (1981), but in this film he was also not called by name. However, the above mentioned book trilogy, of which "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is a part, are the only three books where Blofeld makes an appearance.


Plot summary

1964 paperback edition by Pan Books.

For more than a year, James Bond, British secret agent 007, has been trailing the private criminal organization SPECTRE and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in 'Operation Bedlam'. This pursuit is partially described in The Spy Who Loved Me, where Bond explains to Vivienne Michel the aftermath of 'Operation Thunderball' and the escape of Blofeld. By the time of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond is convinced SPECTRE no longer exists. Frustrated by his inability to find Blofeld and M's insistence that he continue the search, Bond composes a letter of resignation for M. Meanwhile, Bond encounters a suicidal, beautiful young woman named Teresa di Vicenzo and interrupts her attempted drowning. He and the woman are then captured by professional henchmen.

They are taken to Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Unione Corse, the biggest European crime syndicate. Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo ('Tracy' to her friends) is the daughter and only child of Draco. Draco believes the only way to save his daughter is for Bond to marry her. To facilitate this, he offers Bond a great dowry; Bond refuses the offer, but agrees to continue romancing Tracy while her mental health improves.

Afterwards, in answer to a question, Draco uses his contact to quickly inform Bond that Blofeld is in Switzerland, but does not know precisely where. Bond returns to England only to be given another lead: the London College of Arms has discovered that one Ernst Stavro Blofeld has assumed the title and name Comte Balthazar de Bleuville, and wants formal confirmation of the title. Blofeld has undergone plastic surgery to physically pass as heir of the de Bleuville bloodline — to the degree that he has asked the College to declare him the reigning count.

On a visit to the College of Arms, Bond finds that the family motto of Sir Thomas Bond is 'The World Is Not Enough', and that he might be (though unlikely) Bond's ancestor. Impersonating a College of Arms representative, Sir Hilary Bray, Bond is able to infiltrate Blofeld's lair atop Piz Gloria, where he finally meets Blofeld.

At Piz Gloria, Bond learns Blofeld has been curing a group of young British and Irish women of their livestock and food allergies. In truth, Blofeld and his homely aide, Irma Bunt, have been brainwashing them into carrying biological warfare agents back to Britain and Ireland in order to destroy Britain's agriculture economy, upon which post-World War II Britain depends.

Believing himself discovered, Bond escapes by ski from Piz Gloria, killing a few SPECTRE operatives in the process. Afterwards, in a state of total exhaustion, he encounters Tracy. She is in the town at the base of the mountain after being told by her father that Bond may be in the vicinity. Bond is too weak to take on Blofeld's henchmen alone and she helps him escape to the airport. Smitten by the resourceful, headstrong woman, he proposes marriage, and she accepts. Bond then returns to England and works on the plan to capture Blofeld.

Helped by Draco's Union Corse, Bond mounts an air assault against the clinic and Blofeld. Blofeld escapes down a bobsled run, tossing a grenade after the pursuing Bond, who narrowly misses being killed. Blofeld, however, escapes. He later avenges himself on James and Tracy Bond by killing Tracy in a drive-by shooting, shortly after their wedding.


  • James Bond - British Secret Service agent, Commander James Bond 007, is the protagonist of the story. Since the events of Thunderball, he has been tracking Ernst Stavro Blofeld to no avail. One day he meets and saves Teresa di Vicenzo. Later he meets her father, who offers Bond her hand in marriage. Bond accepts only if her father, Marc-Ange Draco, a powerful criminal boss, helps him track down Blofeld. Draco accepts and ultimately aids Bond in finding Blofeld at Piz Gloria.
  • M - M is the codename of Bond's boss in the Secret Service. Since Thunderball, he assigns Bond to Operation Bedlam, a large secret service operation to hunt down Ernst Stavro Blofeld. M is frequently helped by his secretary Miss Moneypenny and his Chief of Staff Bill Tanner.
  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld - With SPECTRE virtually destroyed, Blofeld has hidden himself away at Piz Gloria under the name Comte Balthazar de Bleuville. There he has started a treatment clinic for women with allergies. Instead of helping to cure these allergies, however, he is actually brainwashing them into carrying biological agents back to England to destroy its agricultural economy.
  • Countess Teresa di Vicenzo - The daughter of Marc-Ange Draco, she married the Italian Count Giulio di Vicenzo who, during their marriage, got a hold of a large portion of her money before eventually leaving her. During this marriage, Teresa had a child, who later died of spinal meningitis. These two events drastically affected her life and caused her to become suicidal. However, during one suicide attempt she was saved by James Bond. When her attitude towards life improves due to this encounter, her father offers Bond her hand in marriage.
  • Ruby Windsor - A young woman staying at Piz Gloria, believing that treatments performed by Blofeld are helping to cure her allergy to chickens. She aids Bond by helping him ascertain the names of all the women staying at Piz Gloria who are secretly being brainwashed.
  • Irma Bunt - Blofeld's mistress and secretary. She helps him set up his clinic at Piz Gloria.
  • Marc-Ange Draco - The capo of the Union Corse (a Corsican version of the Mafia), he is the father of Teresa di Vicenzo and eventually offers Bond her hand in hopes of making her happy and preventing further attempts at suicide. Bond accepts, but requests Draco's help in tracking down and putting an end to Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Fleming named Draco after the Spanish name for Francis Drake.[1] The character was inspired by Barthélémy Guerini, aka Mémé Guerini, head of the Marseilles underworld in the '50s and '60s and owner of several night clubs which Ian Fleming visited whilst in Marseille.
  • Sir Hilary Bray - A friend of Sable Basilisk, the junior officer of arms of the College of Arms; Bond uses Bray's name to infiltrate Piz Gloria.
  • Shaun Campbell - Campbell is an agent of the British Secret Service, stationed at Station Z. He makes his way to Piz Gloria where he is caught and tortured. It is assumed, though not explicitly stated, that he eventually reveals that James Bond is actually impersonating Sir Hilary Bray.

Publication history

  • 1 April 1963, Jonathan Cape, hardcover, first British edition.
    • Cover by Richard Chopping.
    • 45,000 total regular first edition copies were printed.
    • Cape also released a limited edition that was signed by Ian Fleming. The edition was said to total 250 copies, however, Cape records that 293 copies were actually printed.
  • April 1963, 1st of 3 parts published at PLAYBOY magazine.
  • September 1963, New American Library, hardcover, first American edition.
  • August 1964, Signet Books, paperback, first American edition.
  • 1964, Pan Books, paperback, first British edition.
  • November 1977, Triad/Panther, paperback, British, ISBN 0-586-04491-4.
  • 1982, Triad/Granada, paperback, British, ISBN 0-586-04491-4.
  • June 1989, Coronet Books, paperback, British, ISBN 0-340-42565-2. Introduction by Anthony Burgess.
  • 4 April 2002, Viking/Penguin, hardcover, British, ISBN 0-670-91043-0
  • September 2003, Penguin Books, paperback, American, ISBN 0-14-200325-5.
  • 26 October 2006, Penguin Books, paperback, British. Introduction by Val McDermid


The novel was adapted into a film in 1969. The major difference in it was that it succeeded You Only Live Twice, thus extending the roles of Blofeld and Tracy. Also, Blofeld's threat was extended from the United Kingdom to the entire world.

Ian Fleming's 1963 novel was adapted as a daily comic strip published in the British Daily Express newspaper, and syndicated worldwide. Possibly the longest James Bond novel adaptation, the strip ran for nearly a year, from 29 June 1964 to 17 May 1965. The adaptation, which revived the comic strip after a two-year hiatus, was written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky; it was reprinted by Titan Books in 2004.




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