Summary: This installment of The Moneypenny Diaries begins with an introduction by Kate Westbrook in which she says she is fired for trying to publish her aunt's diaries, which is a violation of the Official Secrets Act. The diaries themselves pick up with Bond presumed dead after taking on Blofeld in Japan (the events of You Only Live Twice) and Richard Hamilton, Moneypenny's boyfriend, in the hospital after getting shot by Boris in the last installment.
This installment deals with two main threads: that of Moneypenny trying to discover the fate of her father, and an ongoing investigation to discover a mole in SIS (MI6). Kim Philby defected to the Russians, but it seems that there is still a leak. M befriends Philby's wife to prevent her from going to the Soviet Union to her husband, but fails to prevent this. Therefore, the effort is changed to using that contact to try to get Philby back to England by offering him asylum.
Meanwhile, Bond returns, brainwashed by the Soviets and tries to kill M. The attempt fails, and he is sent after Francisco Scaramanga, on a potentially lethal mission to help him prove himself loyal (See The Man With The Golden Gun). Also, R goes into hiding in an attempt to take care of Boris, but ends up getting killed. Wanting to strike a blow against the Soviets, Moneypenny goes to Russia to try to get Philby's wife to convince Philby to get out of the country. Ultimately, Philby betrays Moneypenny, and it appears he is working with Boris to kidnap Moneypenny in a mission they "hijacked" from the actual KGB.
It turns out that Boris has been having a string of recent failures and is in danger of being killed by his own people. He wants Moneypenny to help him get asylum in Britain. To this end, he shows her her father's grave. It turns out that he escaped several prisons, ultimately ending up on a peasant farm near the border of Finland. He spent his last few weeks there before dying of pneumonia he caught while in prison. Moneypenny is happy to learn that her father dies a free man. However, Boris still has her captive.
Bill tanner shows up, having gone behind M's back to get to the Soviet Union to rescue Moneypenny and capture Boris. Back in Britain, a captured Boris still tries to get asylum by claiming to know the name of the mole in SIS. However, he is traded back to the Soviets for the return of a British spy. The book ends with a few questions. Kate Westbrook, now, is trying to use her aunt's diaries to discover who the mole was, as she is convinced that her aunt may have been the only person to ever find out. "Back then" in the diaries, Moneypenny is looking for the mole, and there is a hint that a romance may be heating up between her and Bill Tanner.
My Grade:- B I have to give this installment a bit of an edge over the previous one. Weinberg seems to have found the voice of Moneypenny, and is digging deeper into the plots started in the first book. Moneypenny is becoming a bit more rounded, and is becoming a bit more "real" as events push her toward a breaking point. I think Bond is going through an interesting time in this book, and a couple of threads are resolves here. Yet, we are still left with a few questions and things to look forward to. This is a much quicker read than the first book.
Best Moment: The best moment in this book is when Moneypenny gets to see her father's grave. Reading the Moneypenny Diaries, we have been following her quest to find her father for nearly two full books. It is nice to see a payoff. (And I, personally, am quite happy it didn't turn out her father was somehow alive.)
Quotable: * "He [Bond] is about as cerebral as a football." - Moneypenny
* "I would have given my life for James. Come to think of it, I nearly did. On several occasions." - Felix Leiter