For more than a year, James Bond, British Secret Service operative 007, has been involved in "Operation Bedlam": trailing the private criminal organisation SPECTRE and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The organisation had hijacked two nuclear devices and subsequently blackmailed the western world, as described in Thunderball. Convinced SPECTRE no longer exists, Bond is frustrated by MI6's insistence that he continue the search and his inability to find Blofeld. He composes a letter of resignation for his superior, M.
Whilst composing his letter, Bond encounters a beautiful, suicidal young woman named Contessa Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo first on the road and subsequently at the gambling table, where he saves her from a coup de deshonneur by paying the gambling debt she is unable to cover. The following day Bond follows her and interrupts her attempted suicide, but they are captured by professional henchmen. They are taken to the offices of Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Unione Corse, the biggest European crime syndicate. Tracy is the daughter and only child of Draco who believes the only way to save his daughter from further suicide attempts is for Bond to marry her. To facilitate this, he offers Bond a dowry of £1 million (£20 million in 2015 pounds); Bond refuses the offer, but agrees to continue romancing Tracy while her mental health improves.
Afterwards Draco uses his contacts to inform Bond that Blofeld is somewhere in Switzerland. Bond returns to England to be given another lead: the College of Arms in London has discovered that Blofeld has assumed the title and name Comte Balthazar de Bleuville and wants formal confirmation of the title and 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. On the pretext that a genetically-inherited minor physical abnormality (a lack of earlobes) needs a personal confirmation, Bond impersonates a College of Arms representative, Sir Hilary Bray to visit Blofeld's lair atop Piz Gloria, where he finally meets Blofeld. Blofeld has undergone plastic surgery partly to remove his earlobes, but also to disguise himself from the police and security services who are tracking him down.
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 aide, Irma Bunt, have been brainwashing them into carrying biological warfare agents back to Britain and Ireland in order to destroy the agricultural economy, upon which post-World War II Britain depends. Believing himself discovered, Bond escapes by ski from Piz Gloria, chased by SPECTRE operatives, a number of whom he kills in the process. Afterward, 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. Whilst the clinic is destroyed, Blofeld escapes down a bobsled run and although Bond gives chase Blofeld escapes. Bond flies to Germany where he marries Tracy. The two of them drive off on honeymoon and, a few hours later, Blofeld and Bunt drive past, machine gunning them: Tracy is killed in the attack.