#458 ~ The Man With the Golden Gun

The Man With the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming

Published by: Penguin Books (reprint)

Published on: April 2006

Page Count: 192

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

My Reading Format: Audiobook rented from Simply Audiobooks

Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio

Narrator: Simon Vance

Audiobook Length: 4 hours 28 minutes

Audio Sample: Thank you to Blackstone Audio for providing this audio sample from The Man with the Golden Gun.

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook

Shaken, Not Stirred Challenge: This is the last full length James Bond novel that Ian Fleming wrote.

Summary from the Publisher

In a highly secret office somewhere in London, a murder is to be attempted. M is to be the victim, and the assassin is to be James Bond.

Bond, believed dead for a year following the events of You Only Live Twice, returns to England. Brainwashed by the KGB, he believes his mission is to assassinate M.

After his mind is “scrubbed,” he is given a chance to redeem himself. The mission: go to the Caribbean and track down Francisco Scaramanga, the one they call the Man with the Golden Gun. He has built a deadly laser for the express purpose of killing. With his single-action, gold-plated Colt .45 and his deadeye accuracy, Scaramanga is deemed too deadly to live.

My Review

James Bond was brought down low after the death of his wife. He may have gotten his revenge on her murderers, but the impact of losing her was underestimated by one and all. It left him in a place where he could be brainwashed by the Soviet Union and sent back to M as an assassin. While he was rehabilitated instead of punished for this attempt, the Secret Service ended up giving him what they believed amounted to a suicide mission.  After such a long string of solid work, I was a little upset that Bond would be treated in that way. If Bond was no longer fit for service, surely he could have been given another type of assignment that would keep him out of harm’s way. Of course, I don’ think that James would have liked being let out to pasture either. Luckily, the hunt for Francisco Scaramanga seemed to give Bond the kick start he needed. He’s used to being underestimated.

Simon Vance gave another excellent performance in The Man with the Golden Gun. His narration and Fleming’s Jamaican landscape go hand in hand. I especially enjoyed his work in the scene in the bar when Bond became a little cockier than he should have in front of Scaramanga.

I enjoyed The Man with the Golden Gun. All the while I was aware that I was listening to the last full length James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming. I felt rather nostalgic throughout. At first this was why I thought the novel felt less fleshed out and shorter than it could have been. When researching the book for the Twitter party, I discovered that Fleming had only written the first draft before he died. This, to me, explains why the book didn’t feel as complete. I wanted there to be more time and fight with Scaramanga. It should have been harder to cut down this bad guy with his golden reputation. Still, the novel ended with an interesting personal note about Bond and his future. There’s no reforming James Bond.

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