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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Set in Jamaica - a favorite locale of Ian Fleming
This is one of the original James Bond 007 novels written by Ian Fleming. The book is very different from the movie filmed in 1974. The entire novel is set in Jamaica - a favorite location of Ian Fleming. The novel and the movie of "Dr. No" were both set in Jamaica, and that was one of the few movies very faithful to an Ian Fleming novel. The villain in "The Man with...
Published on December 6, 2011 by LittleB67

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hey, it's not THAT bad
Afraid I've got to take issue with a one-star rating for this novel. Sure, it's not the best Bond novel -- that's probably "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," although I've also got a soft spot for the unusual "The Spy Who Loved Me" -- but it's hardly a bad novel. Scaramanga, far from being a terrible villain, is actually one of the more memorable...
Published on June 14, 2004 by Bryant Burnette


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hey, it's not THAT bad, June 14, 2004
Afraid I've got to take issue with a one-star rating for this novel. Sure, it's not the best Bond novel -- that's probably "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," although I've also got a soft spot for the unusual "The Spy Who Loved Me" -- but it's hardly a bad novel. Scaramanga, far from being a terrible villain, is actually one of the more memorable Fleming ever wrote. I enjoy the way in which he serves as a sort of dark mirror for Bond himself, and that makes me feel like Fleming was actually just trying something different with this novel. That may or may not make it one of the lesser of his Bond novels, but I think saying that it's just plain bad is an overstatement.
Anyways, if you're a Bond fan, you still ought to give the novel a look.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did Fleming Finish This Book?, January 25, 2005
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The James Bond novels have been a staple in my home for over 40 years, since I started reading them at 10 years old. I read every novel once every two years it seems, as Fleming's impeccable writing, his plots, his villians, and most of all, the decription of detail that makes reading these novels the ultimate escape.

That said, I think I know how Fleming writes...

Each time I read this book, I get a growing feeling that not only did Ian Fleming not finish the book, it seems like he wrote almost exactly HALF, and some one else took over upon his death.

As a little Fleming is better than none at all, I still read the book.

Ian Fleming wrote 007 Novels for 11 years. They are all superb, wuth the earlier, grittier ones being the best. I don't play cards, but I was sweating along with Bond while he played Le Chiffre at Casino Royale.

You get that same marvelous sense of being in the story the first half of The Man With The Golden Gun, and then the story (and the writing) seem to go wrong.

I report, you decide.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars For Bond completists only, March 10, 2003
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Jeffrey Ellis "bored recluse" (Richardson, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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To a certain extent, it feels unfair to criticize The Man With the Golden Gun, the last of Ian Fleming's original James Bond books. It is generally agreed that Fleming, seriously ill while writing this book, died before having a chance to rewrite his initial, sketchy drafts. The book itself was rushed out by Fleming's publishers and therefore, if it often reads like a first draft that's because it is.
This is the book that finds James Bond returning to MI6 after being briefly brainwashed by the KGB. Needing to redeem himself in the eyes of M (who, in this book's rushed characterization, is at his most coldly unlikeable), Bond is sent to take out international assassin Paco Scaramanga, whose trademark is that he kills with a golden gun. As said, the entire book reads like a sketch of an idea (a short story really) and Fleming's prose and dialouge are (through not fault of his own) rough and unpolished. However, the book does have a few good points that are all the more remarkable when you consider the duress Fleming was under when he wrote it. Scaramanga is a potentially fascinating character, a wonderfully image of James Bond as if reflected in a funhouse mirror. Indeed, it is hard not to feel that if Fleming had lived to write a second draft, Scaramanga would be remembered as one of his most memorable villians, in league with Dr. No and Goldfinger. As well, there is wonderfully elegiac about the book's final chapter where Bond spends a few pages considering his legacy as a secret agent and his future in espionage. Fleming, surely knowing that this would be his final novel, uses the chapter to sum up all that he had written over the past 15 or so years and it serves as a nice tribute for the fans of the original James Bond, confirming everything that made us a fan in the first place. The Man with The Golden Gun isn't a book that accurately reflects the depth of Fleming's talent or the potential of the literary James Bond but it still has a few shiny moments that shows why Bond has endured.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars End Of The Line, November 12, 2009
By 
Slokes (Greenwich, CT USA) - See all my reviews
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A sad end to a great series, "The Man With The Golden Gun" has James Bond facing off against an assassin with sidelines in eco-terrorism and hotel management in Ian Fleming's last novel.

Published the year after Fleming's death in 1964, it is a matter of debate whether "Gun" was properly finished by Fleming or reworked by other hands. Clearly it lacks the same glossy polish of earlier Bond novels, retreading plot points in routine, humorless fashion. Sent to Jamaica to kill "Pistols" Scaramanga, a hired killer responsible for shooting several fellow agents, Bond blunders his way in no time at all into his target's confidence, despite the fact Scaramunga has been warned an English spy has been sent to kill him.

Hardly one to hide his light under a bushel, Scaramanga introduces himself to Bond as "The Man with the Golden Gun" and shows off his signature weapon by blowing away a couple of tame birds. "Mister, there's something quite extra about the smell of death," Scaramanga tells Bond in the way of a job interview. "Care to try it?"

If Fleming was challenging his readers to make sense of his overdone prose, I wasn't up to it. Another such moment happens when Bond reflects on alcohol: "The best drink of the day is just before the first one."

Adding to general confusion is Scaramanga's purpose in Jamaica. He's got a hotel there languishing amid the bindweed and interest rates, and while looking in, decides to see if he can raise some needed capital by laying waste to Jamaica's canefields and bauxite factories in exchange for Soviet and Cuban funding. Several mob guys and spies are on hand to basically listen to Scaramanga do his bad-guy Mickey Spillane thing and stare menacingly but impotently at his new English go-fer.

There is certainly an underbaked quality to "Golden Gun" that begs the question if Fleming completed more than a first draft. Many of the transitions are whiplash-abrupt. The opener gives us a brainwashed Bond attempting to kill M, but just a few pages later he is winging off on M's latest assignment. Bond hardly lands at Kingston Airport before learning of Scaramanga's plans thanks to the first of many improbable coincidences.

Bond makes some boneheaded moves over the course of the story, dithering ridiculously so Fleming or whomever can fill up some more pages. At one point, we learn he is being intentionally rude to Scaramanga and his killer crew in order to trip them up somehow. At another, he shows off his own gun skills by shooting a headdress off a frightened dancer. How this doesn't get him dumped off in a mangrove swamp is never clear, but it fills time.

Regardless, this is more a novella than a novel, and so lamely conceived it seems unlikely any of Fleming's normally diligent editing and revising could have made this anything other than the stinker it is. After taking on Blofeld and SMERSH, what's a gun-happy triggerman for hire?

The worst you can say about this book has already been said by "The JuRK" on this review thread: "The movie was better." Too true. Ian Fleming saved the worst for last.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Set in Jamaica - a favorite locale of Ian Fleming, December 6, 2011
This is one of the original James Bond 007 novels written by Ian Fleming. The book is very different from the movie filmed in 1974. The entire novel is set in Jamaica - a favorite location of Ian Fleming. The novel and the movie of "Dr. No" were both set in Jamaica, and that was one of the few movies very faithful to an Ian Fleming novel. The villain in "The Man with the Golden Gun" is Francisco Scaramanga, but the character in the book differs markedly from the part played by Christopher Lee in the 1974 movie. The book character is much "rougher" whereas the part played by Lee was more refined and better mannered in public. Scaramanga in the book is a hit man doing business with Mafia gangsters from the USA, the Soviet secret service and the Cuban secret police. They have plans to enter the gambling business in Jamaica, to bribe public officials and to market illegal drugs. Scaramanga in the movie was a very affluent hit man paid off and funded largely by a Thai-Chinese business tycoon and by the Red Chinese communists, who provide him with a luxurious home on his own private island off the Chinese coast. The book character has "3 nipples" but is never shown with a woman, whereas the movie character has a relationship with a woman played by Maud Adams. It is even suggested by British intelligence in the book that Scaramanga may be a homosexual. The book character of Mary Goodnight is very English. She assists James Bond to a certain degree on his mission, but she is nothing like the supposed "dumb Blonde" character played by Brit Eckland in the 1974 movie. Both Maud Adams and Brit Eckland are Swedes in real life. The novel is set in Jamaica, whereas the movie was set in locales such as Lebanon, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand and Red China. All the Ian Fleming novels are excellent for the fans of James Bond 007.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A shadow of Bond's former self, June 3, 2008
After James Bond is discovered to be alive, but brainwashed by the KGB (he was presumed dead at the end of "You Only Live Twice"), Bond is "reprogrammed" by the British Secret Service and sent off on a suicide mission to kill Scaramanga, the fastest gunman in the world, in order to prove himself once again.

I presume it was the new-found fame that did it. After writing such marvellous, well plotted books as "Doctor No" and "Goldfinger", it is as if Fleming gave up when writing the later James Bond books. I suppose that by that time, the money was practically guaranteed and even his shopping list would have sold. "The Man with the Golden Gun" is the second last of Fleming's fourteen Bond adventures and like "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "You Only Live Twice", it feels more like an extended short story than a fully developed novel. It's not just that it's shorter than the earlier novels; the level of detail of the earlier novels just isn't there. Furthermore, the villain and the "Bond girl", two of the main drawcards of the Bond series, just aren't up to par either. Although there is technically a "girl" in this book, in the form of Bond's former secretary, Mary Goodnight, she barely plays a part in the story, and although Scaramanga is a passable villain, he pales by comparison to Fleming's mega-villains such as Blofeld and Dr. No.

This is not a terrible novel. I enjoyed reading it. However, it is disappointing when compared to some of the previous novels. Read it, by all means, but not as your first Bond novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fleming's Last 007, January 18, 2010
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L. Cabos (planet earth) - See all my reviews
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Ian Fleming would go to his home "Goldeneye" in Jamaica to write the rough draft for each Bond novel and then return to London to polish it up before sumission to Jonathan Cape Publishers. Unfortunately, while he did write the rough he died before he could go back and polish it up. So what you have is this: after the events of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, having lost his memory and only a piece of paper with the word "Vladevostok" to guide him, Bond goes to Soviet Russia. Captured by the KGB and reprogrammed, over a year since he has disappeared has passed when he suddenly reappears and attempts to assasinate "M". An Explosive beginning and if only the rest of the book held up. It doesn't. Francisco "Paco" "Pistols" Scaramanga is a thug who disposes of his victims with a gold-plated single-action Colt Peacemaker. He is Russia's top killer in the Caribe and MI6 reprograms Bond and send him on his trail. A duel to the death in the swamp, a female assistant named Mary Goodnight. Not Fleming at his best, still a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAN WITH THE BLUED WALTHER PPK, June 14, 2014
This review is from: The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond) (Paperback)
In 1966 when I finished the last page of the paperback edition of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN the immediate thought jumped into my 14-year-old brain: Ian Fleming did not write this book. I changed my mind around the third of eight or nine re-readings of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Eventually I collected most of what Fleming published, The Diamond Smugglers, Thrilling Cities, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (a nod & wink to kiss kiss bang bang?) and read every Bond book two or three times. My favorites got reread five or six times apiece, From Russia With Love, Dr. No and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in that order. I'm unashamed to admit THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is fourth on my list. The way I see it is the same readers who grouse about GOLDEN GUN probably are the same as those who complain about Playback, another swan song of another iconic literary creation. Despite the fact Fleming and Chandler were both dying when composing their last Bond and Marlowe novels each man submitted a respectably good, professional piece of work.

One can absolutely wallow in Fleming's rich prose; he NEVER wrote an unreadable Bond novel or short story. Though some are stronger than others, that's true of any writer of series fiction. After Goldfinger, Fleming produced the three weakest books in Bond's canon: For Your Eyes Only (not bad really, classy crisp writing, a trio of excellent spy thrillers glittering among five short stories), Thunderball (not bloody bad either but, for me, tainted by its legally disputed authorship and the tale itself begins wobbling downhill after Shrublands to a sputtering anti-climax) and The Spy Who Loved Me (anybody who thinks GOLDEN GUN is the worst of Bond must be unaware of this rabbit-hole excursion, Fleming loathed the novel and pleaded with Jonathan Cape to never reprint it, but acquiesced to cashing the lucrative paperback reprint royalty checks it generated). Maybe Bond/Connery's box office success reinvigorated the character for Fleming because some of his finest writing and plotting appears next in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a book near and dear to every fan of the literary Bond. Fleming followed up with You Only Live Twice, a step down in quality. Although it's wonderfully written, there's little tension and no action till the very end. Which brings us to THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.

Many readers think this book is weak, but I disagree with that sentiment, vehemently. Every scene with Bond shows him doing something active, interesting and worthwhile. The stalled-in-construction empty luxury hotel is as sinisterly effective a backdrop as Piz Gloria, the hoods' Congress or Dr. No's subterranean lair. Mary Goodnight isn't Pussy Galore but comes across with more promise than Gala Brand. One reason I've reread THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN so many times is because it's a quick, easy Fleming fix. After reading a page or two I become immersed in an alternate reality where it's easy to imagine I'm carrying a Walther PPK under my left armpit too. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN reads lightning fast (like the much shorter Risico), compact, taut, exciting with action bulging from the seams. Incidentally those two exploits are the only times Bond ever shoots his much-vaunted Walther PPK. The pistol is forced on Bond by M way back in Dr. No but Bond opts to pack a .38 revolver when trespassing on Crab Key, after defeating No he cannot take the Walther with him while investigating Goldfinger, Emilio Largo or Blofeld because the discovery of a handgun would blow his cover. But when Bond thumbs the safety off the Walther in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN he engages in a firefight so blazing he has to reload! He hadn't got in the middle of anything that dodgy since the raid on Kristatos's drug warehouse in Italy or the attack on the gypsy camp in Istanbul back in his Beretta days. By the way, a Beretta .25 truly is a lady's gun no larger than a derringer. It fits in the palm of one's hand; make a fist and it disappears from sight, unless one foolishly has a silencer on a gun that small.

Many readers don't feel Scaramanga is a worthy opponent but I think he's a fine villain. Whenever he appears on the page he sends an uninterrupted clear-and-present danger signal to Bond. Before `Pistols' Scaramanga slumps in death in the final act he injures Bond far worse than Red Grant or Oddjob ever did. As a secondary villain Mr. Hendricks ("Sank you") wears a menacing game face too for the brief time Fleming spent on him, conjuring up a convincing psychopath with a minimum of words.

Many readers don't believe Fleming wrote all of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and, as mentioned before, I too held that opinion when it was first released. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN seemed awkwardly worded at times initially; the character is identified as James Bond instead of just Bond, the way it had been in the earlier works. But I had to remember by then the influence of the 007 films was creeping into Fleming's writing; James Bond was already a brand name when Fleming wrote this book. Maybe that's why he referred to Bond by both his names so much in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN instead of using only his surname. I'm almost positive Fleming wrote the book. The most recent research I could unearth on the subject is a lengthy interview in a Bond fan magazine with Raymond Benson, as much an expert on all things Bond as humanly possible (and some of his own Bond novels rival Fleming's; Zero Minus Ten, for example). Fleming's production company (known at the time as Glidrose Productions) gave Benson permission to paw through their archives, so he's had access to movie props, scripts and original manuscripts. Benson's hands-on leeway with 007 memorabilia and being a big Bond fan indicate he really wanted to know the truth himself. Benson not only had the credentials, but also ways and means to find the answer. Apparently Fleming completed a first draft of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN in January and February 1964 at Goldeneye. He usually revised his manuscripts upon returning to England after his annual two-month Jamaican holiday. He died before much revising could take place. Before he had informed his editor at Cape, William Plomer, that he didn't think the book was very good, but Plomer thought it good enough to publish as is. So did the powers that be, but it wasn't a snap judgment at Cape. At one point the house paid Kingsley Amis a fee to read the manuscript and offer suggestions. None were incorporated and Amis didn't add a word to THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Plomer certainly did his usual editing job on the manuscript, which means a professionally edited first draft was published as Fleming's final Bond novel.

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is short, but Casino Royale is also a pithy book of the same approximate word count but one never sees readers becoming drama queens over that. GOLDEN GUN is not without flaws yet none of them dilute repeated enjoyment of the story. Plomer let at least two glaring errors slip into print, errors Fleming himself should have caught. He forgot his character's name is Honeychile Rider not Honey Wilder. And Mary Goodnight couldn't possibly be driving Strangway's old Sunbeam. Dr. No's henchmen crashed a lorry into the car thinking Bond was behind the wheel, both car and truck plunged into a ravine. With that being said THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN boils down to lean, mean Fleming tapping that golden vein he mined so well, one can revel in the rawness of his creative process, hear the faint crackle of electricity.

I urge readers with bad impressions to revisit THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. It will be time well spent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Rass, Man. Ah Doan Talk Wid Buckra.", June 10, 2014
By 
s.ferber (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond) (Paperback)
English author Ian Fleming had a very systematic and orderly routine that he employed in the creation of his 14 James Bond books (12 novels, plus two collections of short stories). Each winter, he would vacation at his Goldeneye retreat at Oracabessa, on the north shore of Jamaica, and write a bit each day; reportedly, around 2,000 words. As revealed in Raymond Benson's "James Bond Bedside Companion," Fleming would start the day with a swim and breakfast, followed by a few hours of work and then lunch, after which he took a nap and then wrote for another hour or so. He would write very quickly, which partially accounts for the fast-moving nature of his thrillers, and only after a first draft was finished would he go back, revise, and insert the copious details that are a hallmark of the series; the plethora of convincing minutiae that gave his tales such an air of verisimilitude; the so-called "Fleming effect." But what would have happened if one of his tales was released without that later revision, and the addition of all those trademark details? Well, such was exactly the case with the final 007 novel, "The Man With the Golden Gun." Written by Fleming in the winter of 1964, the initial manuscript was still in its incomplete state when the author died on August 12th of that year, at the age of 56. The publisher Jonathan Cape released the hardcover edition of Fleming's unfinished work in April '65, to middling reviews but huge sales. Benson, who I greatly respect and admire, has deemed the book "the weakest novel in [the] series," and he may well be right. Still, lesser Fleming, as it turns out, is still mighty good enough.

The book picks up around a year after the events of the previous Bond novel, 1964's "You Only Live Twice," at the end of which Bond had become an amnesiac, living in a Japanese fishing village, and venturing to Vladivostok to search for his identity. In "Golden Gun"'s memorable opening (so memorable, indeed, that this reader clearly recalled it from an initial reading, over 40 years earlier), a brainwashed Bond returns to London and attempts to assassinate his boss, M, with a cyanide pistol! He fortunately fails in this attempt, is deprogrammed by the British Secret Service, and then sent on a seemingly impossible mission as a means of determining whether he's still "got it." His task: to track down and exterminate the Spanish criminal/hitman Francisco Scaramanga, currently working for the Castro government in Cuba and responsible for the deaths of many British agents. Bond tracks his quarry to a brothel in Jamaica (Fleming knew the island well, of course, and had previously used it as a setting in "Live and Let Die" and "Dr. No," as well as in the short stories "For Your Eyes Only" and "Octopussy") and manages to get hired by the gunman as a personal assistant of sorts. It seems that the hitman has convened a small gathering of hoods (including representatives of the Mafia and K.G.B.) at a hotel that they are financing and erecting near Negril, and that Bond will be responsible for the entertainments at that bash....

It is difficult to deny Benson's assertion that the plot in this final book is thin, that the climactic battle between 007 and his adversary is not as exciting as it could have been, that Scaramanga makes some illogical decisions, and that the sections dealing with Bond's attack on M and subsequent rehabilitation are too brief. Still, I would disagree with Benson when he says that "Bond is robotlike in this novel," and that Scaramanga "is hardly adequate for a Bond villain." Indeed, there are numerous instances in which we are given a glimpse at 007's thought processes, and in which he displays a distinct, empathetic and feeling persona. Witness how decently he treats Tiffy in that Savannah La Mar brothel, and the fact that he cannot bring himself to shoot Scaramanga (twice) in cold blood. And as for Scaramanga, he may make some slips during the course of the book (such as hiring not only Bond, but also Bond's C.I.A. buddy, Felix Leiter, to work at his weekend shindig), but his conversations with the K.G.B. agent, Hendriks, regarding such matters as sugar plantation sabotage, drug smuggling, prostitution and high finance, reveal him to be a man of no small intellect. While reading the book, I couldn't help thinking that a better person to play Scaramanga on screen would have been the great character actor Dan Duryea, who sadly passed away six years before the film's 1974 release. (The film, the weakest of the 23 to date, for this viewer, completely jettisoned the novel's plot in favor of a Far East setting and "solex agitator," sci-fi story line.) Christopher Lee may have been a cousin of Fleming's, and certainly brings a lot of class to any production he appears in, but Duryea surely would have captured Scaramanga better as Fleming depicts him: nasty, snide and foul mouthed ("Okay, bimbo...Don't bust your stays getting through the window," he says to Bond's secretary, Mary Goodnight, in one suspenseful sequence).

"The Man With the Golden Gun" is interesting in that it finally reveals to the reader the real name of M, updates us on the fate of "Dr. No"'s Honey Ryder, tells us that the name of Bond's cover employer has been changed from Universal Exports to Transworld Consortium, and concludes with Bond being offered a knighthood, which he declines. It also features the least sex of any of the Bond novels--none, as a matter of fact, although Goodnight's offer to care for the wounded 007 at the book's tail end can easily be seen as a romantic promise. The action in the book is limited, as well: the assassination attempt, a gun battle aboard a moving train, and Bond and Scaramanga facing off in a deserted swamp. Still, the book is consistently suspenseful (at least, I found it to be so) and fast moving. And if all that great wealth of detail usually to be found in a Bond novel is largely absent here, well, there is still plenty enough ("On Her Majesty's Secret Service," for example, had sent me scurrying to the atlas and Interwebs to look up 285 references; the book in question, a "mere" 112); Mary doesn't just wear a blouse, but a "white tussore shirt." Fleming always was an elegant writer, and he surely is here, too, and yet, he unfortunately manages to use the word "mock" twice in two consecutive paragraphs ("mock-English" and "mock boisterous"), references Wilton carpets twice in two different abodes, and even gets one of his Caribbean facts wrong: Pitch Lake is in western Trinidad, not eastern. Still, he is capable of some wonderful foreshadowing (such as when Tiffy uses the expression "kill two birds with the same stone," just minutes before Scaramanga shoots two Jamaican grackles in her presence) and giving us some cool tough talk (practically everything that Scaramanga utters to Bond, not to mention my favorite line in the book, as spoken by one particularly nasty Rasta to 007: "Rass, man. Ah doan talk wid buckra." I urge you to read the book for the translation!) "The Man With the Golden Gun" may have ended this classic series on a weak note, but the book itself winds up with some wonderful summations of the Bond character, as Leiter cogently tells the agent "Pest control...It's what you were put into the world for" and Bond later dwells on how domesticity, for him, "would always pall." Ringing down the curtain on fiction's most famous secret agent, Fleming's final effort may not be his best, but it sure was good enough for this reader. One can only wonder how much better this work might have been, had time allowed its author to embellish it with his patented "Fleming effect"....
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LAST WRITINGS, 1965., November 22, 2006
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This last novel of British secret service agent James Bond did not reach print until after the 1964 death of Ian Fleming. And Raymond Benson mentions that the book was left unfinished at the time of Fleming's death.

The locale of this final story is split between London and Jamaica, with several villians: American crime organizations, Fidel Castro, and Russia. The intent of their evil is to harm world interests, especially with sugar crop in the Caribbean. The main characters of this novel are James Bond, Mary Goodnight, Pistols Scaramanga, and Felix Leiter.

The plot opens with Bond's attempt, while under KGB brainwashing, to assassinate M. After sorting that out, Bond is sent on a suicide mission to do what no one else has been able to do, kill the crack shot, Scaramanga. Sacramanga receives $1,000,000 for each contract hit he performs, and he is responsible for at least two 00 killings. All of this eventually culminates with a shootout on a train, with an eventual final shootout in a Jamaican swamp between Bond and Paco 'Pistols' Scaramanga. At conclusion of mission, recovering in a hospital, James is offered a knightship from the Queen, of which he sends reply to M. Is it to be 'Sir' James Bond or not?

As stated by Raymond Benson: this is the "weakest novel in series, lacks the rich detail from other novels; unfinished". I would also add that due to the uneven style of writing, the novel moves back and forth from interesting sections to be offset with some that are somewhat wordy, possibly of interest only to Ian Fleming, if in fact Mr. Fleming wrote the entire book.

Anyone interested in the Bond saga will find this necessary reading, however, most general readers will find this at best only a 3-star read.

And the movie released in 1974 doesn't resemble the novel at all: moving the locations to Hong Kong and Bangkok with the focus of the action on Scaramanga and Chinese interest in developing solar energy as a weapon. Almost two entirely different stories!

Ian Fleming was not at his best with this final writing, and the novel suffers from this, as to how an 'unfinished' book gets finished I have no info, but as a final legacy it is a testament to both Ian Fleming's durability and need to communicate one final time with his worldwide audience.

Semper Fi.
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The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond)
The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond) by Ian Fleming (Paperback - October 16, 2012)
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