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Fleming's GOLDEN final novel!
on 4 March 2003
The late Ian Fleming wrote this final Bond thriller just before his sad passing in the early 60s. The big question was with this and "You Only Live Twice", also "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" did the early films influence changes to his original character? The answer is no. The Bond of the books remains as consistent as he was in "Casino Royale" and "Live and Let Die". The book follows neatly on from "You Only Live Twice" which I would reccommend reading first. Bond has been missing for over a year and his department have already argreed he is dead. In fact he has suffered from amensia and has become corrupted and brainwashed by the KGB. He is sent back to London in an attempt to assainate M, his boss, in a heart stopping and most suspensful opening. Yet when he fails M insists against all odds he should earn a chance to be reinstated, he sends his top man to Jamaica to elminate the millionare hit man, Paco Scaramanga. Fleming's Jmaes Bond ever faithful to his hatred of killing a man in cold blood leds 007 to pass up the perfect opportunity of expiring his enemny and is forced to take a much more dangerous path, he gets inside the man's gang, yet some of the other members are not all what they seem and Scaramanga does not trust Bond as far as he can throw him, and it is only a matter of time before he will realise that Bond is not the man he is pretending to be!
An exciting start leds to some fairly dull moments during the middle of the novel, yet it is not long before things start getting hotter again. Bond is once again portrayed wonderfully by Fleming showing us how his mind works and devealing deep in to his emotions, something that none of the actors in the films could successfully do.
The film version has a completely different plot but the sharp reader may spot one or two nods to the movie of the same name, yet they are not really linked.
As for it's faults, once again, Fleming gives a fairly plain villian, most of the time the bad guys of the books are fairly wooden and too similar to each other, not really proving equal to Bond. Yet, Scaramanga's threat is coloured by other character's description of him. It is not as good as its predessor, "You Only Live Twice" but it comes close, Bond's dreams are beautifully descriptive and so is Fleming's descripton of his female counterpart, Mary Goodnight, who is unfortunately under used in the novel.
All in all, it is a good Fleming Bond novel, there have been some better and others worse. I feel one would need to read other Bond books first to get used to the style to improve their reflections. As previously mentioned, it follows on nicely from "You Only Live Twice" a slightly better book which would make this one benefit from being read first.
However there was only one true James Bond and he lived in the 1950s and early 1960s, on the pages on Ian Flemings brilliant spy novels. This is the final outing of the World's most famous spy before Flemings health sadly failed. And it is great final bow too!
Thanks for reading!