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The Man with the Golden Gun: James Bond 007 Kindle Edition
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Put simply, this book absolutely squanders its own potential. The ''Manchurian Candidate'' style plot could have been awesome if it was done in the style of ''From Russia With Love'' but instead it is wrapped up literally within the first chapter and is almost never mentioned again.
Scaramanga himself is nothing but a henchman compared to SMERSH or SPECTRE and is only dangerous because he is a good shot. The film version as cheesy as he is, was far more menacing than this guy. And even if he wasn't, even if you believe that he is a formidable and impressive villain, you simply cannot say that he is more interesting than the brainwashing plot could have been.
Its still a good book mind, I would recommend it to you, but if you don't feel like reading the other twelve books in the series PLEASE read this after ''Casino Royale'' or ''From Russia With Love.'' Fleming at his best is miles away from Fleming at his worst.
Like any of the Bond stories they start where the last one ends with a trigger of memory returning of his previous life and having to leave his lover Kissy Suzuki in Japan and head for Vladivostock in the Soviet Union. Unknown to him Kissy is pregnant.
James Bond eventually reached London and is trying to contact M. He has been away for about a year or more and believed to be missing in action.
When eventually a meeting is arranged with M. Bond tries to kill him. However this is stopped and Bond is sedated. In the time he has been In the Soviet Union he has been brainwashed by the KGB. Now the plan is to return him to his former self.
After treatment James Bond is passed fit to return to active duty and eliminate a hired assassin called Scaramanga who has clients like the KGB and the Mafia.
Bond has tracked Scaramanga to a location he knows well. Jamaica. Also there working is his former secretary. The delightful Miss Mary Goodnight
Soon Bond and Scaramanga paths cross. Along with Mary Goodnight, Bond also has help from his good friend Felix Leither.
Confession. My two favourite Bond novels are the first, Casino Royale, and the last, this one, The Man with the Golden Gun. Probably because for large parts, they have a very similar feel. Fleming of course never finished The Man with the Golden Gun -what we read is in essense a draft copy that was put together by his editor following his death (rather simplistic description, but basically what happened). Either way, I always loved it. It was the first Bond novel I ever bought, aged eleven, and I still rememeber the feeling I had when I first read it. It's cold. Brutal, sparse, tightly plotted and even more tightly written. Realistic? Not really; Fleming had a thing for American gangsters. He also had a unique prose style and way of capturing an atmosphere. A particular book, or brand of whiskey. The moment at which a radio is switched on. Occasional flashes of extremely black humour utterly alien to the films (Dalton and Craig portrayals notwithstanding). Dated? Possibly. I would call them period pieces rather than being dated though. They were very much products of their time.
No matter. My favourite Bond novel (well, joint favourite) read by Sir Kenneth Branagh, who in my opinion is one of the greatest living actors. I'm a happy man. They really have gone to town with this series of audio books. Straight unabridged readings, no unnecessary effects (some nice interviews at the end though). And it's done especially well here. The atmosphere has been captured perfectly by Branagh's superbly judged reading; he doesn't get in the way of the text, but lets it do the work. Characters are as easy to follow as you'd expect given the author and actor, pacing is spot on. If you only buy one of this series of audio books, this is the pick of a superb series. For the money, it's an outright bargain. The packaging is simple, as in the others in the series, with the four discs on a single long spindle; this does hamper speed & ease of access but given the price, it's not something to complain about. I honestly can't recommend this highly enough.
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Being the only Bond book that I hadn't read I wanted to get it out of the...Read more