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on 20 September 2014
This is easily the most disappointing of the thirteen true James Bond books (why yes; I do consider the following books written by different authors to be non-canon) and honestly I think it would be unfair to blame Fleming for the result. He died writing it after all so its understandable that he wouldn't have been at his best, and it WAS finished off by the author of the terrible ''Colonel Sun.''
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.
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on 16 July 2014
This is another piece of good writing from Ian Fleming. The story puts Bond up against Scaramanga a villain who holds his own with any Bond has encountered.

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.
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VINE VOICEon 12 November 2012
Not for me anyway.

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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on 28 December 2014
This was Fleming's penultimate Bond novel, and it was actually published posthumously. One has to wonder if the publishers weren't scraping the barrel a little by putting out a draft that Fleming hadn't quite polished to completion - it's certainly a bit shorter on wordcount and less developed in detail than some of the previous books. Plotwise, it also has some rather too convenient coincidences happening. Nevertheless, it is still, as always with Fleming, a good page turner, and there are many of his trademark vididly dramatic scenes (Bond's first face-to-face encounter with Scaramanga is particularly strong). Also, he plot is pretty much completely different to the subseqent film, which some would say is no bad thing :)
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 September 2013
First published in 1965, The Man With The Golden Gun was the thirteenth print outing (and twelfth full length novel) for superspy James Bond. It was the second to last Bond book by Ian Fleming, and published posthumously.

Following the events of ‘You Only Live Twice’, in which Bond had lost his memory and was travelling to Russia to try and recover his identity, we meet a Bond seemingly in command of his faculties once again and trying to make contact with his old boss, M. But there is something amiss, Bond has been brainwashed by SMERSH and has been sent to assassinate M. Following the failed attempt Bond is rehabilitated, and M sends him on a potentially suicidal mission in order to reprove his worth and loyalty to the service. That mission is nothing less than to assassinate Francisco Scaramanga, AKA the man with the Golden Gun.

Bond is soon immersed in Carribean life as he tries to get close to his prey. A stroke of luck places him right next to Scaramanga, but it turns out the hoodlum is into something deep and Bond feels he must investigate and put a stop to the whole show rather than just kill Scaramanga. Aided by his old friend Felix Leiter and his ex-secretary Miss Goodnight, he goes through a tense and thrilling set of adventures as he winds towards one of the best finales that Fleming ever wrote.

Some complain that this book feels a little unfinished and rough around the edges. I have to say that I think this is a blessing. The Bond books had been getting increasingly overblown with greater degrees of grotesquery as Fleming tried to outdo himself with ever more imaginative descriptions. Here there is a feeling of restraint as Fleming had not had time to go back over the bare bones of the story and add too much flesh before he died. But the unadorned story is still a real thrill ride with plenty of painful and well imagined set pieces. It’s a great read, 5 stars.

Branagh’s reading of the book is excellent. He really has a golden voice that just draws you in. He has an innate feel for the rhythm of the book, and transmits a quite boyish sense of excitement at being involved in the project that is wholly fitting to the Bond books. Also, based on this, can I start a petition here for Branagh to be the next on screen Bond villain?

On 4 discs in a spindle case, and lasting just over 4 hours, this is a great way to pass a few hours in the car. I loved it, 5 stars.
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on 14 August 2016
This was Ian Flemings last book, he was so ill he could only manage to write about an hour a day...
Being the only Bond book that I hadn't read I wanted to get it out of the way so to speak ~ I did find it a touch corny, dated & a bit unrealistic, not like his other books which are still very good ~ my particular favourites, which i'm starting to read again are, Live & Let Die - Moonraker - Dr. No - Goldfinger - Thunderball & You Only Live Twice but they are all well worth a read,
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on 25 July 2017
A good, if not as good swan song as the Fleming literary series should have. Basically the literary equivalent of Roger Moore's own finale, A View To A Kill.
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on 3 April 2013
I am a huge fan of Sir Kenneth and looked forward to hearing this. He reads it very well and gets you involved in the characters so that you want to get to the last disc and find out what happens. I saw the movie years ago but as always the book is different from the screen version and therefore I was able to hear the characters as new, without remembering who played them on screen.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2013
This is the penultimate tome in the Bond series and is a tired affair. It has dated badly and detailed descriptions of Secret Service practices (good cop, bad cop interrogations for example) which may have been novel at the time are just tedious now. I enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's style of narration but ultimately this is not enough to enliven a dull tale.
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on 2 November 2012
I had only seen the film a couple of times, but listening to the audio book read by Kenneth Brannagh was amazing. My journey to work seemed too short for once!

I didn't realise what a talented writer Ian Fleming was.

The book was so much better than the film and you really got a sense of the time and the real 007. I can't wait to listen to the others.
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