Complications abound. A beautiful golden girl turns up dead, and a friendly game of two-handed canasta turns into a deadly game of survival with ever-rising stakes: 15 billion dollars worth of U.S. government bullion. But 007 knows that Auric Goldfinger's rules remain brutally simple: heads I win, tails you die.
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©1959 Glidrose Productions, Ltd.; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Goldfinger is the most preposterous specimen yet displayed in Mr. Fleming's museum of superfiends...maniacally readable...excellent pieces of descriptive writing." (Observer)
"Goldfinger marks a turning point in the series. It separates the early books from the later ones, in that James Bond's character becomes more introspective as Fleming discloses his hero's thoughts more often, thus enabling the reader to dig deeper into Bond's feelings." (Raymond Benson, author of High Time to Kill)
"Goldfinger" is, in my opinion, one of Fleming's better James Bond books. The story is pure hokum, but it's told at such a fast pace that you don't need to worry about it. Raymond Benson called this "The Fleming Sweep" in his "The James Bond Bedside Companion," and it's in full force here. It's that drive that pushes the story along practically daring you to stop reading.
This is also one of the rare occasions where the movie follows the book fairly well. The movie is plotted a little tighter and has more urgency but the book has better characterization- no surprise there.
I'm a fan of Simon Vance's reading of the James Bond canon. He does it with a nice variety of voices and just the right hint of snobbery that Fleming includes in every story. I'm only a couple titles short of having the whole series for the time being, and Goldfinger is one of the best, right behind From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and (maybe) Thunderball. Vance does a wonderful job with all of them.
If you're wondering if the books are for you this is a good one to test the waters with, even though it's the book that ends the first half of the series. The books that follow have a different tone and villain(s). SMERSH is the primary villain in the first half, directly or indirectly. After Goldfinger SPECTRE takes center stage and the Russians play a much smaller role.
If you've read all the books before (I did over 25 years ago) then this is a nice way to "relive" them. I Definitely recommend the series.
Touching Lives One Martini at a Time
The narrative is terse and witty with a great narrator. Fleming was a journalist before he became a novel writer and he has the ability to craft a great story with necessary, but minimal exposition. I read all the Bond novels in seventh grade and haven't since. Listening to the novels is a lot of fun because you pick up the dry wit of Fleming a lot better.
There is a great travelogue sequence in the novel. I also like how the plot was unveiled. At no time do we know more than Bond, however, the audience is never treated poorly. Plot points are revealed naturally through exposition. Bond's internal monologue sets up the next set-piece or reveal. Fleming knows how to keep you interested. Even his bad novels, and there are a few of those, have a great narrative flow.
I love his ability to do the various voices naturally. There are a great deal of accents and foreign words and phrases in Fleming's books and Vance handles them well. He also does women's voices well, without resorting to major register-changes. Instead, he smooths out the gravel in his voice, gives a hint of accent. I actually prefer the Bond novels in audio form because of Vance. He handles exposition well. He hits beats and knows where punchlines are.
Fleming's novels rarely deal with the emotional lives of characters. In fact, I can only think of three where you may care about someone. What is fun about the novel is that it exists purely in the realm of a fantasy. Great food, drink, sex, cities, danger, gambling. And there is lots of humor. Goldfinger is just a lot of fun. But don't expect to care.
The best Bond novels are From Russia, with Love; On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and Diamonds Are Forever. Casino Royale is good, but so violent. If you don't care so much about the character progression, just listen to Russia. Vance reads it well and it is a great Cold War fantasy.
I rank it on a scale of 1 to 10, about 8.5
I am comparing this story to the movie I saw back in the sixties. For a
change, the movie actually stuck fairly close to the book, with some Chauvinistic deletions. Certain subject matterwas not transferred from book to movie. I love the suspense and the pure evil of Goldfinger. The scheme was well thought out!
I can't think of one that has not been done already.
I may check out some other early Fleming novels for comparison.
The parts of the book I enjoyed the most were unexpected, probably because of how those parts differed from the movie that I've seen several times (though not recently). The James Bond presented here was more human and "rough", hardly the polished playboy of the Sean Connery-portrayed Bond of the movies, and I liked that better. More like the Daniel Craig Bond than the Connery Bond. Sadly, he's more chauvanistic than the character even in the 1964 movie, but I can write that off as a product of the author's time and place.
Nevertheless, it's still an enjoyable secret agent romp with a good villain, good Bond, and a typical happy ending. The narration was very good, and definitely helped keep the story moving.
This is a great listen and I highly recommend it. I love the 007 books, actually much better than the movies, and this audio DOES NOT DISAPPOINT!
This was my second listen to Goldfinger and it held up about as well as I remembered. It is a solid novel although the plot is a bit more unbelievable than many.
It is like many of the other Bonds; a combination of smart decisions and luck.
SV is an excellent performer. All aspects were great.
No, but again, it was my second listen.
Yes, I think even the females in my life would like this one.
The scene where he finds the card cheating set up.
Bond of course.
I've listened to more than 100 audio books and this is one of the best!
Murder, Smuggling, Super-villans
Very similar to Ian Fleming's Live and Let Die. Similarities exist in both stories between villans which are running personal smuggling ring, with a loose attachmnt to James Bond's arch enemy SMERSH.
Simon Vance does a great job during his performance. For now on anytime I read a Bond novel I will always have Vance's character voices in mind for characters such as Bond, M, etc.
I listened to the book over a couple nights before bed.
Good book, a little far fetched in the end, but wraps up into a good story.
The action-oriented espionage classics by Ian Fleming are always an enjoyable read, or in this case, listen. The audio is great, and the narrator's voice and accent create an enthralling, believable production of the literature.
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