A game of canasta turns out crooked, and a golden girl ends up dead. It seems that Auric Goldfinger is a bad loser when it comes to cards. He's also the world's most ruthless and successful gold smuggler. As James Bond follows his trail, he discovers that Goldfinger's real game is the heist of 15 billion dollars of US government bullion. The final hand is played at Fort Knox, in a spectacular display of deception and intrigue.
This audiobook includes an exclusive bonus interview with Hugh Bonneville.
Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd
©1959 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
Talk about a Love/Hate feeling toward a book. Goldfinger is a great Bond Novel. Goldfinger is also a terrible novel.
I'll start with the Bad:
1) Fleming uses the same gag he pulled in Moonraker. Bond is hired to prove a guy is cheating at cards. Bond proves he's cheating and utterly humiliates him. Later Bond is assigned to a case and lo and behold, the target just so happens to be the same card-cheating rich jerk that Bond just humiliated. What are the chances? Well, in the Bond Universe those chances are 2 out of 7.
2) Games. Fleming loves showing Bond play games. I don't mean spy games with cat-and-mouse chases. I mean actual games like canasta and golf, and we as the reader get a front row seat to a freaking golf game. Golf bores me on television, but it REALLY bores me in a spy novel.
3) Holy crap this book is offensive. I enjoy older novels and I walk in with a basic understanding that I'll likely read some dated and terribly offensive racism and sexism that just doesn't work in today's world. Because of that, I'm pretty forgiving. Its a 60-year old book. I can forgive it the same way I forgive a racist grandparent. This all being said, Goldfinger is THE MOST OFFENSIVE of the first 7 Bond novels (I'm beginning to worry about the rest, but still plan to read them). In this book, Bond lightly insults Blacks, Jews, and Mexicans. It was about what I was expecting and had experienced in the first 6 books. Then he goes full-bore on Koreans and gays. He holds nothing back on his opinions making them sub-human and I cannot ever recommend this book for this reason. I mean, Wow. This gets real offensive.
4: We're expected to believe the most unbelievable ruse in the world. I liked the film Goldfinger, but what never sat well with me was the part then they gas Fort Knox and all the soldiers are secretly in on it and all pretend to die by falling on the ground and staying perfectly still as Goldfinger drives through town to conduct his evil plot. I've always thought it was stupid. Little did I realize that the movie version was small potatoes to the level that ruse would go in the book. Seriously, Ian?
Now that the bad is out of the way, let's look at the Good.
1: Bond is a smooth badass. Once he gets done playing golf and offending the ever-living crap out of you, Bond is the awesome Cold War spy we came to see. A editor once told me that readers want to see a hero that is good at something and they want the hero to do it well, and Bond is a great secret agent. I love watching him work.
2: Bond becomes more "Bondish". People familiar with the movie Bond incorrectly believe that the book Bond is humor and outlandish villains. The truth is that the books do not start that way and slowly evolve into the Bond we expect. Here Fleming begins giving some super-human qualities to his villains. Namely Oddjob is way cooler in the books than in the movie (maybe it is some tiny apology for Fleming making him the target of more racist hate than any character in any of the novels).
3: Great prose. Say what you will about Fleming, but damn that man could write. When he's not boring the piss out of you with a play-by-play golf game, or laying out some unfiltered bigotry, the man could write. I love his prose and they're far better than one would normally expect from a pulp spy novel.
4: Narrator, Hugh Bonneville, did an awesome performance. He does a marvelous job with the pacing and voices.
So in conclusion, Goldfinger earns a solid "Meh." I wanted to like it, but I also couldn't hate it. I do not recommend for anyone that isn't simply wanting to say that they read all the Bond novels.
Report Inappropriate Content