If you try to assassinate your boss - even though brainwashed at the time - you must pay the price. To redeem himself James Bond is sent to kill one of the most lethal hit men in the world…Paco "Pistols" Scaramanga. In the sultry heat of Jamaica, 007 infiltrates his target's criminal cooperative - only to find that Scaramanga's bullets are laced with snake venom. When the end comes, every shot will count.
This audiobook includes an exclusive bonus interview with Kenneth Branagh.
Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd
©1965 Ian Fleming (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Published post-mortem, The Man With the Golden Gun is, for me, the weakest of the original 007 books. For those familiar with the movie, put it out of your mind. In this case, the golden gun is just a gold-plated revolver instead of one of the most iconic gadgets ever conceived for film, and the man wielding it is nowhere near as cool as Christopher Lee. The more Fleming's characters describe Scaramanga, the more laughable he becomes, ultimately coming across as a cheap thug.
The setup for this novel is interesting. A year after the events of You Only Live Twice, Bond has been missing in action, presumed dead. Now he turns up at MI-6, brainwashed by the KGB into assassinating M. The assassination fails, however, and M believes the best way to get Bond past his brainwashing and to strike back at those who did it is to send the assassin back at them. Bond's assignment is to kill Scaramanga, the freelance assassin who has given many state agencies a problem since the war.
Bond returns to Fleming's classic stomping grounds of Jamaica, infiltrates Scaramanga's group, and spends much of the novel thinking "it'd be easy to put a bullet in him right here." For as much short as this novel is, and as detailed as it's not by comparison of the other entries in the series, this one suffers from way too much padding. This is likely due to the novel being finished by someone else after Fleming's death. Even so, it's still a good read for the diehard Bond fan. It's just not the greatest. It ultimately comes down to how big of a fan you think you are.
To offset the story, Kenneth Branagh puts forth his thespian talents to carry this tale about as far as it can go, and he does a remarkable job, all things considered. Some voices are stereotyped, but nothing's over the top. In keeping with the running report on pronunciation, I'm pleased to say Branagh gives us a proper "double-oh seven" instead of saying "oh-oh seven."
This is a short Bond novel and feels like it needs a little filling out, which I guess isn't a surprise, as this was the novel Flemming was working on before he died, and he (reportedly) was never really satisfied with the result. However, it still has the structure and characters of a good story, and combined with a wonderful narrator (Kenneth Branagh), it was a very good listening experience. I particularly like this Bond villain, Scaramanga, for his easy attitude and bravado, and I also like the setting of Jamaica in the 60s. The written character of Bond is much more complex and self-reflective than that in most of the Bond movies (even though it's not as fleshed out in this novel), and it's a Bond I like. And there's still good action and attraction, just like people expect of Bond in movies and books.
The story is about what you expect from James Bond and a host of villains. Kenneth Branagh makes the story very listenable with excellent characterizations
One of the best audiobooks mostly due to the narrator. Kenneth Branagh is amazing and so good at accents, I actually thought that some characters were played by someone else entirely. Loved the performance!!
The Man with the Golden Gun has come to life again for me after having read it for the first time 50 years earlier. Kevin Branagh mastery of storytelling coupled with his prowess for creating believable character voices and personalities is without equal and very entertaining. This was truly fun filled and exciting revisit of a classic Bond thriller.
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