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Publisher's Summary

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.

Featured Article: What Order to Watch (and Listen to) James Bond's Spy Adventures


Even if you’ve never seen a James Bond movie or listened to one of Ian Fleming’s thrilling Bond novels, you likely know a little something about the world’s most famous spy. If you’re a fan of the James Bond films, you might not realize that the movies are adapted from the books in a random order that doesn't coincide with the order in which they were published. So if you want to watch the Bond saga unfold in the way Fleming intended it, here’s a guide.

What listeners say about The Man with the Golden Gun

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good combination of book and narrator

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.

5 people found this helpful

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Not only secret but secure

"The past could be forgiven, but not forgotten – except with the passage of time."
- Ian Fleming, The Man with the Golden Gun

I can't really call this an unfinished novel. It was finished, just not by Ian Fleming. He wrote the first draft and died. So, this obviously is the last James Bond novel. I'm not enough of a Ian Fleming fan to recognize how/where/if the lack of Ian Fleming made a huge difference to the drafting. I think the end of the novel, with Jones refusing certain honors, may not have found their way into the final novel if Ian Fleming were in control through the whole process. It seemed too final, too sentimental.

This novel returns Bond to active duty after losing his memory in the last novel. It also sends Bond back to Jamaica. It was good Bond, just not great bond. Seemed like a comfortable Ian Fleming wrting from a confident spot. The shootout was a bit of a disappointment, but Scaramanga’s last few moments were spectacular.

5 people found this helpful

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Love Kenneth Branagh

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

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Amazing

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!!

1 person found this helpful

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Kevin Branagh Excels!

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.

1 person found this helpful

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A Second Chance

James Bond has recovered his memory, with the help of the KGB, no less, and has consequently been manipulated into attempting to assassinate M. After undoing the Soviet brainwashing, M sends 007 on a job to eliminate a dangerous hitman, as a means of redemption and rehabilitation. This novel is weaker than most of the others—it lacks the suspense and charm of the previous novel—though it is by no means bad. It still contains the essential elements: an intriguing woman, a unique villain, and an exotic location, but the "Man with the Golden Gun" is too flamboyant to take seriously, and the novel's comparatively short length and resultant quick pace make it difficult for the narrative to grasp the reader's attention. Kenneth Branagh's narration is good, though, as would be expected from such a prominent acting talent.

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My first Ian Fleming novel

Kenneth Branagh did a great job as reader of this novel which at times was closer to a radio play given Fleming’s apparent ear for dialogue at key moments. This works especially well because the book’s villain is very unlike Christopher Lee which is a good thing and gives Branagh free range to give various characters voices from various places. I look forward to reading more Of Mr. Fleming.

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Thin and dispirited

If you've never read a Bond novel, this isn't where you'd want to start. Fleming said about it that "This is, alas, the last Bond, and, alas, I mean it, for I really have run out of puff and zest." He wrote a rough draft, and died before he could polish it.

The first part of it has little to get hold of. Bond had gotten amnesia in the previous novel, and settled down in Japan as a fisherman, but now shows up in London. How? As we learn almost right away, the KGB, which apparently scours Japanese fishing villages for British secret agents, found Bond and brainwashed him to try to kill M. But after a lot of electroshock therapy, he's back in the field, assigned to kill an assassin called Scaramanga.

Bond goes to Jamaica to do it. Scaramanga happens to run into him and hires him to work security. There follows some background about Jamaica, where Fleming was living, and a lot of really bad dialog. Fleming had no ear for American speech patterns, and wasn't very good at Russians, either, and they tend to dominate the conversation. Kenneth Branagh is much better at this than Fleming, but that doesn't save it. Otherwise, a lot of snobbishness and some of the strange tangents about sexuality that Fleming was likely to go off on. Did you know that gay men can't whistle, for example? Or so it says in one of M's documents. Hard to tell how much of this is meant to be serious.

So far nothing interesting or believable has happened, and it all comes off as a bit depressed. Fair enough. Fleming is entertaining when he's having fun, but this time he wasn't, and, at the end of his life, it's likely he had his reasons. I was going to give up on the book, but it woke up a bit when Bond and Scaramanga went after each other. Get Fleming away from his dominant obsessions and he can write a really good description. What follows isn't particularly plausible, but he's making some good moves. The conflict has a strong element of chance, rather than being a showdown at high noon in Dodge City, and his focus is mostly on Bond's character. Throughout the book, Bond is shown as flawed, and fallible, sometimes in surprisingly amateurish ways, as one of his opponents remarks, and much hinges on his reluctance to kill in cold blood. (And, possibly some identification with Scaramanga, who Bond respects as having some of the virtues Bond himself aspires to.)

In short, it's the kind of book you'd get to last, if at all, when you'd read the rest of the series and wanted to find out where Fleming left things with Bond when he knew he was done with him. For myself, I hadn't read the Bond books since I was growing up, and tried out this one because it was on sale and had Kenneth Branagh. It left me feeling a bit low, and quite unhappy that I'd spent that much time inside Fleming's head. But this series of audiobooks has an amazing list of narrators, and Fleming had that sense of gleeful absurdity when he was on his game, so I wouldn't say this is reason to write the books off.

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Branagh brings his "A" game

Amazing performance on a decent entry into fleming's Bond library. While not the best title in the series, it has its highs and I thoroughly enjoyed the last few chapters quite a bit. The villain in this one is an amazing opposite to Bond.

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when you read these books, you know why they so popular

just so much better than id expected. in some ways theyre exactly what id expected. but in others... for example, bond is flipped by the kgb and tries to kill M? what? also, he had an aversion to killing someone in cold blood which is constantly putting him in radically greater danger. and you know, how does he not die at the end of "from russia with love" rosa klebb got him! then dr. no begins and hes just back in action all hunky dory. this one begins with bond having been pronounced dead a year hence and then he suddenly resurfaces asking for a meet with M but something is very badly awry with 007. anyway, great great backstory about the elephant for this villian too. it reminds me of darko karim's backstory in FRWL, theyre both so great. ive read three now, and i can say that there is always something new and interesting--some great scene or verbal exchange, some bit of exposition, some exotic location, a description of the food in istanbul, maybe the villian or a secondary character's backstory--in every chapter. they really are page turners. these things are just "cant miss" works of imagination that created a genre every bit as iconic as sherlock holmes or whoever else... ps: for a much lighter but still exceedingly british take on detective stories, try any one of bbc's "charles paris" mysteries, all starring bill nighy, who actually reads one of these bond books too. but hes great as charles paris. more of a hoot, but really great nonetheless. cheerio!