The Man with the Golden Gun
A brainwashed James Bond has tried - and failed - to assassinate M, his boss. Now Bond has to prove he is back on form and can be trusted again. All 007 has to do is kill one of the most deadly freelance hit men in the world: Paco 'Pistols' Scaramanga, the Man with the Golden Gun. But despite his license to kill, 007 is no assassin, and on finding Scaramanga in the sultry heat of Jamaica, he decides to infiltrate the killer's criminal cooperative - and realizes that he will have to take him out as swiftly as possible.
Reviewed on 27th May 2012
Ian Fleming's last James Bond novel seems rather weak when compared to its predecessors. Following on from the events of You Only Live Twice, Bond finally returns to London, only to be greeted with suspicion. M sends him on a deadly impossible mission, expecting him to die in the process.
There is much speculation around whether Fleming wrote, or at least finished, this novel before his death, and although I'm happy to accept the scholars' opinion that it is his work, it does feel as if it hasn't quite had all the editing that the author's previous works went through. This was particularly noticeable in the characterisation of Bond - he seems to have lost some of his depth, and there is little to none of the classic opinionation that the character exhibits in the earlier books.
The set-up and the opening of this book are classic and match up to what could be expected from the previous eleven novels, however the rest seems lacking - the climax makes an effort to come back, but the part in between in particular feels rushed and unpolished.
It's almost disappointing that this is the final entry in the Bond series (by Fleming) because You Only Live Twice was a much more fitting finale. I must say though that I've really enjoyed re-reading the entire series, and would recommend all of them as a must read - I hope they continue to survive as society moves further from the period they reflect.