Title: The Man with the Golden Gun
Publisher: Jonathan Cape, Random House
Publication Date: 1965
Paperback: 192 pages
Why did I choose to read this book? My partner had a rather weather worn copy and took it with us on holiday to Italy, it’s the quickest I’ve seen him ever read a book so I thought I’d give it a whirl, after all I’ve seen all the James Bond films but rather embarrassingly never read one of Fleming’s books.
Where to read? On a beach, by the coast, somewhere with a view of the sea. In my case this was a view of the Mediterranean Sea whilst staying in an apartment (courtesy of Airbnb) with a cute (small) balcony in a town along the Amalfi Coast called Praiano.
I was eating linguine with freshly caught mussels and a litre of local Italian red wine – however, Bond drinks tins of Red Stripe and Bourbon so that's also acceptable if you find yourself without a caraf!
In this MI6 outing we discover Bond ‘missing presumed dead’ after becoming entangled in the inner workings of the KGB. Discovered alive and well, albeit brainwashed, Bond is given a seemingly suicidal case to prove his allegiance, terminate “Pistols” Scaramanga. Traveling to Jamaica Bond, goes undercover and infiltrates Scaramanga’s organization including, to name but a few, arson, drug smuggling and arms dealing, counting the KGB and the Mafia amongst his colleagues. Under the heat of the Caribbean sun, Bond faces a seemingly impossible task, to win a duel against the Man with the Golden Colt .45 Gun.
This was my first time reading rather than watching Ian Fleming’s Bond and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The book is certainly not the film, aside from the main characters the storyline is extremely different and much more focussed on creating a good gritty plot rather than Roger Moore flying by the seat of his pants popping caps (sorry).
Bond is as equally smooth, sharp, cunning with a hint of cheese in his witty humour on the pages as he is in on the big screen, if not more so. Fleming has a wondrous way with adjectives and the descriptive passages are hugely entertaining to describe the secret agent’s though processes. In addition the fact that Bond’s pseudo name is Mark Hazard is brilliant proffering mental images of a sharp city banker type who actually doesn’t have a clue.
Overall a really fun and easy read and a reason to escape into the wonderful and fantastical world of Ian Fleming.
Rating: 7 out of 10 – Bond never disappoints!