The Man with the Golden Gun (novel)

Infobox Book |
name = The Man with the Golden Gun
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = First edition cover - published by Jonathan Cape.
author = Ian Fleming
illustrator =
cover_artist = Richard Chopping (Jonathan Cape ed.)
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = James Bond
genre = Spy novel
publisher = Jonathan Cape
release_date = 1 April 1965
media_type = Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
pages =
isbn = NA
preceded_by = You Only Live Twice
followed_by = Octopussy and The Living Daylights

"The Man with the Golden Gun" is the thirteenth novel written by Ian Fleming, featuring the fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond. [ cite web | title=The Man with the Golden Gun (film): The novel approach | url= | publisher=Matthew Newton | accessdate=2007-08-25 ] It was published posthumously in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape, in 1965. Despite being stylistically different from and less detailed than Fleming's other works, [ cite web | title=Make mine a 007: The Man with the Golden Gun | url= | accessdate=2007-08-25 ] it was a bestseller for four months. [ cite web | url= | title=Summary of "The Man With The Golden Gun" | work=Evan Willnow | date=2002-03-08 | accessdate=2007-08-25 ]

The novel was adapted in 1966 as a comic strip in the "Daily Express" newspaper, and in 1974 as the ninth film in the EON Productions James Bond series with Roger Moore playing Bond.

Plot summary

A year since James Bond disappeared during a mission in Japan, he is presumed dead. Then, a man claiming to be Bond appears in London and demands to meet M. After much scrutinising and interrogation, the man's identity is confirmed, but during his debriefing interview with M, Bond tries to kill him with a cyanide pistol; the attempt fails. The British Secret Service soon learns that after attacking Blofeld's castle in Japan, Bond suffered a head injury and subsequent amnesia. Having lived as a Japanese fisherman for several months, Bond travelled north into the Soviet Union to learn his true identity. While there, he was brainwashed and assigned to kill M on returning to England.

Now deprogrammed, Bond is eager to prove his worth as a member of the 00 section following the assassination attempt. M assigns him to Jamaica to locate and kill Francisco "Pistols" Scaramanga, a Cuban assassin known as "the man with the golden gun" (because of his golden revolver) who is believed to have killed several British secret agents.

Bond locates Scaramanga, and manages to become Scaramanga's temporary personal assistant under the name of "Mark Hazard". He learns that Scaramanga is involved with a hotel development on the island, together with a syndicate of American gangsters and the KGB, who are also planning several schemes including the destabilisation of Western interests in the Caribbean's sugar industry, running drugs into America, smuggling prostitutes from Mexico into America, and launching casinos in Jamaica. Initially unaware of Bond's presence in Jamaica, is Felix Leiter who has been recalled to duty by the CIA and assigned to Scaramanga's hotel staff, acting the part of an electrical engineer, setting up bugs on Scaramanga's meetings. Bond is employed by Scaramanga as a minder, to control the other gangsters in case things turn nasty.

Bond's identity is uncovered by a KGB agent after getting a call from other agents in Europe, and Scaramanga and the others plan to kill him during a train ride for the amusement of the gangsters. However, Bond manages to turn the tables on Scaramanga, and with the help of Felix Leiter (who smuggled himself aboard) kill most of the conspirators.

Scaramanga escapes, wounded, into the swamps, where Bond pursues him. There is a final stand-off, and Bond kills Scaramanga by shooting him in the heart, and it takes six bullets for Scaramanga to die. In the process, both Bond and Leiter are badly wounded, but are found by the police and nursed back to health. Bond is offered a knighthood for his achievement. Bond already has CMG for past and present services to Britain, but does not wish to become a public figure, so he refuses it.


* James Bond - A British Secret Service agent. He is assigned to track and kill KGB's assassin Francisco 'Pistols' Scaramanga.

* M - The head of the British Secret Service who sends Bond on his mission. He is frequently helped by his secretary Miss Moneypenny and Chief of Staff Bill Tanner. For the first time his full name, Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, is revealed.

* Francisco Scaramanga - "The man with the golden gun" is an assassin employed by Fidel Castro, he is so known because he uses a gold-plated revolver. He has killed British Secret Service agents (and CIA case officers).

* Felix Leiter - An agent of the CIA. He is sent to spy on Scaramanga by posing as a hotel manager.

* Mary Goodnight - James Bond's secretary, enlisted for assistance when he is sent to the Caribbean to find Scaramanga.

Reception and Controversy

The Sunday Telegraph praised the novel, saying "Fleming keeps you riveted." [ cite web | title=The Man with the Golden Gun at Powell's Books | url= | accessdate=2007-08-25 ] However, the "New Statesman" called it "a sadly empty tale, empty of the interests and effects that for better or worse, Ian Fleming made his own."

The novel has been a speculative subject since its publication in 1965, a year after Fleming's death. Since Fleming died before completing the final draft manuscript, the novel was edited and finished by other writers before its publication. Kingsley Amis often has received credit for either completing or editing the novel, but that has been denied by several sources, including Andrew Lycett in the biography "Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond", claiming that Fleming had finished it and it was subsequently read and edited only by Fleming's editor William Plomer. John Cork, the co-author of "James Bond: The Legacy" also claims that the novel was complete and he had seen the original, unedited typescript cite web | title=James Bond: Controversies | url= | accessdate=2007-08-24 ] , although he admits Amis had also read it and subsequently offered ideas that went unimplemented. The introduction to the Titan Books reprint edition of the "Colonel Sun" comic strip explicitly describes the "Golden Gun" manuscript as unfinished at Fleming's death, crediting Plomer with polishing it to publication standard; also, the book supports Cork's account that Amis's involvement was restricted to unimplemented manuscript suggestions. That Fleming reportedly was writing another James Bond novel at the time of his death (excerpts from which can be found in John Pearson's "The Life of Ian Fleming") adds credence to the speculation that the novel was completed; however, these writings may pre-date the writing of "The Man with the Golden Gun".


In 1974, EON Productions made a film based on the novel. In the film, Mary Goodnight is kidnapped, and also provides comic relief. Scaramanga's domicile changed from Cuba to China. Accordingly, the character of Felix Leiter was excluded while Nick-Nack, Andrea Anders and Hai Fat were added. Bond's attempt to kill M at the novel's beginning, was excluded from the film. Also, the film's story has nothing to do with the sugar industry as in the novel but features a plot about solar lasers and circuitry as the villain's main agenda.

The novel was adapted as a daily comic strip which was published in the British "Daily Express" newspaper and syndicated around the world. The adaptation ran from 10 January to 10 September 1966. The adaptation was written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Yaroslav Horak. [ cite web | title=Book Reviews: Ian Fleming's The Man With the Golden Gun | url= | work=Adi Tantimedh| accessdate=2007-08-25 ] The strip was reprinted by Titan Books in the early 1990s and again in 2004 as part of "The Man with the Golden Gun" anthology that also includes "The Living Daylights". [ cite web | title=Book Information: The Man With the Golden Gun | url= | work=Internet Book list | publisher=Steven Jeffery | accessdate=2007-08-25 ]

This novel was also published in serial form by "Playboy" magazine from April through July 1965.

Publication history

The following are the publications of "The Man with the Golden Gun". [ cite web| title=The Man with the Golden Gun at Bond-Ian | url= | accessdate= 2007-08-24 | publisher=Bryan Krofchok ]

*London, Jonathan Cape, First British edition: 1st printing: 1 April 1965, 2nd printing: May 1965, 3rd printing: June 1965.
*London: Jonathan Cape. 4th printing: 1971;
*London: Jonathan Cape. 5th printing: 1974;
*London: Jonathan Cape. 6th printing: 1979.
*England: Viking/Penguin 4 April 2002. ISBN 0-670-91040-6

*London: Pan Books, 1st printing: 1966; 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th printings: 1967; 6th and 7th printings: 1968; 8th printing: 1969.
*London: Pan Books, 9th printing: 1970; 10th printing: 1972; 11th and 12th printings: 1973.
*London: Pan. 13th printing: 1974; 14th printing: 1976. ISBN 0-330-10527-2
*St. Albans [Hertford] : Triad/Panther. 1st printing: 1978. ISBN 0-586-04522-8
*London: Triad/Granada. 2nd printing: 1980; 3rd printing: 1982. ISBN 0-586-04522-8
*London: Triad/Granada 4th printing: 1983. ISBN 0-586-04522-8
*London: Triad/Panther/Granada. 5th printing: 1984. ISBN 0-586-04522-8
*Sevenoaks [Kent] : Coronet. 1st printing: February 1989. ISBN 0-340-42571-7
*Sevenoaks [Kent] : Coronet. 4th printing ISBN 0-340-42571-7
*London: Penguin. 4 April 2002. ISBN 0-14-100289-1
*Somerset [England] : Transaction. Large print edition. September 1999. ISBN 0765806541
*England: Nelson Thomes. Children’s edition. 1st printing: December 1976. ISBN 0-7487-0354-3


External links

* [ Ian Fleming bibliography] of first editions

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