To Valhalla with Twin Exhausts

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Author: Anthony Lejeune
Editors: Jean C. Stine and Daniel G. Marowski
Date: 1984
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 1,013 words

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ENDIT”: this single cablese word, prophetic and appropriate, is the title of the last chapter of the last James Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun. From the hospital bed where he lies recovering from bullet wounds, Bond cables M, refusing the knighthood which a grateful government has offered him.

In You Only Live Twice we left Bond, bemused from the holocaust which closed his duel with Blofeld, heading blindly for Vladivostok. We now learn what happened to him there, and in what strange condition he returned to London. This opening sequence is the most interesting part of the book. Afterwards, Bond is perfunctorily de-brainwashed and sent, good as new, to hunt down “Pistols” Scaramanga, the deadliest gunman in the Caribbean. ...

The plot, as in several of Fleming's later books, contains little more than would make a respectable short story, and both its setting and some of its incidents are reminiscent of previous adventures. The Man with the Golden Gun is undeniably slight, but like everything Fleming wrote, intensely readable.

I saw him last a few weeks before he died. He seemed very tried. The effort of invention had become increasingly difficult. He found it particularly hard, he said, to think of new villains; and indeed Scaramanga is scarcely in the same league as Mister Big or Sir Hugo Drax or Rosa Klebb. Outrageous devices no longer bubbled up in his mind; it had been a long time since he contrived anything as gasp-provoking as Dr. No's death by guano...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420002873