The Man with the Golden Gun is the twelfth novel (and thirteenth book) of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. It was first published by Jonathan Cape in the UK on 1 April 1965, eight months after the author’s death. The novel was not as detailed or polished as the others in the series, leading to poor but polite reviews. Despite that, the book was a best-seller.
The story centres on the fictional British Secret Service operative James Bond, who had been posted missing, presumed dead, after his last mission in Japan. Bond returns to Britain via the Soviet Union, where he had been brainwashed to attempt to assassinate his superior, M. After being “cured” by the MI6 doctors, Bond is sent to the Caribbean to find and kill Francisco Scaramanga, the titular “Man with the Golden Gun”.
The first draft and part of the editing process was completed before Fleming’s death and the manuscript had passed through the hands of his copy editor, William Plomer, but it was not as polished as other Bond stories. Much of the detail contained in the previous novels was missing, as this was often added by Fleming in the second draft. Publishers Jonathan Cape passed the manuscript to Kingsley Amis for his thoughts and advice on the story, although his suggestions were not used.
The novel was serialized in 1965, firstly in the Daily Express and then in Playboy; in 1966 a daily comic strip adaptation was also published in the Daily Express. In 1974 the book was loosely adapted as the ninth film in the Eon Productions James Bond series, with Roger Moore playing Bond and Fleming’s cousin, Christopher Lee, as Scaramanga.