Goldfinger Summary & Study Guide

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Goldfinger Summary & Study Guide Description

Goldfinger Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles and a Free Quiz on Goldfinger by Ian Fleming.

"Goldfinger" is a classic spy thriller featuring the dashing British gentleman spy James Bond, Agent 007. Bond works for the British Secret Service and is one of the elite "00" operatives with a "license to kill." After breaking up a heroin smuggling ring, Bond crosses paths in Miami with a British millionaire, Auric Goldfinger, who is obsessed with gold and has hoarded away enormous quantities of it. Under cover, Bond eventually gets closer to Goldfinger and becomes part of his outrageous scheme to rob Fort Knox of its gold. Bond also learns the Goldfinger is a major financier of SMERSH, the Soviet secret spy ring. With the help of the US military, Bond foils Goldfinger's plan, but he escapes. Later, Goldfinger kidnaps Bond and steals an airplane, intending to turn Bond over to SMERSH agents. Bond daringly forces the plane down over Canada, killing Goldfinger and most of his henchmen while surviving himself.

On his way back to England after breaking up a drug smuggling operation, James Bond becomes stranded in Miami when his flight is canceled. He becomes the guest of a wealthy American named Du Pont, who asks his help to catch a man who has been cheating him at cards. Bond agrees, and exposes the card cheat, who turns out to be Auric Goldfinger. Bond threatens to expose Goldfinger unless he pays back Du Pont all he has lost on the crooked games, and then leaves Miami with Goldfinger's beautiful secretary, Jill Masterton. He tries to persuade Masterton to leave Goldfinger, but she returns to him after she and Bond share a long, romantic train ride to New York. Bond returns to England.

Bond is called in to meet with the head of the Secret Service, a man called only "M." M tells Bond he is to report to the Bank of England to learn about a possible gold smuggling operation led by Goldfinger. Bond learns that Goldfinger is one of the richest men in the world, and is obsessed with gold, which he hoards. He finances his operation, it is believed by the Bank of England, by smuggling it into India where a high price can be had for it. Goldfinger has metallurgy laboratories in England and Switzerland, but he has no criminal record, and it is not clear how he is getting the gold out of England. He is also suspected to be backing the soviet spy ring known as SMERSH, since bars of his gold have been found on captured SMERSH agents. Bond is assigned to find out more.

Bond knows from his conversation with Goldfinger in Miami that he is a regular at St. Mark's golf course, where, coincidentally, Bond once played frequently as a young man. Bond arranges an "accidental" meeting with Goldfinger at the course and the men agree to play a round of golf wagering the $10,000 that Bond forced Goldfinger to give Du Pont to cover Bond's fee in Miami. During the course of the match, Bond again catches Goldfinger cheating an exposes him by cheating a little himself. Goldfinger is infuriated, but he pays up and invites Bond to dinner at his mansion that evening.

Bond accepts the invitation, hoping to prompt Goldfinger into somehow taking him into his smuggling scheme. Goldfinger tries to find out more about Bond, and Bond gives him his cover story that he works for a company called Universal Export. Bond hints that he has been involved in drug smuggling himself, trying to entice Goldfinger to make him an offer. Goldfinger does not take the bait. He tells Bond he will be taking an air ferry to Europe the following day.

Bond arranges to plant a homing device on Goldfinger's Rolls Royce before he has it flown to France the following day. He chases Goldfinger from a distance through France toward Switzerland. Along the way, crosses paths with Tilly Soames, a beautiful young woman in a silver sports car. Afraid she might be an enemy agent, Bond disables her car by backing into it. She tells him she is a golfer on her way to Geneva to play in a tournament. Bond offers her a ride, which she accepts.

Soames' real name turns out to be Tilly Masterton, the sister of Jill Masterton. Bond learns that Goldfinger killed Jill when she returned to him after leaving with Bond. Tilly has been tracking Goldfinger to kill him in revenge. Both Bond and Tilly are captured when they try to break into Goldfinger's metal laboratory in Geneva.

Goldfinger tortures Bond and threatens to kill him, but Bond does not break his cover. Certain that he is about to die, Bond blacks out. He wakes up in a small room in the United States. Goldfinger has not killed him, but has kidnapped him and Tilly and is holding them in adjoining rooms in a New York warehouse. Goldfinger tells them they are to act as secretaries for him as he plans one of the biggest robberies in history, stealing the gold from Fort Knox.

Goldfinger calls together the heads of several American crime syndicates to help in the scheme. He convinces them to help him in the elaborate heist, which will involve poisoning thousands of people through the water supply so that they can enter the military base posed as rescue workers. Goldfinger plans to blow open the vault using a small nuclear bomb. Desperately, Bond drops a note outlining the plan in the hope that it will be delivered to the authorities who might be able to stop it. In the meantime, Bond goes along with Goldfinger's scheme. He learns that Goldfinger plans to escape the country on a Russian submarine and to emigrate to the Soviet Union. This confirms that Goldfinger is connected with SMERSH.

On the day of the robbery, Goldfinger and his crew enter the base by train. As they slowly drive in on the rails, Bond sees people fallen all over the ground. The guards at the vault are also lying still, seemingly dead. As Goldfinger's crew begins to carry out the robbery, however, the soldiers spring to life and ambush them. Bond's note had been found and the President of the US himself had overseen the operation to thwart the plot. While trying to escape, Tilly Masterton is killed by Goldfinger's head henchman. Bond escapes, but so does Goldfinger.

Again, Bond is on his way back to England but is detained at the airport. He is told he must get a certain inoculation before boarding the plane. It turns out to be a sleeping drug he is given, and he wakes up again the prisoner of Goldfinger, now flying in a stolen airplane back to the Soviet Bloc to turn Bond over to SMERSH. With Goldfinger is Pussy Galore, the leader of one of the crime gangs that had undertaken the heist. She passes Bond a note that she will help him escape.

He needs no help, as it turns out. Using a knife concealed in his shoe, Bond breaks out one of the windows of the pressurized cabin. Goldfinger's lead henchman, a huge Korean man called Oddjob, is sucked out of the aircraft. Bond manages to hold on, and gets in a hand-to-hand battle with Goldfinger. Bond strangles him until he is dead. He then makes radio contact with the ground and commands the flight crew to make an emergency landing on the sea near the Canadian shore. The plane lands roughly, and Bond and Galore are the only survivors. They are rescued, and given adjoining cabins on the rescue ship. The novel closes as Bond takes Galore into his arms and kisses her.

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