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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming's agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who's been on a bad...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Enigma That Is Bond

In 1953 Dwight Eisenhower became president, the hydrogen bomb debuted, Stalin died, the Rosenbergs were executed, and a new hero arrived in time for the iciest phase of the Cold War. Ruthless, hard, loner-by-choice James Bond debuted that year in Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale," as someone much different than he was in decades to come. This Bond doesn't employ gadgets, doesn't shoot his gun, and has odd feelings about women. Meeting one here, he notes in her eyes "a touch of ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he would like to shatter, roughly." Yeah, I can totally see Roger Moore in that role! Bond's lack of likeability is a key and singular strength in "Casino Royale," set in the mythical French port town of Royale-les-Eaux where Bond has been sent to outduel a KGB operative named Le Chiffre - at cards. If Bond's successful, a key Soviet puppet operation in France will go down in bankruptcy and scandal. As others note in these reviews, not much happens in "Casino Royale." The action scenes are brief and rendered in a low-key, realistic manner. Fleming keeps things humming not with the "Fleming sweep" of a long drawn-out set of varied action sequences that were a hallmark of his later work, but with verisimilitude and an appreciation of his main character's tortured psychology. You smell the late-night sweat around the tables of boule and chemin-de-fer; feel the hangover Bond has trying to acclimate himself in a den of lust and greed. Fleming's writing would never be quite this good again, in part because he no longer needed to sell Bond to the audience and in part because he treated later Bond volumes as a chore and a joke. Bond in later volumes seemed to mutate from this character into something softer and jollier. Fleming found the metahumor of Bond, and the movies, when they came, added more. So this is the one chance to see Bond as someone serious, a prisoner of the Cold War he ostensibly serves, not without questions even after enduring horrific torture at the hands of Le Chiffre, about what makes him right and others wrong. "Surround yourself with people, my dear James," suggests a friend. "They are easier to fight for than principles." But Bond follows this advice to his peril. The last third of the novel loses many, as the main business is long concluded. But it's here that Fleming works his black magic most effectively upon the reader, and on Bond, who finds himself captivated by a woman named Vesper who speaks in riddles and denies him her deeper self even after they've made love. "People are islands," she tells him. "They don't really touch." Of course, Bond is a perfect counterpart to Vesper that way. Fleming imbues "Casino Royale" with a sort of romantic fatalism that hangs in the air long after the basic but exciting story is done with. It's the same sort of fatalism with which many viewed the world around them in 1953, when the Cold War did not bode so well for the Free World. Things changed, worldviews b

Introducing James Bond

This is the first of Ian Flemming's original James Bond novels. James Bond is sent to the casino Royale in France, where he must outwit a Russian treasury agent at the gambling tables and humiliate him, forcing his superiors to retire him. The novel is a *very* fast read (I finished it in one single four-hour sitting), yet still very enjoyable and worth buying. Flemming fleshes out Bond really well, with a lot of attention to detail. There is a tension-filled baccarat scene, and Flemming even gives readers an effective, quickie tutorial on baccarat so they can properly enjoy it. For a spy story written in the fifties, this one doesn't feel dated in the least.The only oddity about Casino Royale is the structure of the story. The story really ends about three quarters of the way into the book, and the remaining chapters detail Bond's recovery and subsequent romance with his assistant, Vesper. It's never boring, but I wish Flemming could have integrated the two aspects of the story in a more cohesive fashion. Still, Casino Royale is an excellent novel, and a worthy introduction to James Bond. Every fan needs to read this one.

Great, Moody Adventure

Normally a spy novel is the quickest to end up on the bargain pile, since it's relevant to the political times it was written in. Times change, and the book often loses its appeal. Casino Royale, on the other hand, is as gripping now as it ever was in the Cold War. Fleming captured the feel of those dark days with vivid description and a break-neck pace. It's dark and not what a Bond-film enthusiast would expect, but worth reading. The torture scene is a classic.

The first Bond and an OK one

The first Bond written by Fleming and it is different from the others not as much action but extroadinary story tell and one of the best endings!

VERY GOOD, BUT UNUSUAL

THE FIRST 007 NOVELLA, AND IT IS UNLIKE THE OTHERS. BUT IT IS ONE OF THE MOST ORIGINAL BONDS, AND IS THE MOST VIOLENT AND PROVIDES A MORE SHOCKING CLIMAX ENDING THAN THOSE OF THE OTHERS. I SUGGEST READING THIS FIRST THOUGH, GREAT STORY TELLING!

Casino Royale Mentions in Our Blog

Casino Royale in Drink Your Books in These 9 Literary-Themed Bars
Drink Your Books in These 9 Literary-Themed Bars
Published by Beth Clark • February 08, 2019
Literary-themed bars across the US beg the question: Are you really alone if you're with the spirit(s) of your favorite authors or books? We don't think so. (And we're betting you've taken a book into a bar before.) Below are 9 establishments bookworms can drink their books in or even borrow one from the bar's library to read while sipping a cocktail.
Casino Royale in The Role Books Played for 6 of The Biggest Stars of 2018
The Role Books Played for 6 of The Biggest Stars of 2018
Published by Beth Clark • December 31, 2018

Instead of doing a typical "year in review" post like everyone else, we thought it would be fun to close the door on 2018 from a different angle: by looking back at the books that played roles in the careers of the year's biggest stars. Everybody has to start somewhere, but with hard work and a few lucky literary breaks, these household names didn't stop there.

Casino Royale in James Bond: The Top Five
James Bond: The Top Five
Published by Hugo Munday • November 06, 2015

President John F. Kennedy listed From Russia with Love among his top 10 favorite novels, and after a private screening of Dr. No at the White House he was reputed to have said "I wish I had James Bond on my staff." Bond was the creation of Ian Fleming, former pupil at England's most prestigious private school, member of British Intelligence during World War II, and off-spring of the Fleming family who owned a private bank. After World War II Fleming tried his hand at writing, and sixty years ago the first Bond book, Casino Royale, was born.

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