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Interestingly, Godzilla arrived in cinemas less than a year after Bond made his debut in booksellers. As a kid, I loved both characters.
The debut novel by Ian Fleming is stark and claustrophobic, with a handsome visual splendor, spareness of description and a bitter dose of nihilism.
Racist and sexist epithets are occasionally thrown in like firecrackers but rather than come off as moral defects for Fleming or date the novel, give James Bond texture and combustibility.
Compared to the comic book styling of some of the sillier movies, this is a gambling tale that features spycraft rather than a spy story that features a casino.
At 48, words, I was able to shoot through it in forty-eight hours, roughly the amount of time one of Bond's missions might last.
Bond's assignment begins in the fictional town of Royale-les-Eaux on the coast of northern France, a resort town and site of an "elegantly dilapidated" casino.
Bond takes a break from the roulette wheel, where he's actually been keeping an eye on the baccarat table and a gambler named Le Chiffre.
He walks to his hotel and learns that ten million francs have been wired to him, approved by M, the head of his department in London.
Bond's working capital at the casino now stands at twenty-seven million francs. After checking his room carefully for signs of intrusion, he goes to bed, alone, one hand on a.
His loose spending habits--investing fifty million francs of Moscow's money in a failed chain of brothels--and embezzlement have likely drawn the attention of SMERSH, the Soviet umbrella organization dedicated to smashing agents the acronym translates to "Death To Spies".
With operating capital of twenty-five million francs, Le Chiffre desperately seeks to refill the plundered union funds at the Casino Royale, where efforts to compete with the neighboring casinos has resulted in a well-publicized and anticipated baccarat bank this June.
Intrigued by the prospect of destroying Le Chiffre at the baccarat table, M selects Bond, one his agency's feared double 0's, a designation earned by agents who kill a man in the line of duty.
Veteran of a casino assignment in Monte Carlo and a talented gambler in his own right, is tough as well, a skill he may need if he comes into contact with the two bodyguards Le Chiffre keeps.
Bond passes himself off as a fop gambling away a family fortune made on tobacco and sugar in Jamaica. Mathis and Bond exchanged cheerful talk about the fine weather and the prospects of a revival in the fortunes of Royale-les-Eaux.
The girl sat silent. She accepted one of Bond's cigarettes, examined it and then smoked it appreciatively and without affectation, drawing the smoke deeply into her lungs with a little sigh and then exhaling it casually through her lips and nostrils.
Her movements were economical and precise with no trace of self-consciousness. Bond finds the girl to be professional and easy to converse with.
He recognizes their sexual chemistry and would like to sleep with her, but only after their assignment. Bond later learns her name is Vesper Lynd.
Fleming not only pauses to show and Vesper at work--the pair communicate vast amounts of information about each other in the way Bond offers her a glass of vodka, before her amused glance forces him to suggest a cocktail--but also illustrates the sensory experience of a European casino in the s and how baccarat is played, with a round of twelve players dealt two cards with the option for a third, a winning hand adding up to nine and face cards useless.
To separate the novel from the movie, I should state that while Goldfinger or On Her Majesty's Secret Service are the films typically cited by Bond connoisseurs as the best of the series, with Sean Connery and George Lazenby playing Bond alternately, I'm actually most enamored by Daniel Craig's debut as in Casino Royale In addition to Bond being reintroduced as rougher and more muscular--a killer--than ever before, Vesper Lynd Eva Green and Le Chiffre Mads Mikkelsen nearly eclipse in intrigue.
The bevy of beauties or deranged villains are interchangeable in a lot of these movies, but not this one. Casino Royale functions succinctly and beautifully as a world parallel to the film series, beginning in the wake of World War II rather than the Swinging Sixties, and with a slightly rougher and more wayward Bond.
For the of literature, and the men who defeated the Axis Powers, Asian stereotypes are simply a matter of professional experience and women belong at home cooking or gossiping, not interfering in men's work.
At least one of these prejudices--the one about women's work being in the home--are admirably and tenderly subverted in the course of the novel while the other is an aside that demonstrates Bond's self-isolation more than it does a belief by Fleming.
Fleming's writing is like an Esquire Magazine article without any of the hooptedoodle or parts for men to skip over.
Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.
And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. But he was honest enough to admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women.
One day, and he accepted the fact, he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck. Fleming adorns the novel with twenty-seven splendid chapter titles 8.
Pink Lights and Champagne , 9. The Game Is Baccarat , Black Hare and Grey Hound which is something I always like.
The story surges in momentum from team building to the big game, then view spoiler [Bond's torture by Le Chiffre hide spoiler ] and then view spoiler [Bond's romantic duel with Vesper Lynd hide spoiler ].
Fleming makes the stakes clear in each conflict, articulates both the physical environment and emotional environment succinctly and carries the characters honestly through to their inevitable fate.
In contrast to some of the sillier movies in the series, the action is very grounded and there are barely any pyrotechnics, with playing cards and vodka taking precedence to gadgets.
My complaint--and where I think this novel comes up short in satisfaction to the best films of the series--is Fleming's habit of hewing too close to reality.
Of the four characters who are killed, only one of them dies in front of Bond. The other casualties occur off the page and seem a bit perfunctory.
If you're stuck on a door stopper of short fiction like I was Edgar Allan Poe or reading non-fiction that's particularly heavy or deep, I highly recommend giving Ian Fleming a try to blast some cool fresh air through the musty corridor.
My reading docket is being revise to make way for the second novel in the series: Live and Let Die.
View all 6 comments. Ian Fleming has some poetry in his veins! I would never have guessed that.
In his mind he fingered the necklace of the days to come. The moonlight shone through the half-closed shutters and lapped at the secret shadows in the snow of her body Bond awoke in his own room at dawn and for a time he lay and stroked his memories.
I'm not sure if I'd call him a misogynist. Vesper visits him and treats him with kindness and empathy, and no mockery.
Bond is a walking hard-on when he thinks about what's to come: She was thoughtful and full of consideration without being slavish and without compromising her arrogant spirit.
And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape.
Loving her physically would each time be a thrilling voyage without the anticlimax of arrival. She would surrender herself avidly, he thought, and greedily enjoy all the intimacies of the bed without ever allowing herself to be possessed.
Bond and Vesper are in love. Bond cannot or will not process Vesper's complicated back story and the effect she has had on him, so he destroys the memory of his love for her.
Bond may be fooling himself but he hasn't fooled me. Vesper is a defining person in Bond's life, no matter how much he may want to discard his memory of her.
I guess that's what losing the love of your life can do to a person. I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't this. View all 36 comments.
Sep 15, Lyn rated it liked it. The beginning of the James Bond stories. And what an odd beginning. Yes, we are introduced to Bond and provided some backstory, we know that his 00 nomenclature is because he has killed and is licensed to kill again in his service to Queen and country.
We learn that he is a spy and a gambler, a heavy smoker and likes his vodka martini shaken not stirred. But this is almost more of a romance.
Fleming describes a decidedly more vulnerable and human Bond than has been portrayed in films. Fleming, t The beginning of the James Bond stories.
Fleming, then a year-old first time writer, drew from his experience as a British naval intelligence officer during WWII and journalist to color his narrative about a secret agent.
I imagined Fleming writing in the early 50s, the war with Germany still fresh on his mind and the paradigm shift to the cold war with communism ongoing, before the films and the popular success.
The short novel is fairly straightforward. Bond, a talented card player, is sent to beat and discredit a rogue Russian spy in a high stakes baccarat game.
A good beginning, not what I expected, but entertaining and drawing the reader on to more Bond adventures.
The first novel about James Bond, the 00 agent, takes place at the Casino Royale. If Bond fails in his mission by losing at the card table, then British government will be directly funding communists.
I have a thing for Bond. Cool under pressure, fast cars, looks fabulous in a tux I thought I would like this a lot, but I didn't. I don't think the story has aged well.
The best parts of the tale took p The first novel about James Bond, the 00 agent, takes place at the Casino Royale. The best parts of the tale took place in the casino itself, the bar or the dinner table.
There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant, not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or to be taken advantage of up to the hilt.
But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not be confused with faulty appreciation of the odds. For, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.
I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink is my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.
Why they hell couldn't they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men's work to the men?
I believe I'll stick to the films from now on. View all 7 comments. Casino Royale is the first book in the James Bond series.
I've seen the movie -- the new and the old version -- many times, but this is the first time I've actually read the book.
James Bond is a much more complex character than the way he is portrayed in the movies. Yes, he travels to exotic places to kill people and he has more than his share of liaisons with beautiful women The complexity of the character just doesn't come through in the movies.
The movies are pretty much just action-packed fight scenes separated by drinking martinis and having sex.
In Casino Royale, Bond infiltrates a high stakes baccarat game in order to bankrupt and ultimately ruin a Russian operative, Le Chiffre.
But Le Chiffre is determined not to be ruined. He kidnaps Bond and Vesper Lynd, setting in motion events that might be the end of Bond. This book contains one of the most gruesome torture scenes I have ever experienced in a book.
The movie starring Daniel Craig depicted the basics of the torture, but left out much of the psychological brutality of the entire scene. I thought the movie version was traumatic It's an important scene that's integral to the plot of the book.
It's not overdone and there is absolutely no detailed description of the event or in the injuries to Bond.
The horror comes in the matter of fact manner in which Le Chiffre explains what he is doing and why, and the description of how he goes about it.
The coldness, the violence, the unfeeling nature of a very evil man In the movie, a knotted rope is used for the attack. But in the book it's a simple household tool, a carpet beater.
Le Chiffre comments that it is easy to cause extreme pain and suffering to a man with the simplest of tools if one knows just how to do it.
The entire scene sent chills down my spine. It is definitely not for the feint of heart. The book has 3 distinct sections -- the baccarat game at the casino, the kidnapping and torture, and the aftermath.
I didn't much care for the first section of the book. I have absolutely no interest in gambling and there is a lot of explanation about the game, the odds, what cards they are playing, etc.
Plus Fleming uses a lot of French, German and Russian words and phrases sprinkled throughout. While that does help create atmosphere, after awhile it just gets old, especially when it's gourmet food, wines, liquors and other details I felt weren't all that important.
For me, it was just a bit overdone. After the baccarat game, the action revved up considerably and the story became much more interesting for me.
The ending is a bit abrupt, but it makes sense that it ends the way it does. After reading this first Bond book, I have a better understanding of the character and why he is the way he is.
I want to read through the entire Bond series this year as part of my goal to read more books that I've always wanted to read, but never actually took the time.
I'm glad I finally read Casino Royale. The book is so much more detailed than the movie. I listened to the audiobook version of Casino Royale from Audible.
I'm glad I chose to listen to the audiobook as as I don't speak French, German or Russian and would have completely flubbed my way through a lot of wine, food, character and place names throughout the entire novel.
At just over 5 hours long, it was a relatively quick listen. Stevens reads at a nice even pace, and did an excellent job with all different accents and voices of characters.
I have hearing loss but was easily able to understand and enjoy this audiobook. Jun 04, Jason Koivu rated it really liked it.
There is a time for every man and this man is of his time. I might go a step further and say, a profession for every man and this man is of his profession, for James Bond is a psychopath and one would need to be in order to do the things his job requires of him.
He is a controllable psychopath. He's not the loner, loose cannon type. He's the loner, well-aimed cannon type. He's not going to fill up his closet with the severed limbs of his random victims, because the voices in his head told him to There is a time for every man and this man is of his time.
He's not going to fill up his closet with the severed limbs of his random victims, because the voices in his head told him to.
He's going to fill up his closet with the severed limbs of his victims, because his boss told him to, and the victims won't be random.
Bond objectifies women, often referring to them as "bitch," seeing them only as a sexual commodity, and so many complain that they simply do not like this literary version of Bond.
The movie versions of the books have conditioned people to like James Bond, portraying him as a dashing man's man who takes what he wants and discards the remains when he's done.
It's cold-hearted, but we realize he's got a job to do I can't deny the difference between the two. One is lovable, the other is loathsome.
One is exciting to watch, but is otherwise a boring person. The other is exciting to watch and is an intensely interesting person.
You watch the movies for fun and come away with a warm-fuzzy. You read the books for fun and come away leery of humanity. I'll put it simpler.
Movie Bond likes to make ravaging love to his women. Book Bond has rape fantasies. I don't deny anyone's subjective tastes to like or dislike one over the other.
I see good reason to hate Book Bond. But I wouldn't read Ian Fleming's work for pure fun. He's created a singular character type.
James Bond is not a hero. He's a man paid to do a job. What you think of the man and your opinion of the job is entirely up to you.
But real versions of these things have existed in our world and they are horribly fascinating. View all 15 comments.
Jun 25, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: Everyone's heard of James Bond I'm guessing. I've seen a few of the movies over the years but can't say I'm a big fan; I can take them or leave them.
But I thought I would add a few of the Fleming novels to my read list and I always like to read the debut novel of any author, especially if it's a series.
Casino Royale is not considered one of the best of the novels by critics, and I can't say I concur because I haven't read any of the others yet, but I can understand after reading it.
I gave it Everyone's heard of James Bond I'm guessing. I gave it 4 stars, but 3. About what I expected although there was more "serious" romance than I thought there would be.
Dec 03, Will M. I've been a huge fan of James Bond ever since Casino Royale was shown in theatres. I remember watching it with my family and my dream then was to become just like James Bond.
I watched all the Bond movies that Daniel Craig starred in ever since that Royale movie. I haven't seen the older ones though, and I heard that this novel is similar to the older movies, and thankfully I haven't seen those.
There's this scene in this novel wherein the villain tortured Bond by repeatedly striking his m I've been a huge fan of James Bond ever since Casino Royale was shown in theatres.
While reading the novel, I imagined Bond as Craig, and I don't think I can ever imagine him as someone else. The novel itself is very short, but substance filled.
Is that a thing? I really enjoyed it, and it brought back a lot of memories. Not that much action I guess, but this is Bond, and I'm pretty biased about him.
Deep inside, I'm sure I'd still want to be a spy if given the chance. I almost forgot, this novel explained why Bond got the status, been wondering my whole life.
Not sure if they told it in the movies, but I was 8 years old when I watched it, so I can't really remember much.
He likes to smoke 70 cigarettes a day, take cold baths, and collect cool cars. I'm a huge car enthusiast, I hate cold baths, and I don't smoke, but one day, I still believe that I'll be just like James Bond.
I'm a huge crime-mystery-thriller fan, and I'm a huge Bond fan, so this novel was quite enjoyable for me. I've been deciding between 4 or 5 stars, but I believe I didn't find any flaws that bothered me that much.
Like I said though, I'm really biased when it comes to Bond. Read this if you want a short but satisfying crime novel. Apr 16, Chad rated it liked it.
Surprisingly most of the plot of the movie is in the book minus the parkour scenes in Africa. Bond is a cold ruthless bastard.
It's hard to get past the sexism of the era The book was written in The plot is slow and plodding in places, especially the beginning.
The excitement picks up after the baccarat scene. It's definitely a cold war era spy novel with lots of double crosses and twists and turns.
Definitely not the best Bond novel, but first books for Surprisingly most of the plot of the movie is in the book minus the parkour scenes in Africa.
Definitely not the best Bond novel, but first books for a character rarely are. Oct 31, Councillor rated it did not like it Shelves: Never before have I thought of myself specifically as a fan of the James Bond movies, although I did watch 13 out of overall 24 Bond films.
However, along with the recent release date of "Spectre" which I haven't seen yet , I wanted to discover how Ian Fleming's works influenced the successful movie adaptions and whether or not those movies lived up to the novel's expectations.
Too high, I guess. Some amazing artwork originating from the movie can be found out there on the internet, and doesn't Casino Royale already sound pretty cool?
Sexy double agents in suits with attractive girls surrounding them and villainous gangsters trying to take over the world who will probably end up being defeated after some sort of showdown - it's always the same procedure used in every film, yet all most of them become a huge success.
In contrast to many other Bond movies, I can understand how this success came about since the adaption of "Casino Royale" was pretty well done, but after reading Ian Fleming's original, I am nothing but bored by even hearing the name James Bond.
But who is this James Bond in the novel? Raymond Chandler once said that "James Bond is what every man would like to be, and what every woman would like between her sheets".
So, if every man would like to be sexy, but tending to brutal, rapey behaviour, and protective with women, but degrading them, thinking of himself as superior to the other gender, and murdering numerous other people as a 'hobby' Never before did I encounter a character so unlikeable and abhorrent, and neither do I understand why people like those seem to have so much success with women.
I'm not opposed to unlikeable characters - some of the most interesting protagonists I've read about are anything but likeable - but the image of men and women depicted by Fleming is simply unbearable.
Ian Fleming's writing is certainly not awful. He included some interesting sections reflecting Bond's behaviour, giving his character time to think over his situation, but it did nothing to transform Bond into a character with depth.
The double agent with a strong leaning towards sex with as many women as possible remains the only characteristic James Bond is allowed to have.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Most of the the one and two star reviewers of this book were sadly disappointed, expecting that the glitzy movie version of Bond would be found in Fleming's actual books.
But, with the exception of Sean Connery's Bond in the first three movies, and Daniel Craig's back-to-basics interpretation in the first three of the current series, the movie Bond character for the most part has been nothing more than escapist fantasy.
The literary Bond isn't the superhero of the movies. He's a flawed, cold killer in the service of his country in a dangerous time.
Written during the height of the Cold War, Fleming's Bond novels were based on actual people and operations that Fleming had first hand knowledge of because of his highly placed role in British Naval Intelligence during WW II.
Rather than judge Casino Royale, or any of Fleming's Bond novels, by what you've seen in the movies, instead first learn about the real Operation Goldeneye; the real Operation Tracer; the real Operation Ruthless; the real No.
The tradecraft, operations, units, events, and involved individuals were the very real WW II sources that Ian Fleming used in creating Bond and the world in which he moved.
Fleming's romanticized works have a ring of authenticity recognizable to anyone familiar with or who may have participated in events that occurred during those times.
Read Casino Royale; travel back to a time when French was the only international language; a time when Joseph Stalin and the Soviet NKVD represented a very real threat; a time when people feared that threat; and a time when the governments of the Free World had very real people on the payroll like Fleming's fictional James Bond to counter that threat.
Perhaps you'll see the same things in it that caused the first three printings to sell out quickly in the U.
At the time of Casino Royale , Bond is about 30 years old and has held the 00 number for about six months.
He earns the U. He spends what he earns. He knows that statistically he will have at least 10, probably 20, and as many as 30 very tough assignments before the mandatory 00 retirement age of He knows the odds of his surviving the coming ten years are slim to none.
And that depresses him. How do I know? Ian Fleming tells us so in Chapter One of "Moonraker" third book in the series.
That's the Bond that Ian Fleming created. Much more interesting and gritty and real and human. It's the Bond Daniel Craig resurrected until the new crop of Hollywood fools screwed it up again with November 's Spectre.
I'll stick with the books, thank you very much! Fleming's writing style, while perhaps not rising to the expectations of modern pedantic poseur literary critics, is easy to read and follow.
As would be expected from a successful journalist writing for educated U. I didn't find that aspect disruptive at all to the flow of the narrative.
If you want entertaining glitz, stick with the movies; if want something more, read the books! I've enjoyed them all immensely in the context of the time period in which they take place.
Bond fans may want to check out flemingsbond. Annotations and Chronologies" by John Griswald. Possible spoilers below- This kickstarter to the James Bond novels is written very well.
From the start, Fleming creates a bond no pun intended between the reader and the cold, calculating spy that is James Bond.
The atmosphere of the novel is indeed tense, and the expressions on the characters' faces are easily imagined. I was particularly impressed with the Le Chiffre character, who is written in a clear and convincing way.
Fleming describes his facial expressions and mannerisms in a way that you feel almost familiar with him, and it's somewhat terrifying. There is a torture scene that is quite difficult to read, but its aftermath is what makes the novel.
Despite all his coldness, James Bond's humanity is revealed in his romance with Vesper Lynd. Le Chiffre is a banker to the world's terrorists. He is participating in a poker game at Montenegro, where he must win back his money, in order to stay safe among the terrorist market.
Bond, using help from Felix Leiter, Mathis and having Vesper pose as his partner, enters the most important poker game in his already dangerous career.
Recently promoted to 00 status, James Bond takes over his first mission, in which he faces a mysterious private banker to world terrorism and poker player, Le Chiffre.
Along with a beautiful Treasury agent and the MI6 man in Montenegro, Bond takes part in a high stakes poker game set up by Le Chiffre in order to recover a huge sum of his clients' money he lost in a failed plot that the British spy took down.
Casino Royale introduces James Bond before he holds his license to kill. But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional assassinations in quick succession, he is elevated to '00' status.
Bond's first mission takes him to Uganda where he is to spy on a terrorist, Mollaka. Not everything goes to plan and Bond decides to investigate, independently of MI6, in order to track down the rest of the terrorist cell.