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Casino Royale: James Bond 007 (Vintage)
 
 

Casino Royale: James Bond 007 (Vintage) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Fleming
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

Ian Fleming created the character of James Bond, he said, to overcome the shock of getting married. Whatever his reasons, his first attempt at fiction started a global cultural phenomenon.

Casino Royale takes place on a smaller stage than later Bond adventures, as if Fleming wanted to familiarise himself with his spy before setting him loose on the world but it fizzes with intensity. SMERSH, the most powerful and feared organisation in the USSR, and one of its operatives, the French communist le Chiffre, are blamed for the deaths of a number of British agents and the British Secret Service wants justice. In a characteristic Fleming twist, however, le Chiffre is compromised from the start--a deadly agent in the service of his masters but with a deadly secret to hide from them. His, as yet undetected, misappropriation of a vast amount of SMERSH funds presents the British Secret Service with an ingenious opportunity to turn killer into sacrificial lamb. When a nearly bankrupt le Chiffre sets out to do some serious gambling at the casino in Royale-les-Eaux in order to replace the money, James Bond is assigned to out-gamble him, make SMERSH aware of his embezzlement and sit back and watch as they do the dirty work for him.

Casino Royale reveals the full complexity of James Bond's character, his sophistication, his sensitivity (he has serious anxieties about being a killer) and also his darker side. He is emotionally cold and distant to the opposite sex and his views on women are strong and chauvinistic; "These blithering women who though they could do a man's work. Why 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 me?" Part of the attraction of the adventure is the way it sets out future trademarks of the 007 series; a stern but ultimately caring "M", the flirtation between 007 and Miss Moneypenny, the spectacular locations, the beautiful girls and the dangerous and violent criminals.

Casino Royale is the most serious and violent of all the Bond novels and it shows Bond at his coldest and most ruthless. It is a fabulous opening to the Bond series and gives wonderful insights into the character of James Bond 007. --Jamie Campbell

Review

A superb gambling scene, a torture scene which still haunts me, and, of course, a beautiful girl (Raymond Chandler )

Bond is a classic adventure-story hero … a hero for all time (Jeffrey Deaver )

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More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in 1908 and educated at Eton. After a brief period at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he went abroad to further his education. In 1931, having failed to get an appointment in the Foreign Office, he joined Reuters News Agency. During the Second World War, he was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty, rising to the rank of Commander. His wartime experiences provided him with a first-hand knowledge of secret operations.

After the war he became Foreign Manager of Kemsley Newspapers. He built his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica and there at the age of forty-four he wrote Casino Royale, the first of his novels featuring Commander James Bond. By the time of his death in 1964, the James Bond adventures had sold more than forty million copies. Dr No, starring Sean Connery, was released in 1962 and the Bond films continue to be huge international successes. He is also the author of the magical children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The novels of Ian Fleming were immediately recognised as classic thrillers by his contemporaries Kingsley Amis, Raymond Chandler and John Betjeman. With the invention of James Bond, Ian Fleming created the greatest British fictional icon of the late twentieth century.

(The picture is reproduced with the permission of the copyright owners, Ian Fleming Publications Limited and the Ian Fleming Will Trust)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A competent beginning 19 July 2003
Format:Audio CD
The first of Ian Fleming's 007 series is nothing really more than the first few shots fired in James Bond's war with a Soviet organisation: SMERSH.
In print, the world's most famous spy is similar but ultimately different from the loveable rogue that has blessed cinema screens for the past forty years. He is a cruel ruthless killer, ambivelant towards women; in that he loathes but desires them, but somewhat troubled with his dangerous profession.
In this the first installment, Bond comes up against a known and powerful SMERSH operative named "Le Chiffre". A Frenchman working for the Soviets with a penchant for spending his superiors cash on sideline businesses that he hopes will bring him fortune. In an attempt to hide his massive losses from his Soviet bosses, he attempts to retrieve their lost money by gambling with what remains at one of France's premier casinos.
Bond, an almost fresh but respected agent is sent to intercept "Le Chiffre" and bring him down, not with a bullet, but in a game of baccaret. Hoping to relieve him of his remaining funds Bond becomes involved in a wonderfully detailed game of cards, the aim being to coax a vengeful wrath from SMERSH onto their misguided French agent and thus ridding NATO of a potential nuisance from France.
The writing is of a very high standard. Bond is described well, as are all the other characters, making him seem more human than his on screen personna. Vesper, Bond's naive assistant, is believable and mysterious in her role, attracting Bond but focused on the job in hand. Fleming's talent for atmosphere and ambience are present here, neatly surrounding the main theme and it's absorbing narrative.
Rufus Sewell is a very casual, effortless voice talent. Each character has it's own trademark accent and tone.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond takes a chance and wins an audience 5 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
This is the first James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming so it provides a delightful view of the character before he became an iconic figure. While Bond is particular about getting his drink right and which car he drives, they are not the same drink and car we have come to identify with him from the movies. Also, although his boss is a mysterious character referred to as M, there are no Moneypenny or Q in sight. Without Q's inventions Bond relies more on his wit than his toys to stay alive.
Originally published in 1953, Casino Royale takes a young Bond who is questioning rather than convinced of the righteousness of his tasks and puts him in what I see as an improbable situation. Le Chiffre, a French Communist labor leader, was embezzling union funds to purchase a string of whore houses only to have them closed when they are outlawed by a new law. He needs to earn back his lost funds and decides to do it through casino gambling. Eager to discredit Le Chiffre before SMERSH hitmen can kill him, Bond's superiors send him to Monte Carlo to beat Le Chiffre at Baccarat. The game between these two is described wonderfully so that even someone who has never gambled can get caught up in the excitement. However it is hard to believe that the British government would bankroll someone to defeat an enemy agent at a game of chance that wasn't fixed.
Unlike the movies, much of what is in Bond's mind is revealed in this novel. His sexism is fully-developed with thoughts like this: "These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the 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 men?
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Shyne
Format:Paperback
Background

Casino Royale is the place to start when looking for Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. It is the first book of which another 11 followed by the author himself, however other authors have continued the series. This novel was released in 1953 and was the starting point of an enterprise that would gain worldwide recognition. Inspiration for these books partly came from his time in the Naval Intelligence Division during WW2. Casino Royale was particularly influenced from his time in a Lisbon casino called Estoril Casino, which had a number of spies of warring regimes due to Portugal's neutral state.

Personal Opinion

This is the first time I have read a James Bond novel or any of Ian Fleming's work. I started it early evening and finished it the same night as it did have me enthralled with Fleming's quick pace and suspense filled action within the Casino. Unfortunately I seen the film earlier in the year and as the film stays quite true to the book I already knew the twists that take place. However I would still advise someone to read it if they have seen the film as I still enjoyed the book. I do think the book comes to a climax early on (the end of the casino chapters) and I felt as if I had come to the end of the book half way through. Yet overall the book is well written and Ian Fleming is very articulate without lavishing pages of description on setting, this style aids the books fast paced nature. A note to those who are inexperienced with casino practice or games (which I am having never been to one or played), Fleming provides a concise explanation of the main game played (Baccarat, unlike the Texas hold-em poker displayed in the film) and also portrays the atmosphere and setting well enough for me to feel competent about the main theme of the novel.

Other links: Casino Royale (film 2006), Casino Royale (film 1967), Live and Let Die (the second novel)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book regardless of if you have seen the film first or not. Set in the cold war era Bond is sent to take down the head of the communist union in France. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Gogol
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The first and best bond book
Published 4 days ago by Mr. craiders
4.0 out of 5 stars review
Bought this for a non book lover and they have loved it so far. came in brilliant condition on posting.
Published 1 month ago by Alicia L Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant by the standards of the 60's, drivel now, yet with a certain...
I'm sure in the 60's this energised the planet, offering an insight into areas of life occupied by only a very few. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike Olley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I could not fault the ordering of this book.
It arrived promptly in the post, and the seller even took the effort of wrapping it in bubble-wrap to keep it safe. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lydia
4.0 out of 5 stars Ian Fleming – Casino Royale | Review
Casino Royale is a landmark in popular culture, the first ever novel to feature a certain British secret service agent - his name’s Bond. James Bond. Read more
Published 2 months ago by SocialBookshelves.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Seen the film but love the book, I love the old speech and lingo. started the next Dr NO and just as good.
Published 2 months ago by D W Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars First time Bond book reader
Everyone has heard of and seen the movies, they seldom fail to disappoint and often overshadow the books written by Ian Fleming, this is certainly the case for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
A fantastic book as expected. Better story than the film in my opinion. Have read may of his books and enjoyed them all a very different bond to some on film.
Published 3 months ago by Rob Higgins
5.0 out of 5 stars "Yes damnit, I said 'was'... the bitch is dead now!"
It started them all, and it remains one of the most visceral Bond novels published. Fleming initially strikes you as being blunt, and writing without sophistication while... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Matthew Brown
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