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This review contains some plot spoilers.

Casino Royale is the first appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1953 it is a story very much of it's time, yet somehow timeless and a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.

We are introduced to Bond as he ends a day of gambling in a casino. Fleming gets across the essentials of the character quickly and efficiently, and in short order starts to reveal the details of the plot. It's a cunning ploy to try and break and discredit one of Russian Intelligence's important operatives in the West, in a move that would disillusion many would be Communist sympathisers. All Bond has to do is clean him out in a game of Baccarat. We are treated to a thrilling and tense adventure, in which Bond has to not only win the card game, but also evade various underhanded attempts to prevent him winning. Later he faces even greater danger and pain as the action moves from the casino.

Fleming writes with an eye for atmosphere and detail. This early incarnation of Bond is a hard man, devoted to getting the job done, but with a sense of morality and a tendency to introspection and philosophising. His internal thoughts come across as more than a little misogynistic, but his actions betray a somewhat softer attitude to the fair sex. He is an interesting construct. Every scene of the book is written with a dense atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. In the casino you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and feel the sweat trickling down your neck as Bond and Le Chiffre play out their titanic battle on the card table. In later scenes Fleming makes you feel Bond's pain as Le Chiffre finds a new use for a carpet beater. In every scene the surroundings and atmosphere are so well described you can place yourself there. It's a superb bit of writing, engrossing the reader in a breathless adventure. And finale, when it comes, is utterly crushing in its finality. It easy to see from this highly enjoyable thriller why Bond became such a phenomenon. 5 stars for an enthralling read.
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This review contains some plot spoilers.

Casino Royale is the first appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1953 it is a story very much of it's time, yet somehow timeless and a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.

We are introduced to Bond as he ends a day of gambling in a casino. Fleming gets across the essentials of the character quickly and efficiently, and in short order starts to reveal the details of the plot. It's a cunning ploy to try and break and discredit one of Russian Intelligence's important operatives in the West, in a move that would disillusion many would be Communist sympathisers. All Bond has to do is clean him out in a game of Baccarat. We are treated to a thrilling and tense adventure, in which Bond has to not only win the card game, but also evade various underhanded attempts to prevent him winning. Later he faces even greater danger and pain as the action moves from the casino.

Fleming writes with an eye for atmosphere and detail. This early incarnation of Bond is a hard man, devoted to getting the job done, but with a sense of morality and a tendency to introspection and philosophising. His internal thoughts come across as more than a little misogynistic, but his actions betray a somewhat softer attitude to the fair sex. He is an interesting construct. Every scene of the book is written with a dense atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. In the casino you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and feel the sweat trickling down your neck as Bond and Le Chiffre play out their titanic battle on the card table. In later scenes Fleming makes you feel Bond's pain as Le Chiffre finds a new use for a carpet beater. In every scene the surroundings and atmosphere are so well described you can place yourself there. It's a superb bit of writing, engrossing the reader in a breathless adventure. And finale, when it comes, is utterly crushing in its finality. It easy to see from this highly enjoyable thriller why Bond became such a phenomenon. 5 stars for an enthralling read.
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This review contains some plot spoilers.

Casino Royale is the first appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1953 it is a story very much of it's time, yet somehow timeless and a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.

We are introduced to Bond as he ends a day of gambling in a casino. Fleming gets across the essentials of the character quickly and efficiently, and in short order starts to reveal the details of the plot. It's a cunning ploy to try and break and discredit one of Russian Intelligence's important operatives in the West, in a move that would disillusion many would be Communist sympathisers. All Bond has to do is clean him out in a game of Baccarat. We are treated to a thrilling and tense adventure, in which Bond has to not only win the card game, but also evade various underhanded attempts to prevent him winning. Later he faces even greater danger and pain as the action moves from the casino.

Fleming writes with an eye for atmosphere and detail. This early incarnation of Bond is a hard man, devoted to getting the job done, but with a sense of morality and a tendency to introspection and philosophising. His internal thoughts come across as more than a little misogynistic, but his actions betray a somewhat softer attitude to the fair sex. He is an interesting construct. Every scene of the book is written with a dense atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. In the casino you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and feel the sweat trickling down your neck as Bond and Le Chiffre play out their titanic battle on the card table. In later scenes Fleming makes you feel Bond's pain as Le Chiffre finds a new use for a carpet beater. In every scene the surroundings and atmosphere are so well described you can place yourself there. It's a superb bit of writing, engrossing the reader in a breathless adventure. And finale, when it comes, is utterly crushing in its finality. It easy to see from this highly enjoyable thriller why Bond became such a phenomenon. 5 stars for an enthralling read.
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This review contains some plot spoilers.

Casino Royale is the first appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1953 it is a story very much of it's time, yet somehow timeless and a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.

We are introduced to Bond as he ends a day of gambling in a casino. Fleming gets across the essentials of the character quickly and efficiently, and in short order starts to reveal the details of the plot. It's a cunning ploy to try and break and discredit one of Russian Intelligence's important operatives in the West, in a move that would disillusion many would be Communist sympathisers. All Bond has to do is clean him out in a game of Baccarat. We are treated to a thrilling and tense adventure, in which Bond has to not only win the card game, but also evade various underhanded attempts to prevent him winning. Later he faces even greater danger and pain as the action moves from the casino.

Fleming writes with an eye for atmosphere and detail. This early incarnation of Bond is a hard man, devoted to getting the job done, but with a sense of morality and a tendency to introspection and philosophising. His internal thoughts come across as more than a little misogynistic, but his actions betray a somewhat softer attitude to the fair sex. He is an interesting construct. Every scene of the book is written with a dense atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. In the casino you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and feel the sweat trickling down your neck as Bond and Le Chiffre play out their titanic battle on the card table. In later scenes Fleming makes you feel Bond's pain as Le Chiffre finds a new use for a carpet beater. In every scene the surroundings and atmosphere are so well described you can place yourself there. It's a superb bit of writing, engrossing the reader in a breathless adventure. And finale, when it comes, is utterly crushing in its finality. It easy to see from this highly enjoyable thriller why Bond became such a phenomenon. 5 stars for an enthralling read.
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This review contains some plot spoilers.

Casino Royale is the first appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1953 it is a story very much of it's time, yet somehow timeless and a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.

We are introduced to Bond as he ends a day of gambling in a casino. Fleming gets across the essentials of the character quickly and efficiently, and in short order starts to reveal the details of the plot. It's a cunning ploy to try and break and discredit one of Russian Intelligence's important operatives in the West, in a move that would disillusion many would be Communist sympathisers. All Bond has to do is clean him out in a game of Baccarat. We are treated to a thrilling and tense adventure, in which Bond has to not only win the card game, but also evade various underhanded attempts to prevent him winning. Later he faces even greater danger and pain as the action moves from the casino.

Fleming writes with an eye for atmosphere and detail. This early incarnation of Bond is a hard man, devoted to getting the job done, but with a sense of morality and a tendency to introspection and philosophising. His internal thoughts come across as more than a little misogynistic, but his actions betray a somewhat softer attitude to the fair sex. He is an interesting construct. Every scene of the book is written with a dense atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. In the casino you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and feel the sweat trickling down your neck as Bond and Le Chiffre play out their titanic battle on the card table. In later scenes Fleming makes you feel Bond's pain as Le Chiffre finds a new use for a carpet beater. In every scene the surroundings and atmosphere are so well described you can place yourself there. It's a superb bit of writing, engrossing the reader in a breathless adventure. And finale, when it comes, is utterly crushing in its finality. It easy to see from this highly enjoyable thriller why Bond became such a phenomenon. 5 stars for an enthralling read.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This review is specific to the unabridged audio reading of Casino Royale by Dan Stevens. It contains some plot spoilers.

Casino Royale is the first appearance in print for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Originally published in 1953 it is a story very much of it's time, yet somehow timeless and a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.

We are introduced to Bond as he ends a day of gambling in a casino. Fleming gets across the essentials of the character quickly and efficiently, and in short order starts to reveal the details of the plot. It's a cunning ploy to try and break and discredit one of Russian Intelligence's important operatives in the West, in a move that would disillusion many would be Communist sympathisers. All Bond has to do is clean him out in a game of Baccarat. We are treated to a thrilling and tense adventure, in which Bond has to not only win the card game, but also evade various underhanded attempts to prevent him winning. Later he faces even greater danger and pain as the action moves from the casino.

Fleming writes with an eye for atmosphere and detail. This early incarnation of Bond is a hard man, devoted to getting the job done, but with a sense of morality and a tendency to introspection and philosophising. His internal thoughts come across as more than a little misogynistic, but his actions betray a somewhat softer attitude to the fair sex. He is an interesting construct. Every scene of the book is written with a dense atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. In the casino you can almost taste the cigarette smoke and feel the sweat trickling down your neck as Bond and Le Chiffre play out their titanic battle on the card table. In later scenes Fleming makes you feel Bond's pain as Le Chiffre finds a new use for a carpet beater. In every scene the surroundings and atmosphere are so well described you can place yourself there. It's a superb bit of writing, engrossing the reader in a breathless adventure. And finale, when it comes, is utterly crushing in its finality. It easy to see from this highly enjoyable thriller why Bond became such a phenomenon.

The audio recording from Dan Stevens is pretty darned good, getting across the atmosphere and tenseness of the book in a quite thrilling and gripping manner. Stevens' vocal characterisations for all the characters are pretty distinctive, making it easy to follow. His voice for Le Chiffre does start to sound a little like Peter Lorre at times, lending him an extra villainous air. It's about 4 hours long on four CDs, collected into a spindle case. I have a few of these audio reading in this range, and they look quite handsome all lined up on the shelf. My only gripe with the series is that the two collections of short stories, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, have not been included in the series. There is a short and largely disposable interview with Stevens at the end of the fourth disc regarding his thoughts on the book and its themes. All in all a 5 star production of a 5 star book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 September 2012
Admittedly, I've only seen this edition of in bookshops and it's attractively presented. I've read the novel many times. This edition has a new introduction, something which attests its classic status. At the time of my writing, it's almost sixty years since first publication of this book which introduced James Bond. The story of how Casino Royale came to be written is one of a former Naval Intelligence Officer on the eve of marriage distracting himself from his pre-nuptial nerves by writing a novel he'd promised to write: "the spy-story to end all spy-stories."

Bond's first appearance involves a Cold War operation to bankrupt a dangerous Soviet agent at a card table. Already, there are many of Fleming's stylistic trademarks. His ability to capture the atmosphere of places in a way authors must envy: the opening sentence is one of the most effective starts to any novel. There is what Kingsley Amis called the "Fleming sweep": a narrative pace that keeps readers turning the pages. There is Fleming's copious use of brand names. Then, of course, there is James Bond himself.

In Casino Royale, Bond already has many features we know: his taste for gambling, champagne, fast cars and women. Yet, he is still learning. He is ambivalent about having had to kill to earn his double-o prefix and still has a touch of romanticism about him- something that will change in the book. He also gets tortured and injured and this is also one of the few times he falls in love with one of his women. He has perhaps never been more human than here, which may account for why some rate this as Fleming's best novel.

Readers coming to Casino Royale from the films will notice other differences. Not least that this is very much a product of the Cold War being set in the nineteen fifties. Interestingly, though, because Fleming sold the rights to this book earlier than the others, "Casino Royale" has been filmed three times: in the fifties for television version , in the sixties for a dire spoof, and the more recent version which was Daniel Craig's first outing in the role and is quite faithful to the original.

This all suggests that the book transcends its time. Is this "the spy story to end all spy stories?" Readers of John Le Carre may object. But he and Fleming are very different writers. The reason for this may in part be that while both served in Intelligence, they saw different types of operations: Fleming was involved in wartime covert military operations, while Le Carre was involved in diplomatic work. I can enjoy both. That said, spy-fiction was never the same again after "Casino Royale." It remains one of the best Bond books, and has more than curiosity value. Now judge for yourself.
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This is a rather short novel to start so illustrious a career. The Bond revealed here is not the smirkingly oily Sean Connery character - rather more Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim. He lusts after the ladies and desperately displays what he assumes to be savoir-faire; you can see where Connery's Bond came from, but this Bond is still close enough to Smiley's people to shake hands. The explanation of Baccarat is clear enough even for me, and the "Prestige" when it comes is a very nice surprise which blindsided me. I was interested to note Bond actually asks the waiter what he thinks of his order, something I cannot see anyone doing today, autres temps, autres moeurs. Then he asks for more toast.....
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on 22 May 2012
I read a lot of James Bond books when I was aged 14-16 and I loved them.

Actually, I always wanted to write books like the Bond books, and to my teenage self, it was immensely frustrating that I didn't know enough about the world, about international politics, espionage (and women) to write such a book.

I had a damn good go though! Still got some of those embarrassing stories in exercise books somewhere.

Anyway. I never got around to reading Casino Royale until a few years ago (2006), when I heard the film was being made. I loved it. In many ways its the simplest of the Bond books. It is, of course, the first. It's quite short. And it reads really well.

I remember getting a bit bogged down in some of the novels (I don't think I ever made it to the end of Thunderball - but then I was 14). Casino Royale has an easy flow to it, some great character insights into Bond, and lots of local colour.

I could cheerfully read it again, except it was a holiday read in Tunisia, and the sun melted the glue that bound the pages. So it's in loose leaf form now. So I probably won't. Still, never say never (again).
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on 1 July 2007
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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