Casino Royale Hardcover – 1 Jan 1953
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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 --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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 ) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Hardcover.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
That's what I was thinking.
Written in 1952, Casino Royale was the first thriller featuring a spy named James Bond.
Fleming wrote it from personal experience (as well as his imagination). For example, there is a scene almost at the start of the book where two hit men are sent to kill Bond. They have two weapons - a bomb and a powerful smoke grenade, one hidden in a red camera case and the other in a blue one. They have strict instructions to throw the bomb and, seconds later, to activate the smoke grenade to cover their escape. I will not tell you what happens as I do not wish to give anything away but this precise plan – the two devices hidden in camera cases, and what happens when they are used – was used by agents from the NKVD (i.e. Russia) in a failed assassination attempt on Franz Von Papen, the German ambassador to Turkey, in 1942 – a mere ten years before Fleming wrote Casino Royale.
The quality of the prose is high. When the bomb goes off “There was an obscene smell of high explosive, of burning wood, and of, yes, that was it – roast mutton. For fifty yards down the boulevard the trees were leafless and charred . Opposite, two of them had snapped off near the base and lay drunkenly across the road… … Bond felt himself starting to vomit”
Two things struck me when I read that. Firstly, the author’s graphic description, presumably derived from first-hand experience of explosions during World War II.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You think you know the stories because you have seen the movies.Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
Bond is conflicted and role of vesper has different twists than in recent film. Le chiffe is only 1 adversary and allies seem in short supplyPublished 2 months ago by Stephen Mallett
Fleming knows where he is going with is and its a masterfully executed story with inside knowledge of how things worked in the 50's. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cllr Chris Burke
Big fan of the style of these book covers (obviously can't judge the book from this but), big fan of James Bond too and this is one of my favourite narratives. Read morePublished 2 months ago by MiniCooper
Actually a little disappointed reading about Bond for the first time. I was expecting more brooding, alcoholism, misogyny and violence. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tim Phillips