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Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
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Casino Royale (1953)

by Ian Fleming

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3,5961271,464 (3.55)232
  1. 00
    The Kobra Manifesto by Adam Hall (benfulton)
    benfulton: Very similar spy stories. Quiller is a bit more physical than Bond, I think.
  2. 12
    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré (Cecilturtle)
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The first James Bond book published & the start of a wonderful series. I remember first reading the torture scene as a young teenager & being absolutely appalled, especially when I tried to fit Sean Connery or Roger Moore into it. Just didn't work - shocking. I mourned the car, too.

All in all, it was an amazing ride when I first read it & has been a good re-read on several occasions.
( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
I didn't think I would care for this, but I always keep my mind open for surprises. Having read a biography of Ian Fleming, and watched some of the early Bond movies, I suspected that this would be just another version of the romance novel, only for men. I was right. Your mileage may vary, but can't get past the way the woman is portrayed in this and every other Bond adventure. She is a rather stupid object to be used, abused and thrown out, however it suits the "hero." His attachment to her is so shallow it takes my breath away. It didn't bother me as much when I was young, but now it does. As for the mystery, hmm, it wasn't a surprise for me, but then I didn't care about the characters or the plot. It all seemed very self-serving. Anyway, don't take my word for it, this just isn't my cup of tea, but obviously lots of other folks disagree. Even the marvelous narration of Simon Vance couldn't make me like this story. ( )
  MrsLee | Jul 11, 2014 |
Rating: well, why not? 3* of five

**THIS REVIEW IS OF THE FILM**

Oops! Forgot one. This is 1967's film version I'm discussing, not the book, which was *awful*. That's not fair...it's not horrid writing, it's just so very very very dated and not in a good way. Kind of a time capsule of what was wrong with 1954.

Ya know...this film version was pretty damn lame, too. What redeems it is the sheer balls-out what-did-I-just-watch comedic pace of the thing. David Niven is LUDICROUS as Bond, but good as this character who isn't Bond but is called Bond. The return of Ursula Andress, this time as superspy Vesper Lynd (not to be mistaken for 2006's Vesper, completely different character), is notable; but the turn to the comedic and ridiculous is signalled by Bond having a child by Mata Hari, yclept Mata Bond.

It was one of the many moments where I rolled my eyes so hard I think I saw my brain. There's a bit with a flying saucer in London that convinced me I was having an LSD flashback.

Don't go into the film thinking it's a Bond flick and maybe it's okay...but frankly, it feels a little too Sixties-hip-via-Hollywood for me to do more than smile faintly.

Why watch it, then? Because David Niven is very good at being urbanely nuts. It's a meta-performance. If he arched his eyebrow any higher, he's lose it in his receding hairline. Because Ursula Andress is classic as Vesper. Because Orson Welles is endearingly baffled as Le Chiffre, seeming not to have seen a script before being shoved in front of the camera. It's like a Warhol-movie moment. If you're a straight guy, Jacqueline Bisset and Barbara Bouchet are pneumatically endowed. But Peter Sellers was a major disappointment to me. Clouseau was his only character at that point, I guess. Blah.

Fun. Not Bond, but fun. Sort of. ( )
1 vote richardderus | Jun 28, 2014 |
Casino Royale is the very beginning of the infamous James Bond stories by Ian Fleming. As a member of the secret service, James has been instructed to beat Le Chiffre, a Communist agent, at the baccarat tables in anticipation that the Soviet agency will execute him for misusing funds.

I’ve always loved the James Bond movies and have meant to read the actual book for ages. The movies are chock-full of action scenes so it was quite surprising that the book didn’t quite measure up in that regard. Much of Casino Royale is spent at the baccarat tables, explaining in detail hands dealt and the likelihood of being triumphant. It was interesting but not incredibly entertaining. The sole action scene was a horrible and unforgettable torture scene that made me wish for more action of a less painful sort.

Such as the films, James Bond is quite infatuated with his women. In Casino Royale the woman is Vesper Lynd, a fellow agent who was sent to assist him in his mission. These books are decades old, Casino Royale being published in 1953, so it shouldn’t come as much surprise that the material feels incredibly dated. Most dated is the attitude towards females. While not excusable, unfortunately the mentality is on par for how things were in that era so in that regard it’s fitting.

“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 the men.”

It’s definitely not the easiest of things to overlook and I was cringing often, but surprisingly enough still managed to be of extreme entertainment and will be well-liked by long-time fans of James. The version of Casino Royale I read was the audiobook narrated by Dan Stevens who did a marvelous job. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Jun 24, 2014 |
This book introduces Bond and gives some background that I know from the movies will help explain his motivation and personality in subsequent novels. This is a good mix of spy adventure, good writing, and suspense. I knew to expect the blatant sexism, but other than that, the book didn't feel dated as I thought it might. ( )
  japaul22 | Jun 8, 2014 |
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Series (with order)
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Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.
Quotations
The Devil has no prophets to write his Ten Commandments and no teams of authors to write his biography. His case has gone completely by default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about evil people, folk-lore about evil people. All we have is the living example of the people who are least good, or our own intuition.
"surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles. But don't let me down and become human yourself. We would lose such a wonderful machine."
“Your own injuries are serious, but your life is not in danger... If all goes well, you will recover completely and none of the functions of your body will be impaired... But I fear that you will continue to be in pain for several days...”
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Book description
James Bond

closed his eyes and waited for the pain. He knew that the beginning of torture was the worst.

Le Chiffre
The formidable, dangerous French Communist with large sexual appetites. Paymaster of SMERSH and a master sadist.

Vesper Lynd
the conquest of her body would each time have the sweet tang of rape.

A superlative thriller. Replete with elegant, enigmatic women, superb food and service, explosions, torture and sudden death. - Boston Sunday Post

The best gambling scene one can recall and the most revolting torture scenes. - The Birmingham Post

Hums with tension - Time Magazine
Haiku summary
Double Oh Seven
gambles with a union boss
who's a SMERSH agent.
(yoyogod)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014200202X, Paperback)

In the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH.

The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.



(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:39 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In the first James Bond novel, originally published in 1953, 007 takes on Le Chiffre, a French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH, as the suave agent becomes involved in a high-stakes game of baccarat, enjoys a fiery love affair with a sexy female spy, and endures torture at the hands of a master sadist.… (more)

» see all 13 descriptions

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