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Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
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4,6372121,469 (3.53)307
  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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» See also 307 mentions

English (208)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 208 (next | show all)

I’ve seen all of the Bond films (I think) but this was my first novel—which I read because I needed something that would fit into my coat pocket as I waited for my son’s concert to begin. 007 did well for that purpose; it’s no worse or better than hundreds of other books. I kept comparing it to the Daniel Craig film as I read, noting what was the same (the casino setup, the excruciating torture scene, Vesper’s secret) and what was different (baccarat changed to Texas Hold-em, the fantastic sequence of Bond chasing the bombmaker in Madagascar, Bond’s disgust at the end).

What most surprised me was that I couldn’t see how the book or its hero made it onto the screen. Like the books that Hitchcock adapted, there’s nothing extraordinary here that screams out This should be a movie. Bond doesn’t fight (much less kill) anyone, much of the action takes place at the casino and even the setup—Bond has to out-gamble a man foolish enough to lose all of the money entrusted to him by the Russians to control a labor union—is hardly nail-biting. Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli deserve credit for seeing the possibilities in the series.

What is apparent in Casino Royale is Bond’s toughness, his coldness, which only the two Bond bookends—Connery and Craig—seem to capture. (Roger Moore is good but seems about to break into song and the others are fine but forgettable.) I’m not sure if Fleming knew there were more Bond novels coming, but if he did then that explains the emotional arc Bond travels in this one, from spy to cynic. The movies would never let 007 get away with speaking his last line in the novel for fear it would repulse an audience. And that was worth the reading: to think about how Fleming imagined Bond not as likable as his film incarnatons. I’d read another one. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Book on CD read by Simon Vance.

“The name is Bond, James Bond.” And this is the book that started it all.

Bond is in France, on a mission to foil the Russian operative known as “le Chiffre” at the Baccarat table. The hope is that Bond will bankrupt the Russian, forcing his Soviet leaders to “retire” him. He’s not entirely happy when he’s sent a woman as back-up, but apparently, she makes a good cover. What could be more natural that for a wealthy Jamaican playboy to pick up a pretty girl at a casino?

It’s still a fast-paced, spy thriller, that entertains. I first read this back when I was a teenager, vacationing with my best friend and her parents in Puerto Rico. I think we read six or seven of the books out on the beach or by the pool. We were taken by Bond’s good looks and sophistication. Not to mention the danger, and the sex. Now I’m a bit appalled by his attitude towards women. But he’s a product of his time, and of the genre.

Simon Vance is one of those audio performers who can do no wrong in my book. He’s marvelous narrating this audio book. ( )
  BookConcierge | Aug 14, 2018 |
Really quick read, but holy baloney, the rampant sexism. ( )
  simonspacecadet | Jul 29, 2018 |
[b: Casino Royale|5824|Casino Royale |Anthony Hern|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348841258s/5824.jpg|21967797].

Where to begin, precisely? This book is utterly brilliant. It's fast-paced, well-plotted, and contains just about anything you could possibly want from a spy thriller. Sadistic villains, beautiful women, high stakes gambling, betrayal, car chases - with cars as beautiful as the women, of course - and enough wonderful food descriptions to make your mouth water while reading it.

The first introduction to Bond is a memorable one, and one to quickly make anyone fall in love with the character. While the book may be dated, and downright offense I suppose, I feel that's a bit of a ridiculous reaction to have. You're reading a book that's firmly set within a specific time frame with a very particular sort of character at the head. Yes, it's misogynistic. So what? At least Vesper is acknowledged as having been wonderful at her trade and intelligent, as later Bond girls are seen as being as well. It's a step above them being only good for their looks.

[b: Casino Royale|5824|Casino Royale |Anthony Hern|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348841258s/5824.jpg|21967797] is a classic, and written in a concise style that I truly envy. [a: Ian Fleming|2565|Ian Fleming|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1364532740p2/2565.jpg] is a marvelous author and I'd recommend it to just about anyone. Who doesn't love a bit of Bond? ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Though it's not on my book list I actually read this book years ago, but decided to re-read it after a recent discussion regarding the Daniel Craig movie. I was contending that Craig had the essence of Bond down better than perhaps any other Bond actor, with the possible exception of early Sean Connery. So to be sure I was correct in my assertions I decided to read this first Bond novel again. It does not disappoint, and though Bond is less action oriented in the books, he is more cerebral and much more dangerous. Bond can be described as resplendent, refined and absolutely ruthless. His character may be best refined in his statement to Vesper Lynd, "It's not difficult to get a Double 0 number if you're simply prepared to kill people." This is Bond and I think Craig captures this, which supports my argument and brings me back to the book. It is well conceived and builds tension throughout, especially as Bond struggles to stay detached while falling for Vesper. The card game and the defeat of LeChiffre are the best possible setting for this turbulent relationship and its tragic conclusion - because, as we know, Bond cannot be attached. ( )
  Al-G | Apr 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 208 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (85 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fleming, IanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deaver, JefferyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fahey, RichieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, DanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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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
For James Bond and the British Secret Service, the stakes couldn't be higher. 007's mission is to neutralize the Russian operative Le Chiffre by ruining him at the baccarat table, forcing his Soviet masters to "retire" him. When Le Chiffre hits a losing streak, Bond discovers his luck is in - that is, until he meets Vesper Lynd, a glamorous agent who might yet prove to be his downfall. This audiobook includes an exclusive bonus interview with Dan Stevens.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:50 -0400)

(see all 7 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 18 descriptions

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