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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2005
Having never read an Ian Flemming novel, I felt it would be best to read his first book in the James Bond Series and the only one not yet made into a feature film. If you're only now beginning to read the novels, Casino Royale is the perfect book to read because it gives a bit of information about the James Bond Character. Through reading we find out how he became the man many of us know from the movies; such as his love of cars and how he obtained the 00 label. It's expected that the future Bond Film which is based on this book will also act as a prequel, so what better way to prepare yourself for the feature film then to read this fun novel that you can finish in about a day, and will certainly want you to follow up by reading the other novels in the series.
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on May 5, 2004
First off, the literary character of James Bond as first imagined by Fleming is vastly different from the movie superspy with which most audiences are familiar. In "Casino Royale" Bond is all too human and even (gasp!) falls in love with his leading lady. Naturally, this is a doomed romance, but for the sake of those who have not read the story, there will be no further elaboration.
The story itself is fairly strait-forward. Bond goes to the infamous Casino Royale in an attempt to bankrupt a SMERSH agent. The book is more realistic than many of the films, in that some of the things Bond does (planting a hair in a drawer to make sure it has not been tampered with) are things a real spy might do.
My only problem with the story is that it seemed to drag on long after the main plotline has been resolved. I got the feeling that the final nine chapters of the book could have been resolved in two and an epiloge.
Still, it was an enjoyable book, and I plan to read most if not all of the other novels in the series, as I have been waiting a long time for these to become available again.
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on April 30, 2004
"Casino Royale" is Ian Fleming's first book featuring James Bond, unlike the movie series, where "Dr. No" is the first. I wanted to read Casino Royale because it is the only Bond book that was not made into a movie - if you don't consider the spoof movie with Peter Sellers, David Niven and Woody Allen.
To my surprise, in the books Bond is not the ultimate undestructible human being. He's a common enough person, who almost vomits when he sees the remains of a man who just exploded. Also, he is not that comfortable around women, he thinks about quitting his double-oh position, and he has a problem about being good or being evil. Surprising, huh? The biggest surprise is that he doesn't kill a single person in the entire book.
What I liked about "Casino Royale" was watching the developing of one of the greatest characters of the 20th century, as the author imagined him. The story is simple enough, about financialy breaking a communist agent in a french casino. Fleming writes simply, directly to the reader. There's a touch of the "noir" fashion - the sarcasm, the perfect women - and an unquestionable feeling of the fifties.
"Casino Royale" is a fast, simple read, and necessary to understand the Bond-universe.
Grade 8.0/10
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on February 17, 2004
Just as Sean Connery is the only real Bond, Ian Fleming remains the only real Bond author. For various reasons, I have not been as enthusiastic with all of the Fleming Bond novels, but I was very pleased to have just read this initial Bond book. The differences between the movies and the books are as different as the actors who have played the British secret agent. The book version of 007 gives us a much more human character. His confidence some times shakes, and he is left with much self doubt. Instead of a witticism at the sight of an antagonist's violent death, he becomes ill. He is harmed, and he cries. This is a "man's" book that I did not hesitate to offer to my wife to read.
This book did not become a traditional movie. Instead the owner of the book rights (not the author) turned the story into a spy farce. There are important aspects of the book, however, that will be noticed in the true Bond movies. The story is different from Fleming's other stories, but the reader will not be disappointed. If nothing else, you will learn how to play the game of Baccarat, and how to make the famous Bond martini.
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on December 8, 2003
I have read a few Bond novels written by Fleming and what surprises you the most (because of the movies) about them is their fatalistic and melancholy undertone (Bond does not always triumph at the end, nor does he always get the girl). And in no book is this more evident than in this one. What impressed me so much about the book is not so much the first half, but what comes after the (grim) torture scene. The latter half of the book has very little action, and is dominated by Bond's deep depression over, among other things, how he can (literally physically) satisfy Vesper Lynd after the torture. Even though the book is a thriller first, it has quite a lot of bitter (but genuine) feelings about the male-female relationship. And the ending, even though it isn't even all that original when you think about it, is nevertheless shocking.
There are a lot of things hard to like in Fleming, such as his rampant racism, nationalism, sexism, snobbism, etc. but he is quite a bit more nuanced writer than is perhaps given the recognition for.
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on February 4, 2003
"Then the enigmatic cards would be burnt or defaced, a shroud would be draped over the table, and the grass green battlefield would soak up the blood of its victims and refresh itself."
So describes the tale created by the James Bond writer Ian Fleming. Like many individuals, my interest in the James Bond movies led to the search of the books that helped create the movies I grew up watching. With so many books to choose from, I decided to start reading the books in order of their publication. This is something I highly recommend. Casino Royale helps set the tone of the future books that follow. In this novel James Bond's task is to out gamble Le Chiffre, a paymaster of the murder organization SMERSH. This leads to a few action packed sequences as well as a highly intense gambling scene which is highly remarkable due to the size of the novel (about 150 pages). I feel that this novel offered a more realistic version of James Bond when compared to movie version which everyone is familiar with. Ian Fleming's James Bond is a person who depends fully on luck and often falls into deep despair because of the turn out of his luck. I also feel that this novel was helpful because it allowed me to see into Bond's mind and read his thoughts. Reading this novel allowed me to know his character on a more personal level. If you have any interest in the James Bond movies, I highly recommend that you start reading the novels and that you start with Casino Royale.
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on December 30, 2002
Casino Royale was written in 1953 and is the first appearance of the Bond character, nine years before the first movie, Dr. No. He even introduces himself as "Bond, JAMES Bond" in this book.
I read all the Bond books in chronological order as a teenager in the 70's and decided to reread them since it has been so long and I have forgotten them to some degree, and started off just recently with the the first, Casino Royale.
What I like about he Bond character in the books, and in particular Casino Royale is that he is not the impregnable super spy; you can really sense the insidious danger he is in throughout the book.
The plot is about a Soviet SMERSH agent in France named La Chiffre who invested all the money SMERSH sent him in support of the Communist underground, on brothels. When France made them illegal, he suddenly had no money. His plan is to win it all back at the baccarat tables at Casino Royale. Bond's job--to beat him at the card table and prevent him from getting his money back. This will put him in bad form with SMERSH and disrupt the Communist fifth column in France.
In response to the "reader" who's review appears here at Amazon from April 1997, who asked why Bond was needed Bond and La Chiffre wins back all is money at the baccarat tables, and his disruptive underground Soviet fifth column goes on in France.
It would be interesting to see the Bond movies done over adhering to the books where one could sense the danger Bond faced. Some of the early movies were similar to the books, but then began to deviate creating a plastic, unrealistic character that we really know is in no real danger.
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on May 26, 2003
Introducing, Bond, James Bond. This is where it all starts ladies and gentlemen. The international man of mystery, the man with the golden gun, and the woman magnet.
This mission was like any other. He had to stop the "le Chiffre" from getting any money. Simple enough, except this time he had a partner. A girl partner. The sexy Vesper. It starts with Bond and "le Chiffre" in a grueling game of Baccarat. I can't even tell you what happens after that, or I'd give away the plot and excitement. It involves a lot of Booms and Bangs.
Bond and Vesper plunge into this action/ mystery novel by Ian Fleming from the beginning. There is always action. The book is full of twists and turns, and even curves when Vesper's around. Fleming's writing is astounding; crammed with details and descriptions. The characters are stuck in your mind for weeks, even after reading it.
A must read!!!
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on December 5, 2002
I would consider this one of the better Bond books in the series. It has a little more violence than some of the others, and is at points not as compelling, but all is made up for by a terrific card scene and an interesting end of the novel. After knowing the character Ian Fleming created and knowing the character(s) Terence Young, Albert Broccoli, and Harry Saltzman created, I think that the character in the novels is another actor playing the role in another story just like the Sean Connery-Bond or the Roger Moore-Bond play different characters or different interpretations of the role in other stories. If the films are cool to you, the books will be too.
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on December 29, 2003
As the first James Bond novel, it is fun to read this realizing that probably no one in 1952 foresaw the beginning of an entertainment franchise. Casino Royale is a quick fun read. I read this book 20 years ago and again this year. There is one very violent scene that a reader will remember for more than 20 years. Ultimately most readers should enjoy this as an atmospheric cold war tale loaded with bad guys, beautiful women, cool cars and exotic locations.
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