Casino Royale – Ian Fleming

Introducing the charming, sophisticated and deadly 007. Casino Royale is the first of Ian Fleming’s classic series of James Bond novels and is widely regarded as the greatest of them all.

In this original James Bond story we are introduced to the British spy and follow him on a journey to Royale where he must neutralize a vicious and vindictive Russian operative called le Chiffre.

The mission is simple, find Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale, get into his high-rolling Baccarat game and take him for all he’s worth, leaving him ruined and shamed in the face of his native Russia. Sounds simple, but Le Chiffre is not one to yield easily and refuses to let Bond simply walk away with his money.

Reading this after only ever watching the films I was surprised to find that James Bond was not who I thought he was. I grew up in the Pierce Brosnan generation and at the time thought he was very entertaining, but having read this I find that James Bond is much more harsh, bitter and cold in both character and style.

This was of course a pleasant surprise as the actual, Ian Fleming James Bond is much more enjoyable than the Hollywood version. He has a gritty realism to him that is much more befitting to his background and profession.

The character of James Bond is by far the best thing about this novel and if it wasn’t for the unique brilliance of him I feel it might be a very average crime thriller.

The plot is enjoyable but quite basic and apart from the crescendo of the horrific capture and torture scene it is quite slow paced. However, 007 makes this story what it is and for his creation alone Ian Fleming easily deserves his place on the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die list.

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