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Casino Royale (James Bond Novels) Paperback – August 27, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014200202X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002025
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (500 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The allure of James Bond was best described by Raymond Chandler, who insisted that 007 is "what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets." Who can argue with that? This month marks the 40th anniversary of the film release of Dr. No, which was the first Bond adventure to make the big screen, and two big coffee-table books are being published to honor the occasion (LJ 10/1/02, p. 96). Shockingly, Fleming's original novels have gone out of print, but Penguin here reproduces a trio of the British secret agent's early outings, released in 1952, 1958, and 1959, respectively, sporting stylish cover art. These stories were racy for the nifty Fifties but are quite tame by today's standards. Still, they can be fun.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Bond is what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets. (Raymond Chandler)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in London on May 28, 1908. He was educated at Eton College and later spent a formative period studying languages in Europe. His first job was with Reuters News Agency where a Moscow posting gave him firsthand experience with what would become his literary bete noire--the Soviet Union. During World War II he served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence and played a key role in Allied espionage operations.

After the war he worked as foreign manager of the Sunday Times, a job that allowed him to spend two months each year in Jamaica. Here, in 1952, at his home "Goldeneye," he wrote a book called Casino Royale--and James Bond was born. The first print run sold out within a month. For the next twelve years Fleming produced a novel a year featuring Special Agent 007, the most famous spy of the century. His travels, interests, and wartime experience lent authority to everything he wrote. Raymond Chandler described him as "the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England." Sales soared when President Kennedy named the fifth title, From Russia With Love, one of his favorite books. The Bond novels have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide, boosted by the hugely successful film franchise that began in 1962 with the release of Dr. No.

He married Anne Rothermere in 1952. His story about a magical car, written in 1961 for their only son Caspar, went on to become the well-loved novel and film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Fleming died of heart failure on August 12, 1964, at the age of fifty-six.

Customer Reviews

I have always enjoyed the Bond movies, so it was very interesting to read the books they were based on.
William Freed
I think this part of the story is incredibly important for developing the character for the series but it just seems tacked on to the book.
Michael J. Amos
A lot of Flemings life and own experiences make up the framework of a lot of the story as well as the characters makeup.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

201 of 209 people found the following review helpful By A. Casalino VINE VOICE on June 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Bond...James Bond is the name. And the game is extreme Baccarat. Ian Fleming's 1953 novel - premier introduction of the post WWII, fantastical cold war intrigues of Her Majesty's Secret Service's Master Spy, Agent 007, Bond - is a riveting read.
I first read CASINO ROYALE, as well as a few others in the series, while in my early teens - back when I'd only read stories in order to immerse myself in the plot - to find out what happens next, essentially - not caring a jot about writing style, descriptive detail, or character development. Back then, I found it curious that the Bond of the books was so different from the Bond of the movies (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and MOONRAKER being the contemporary releases of that time.) I wondered, for instance, why the James Bond in the movies didn't have black hair and why, in the books, he wasn't funny at all...Indeed - well, so much for my pre-adolescent review.
Now, more than 20 years later, indulging on a whim, I'm reading the series again. And I must say I am thoroughly enjoying it - but not for the same reasons I had when I was young. I'm actually nearly through it in its entirety - and must say that, though they're all very good, CASINO ROYALE has a palpable raw depth rarely visible in the rest. I can now see and appreciate the fine quality of the writing, the extraordinary sculpturing of an ideal action hero, and the magical lure that has begotten the most well-known, long-standing film series of all time. And, yes, these books are great fun!
"M," head of the British Secret Service, hands Commander Bond what appears on the surface to be a posh assignment: thwarting an enemy Russian spy, Le Chiffre, in his attempt to win an exorbitant 50 million francs - KGB funds which he had lost through an ill-advised investment in a chain of brothels.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By IA on December 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe the book is nearly 50 years old but it is. This novel marks the entrance of James Bond into the world. The real Bond doesn't have much to do with his movie counterparts--he's colder, more ruthless and has no charm or humor. He's also a deeper character. 10 years later at the end of the Bond cycle he would grow and become more humorous and personable, (See "You Only Live Twice") but here meeting him may be like taking a cold shower if you're only familiar with Connery, Moore, and etc.
As the prototype novel of the Bond series "Casino Royale" has less action and more concentrated violence than the future books. Its mood is claustrophobic but it's grasp of defined character is somewhat airy. Bond is not quite fully fleshed out--what we can grasp is that he believes himself a professional but often loses or comes close in both love and business. He speaks like a misoygnist but falls very badly for women; he plays cards like a pro but needs to be bailed out. The other characters are also compelling--Leiter and Mathis are agreeable national stereotypes, while LeChiffre is the first of Fleming's great villains--subtly monstrous and grotesque to the point of being king devils, not people. Fleming never wrote a convincing female character until he spoke in first person for the heroine of "The Spy Who Loved Me," but Vesper Lynd is one dimensional in a non-shameful way.
Fleming's style isn't yet fully formed, but it's still evident. No one has written better scenes of torture (And this undoubtedly one of the most harrowing torture scenes you'll ever read) or card games than Fleming, and as an action writer on the whole he was undoubtedly a master, and deserves to be acknowledged as one. At the moment his literary reputation is quite low.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Asselin VINE VOICE on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Like many, I have long enjoyed the Bond films as a kind of escapist entertainment, excusing its less than "enlightened" view of women as first a reflection of the times and then later as a knowing skewering of the attitudes of those times. (This isn't to say that I haven't appreciated the "Bond women," which makes me something of a hypocrite, I guess.) The recent movies have tried to capture some of the kinetic excitement of contemporary action flicks, while giving at least a token nod to the change in contemporary social mores by losing some of the sexism of the early films (e.g., "M" is now played by a woman). The first films, though, are enjoyable, too, for reflecting some of the popular sensibilities of the Cold War and of the 1950s lounge culture. The hero is the archetypal 50s playboy: an epicurean man of action and big appetites who is often sardonic and self-absorbed.

As the first Bond novel, CASINO ROYALE exhibits some of the traits of a first novel: without being too clumsy about it, Fleming introduces the essential elements of the Bond stories: Bond himself, "M,", "Q," SMERSH, Felix Leiter, Miss Moneypenny, and the whole Bond-lite version of the world of espionage. You get a sense that Fleming is still working out a style. The writing borrows from pulp fiction, and rarely rises above it. The novel draws fairly well a picture of the main character, James Bond, though the character has little depth at all. We don't really *know* Bond, we just observe him, and sometimes experience his own, usually shallow, thinking. He's sort of like a shark: dangerous, menacing, cruel, and single minded; he acts quickly when he needs to, but otherwise moves deliberately. Unlike a shark, though, he is particular about what he drinks and eats (and smokes).
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