Casino Royale (James Bond Series #1)

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Overview

Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome; chillingly ruthless and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming's tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called simply "le Chiffre" - by ruining him at the Baccarat table and forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him. It seems that lady luck is taken with 007 - le Chiffre has hit a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules, and Bond's attraction to a ...
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2006 Film, Movie tie-in, Literature & Fiction First Thus New 1st film edition paperback, new Daniel Crig cover In stock shipped from our UK warehouse. *****PLEASE NOTE: This ... item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome; chillingly ruthless and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming's tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called simply "le Chiffre" - by ruining him at the Baccarat table and forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him. It seems that lady luck is taken with 007 - le Chiffre has hit a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules, and Bond's attraction to a beautiful female agent leads him to disaster and an unexpected savior.
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Editorial Reviews

The Denver Post
Here Bond is not the charming, witty sophisticate that Sean Connery, Roger Moore and other actors have made him. Casino Royale is noticeably lacking in humor, and Bond is equally noticeably cold and ruthless, yet at the same time a romantic susceptible to love's pangs. In fact, the novel is as much a love story - with a sad ending - as an espionage thriller. — Roger K. Miller
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 Cahners Business Information.
B Wright
...The first part of the book is a brilliant novelette in itself, dealing with the unlikely but imaginitive plot to ruin a Communist agent by gambling against him for high stakes...But then he decides to pad out the book to novel length and leads the weary reader through a set of tough cliches to an ending which surprises no one save operative 007... Books of the Century, New York Times review April 1954
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143037668
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/31/2006
  • Series: James Bond Series , #1
  • Edition description: Movie Tie-In Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Fleming (1908-1964), creator of the world's best-known secret agent, is the author of fourteen James Bond books. Born in London in 1908 and educated at Eton and Sandhurst, he became the Reuters Moscow correspondent in 1929. In the spring of 1939, Fleming went back to Moscow as a special correspondent for the London Times. In June of that same year, he joined Naval Intelligence and served throughout World War II, finally earning the rank of Commander, RNVSR (Sp.). Much of the James Bond material was drawn directly from Fleming's experiences as an intelligence officer. Later, Fleming became a consultant on foreign affairs for the London Sunday Times, by which time he had become far better known as the creator of James Bond.

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Read an Excerpt

1. THE SECRET AGENT

The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling—a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension—becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.

James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He always knew when his body or his mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge. This helped him to avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.

He shifted himself unobtrusively away from the roulette he had been playing and went to stand for a moment at the brass rail which surrounded breast-high the top table in the salle privee.

Le Chiffre was still playing and still, apparently, winning. There was an untidy pile of flecked hundred-mille plaques in front of him. In the shadow of his thick left arm there nestled a discreet stack of the big yellow ones worth half a million francs each.

Bond watched the curious, impressive profile for a time, and then he shrugged his shoulders to lighten his thoughts and moved away.

The barrier surrounding the caisse comes as high as your chin and the caissier, who is generally nothing more than a minor bank clerk, sits on a stool and dips into his piles of notes and plaques. These are ranged on shelves. They are on a level, behind the protecting barrier, with your groin. The caissier has a cosh and a gun to protect him, and to heave over the barrier and steal some notes and then vault back and get out of the casino through the passages and doors would be impossible. And the caissiers generally work in pairs.

Bond reflected on the problem as he collected the sheaf of hundred thousand and then the sheaves often thousand franc notes. With another part of his mind, he had a vision of tomorrow's regular morning meeting of the casino committee.

'Monsieur Le Chiffre made two million. He played his usual game. Miss Fairchild made a million in an hour and then left. She executed three "bancos" of Monsieur Le Chiffre within an hour and then left. She played with coolness. Monsieur le Vicomte de Villorin made one million two at roulette. He was playing the maximum on the first and last dozens. He was lucky. Then the Englishman, Mister Bond, increased his winnings to exactly three million over the two days. He was playing a progressive system on red at table five. Duclos, the chef de partie, has the details. It seems that he is persevering and plays in maximums. He has luck. His nerves seem good. On the soiree, the chemin-de-fer won x, the baccarat won y and the roulette won z. The boule, which was again badly frequented, still makes its expenses.'

'Merci, Monsieur Xavier.'

'Merci, Monsieur le President.'

Or something like that, thought Bond as he pushed his way through the swing doors of the salle privee and nodded to the bored man in evening clothes whose job it is to bar your entry and your exit with the electric foot-switch which can lock the doors at any hint of trouble.

And the casino committee would balance its books and break up to its homes or cafes for lunch.

As for robbing the caisse, in which Bond himself was not personally concerned, but only interested, he reflected that it would take ten good men, that they would certainly have to kill one or two employees, and that anyway you probably couldn't find ten non-squeal killers in France, or in any other country for the matter of that.

As he gave a thousand francs to the vestiaire and walked down the steps of the casino. Bond made up his mind that Le Chiffre would in no circumstances try to rob the caisse and he put the contingency out of his mind. Instead he explored his present physical sensations. He felt the dry, uncomfortable gravel under his evening shoes, the bad, harsh taste in his mouth and the slight sweat under his arms. He could feel his eyes filling their sockets. The front of his face, his nose and antrum, were congested. He breathed the sweet night air deeply and focused his senses and his wits. He wanted to know if anyone had searched his room since he had left it before dinner.

He walked across the broad boulevard and through the gardens to the Hotel Splendide. He smiled at the concierge who gave him his key—No 45 on the first floor—and took the cable.

It was from Jamaica and read:

KINGSTONJA XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX BOND SPLENDIDE ROYALE-LES-EAUX SEINE INFERIEURE HAVANA CIGAR PRODUCTION ALL CUBAN FACTORIES 1915 TEN MILLION REPEAT TEN MILLION STOP HOPE THIS FIGURE YOU REQUIRE REGARDS.

DASILVA

This meant that ten million francs was on the way to him. It was the reply to a request Bond had sent that afternoon through Paris to his headquarters in London asking for more funds. Paris had spoken to London where Clements, the head of Bond's department, had spoken to M, who had smiled wryly and told 'The Broker' to fix it with the Treasury.

Bond had once worked in Jamaica and his cover on the Royale assignment was that of a very rich client of Messrs Caffery, the principal import and export firm of Jamaica. So he was being controlled through Jamaica, through a taciturn man who was head of the picture desk on the Daily Gleaner, the famous newspaper of the Caribbean.

This man on the Gleaner, whose name was Fawcett, had been bookkeeper for one of the leading turtle fisheries on the Cayman Islands. One of the men from the Caymans who had volunteered on the outbreak of war, he had ended up as a Paymaster's clerk in a small Naval Intelligence organization in Malta. At the end of the war, when, with a heavy heart, he was due to return to the Caymans, he was spotted by the section of the Secret Service concerned with the Caribbean. He was strenuously trained in photography and in some other arts and, with the quiet connivance of an influential man in Jamaica, found his way to the picture desk of the Gleaner.

In the intervals between sifting photographs submitted by the great agencies—Keystone, Wide-World, Universal, INP, and Reuter-Photo—he would get peremptory instructions by telephone from a man he had never met to carry out certain simple operations 1 requiring nothing but absolute discretion, speed, and accuracy. For these occasional services he received twenty pounds a month paid into his account with the Royal Bank of Canada by a fictitious relative in England.

Fawcett's present assignment was to relay immediately to Bond, full rates, the text of messages which he received at home by telephone from his anonymous contact. He had been told by this contact that nothing he would be asked to send would arouse the suspicion of the Jamaican post office. So he was not surprised to find himself suddenly appointed string correspondent for the 'Maritime Press and Photo Agency', with press-collect facilities to France and England, on a further monthly retainer of ten pounds.

He felt secure and encouraged, had visions of a BEM and made the first payment on a Morris Minor. He also bought a green eye-shade which he had long coveted and which helped him to impose his personality on the picture desk.

Some of this background to his cable passed through Bond's mind. He was used to oblique control and rather liked it. He felt it feather-bedded him a little, allowed him to give or take an hour or two in his communications with M. He knew that this was probably a fallacy, that probably there was another member of the Service at Royale-les-Eaux who was reporting independently, but it did give the illusion that he wasn't only 150 miles across the Channel from that deadly office building near Regent's Park, being watched and judged by those few cold brains that made the whole show work. Just as Fawcett, the Cayman Islander in Kingston, knew that if he bought that Morris Minor outright instead of signing the hire-purchase agreement, someone in London would probably know and want to know where the money had come from.

Bond read the cable twice. He tore a telegram form off the pad on the desk (why give them carbon copies?) and wrote his reply in capital letters:

THANKS INFORMATION SHOULD SUFFICE—BOND

He handed this to the concierge and put the cable signed 'Dasilva' in his pocket. The employers (if any) of the concierge could bribe a copy out of the local post office, if the concierge hadn't already steamed the envelope open or read the cable upside down in Bond's hands.

He took his key and said good night and turned to the stairs, shaking his head at the liftman. Bond knew what an obliging danger-signal a lift could be. He didn't expect anyone to be moving on the first floor, but he preferred to be prudent.

Walking quietly up on the balls of his feet, he regretted the hubris of his reply to M via Jamaica. As a gambler he knew it was a mistake to rely on too small a capital. Anyway, M probably wouldn't let him have any more. He shrugged his shoulders and turned off the stairs into the corridor and walked softly to the door of his room.

Bond knew exactly where the switch was and it was with one flow of motion that he stood on the threshold with the door full open, the light on and a gun in his hand. The safe, empty room sneered at him. He ignored the half-open door of the bathroom and, locking himself in, he turned up the bed-light and the mirror-light and threw his gun on the settee beside the window. Then he bent down and inspected one of his own black hairs which still lay undisturbed where he had left it before dinner, wedged into the drawer of the writing-desk.

Next he examined a faint trace of talcum powder on the inner rim of the porcelain handle of the clothes cupboard. It appeared immaculate. He went into the bathroom, lifted the cover of the lavatory cistern and verified the level of the water against a small scratch on the copper ball-cock.

Doing all this, inspecting these minute burglar alarms, did not make him feel foolish or self-conscious. He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact attention to the detail of his profession. Routine precautions were to him no more unreasonable than they would be to a deep-sea diver or a test pilot, or to any man earning danger-money.

Satisfied that his room had not been searched while he was at the casino. Bond undressed and took a cold shower. Then he lit his seventieth cigarette of the day and sat down at the writing-table with the thick wad of his stake money and winnings beside him and entered some figures in a small notebook. Over the two days' play, he was up exactly three million francs. In London he had been issued with ten million, and he had asked London for a further ten. With this on its way to the local branch of Credit Lyonnais, his working capital amounted to twenty-three million francs, or some twenty-three thousand pounds.

For a few moments Bond sat motionless, gazing out of the window across the dark sea, then he shoved the bundle of banknotes under the pillow of the ornate single bed, cleaned his teeth, turned out the lights and climbed with relief between the harsh French sheets. For ten minutes he lay on his left side reflecting on the events of the day. Then he turned over and focused his mind towards the tunnel of sleep.

His last action was to slip his right hand under the pillow until it rested under the butt of the .38 Colt Police Positive with the sawn barrel. Then he slept, and with the warmth and humour of his eyes extinguished, his features relapsed into a taciturn mask, ironical, brutal, and cold.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

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(34)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The best Bond book.

    Fleming's character descriptions are so elaborate you will find yourself remembering visual scenes after finishing the book, only to realize it was those scenes were just words you read not pictures you saw. The story is suspenseful and exciting. Fleming helps you to connect with the characters: You'll wish the villain to lose and for Bond to win. You'll feel tense when Bond is in a tight spot and relief when he escapes. The writing is very concise; each paragraph furthers the plot. This is the best book in the Bond series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    I am so sad that this disappeared as a nook book. Casino Royale

    I am so sad that this disappeared as a nook book. Casino Royale along with a few other Bond books were available on the nook just a few days ago and I am kicking myself that I didn't buy them tgen. However, if anyone else out there is interested please go to where you van request this as a nook book as it is available as an ebook other sources and I am more than happy to take my money elsewhere if Barnes and Noble does not respond.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    James Bond is as much of a weapon as his Beretta 418, although h

    James Bond is as much of a weapon as his Beretta 418, although he’s more of an agent by chance than by choice, a weapon as sleek as his 1933 Bentley convertible. He has his vices: gambling, martinis, cigarettes, and sex. Ian Fleming may not have painted women in the most favorable light, may have used a different writing style for a thriller than I’m accustomed to—the agency brief, plenty of inner dialogue and thoughts, and only a dusting of intense action sequences—but this was an enjoyable read for me from the first page to the last.

    Having watched and enjoyed all the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig James Bond films, along with a few other films from previous James Bond actors, I wanted to look at the man behind the mask, and I must say I’m rather glad I did. This was a quick read, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it light, and while I won’t rush to read the rest of the Ian Fleming novels, I do want to see how both his main character and writing style develop.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    Timeless Wisdom

    Fleming is a great author and writes a thrilling spy novel, but I read him mostly to absorb his misogynistic views. He poignantly expresses these throughout Casino Royale with statements such as, "Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued."

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Flemings' First

    Great Book, better than the movie. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    Never read a 007 book until now. I missed out! NUF CED!

    Fantastic!! Ian Fleming knows how to introduce a thriller! Vesper Lynd was suuuuuper hot and sexxxxxxxxxxxxy! Le Chiffe was super evil! The book was like a movie in book form. It was wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Never seen the movies... But love the book!

    I am 11 and I have never seen any James Bond movies, but these books are really good. They are actually not too appropriate for me but the action is great. And if you like this book, you will like the others: Live and Let Die, Moonraker, From Russia with Love, The Man with the Golden Gun... The list goes on and on. Short books but overall, really great reads.

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  • Posted October 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Bond, James Bond

    They say the book is always better than the movie. I usually agree, but in this case I'd say they're equal, but different. No high tech gadgets or fancy special effects here, but you get to see Bond as the author originally created, which makes this well worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    Different

    The movies are totally different than the books. They make Bond out to be some superspy. He doesn't even use gagets in the book which makes him more realistic. There is not as much action in the book as in the movies, but that doesn't make the book boring. If you have watched the movies and want to know how bond really is read this book. The new version of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig is very good also.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    Bond has Arrived

    Okay, so this is the first Bond novel I have ever read. However, in the past couple of years I have grown into Bond through all twenty-one of the movies. I can't believe that it took me so long to get one of Fleming's books in my hand but finally, on my 17th birthday, it happened. It only took me three days to read this, the pages practically flew by in my hands. It is an easy read, even though it was written in the fifties and a bit dated. I was disappointed with the ending it could have been more impressive but it left me satisfied. I've already ordered Live and Let Die and I absolutely can't wait for Quantum of Solace to hit the silver screen, but back to the book. My advice to you: READ IT!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    Best Bond book written

    Normally when I see a movie, I oftentimes will steer clear of the book, as Hollywood has a way of bastardizing a novelist's work, and I do not want the magic of the movie to be destroyed. However, with Casino Royale, I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, no Elipsis conspiracy, high-priced airline stock market debauchle, or global terrorist network bent on world domination and the end of capitalism. But this Bond is far more realistic and believable than the gadget-toting, fast car-driving, socializing and womanizing Bond that Hollywood has created. This is by far one of the best books I have ever read! It completely held my attention, and was totally riveting. I found myself completely enthralled with the story, so much so that I look forward to purchasing and reading the other titles in the franchise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2008

    Dated Fun

    The first Bond novel gets started quickly, matching Bond against a French communist in a heated battle of...baccarat? Well, at least it wasn't Texas Hold 'Em like the recent film. Bond is not the overly polished Pierce Brosnan type, nor the suave and sophisticated Sean Connery type, and he doesn't have gadgets either. Some of the story elements are a bit dated, but the action moves along quickly. Overall, a fun, inconsequential read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2008

    Dated but wonderful

    The book is wonderfully crafted and fun to read. Some of the situations and references are fairly dated, but that adds to the texture of it. Any true Bond fan ought to check it out. They'll love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    Enjoyable read, grittier than the remake

    This is perhaps the only book I read when I viewed its cinematic version first. It follows a slightly different path than the movie but nonetheless is absolutely thrilling. 'Royale' really kept my attention. So much so that I nearly missed my stop while on my morning commute occasionally.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2008

    I've never finished a book for pleasure before besides a select few

    and so when i went to B&N to get a book for pleasure, i was very picky. I saw the James Bond books and found the first one, (Casino Royale), and went home. When I started reading I literally couldn't stop. I finished the book in one night! (took me about 7 hours) I had already seen the movie, but about twenty pages into it you will realize they are almost completely different. A must read for Bond Fans!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    Bond

    They say the book is always better than the movie. I usually agree, but in this case I'd say they're equal, but different. No high tech gadgets or fancy special effects here, but you get to see Bond as the author originally created, which makes this well worth the read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2007

    Fantastic read! Great for true spy lovers!

    Ian Fleming was an outstanding writer. The book shows the gritiness of the secret agent field. Much better than all the movies, which used to lean toward silly at times. Don't get me wrong, I loved the movies or I wouldn't have picked up the book. But the writing is better than anything new I've read and in a style that really lets you understand Bond in a way the movies can't. However, you will realize in the book that this is a terribly complex man. Can't wait to see how he evolves over the series. I'm off to buy #2!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2006

    Witness the real James Bond

    This is the real James Bond in action. Although I like the movies, the books are always better. In fact, it's like a new story even though I saw the new movie the day before. The books are rarely anything like the movie, and again, much more enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    Bond for beginners...

    This was the first Bond book and it is remarkable in many ways that someone who knows 007 from the films alone may not appreciate. Fleming saw Bond as a 'blunt instrument' and it is only in the later books that he acquires a patina of wit and sophistication. He is NEVER humorous in any of the books, so those looking for the snappy one liner or wink-wink double entendre will be disappointed. Remember this book was written well over a half century ago...that will give the reader some appreciation of the avant-garde quality Fleming brought to a dead (at the time) genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2006

    007 MANIA!!!!!!

    This is a wonderful way to bring bond james bond onto the scene. In this novel he aquires his 00-#.

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