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Casino Royale

(James Bond (Original Series) #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  54,835 ratings  ·  3,650 reviews
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 lad ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Penguin (first published April 13th 1953)
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3.74  · 
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 ·  54,835 ratings  ·  3,650 reviews


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Jayson
(A-) 80% | Very Good
Notes: James Bond, embittered professional killer, gambles on humanity and love, while we learn the intricacies of baccarat.
Grace Tjan
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it


To: M

From : Jane Moneypenny

Subject: An assessment of Agent 007's conduct during operation “Casino Royale”


Dear Sir,

I am aware of concerns raised by certain members of the Service regarding Agent 007’s performance during the abovementioned operation. Therefore, I would like to offer my personal assessment, based on the debriefing reports and my own long familiarity with the subject.

It is true that Agent 007 had somewhat compromised the operation by letting himself getting caught by the Target, oth
...more
Julian Meynell
Spoilers

This will be a review of not just Casino Royale, but of the James Bond books in general. I think that there is a good argument to be made, that the Bond books are the most misunderstood books of all prominent books, because the very subtext that accounts for their enduring appeal is buried so deeply that it just passes most people by.

The best way to understand the James Bond books is to understand the heroines of the books. These heroines are often characterized as being glamorous women
...more
Brina
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bond, James Bond. Over the years I have enjoyed watching the action movies starring England's favorite 007 spy, yet, until now, I had not read any of Ian Fleming's classic books explaining Bond's origins. In Casino Royale, a tale of stealth, lust, and treachery, we see where Bond's 007 career begins.

It is the years following World War II, and the Cold War has emerged from the ashes of Europe. The Russian intelligence agency SMERSH with backing of Arabian oil money has become a threat to take ov
...more
Matthew
I think I read From Russia With Love first (and, FRWL will always be my favorite Bond book and movie), but I had to go back to the beginning a read the Fleming bond books straight through. I was afforded the opportunity a few years ago when the entire Fleming collection in paperback was available for $20 at Sam's Club! Still one of the best book buys I have ever come across!

Casino Royale did not blow me away - it is a bit dry and slow. I wasn't going to let that deter me from my quest to work th
...more
Carmen
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of pulp stories
Some interesting facts that we learn in this book:

James Bond smokes 70 cigarettes per day.

James Bond loves his car.

James Bond likes to sleep naked.

This is the first Bond novel (1953) and it's a doozy. We have SMERSH, gambling, kidnapping, torture, intrigue, double-crossing, and cackling villains.

Bond is set up with millions of British pounds and told to go to France and out-gamble the evil Le Chiffre, a holocaust survivor with no "Christian name" and, supposedly, no memory of his life before age
...more
JA Tivendale
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles." He laughed. "But don't let me down and become human yourself. We would lose such a wonderful machine."

James Bond, Secret Agent for M16, 007 with a license to kill. This was the 1st entry in Ian Fleming's James Bond series and introduces the world's most famous fictional spy in great fashion.

Bond is in France gambling his nights away at the Royale Casino. It all sounds enjoyable however this is par
...more
Joe Valdez
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
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 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 avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.


Thus begins Casino Royale, which in 1953 launch
...more
mark monday
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mark by: Carmen
Ian Fleming has some poetry in his veins! I would never have guessed that. much of the prose in this spy thriller is basic and almost ostentatiously declarative. prose from and for a man's man, I suppose. but every so often, we have lines like:
In his mind he fingered the necklace of the days to come.

The moonlight shone through the half-closed shutters and lapped at the secret shadows in the snow of her body...

Bond awoke in his own room at dawn and for a time he lay and stroked his memories.
so
...more
Lyn
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The beginning of the James Bond stories.

And what an odd beginning.

Yes, we are introduced to Bond and provided some backstory, we know that his 00 nomenclature is because he has killed and is licensed to kill again in his service to Queen and country. We learn that he is a spy and a gambler, a heavy smoker and likes his vodka martini (shaken not stirred).

But this is almost more of a romance. Fleming describes a decidedly more vulnerable and human Bond than has been portrayed in films. Fleming, t
...more
Heidi The Reader
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
The first novel about James Bond, the 00 agent, takes place at the Casino Royale. He has to outplay a French/Russian operative to take money away from the communists.

If Bond fails in his mission by losing at the card table, then British government will be directly funding communists. No pressure.

I have a thing for Bond. Cool under pressure, fast cars, looks fabulous in a tux...

I thought I would like this a lot, but I didn't. I don't think the story has aged well.

The best parts of the tale took p
...more
Jason Koivu
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is a time for every man and this man is of his time.

I might go a step further and say, a profession for every man and this man is of his profession, for James Bond is a psychopath and one would need to be in order to do the things his job requires of him. He is a controllable psychopath. He's not the loner, loose cannon type. He's the loner, well-aimed cannon type. He's not going to fill up his closet with the severed limbs of his random victims, because the voices in his head told him to
...more
Duane
Everyone's heard of James Bond I'm guessing. I've seen a few of the movies over the years but can't say I'm a big fan; I can take them or leave them. But I thought I would add a few of the Fleming novels to my read list and I always like to read the debut novel of any author, especially if it's a series. Casino Royale is not considered one of the best of the novels by critics, and I can't say I concur because I haven't read any of the others yet, but I can understand after reading it. I gave it ...more
Juli
Casino Royale is the first book in the James Bond series. I've seen the movie -- the new and the old version -- many times, but this is the first time I've actually read the book. James Bond is a much more complex character than the way he is portrayed in the movies. Yes, he travels to exotic places to kill people and he has more than his share of liaisons with beautiful women....but the books include his thoughts on his job, his fear and apprehension during missions, and his considerations of r ...more
Will M.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been a huge fan of James Bond ever since Casino Royale(2006) was shown in theatres. I remember watching it with my family and my dream then was to become just like James Bond. I watched all the Bond movies that Daniel Craig starred in ever since that Royale movie. I haven't seen the older ones though, and I heard that this novel is similar to the older movies, and thankfully I haven't seen those.

There's this scene in this novel wherein the villain tortured Bond by repeatedly striking his m
...more
Chad
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Surprisingly most of the plot of the movie is in the book minus the parkour scenes in Africa. Bond is a cold ruthless bastard. It's hard to get past the sexism of the era (The book was written in 1953.), and there's a lot of it in here. The plot is slow and plodding in places, especially the beginning. The excitement picks up after the baccarat scene. It's definitely a cold war era spy novel with lots of double crosses and twists and turns. Definitely not the best Bond novel, but first books for ...more
Nandakishore Varma
I finally got to read a Bond novel...

Yes, so far I had not read any of his books, but had religiously seen almost all the movies (especially the ones released during the late seventies and the early eighties - my teens and twenties). I enjoyed the movies for their goofy speed, silly plots, the imperturbability of Bond and all those lovely ladies (MMMMM!). But somehow, I never got around to the material where these films took off from.

And now I realise that I am too late. There is absolutely no s
...more
Councillor
Never before have I thought of myself specifically as a fan of the James Bond movies, although I did watch 13 out of overall 24 Bond films. However, along with the recent release date of "Spectre" (which I haven't seen yet), I wanted to discover how Ian Fleming's works influenced the successful movie adaptions and whether or not those movies lived up to the novel's expectations. "Casino Royale" has been one of the first Bond movies I thorougly enjoyed watching, so my expectations as to my readin ...more
BrokenTune
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Well, it was not too late. Here was a target for him, right to hand. He would take on SMERSH and hunt it down. Without SMERSH, without this cold weapon of death and revenge, the MWD would be just another bunch of civil servant spies, no better and no worse than any of the western services."

And so begin the extraordinary adventures of the most famous of all spies. Had it not been for his involvement in bringing down the villain known as Le Chiffre, James Bond could just have been another one of
...more
David Schaafsma
I got back into Bond from the comics adaptations that are being made by Dynamite, meant to be in keeping with the original tone of Ian Fleming's novels. I had read some of them over the years, but like most people, when I think of Bond I think of Sean Connery: Suave, sophisticated, urbane, vodka martini (shaken, not stirred), fast cars, the latest guns and gadgets, great clothes, and hot women. My sister and I used to watch all the movies again and again and we assessed the hotness of the women ...more
Richard Derus
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Rating: well, why not? 3* of five

Oops! Forgot one. This is 1967's film version I'm discussing, not the book, which was *awful*. That's not fair...it's not horrid writing, it's just so very very very dated and not in a good way. Kind of a time capsule of what was wrong with 1954.

Ya know...this film version was pretty damn lame, too. What redeems it is the sheer balls-out what-did-I-just-watch comedic pace of the thing. David Niven is LUDICROUS as Bond, but good as this character who isn't Bond bu
...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, pulp
My first James Bond novel which cements my opinion that Daniel Craig is the epitome of this steely MI man.
When one reads these pages one is struck by the description of the character and his actions; he's cold, aloof, calculating, isolated. He's not a swaggering, macho, seducing machine. Don't get me wrong! Bond likes the ladies, but they have their uses. They are props and they are there for an affair once the case is solved. He's probably the most attractive man in the room.
In Casino Royale
...more
Fabian
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part describes our hero's mental prowess and the second tells of why he hates chicks. The film, in this case, is victorious over these primal sketches of the superstar 007. The novel is problematic, brief, misogynistic, and it bothers me just how everyone that surrounds our Main Man is grotesque in contrast with our uberhealthy fast-healing super spy, as though he's sucked in all surrounding goodness and/or beauty just by being awesome. But ce LA vie... At least here's to be found pret ...more
Mark
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: real Fleming fans
Recommended to Mark by: found it in my dads cupboard
Update 2018 - This is still a very well written book that introduced us to the world most famous secret agent. It is so well written by Ian Fleming his skill of descriptive writing have always been the best part of his writing. While I am no fan of a game of baccarat the man writes so well you can actually participating in the fun and games. Fleming as a writer deserves much more credit than he has been given. Always a pleasure re-reading a Fleming novel. They remain some of my favorite rereads. ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, spy
My name is Bond. James Bond.

This is my first Ian Fleming's (1908-1964) novel about MI6 agent called James Bond. My dad used to bring us, his kids, to 007 movies when we were kids and I can still remember all the expensive cars exploding on the screen, shapely Bond girls in their bikinis, the high-powered guns and James Bond running, being chased by bad guys, escaping death in a millisecond precision.

I am heartened to know that Casino Royale, first published in 1953, was the first James Bond book
...more
Inder
Aug 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: A-holes who need some tips.
Recommended to Inder by: Not Steve.
So. So. Bad. Also - incredibly, over-the-top offensive. Bond wants the somewhat-withholding Vesper because he knows that making love to her will always "have the sweet tang of rape"??

W.T.F.?

Misogynist zingers aside, it's at least 70 pages too long. When it wasn't repulsive and offensive, it was really boring. I'm not saying it didn't have its fun moments, but they were surprisingly few and far between.

Raymond Chandler is quoted on the back as saying, "Bond is what every man would like to be and
...more
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Daniel Craig is my Bond. I've never seen Brosnan's or Connery's or Dalton's Bond, or anyone else's. As such, Casino Royale was the first Bond movie I ever saw, and I friggin LOVED it from start to finish. Being as how I've seen the movie numerous times, I was initially leery of reading the original novel -- I hate reading the book AFTER I've seen the adaptation, because I never get the full enjoyment out of it that way. Happily though, it seems the film people stuck very close to the source mate ...more
Madeline
Call it a guilty pleasure, this book was just fun to read, mostly because I a) love Bond movies anyway and b) delight in sexist jokes, which made it easier for me to read Bond's anti-feminist rants and just giggle to myself. Here's one of my favorites, when Vesper Lynd gets herself kidnapped by the bad guys and Bond has to take the trouble to chase after them:
"This was just what he had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the hell couldn't they just
...more
John Culuris
When I finally got around to reading this book I was in for more than a few surprises. And it was not as if I went in blind. I was aware that the movies--even the Daniel Craig vehicles--were different from the books. And I had read Thunderball years ago, though it was during the observation period after a car accident; it was the only book of fiction in the room and all I can remember is that I didn’t care for it.

My first surprise was at how well written Casino Royale is, particularly since I ha
...more
Fred Shaw
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent spy novel, first of a long series. Fleming was a British Naval Intelligence officer in WW II. Bond and Bourne would make a great team.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Second World War Navy Commander. He was a grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming, who founded the Scottish American Investment Trust and the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.

Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James
...more

Other books in the series

James Bond (Original Series) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)
  • Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond, #4)
  • From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)
  • Doctor No (James Bond, #6)
  • Goldfinger (James Bond, #7)
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond, #8)
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)
“People are islands,' she said. 'They don't really touch. However close they are, they're really quite separate. Even if they've been married for fifty years.” 217 likes
“Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.” 170 likes
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