Sunday, January 15, 2012
Casino Royale by ian Fleming (1953)
The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.
First line: The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.
My thoughts: Bond.....James Bond. I chose to read this, the first installment in the 007 series by Ian Fleming, for the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge and enjoyed it. At 192 pages it is a very short book with little room for building characters or for a very deep story. The first half of the book at least is about Baccarat and the nearly silent battle between Bond and Le Chiffre at the Baccarat Table. It might not seem too exciting but Fleming does a great job of describing the game, characters feelings and building tension. The second half of the story seems to almost be another book. The action stems from the conclusion of the card game. The torture of Bond you saw in the movie is described in horrid detail here. The treachery of Vesper Lynd, if I hadn't seen the movie, may have been a twist or surprise. If you are used to the movies you will find that there is comparatively little action here.
This is for sure a product of its time with plenty of hard drinking and lots of smoking. This is also evident in Chapter 15 when Bond speaks against the feminist movement after Vesper is kidnapped.
I recommend this is you want to read a great vintage spy story.
Quote: This made me laugh so I had to use it. It is the only light moment I can remember from this book. (from Bond about CIA agent Felix Leiter) Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.
The Vesper Martini
3 oz Gordon’s Gin
1 oz Vodka
0.5 oz (Kina) Lillet Blanc
Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge