It seems that lady luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits 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 to an unexpected savior.
Shaken? Stirred? Check out 007's other assignments.
©1953 Glidrose Productions, Ltd.; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"[A]n intense, fascinating, and moody piece of fiction." (Raymond Benson, author of High Time to Kill)
"Britisher [Simon Vance] takes a suitably urbane approach, sounding as if he is attired in white tails and sipping a very dry martini between takes [and] taking particular pleasure with his characterizations." (AudioFile)
Touching Lives One Martini at a Time
I keep saying this, but Simon Vance nails the tone of the novels. He has a great facility for voices and accents. He also handles foreign words and phrases well (a knowledge of French and German is very helpful in Fleming novels). Vance is able to take Fleming's narrative and make it into something unique. It is like listening to a radio drama. This novel, the first, is not for the faint of heart. It is extremely violent and noirish, almost in a Mickey Spillane tradition. Not one person in the story is worth a damn. It is a hyper-masculine novel filled with violence, sex, gambling, and drink. It does give an interesting look, I should say feeling, of what Britain was like after the devastation of WWII and how they felt about being a second-rate power after its ascendancy during the Victorian Era.
This is a no-brainer. It's James Bond. It is the first story and he is not surrounded by friends. Fleming was a journalist and his writing is very "just the facts, ma'am". Bond is much the same way.
I like the baccarat set-pieces. It is tough to make a card game tense and it was pulled off here. The torture scene is a leg-crosser.
I'll leave that to the professionals.
This novel is nice and simple and it zooms right along. It is also an interesting set-piece about Britain's view of itself and America post-WWII. No, Fleming's books are not deep, but they are a little bitter and that makes them interesting.
Unlike many Bond films, Casino Royale actually resembles the book. The movie was actually more complicated and action-packed, though.
Bond's mission is quite simple: go to a fancy French casino, put some fat stacks on the table, and try to beat the other guy who's actually a SMERSH agent. Of course he does break Le Chiffre's bank, and that's when Le Chiffre gets really desperate, and things get ugly.
If you've seen the movie, you know basically how everything plays out with Le Chiffre, SMERSH, and Vesper Lynd. And yes, the scene with Bond tied naked to a cane chair with the bottom cut out is from the book. Where the book differs from the movie is that Bond isn't such a smug smart-ass while he's getting his balls tickled by Le Chiffre's carpet-beater. Indeed, this is how all of Fleming's novels differ from the movies: Bond is a much more human character than any of his film versions. He feels fear, sadness, doubt, and he wonders whether he's on the right side. But he's still a cold bastard in the end.
I like Fleming's writing. It's blunt and descriptive and full of elegant details but without a lot of backstory. The plots are straightforward, mostly believable, and they cook right along. If you haven't sampled any of the original Bond stories, you should. One thing to be warned of, though, is that if you think the movie Bond is a bit of a misogynist, Fleming's Bond is even more unapologetic about it. Women are silly, emotional things to be used for pleasure (though his love for Vesper belies this), and he's not too enlightened about the non-white people either. But if you can read the stories for what they were and the time they were written, they're quite fun and Fleming does a lot with relatively thin plots.
Casino Royale is a good quick listen, and Simon Vance, as usual, does a great job of narrating Fleming's terse, masculine style.
This James Bond is tough! It is great to hear the real James Bond. He beats the bad guys with his mind and his fists. This is not the gadget-loving Roger Moore but a tough-minded, quick-witted, kind of good guy.
Ian Fleming introduces us to a most remarkable world and character in this first book in the eventual series about 007. A very skillful character sketch of a man, a very unique man and one both men and women can identify inside themselves. While the recent movie was a faithful cinematic (albeit modernised) version of the novel, the listener will be enraptured by this most compelling story that is as fresh and exciting today as it would have been in the early 1950's when it was first published.
While the story is most excellent and well written, the listener will find the narrator, Mr. Simon Vance, to be almost perfect as the quintessential reader of Bond (and any other story). In fact, I became a fan of Mr. Vance as a reader while listening to this audiobook. I must say, the real world faded as I listened to Casino Royale.
Even though most of us have seen the movies first, and perhaps, think that is all there is to Mr. Bond, all will find that the novels themselves are a whole other world and just as intensely interesting and exciting. There is also something wonderful about stepping back into this romanticised fancy of the Cold War. Dear Mr. Bond is something of a knight.
Of all the Bond stories, this is my favorite; it sets the mark, the standard, and gives us _Bond_. All of the Bond stories on Audible are first rate, but this one, Casino Royale, is the first--and for several reasons.
A science fiction fan for as long as I can remember but I also enjoy history (fact and fiction) and humor.
If you've seen the teatrical release of Casino Royale, you owe it to yourself to listen to this excellent reading of the original story.
I read the book many years ago and had forgotten just how good it was. It is, without a doubt, one of Ian Fleming's best novels (even if somewhat dated with Cold-War references to Redland and SMERSH). The story provides insight into James Bond's personality and some historical background to the stories which followed. It also introduces characters, like CIA agent Felix Liter, who become significant in later adventures.
I listened to the story at work during lunch hours and ended up having to set the alarm on my computer to prevent me from running over time.
The reading is crisp and well-paced and the sound quality is excellent.
I was pleasantly surprised by how good a writer Ian Fleming was. The first half of the book is very good. Among other things, James Bond is different from the James Bond of the movies, and that makes for added interest. The second half of the book is not bad, but odd. Fleming sets things up for a final twist, like most thriller writers, but readers will see the twist coming a mile away. Worse yet, you have to wonder why Bond doesn't see it coming. Despite that problem, this is a solid read.
I really liked the down to earth Bond in the book. He is human and dispite his double 0 status he does not kill anyone in this book. He is bothered by the two killings he has done.
Much better than the movie. The movie should have captured the eria of the book and made him less super-hero like.
I loved this book...a straight ahead good vs evil secret agent story that introduces James Bond.
Flemming's construction of the "Bond Universe" is so meticulous that there is no need to suspend your disbelief.
I also like the relatively short length of the Bond stories which provided instant interest and smooth but rapid story development.
Simon Vance delivers a pitch perfect narration which only enhances the story.
Well worth the credit.
Although I've only seen a few James Bond movies before reading this first book, I don't know if that created too much expectations between the gadgets and far-fetched scenes of the movies to this James Bond character written in 1953. I was disappointed to read that his mission is to bankrupt a Russian agent by trying to beat him at the baccarat table. It sounds more like the work for a professional gambler than a spy. It goes into details about the gambling, odds, and strategy. The suspense builds as the stakes increase. However, all the characters are flat. Maybe because it was Fleming's first book... it's a rough outline of who they are. There is James Bond, the cold and calculating British spy. He has support from Mathis, operative from the French branch, and Felix Leiter, CIA agent. There isn't any back story to explain why Bond is so cold or the depth of relationships between Bond and any of the other characters. Occasionally through dialogue or Bond's inner voice, the reader get a sense of him and his focus on accomplishing the mission. If some woman gets in the way and gets hurt for it, so be it. This book would probably rate higher for fans of James Bond or pulp fiction genre (easy read for entertainment).
More fun than reading as the narrator does a super job of bringing the characters to life. Quite enjoyable!
Having never read a Bond book before, I was pleasantly surpsired by character development and depth. The pacing was slower than a typical Bond movie, but That allows for insight and developement into James Bond--the man--versus the spy. The ending fit the book and I liked it. Although I did not confirm this, I feel that this must be an early volume in the overall Bond storyline. The movie was quite different and I liked them both for different reasons.
I chose this book because I loved Simon Vance in the Dragon Tattoo series. I missed the ol' chap and wanted to enjoy his company again. Plus there's was the Daniel Craig movie role link between these works;)
While I always enjoy spies and mystery and action, as a woman, I can't resist a love story either. The book's love interest plot line was much deeper than explored in most Bond movies.
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