For James Bond and the British Secret Service, the stakes couldn't be higher. 007's mission is to neutralize the Russian operative Le Chiffre by ruining him at the baccarat table, forcing his Soviet masters to "retire" him. When Le Chiffre hits a losing streak, Bond discovers his luck is in - that is, until he meets Vesper Lynd, a glamorous agent who might yet prove to be his downfall.
This audiobook includes an exclusive bonus interview with Dan Stevens.
Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd
©1952 Ian Fleming (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Say something about yourself!
When AudioGo first announced this round of new recordings a couple of years ago, I was manic to have them. I own copies of the original Simon Vance recordings from my pre-Audible days, which are phenomenal, but being the Bond fan that I am, I'm always curious to see what others can bring to the table. Then I found out these new recordings weren't available outside of the UK, and my heart sank. I prayed Audible would bring them to me.
At last, my prayers have been answered, and wouldn't you know, I had to hunt for them. Instead of referring to them by their official series name of "007 Reloaded," they're called "celebrity performances." Well, by any other name, it means my 2 credits a month are dedicated for the next few months (barring Star Wars releases), and not being independently wealthy, I can't afford to spring for them all at once as I'd like to do. Curses, foiled again.
Be that as it may, I have begun the series, and I'm over the moon impressed with this new performance by Dan Stevens. He impressed me with his work on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and his work here is every bit as nuanced and incredible. I almost wish he could do the rest of them too, but the point is to have a variety of talent for this series, so I'm looking forward to riding that wave. As many times as I've gone through the original novels, I'm still not as familiar with them as I am the films, and this provides the perfect excuse for me to dive in again and live with them for a while.
For those new to the original Fleming novels, this is a great introduction to the series. You almost have to forget what you've seen on screen and take Bond in his original cold war context, but thanks to the recent Daniel Craig films coming closer to Fleming's work, the in-road to the classic version has never been friendlier. It might take some getting used to Bond using a Beretta instead of the Walther PPK, or driving a Bentley instead of the Aston Martin, but the core of everything that is Bond starts here and evolves into what we've come to know and love throughout the series. Fleming's incredible detail brings these stories to life at every level, from Bond's scoping the room for signs of intrusion and tampering, to food and drink, to the gambling tables, to the torture sequences, and beyond. It's visceral in a way that can only come happen thanks to practical, real world experience. That's what separates Bond from his world of knock-offs and wanna-be copycats. Setting the standard of all that's come before and all that will come to be in the action/spy genre, regardless of medium, there's only one name you need to know. The name's Bond. James Bond.
Doctor Who, James Bond, Alexandre Dumas, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Elizabeth Gaskell, but mostly just Doctor Who.
It's been a little while since I've listened to this, but this book was my first exposure to James Bond. It was nice, I've listened to several others since then and I really enjoy them.
Dan Stevens' performance was top-notch, I would totally listen to him over and over again.
This book is not as dated as some I've read that were written about the same time - Bond has a very chauvinistic view of women, but that is totally appropriate to the time (1953) and takes up a very minor part of his character in this book. The rest is still Bond, and I was surprised to find how much of the recent Casino Royale movie (not the 1967 spoof) is true to the book. The location of the book is France, not Montenegro, and the game is Baccarat Chemin de Fer, not Texas Hold 'em, but otherwise almost everything (including a few pieces of terse dialogue) is straight up. Bond earns his double-0 status, loses money, almost dies, wins money, is introspective, falls in love, considers resigning, and ultimately decides to stay on to fight for what he believes in.
Dan Stevens was good, not great, with one exception -- his Bond dialogue (not the prose) is really, really close to Connery's Bond.
I've read this book previously, but wanted to give it a listen, as well. I'm so glad I did. For me, this was Bond at his finest. Ian Fleming's Bond has never been matched since being taken over by other writers. The newer stories are fine on their own, but there was a certain crispness about the way Fleming wrote his version of Bond that was unique to him and that style was born in and grew from Casino Royale.
I knew a bit about the James Bond series even though I'd not read any of the novels or the short stories. I had once read that the early books had a sort of "comedic" tone which I didn't hear in the writing. It was all pretty serious stuff here, as spy/adventure novels go.
I found the 3-part construction of the book to be kinda-sorta awkward, and I allowed that, as it being his first in a long series of novels. Practice Makes Perfect. The book could have perfectly well ended at the end of the second part, which makes the last third of the book feel as if it's the world's longest denouement. But... it's not. Stick with it until the very last word (hint-hint).
The reader is quite good: avoiding falling into any cliché voices of the famous movie Bonds, and adding his only quiet suavity to the character. Overall, it was a very interesting read. AND, it inspired me to invest in the other novels in the series, even though I don't think I would go on a Bond binge. This "comedic" (sic) novel has some pretty heavy stuff salted in for later in the series. I think I might savor them, like a good bourbon. ;)
I found one "error" in the plotting, but again: first novel. I'm sure he gets better as the books roll along. Fleming was quite prolific and produced a new Bond novel every year from 1953 until the end of his life in the mid-1960s. He had a lot of words and chapters in which to learn - and perfect - the craft.
Shiloh Bound Doc! University of Iowa graduate. Iowa Writer's Workshop fan. Hawkeye Fan! Believer. Husband. Father. Physician.
5 stars great.
4 stars good.
3 stars OK.
Written in 1953 or 56 so a bit of a post-WWII flavor and a fair amount of cerebrating on the part of Ian Fleming as he writes.
Interesting. Not a lot of action. ____________😱
This is the story that established the mold for how Bond has been portrayed in both later books and in the movies. Casino Royale has it all - murder, greed, passion, love, and loyalty to nation and between friends set in the period right after WWII in the heyday of the Cold War. It is excellently written and narrated. The description and portrayal of the times and activities within the story come alive and keep you involved right to the end. Well done.
I have never seen a Bond movie so I knew very little about the character. This was a nice introduction.
Yes. There was a lot of action.
Yes. He is a wonderful narrator with a beautiful voice.
No extreme reaction but I really enjoyed the story.
This is a great treat for Downton Abbey fans. Matthew, played by Dan Stevens, is one of my favorite characters.
English instructor Theatre practitioner
Very nice to be able to listen to a fleshed-out version at times when I couldn't read
Insight into the beginnings of the character
He does a great job giving all of the various agents their own personalities
No -- 2, maybe 3
The story itself has a great deal of details about baccarat and other potentially mundane things, but Stevens does well with them.
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