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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bond. James Bond.

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • TDH
  • BOULDER CREEK, CA, US
  • 02-08-15

Stevens Makes This a much Better Listen

The same good story, but Dan Stevens of Downton Abby is a fantastic upgrade at narrator from the previous version.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Gambling, Danger, and Betrayal

The Bond franchise begins with this story, and if you have never read a Bond novel, it is best to start here. The opulent lifestyle, car chases, romance, and life of cold espionage is on full display. If you have only seen the Daniel Craig movie, this will be a treat, because Fleming’s Bond reacts differently to everything. He is human, while being a spy, capable of misreading situations and people.

Dan Stevens might be one of the finest audiobook readers around. His French pronunciation is impeccable, American accents are flawless, and he has distinct voices for different characters. He drives the narrative with his reading, and you will never be bored, even when Fleming is describing Bond’s meal, which he does, frequently. Best audiobook I have had the pleasure of listening to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Dan Stevens is brilliant, bringing Ian Fleming's Bond off the page and to life in an exciting way

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Classic James Bond and an Easy Listen!

Would you listen to Casino Royale again? Why?

Yes. The story is simple and straightforward but for someone like me who has a hard time following stories with tons of characters this audiobook was perfect! Great Narration by Dan Stevens.

What does Dan Stevens bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Dan hits every word and enunciation perfectly. He gives each character a voice without it sounding cheap or overdrawn! His voice was perfect James Bond. It's a shame this is the only book in the series that he narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love the Movies, Never read the Books

I grew up loving the Movies, thank you Dad, but I had never read the books before. Glad I started with the first, I loved it

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Bond Humanized by Stevens

An excellent performance by Dan Stevens. In an overall interesting spy novel, however, there remains the question of Bond's perception and treatment of women. Was this common to the time or was Bond, in a sense, a misogynist according to the standards of a period misogynistic by our standards? Stevens does a good job of humanizing Bond by letting us hear his thoughts in an embodied way that might be difficult to grasp just by reading the text.

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great start to get a real feel for bond

great book, where u get the start of bond and the double 00's if u r interested in the James Bond series this is where to start

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Exceptional

One of the best books I've had the privilege to listen to here on audible.

Dan Stevens, the next James Bond. Job should be his if he's interested.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Best Bond in an ok story

I read this because I love the various film versions of Bond, especially Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. The basic structure of this book matches the 2006 movie but there are some major differences in quality. In each section of the story, the movie is better: the set up, the game, the capture and interrogation, and finally the romance.

The one place that the book is better is in Bond as a character. In this first book, he has not yet become the inhuman superhero that the character later evolves into. He's a better actual spy. His abilities are more finite. When injured, his recovery is protracted and painful. When witnessing something awful, he's queazy. To the extent that he's cold and impenetrable, it's within the realm of a real person.

This is not my favorite version of a Bond story, but it may be my favorite Bond.