Thursday, 5 May 2011

Casino Royale - Ian Fleming

Le Chiffre is a Soviet Spy who is down on his luck. After several unsavoury business failures he is making his last bid to bring in the money and get back his power. Failure means death. He makes his last stand at the Casino Royale gambling for high stakes and so far is succeeding. The UK government would rather he failed and so send their undercover agent, 007, to bet against him. The French and American governments are of the same belief and so send Bond some back up. Unfortunately his cover is blown before he even gets there. However, Bond still has a job to do and he intends on doing it.

I have to admit that in the first chapter I had a little trouble with the language of the book. I can't quite put my finger on why but there were a few sentences that made absolutely no sense and I had to continually go back and re-read them. Either I got used to it or the language improved as that problem went away after the first few pages. I did notice that Fleming like to use the word ironical over and over which irritated me slightly. He has this in common with Doris Lessing. Like Lessing though I managed not to hold it against him.

That aside I loved the book and I am so completely surprised by that. Who knew I would love spies that much? In fact it wasn't nearly spy enough for me. Also I should probably confess that I hate gambling. I find it completely boring. Almost as boring as I find magic shows and have no interest in watching, reading or taking part in gambling games. That said I found the game exciting. I had no clue about the rules since I skimmed that part (too much detail there) but I still found myself routing for James. The book itself was dated. A little chauvinist (I really wasn't expecting anything else) and Bond came across as a petulant child at times. Still these things amused me and it fitted in with the era.

I will definitely be reading more of these books but I still find it hard to see Deaver writing in this style. Oh, and it would seem that my poor reading mojo was mainly down to my disappointment with City of Fallen Angels.


  1. I love this book. I think it is one of the best of the Bond novels. I agree with you on Deaver. To be fair, though, the only post-Fleming writers of Bond stories to imitate Fleming's style have been Sebastian Faulks and, to a lesser extent, Kingsley Amis. John Gardner and Raymond Benson used their own styles (inferior, in my mind to Fleming!). I'm looking forward to Carte Blanche and, in a way, I hope it isn't a pastiche of Fleming.

  2. I haven't read this book yet, although I'm a huge James Bond fan and I did manage to find a copy of it at a library book sale about ten years ago. This was at a time when the books were out of print and were hard to track down so I was pretty proud of myself. :)

    I love the new covers that the books are sporting now. I saw them at a bookstore a few weeks ago and wanted to take them all home with me.

    Glad you liked it!

  3. Today I almost picked up Live and let die which was also in the style of these wonderful covers. I had points to burn at my local bookshop (my excuse for book buying when really I shouldn't). In the end though I went with Wilkie Collins. Next time though.

    Despite that I can't get over how much I loved this book! I don't think I can even explain it.

  4. I've never read any of the Bond books but I love the Bond movies. I really liked both versions of Casino Royale. Do you find that the books differ a lot from the movies?

  5. I haven't seen the film Casino Royale so can't compare that particular story. The Bond character does seem very different though. He doesn't seem to have a sense of humour and he wasn't best pleased at having to work with a woman (I don't think he had a problem with that in the films). He also seemed a bit huffy if things didn't go his way. There was also no gadgets other than a radio. It was Fleming's first book though so I imagine that the character and the spy aspect grows in the series.

  6. So cool that you are reading a James Bond book! I do enjoy watching the Bond movies, but haven't read any of the books. My sister is more of a Bond fan than I am, so I'll have to ask her if she's read any of them and what she thought!

    Also, I'm so glad you are going to look up Kristen Britain's books! They are addictive, but it's frustrating because she takes forever to write the next installment in the series.

    Hope to see you back on my blog soon! I'm announcing my first giveaway next week, btw :).

  7. I was in my local book shop the other day and they had Kristen Britain's books on display. So, at least I know I can get them easily. I did come close to buying the first one but I am trying to be good and stuck with one book.

    Will definitely stop by your blog.

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  9. James Bond should also play in an online casino! LOLS I love the way Fleming introduced the movie, though.