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Casino Royale

A book by Ian Fleming

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The Movie Was Good, The Book Better

  • Jun 19, 2010

Bond. James Bond.  I am not even close to as cool as that.  I don’t even think I could be friends with Ian Fleming, who created James Bond.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t get lured into the world of Secret Service, beautiful ladies and high-stakes card games.  And, in a few short pages, Fleming does just that.  In fact, all of the Fleming’s Bond novels are quite short (which makes me wonder about the new Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks, Devil May Care, which appears to be about three times as long).  They feature big lettering on merely 150 or so double-spaced pages.  They are great stories, though.

There is one thing I must point out, in case anyone has seen the movie prior to reading the book.  They don’t play poker in the book.  No, Bond is too classy to play poker.  In fact, it was a real shame they played poker in the movie, although, I guess I understand given that the World Series of Poker on ESPN was being watched by more people than any number of real college sports.  Ok, so in the original book, they play Baccarat.  I didn’t know much about it before the book, but you get enough from Fleming to follow along. 

So, how on earth could a Secret Service agent with a license to kill now sitting around a Baccarat table playing cards with his enemy be at all interesting?  Here’s where Fleming’s magic begins (and why when you’re done with one Bond book, you simply want to pick up another one).  He doesn’t mince words like Faulkner.  He doesn’t provide an overwhelming vision of detail of the likes of Dumas or Dickens.  He doesn’t even wait for you to take a breath.  The details that are used are precise and neat, like Bond’s drinks: “‘A dry martini,’ Bond said. ‘In a deep champagne goblet.  Three measures of Gordon’s, one of Vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.  Shake I very well until it’s ice cold, then add a thin slice of lemon peel.  Got it?’”  Seriously, when you are done, there is no reason why you won’t go looking for the next Fleming on the shelf (in his case Live and Let Die).

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June 23, 2010
I'm happy to find another fan who enjoys the book better than the movie. I simply thought the book was short, engaging, and daring. But you explain how Fleming intended to write this books and compared this book with other writings. This is the first time I've seen this, thank you.
More Casino Royale reviews
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
good read
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
Not his best, but gives a taste of the genre.
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
James Bond always a good and easy read.
About the reviewer
DW Bearl ()
Ranked #1180
I'm almost done with medical school. My plan is to go into pediatrics. Maybe pediatric cardiology after that. I thoroughly enjoy reading, cycling, squash, tennis and watching the Minnesota Twins.
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About this book


The allure of James Bond was best described by Raymond Chandler, who insisted that 007 is "what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets." Who can argue with that? This month marks the 40th anniversary of the film release of Dr. No, which was the first Bond adventure to make the big screen, and two big coffee-table books are being published to honor the occasion (LJ 10/1/02, p. 96). Shockingly, Fleming's original novels have gone out of print, but Penguin here reproduces a trio of the British secret agent's early outings, released in 1952, 1958, and 1959, respectively, sporting stylish cover art. These stories were racy for the nifty Fifties but are quite tame by today's standards. Still, they can be fun.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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ISBN-10: 014200202X
ISBN-13: 978-0142002025
Author: Ian Fleming
Publisher: Penguin

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