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10 October 2011 / getrus

Casino Royale — Ian Fleming

When I was little, my dad would always watch the James Bond movies and of course I would sit and watch them with him.  (I was, and still am, a huge daddy’s girl.) A little bit ago I found a copy of Casino Royale and decided to read through the series.  (Only the Ian Fleming books.) So here is my review of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. (Be sure to watch for other Ian Fleming works coming later.)

 Casino Royale is set in the late 1940’s it has action, intrigue, passion, and a sweet love story.  Yes there is a love story for James Bond.  Bond is a secret agent for MI6, an agency in England equivalent to the CIA in the United States.  He is sent to a French casino to try and gain intel and bankrupt Le Chiffre who is funding SMERSH, a Russian headed agency made of former NKVD agents.  Bond successfully does his job, but not without lots of difficulty, including several assassination attempts.  Working with him on this assignment are Felix Leiter, a CIA agent, and Vesper Lynd, another agent from MI6.  After Bond defeats Le Chiffre Vesper is captured and held hostage and Bond falls right in to their trap.  He is tortured for hours until an assassin from SMERSH comes to kill Le Chiffre for his failure.  Bond is in the room when this happens except he is practically unconscious because of the pain of torture.  Instead of killing Bond the assassin carves a symbol into the back of his hand marking him as a spy. 

 Nothing bad in the meanwhile had happened to Vesper and they are both rescued by Leiter.  Bond is taken to a nearby secure hospital where he is treated and Vesper is given a few weeks leave to get over the ordeal she has gone through.  She goes and visits Bond almost every day he is in the hospital telling him of her days and keeping him company.  Eventually, Bond is released from hospital care although he is still weak and has bruises.  They go to a little Bed and Breakfast on the coast and here is where the end of our story comes where they live happily ever after.   Ok, no, but it would be nice for Bond to end up with the girl living in a little out of the way town.  It ends up that Vesper was actually working for SMERSH because they were blackmailing her.  She commits suicide because she knew their happiness could never last and SMERSH would eventually find her.  In her suicide note she declares her love for Bond and wishes him the best.  Bond also had fallen under loves spell (if you know the movies you would never have thought this possible.) 

 Overall I enjoyed reading this novel; it shows the differences between men and women during the 40’s and some of the prejudices still around after WWII.  It portrays women as people who need to be protected and cannot fend for themselves.  I could probably write a whole paper on the portrayal of women, but not now.  I recommend this book to anyone at all.  Especially if you enjoy the James Bond movies.  It defiantly helped me to understand more of what was going on and why Bond does some things. 

***** (five stars)

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2 Comments

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  1. simonreadbooks / Jan 14 2012 22:16

    Fleming is the master. I’ve read all his books multiple times. While I suggest you read them in order, I have to say that MOONRAKER is my favorite . . . followed closely by FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and DR. NO. You’ll find, as you read, that the movies–other than the titles and the names of the characters–have little to do with Fleming’s masterpieces.

    • getrus / Jan 15 2012 07:37

      I finished Live and Let Die as well, but that was a let down. I could hardly finish it. I found it slightly misogynistic. Soon though I plan on reading Moonraker in the next month as it is the next one in the series and hopefully it will be better.

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