The James Bond Books by Ian Fleming: Casino Royale

When Ian Fleming arrived at his Jamaican home for his annual winter vacation in 1952 he had a few things on his mind.

After a long-term affair with Anne Charteris the divorcee had fallen pregnant with Fleming’s child; in 1950s England there was only one thing to do and that was no longer postpone the inevitable and get married.

The pair had met while she was married to Lord O’Neill, a friend of Fleming’s who was killed in action during the Second World War. While married to O’Neill she had conducted simultaneous affairs with both Fleming and Lord Rothermere, whom she later married but despite this second marriage she continued to see Fleming.

To take his mind off the fact that his bachelor existence was about to abruptly end, Ian Fleming sat down at his writing desk and started what he had promised since the war – to write the spy story to end all spy stories.

Fleming had served the war as assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence with distinction, rising to the rank of Commander, and along the way met many inspiring characters and picked up many tricks of the spy trade.

After the war he used the extensive contacts he had built up to create a network – much like the spy network he had run inside Naval Intelligence – for Kemsley Newspapers, where he worked as Foreign manager for The Sunday Times.

In Jamaica he started to site at his typewriter every morning to write 2,000 words, correcting the proofs in the afternoon and in between swimming and entertaining guests. He dashed the first draft off in a little as six weeks and when he returned to London he carried the manuscript with him. With a little help from contacts, including elder brother Peter who was already an establish author, Fleming signed a publishing deal with Jonathan Cape.

Casino Royale was published in May 1953 and became an instant success. The first run of 4,750 books sold out and a second run was made the following month. Today a first edition copy of Casino Royale can run into thousands of pounds for a good copy and more if it is signed by Ian Fleming himself.

The plot concerns the attempt to bankrupt a French agent working for the Russians, Le Chiffre, who has lost Moscow’s funds after the chain of brothels that he invested in was put out of business following a change in the law. His plan is to win back those funds at the baccarat tables of Royale-les-Eaux.

When Bond arrives in Royale he finds he has company; Rene Mathis of the French Deuxieme Bureau; Felix Leiter from the CIA; and Vesper Lynd, who has been seconded to act as his assistant from Station S.

Almost immediately there is an attempt on Bond’s life. However, he makes it to the baccarat tables to face Le Chiffre, although he doesn’t have an easy ride. First he himself loses his entire funds. Refunded by  바카라 the CIA, when Bond is close to breaking the bank he is threatened with a gun disguised as a walking stick, aimed at the base of his spine; however, he lives to complete the game.

Following the success of the mission Vesper is kidnapped; Bond gives chase but is ambushed and wakes up tied to a chair and tortured with a carpet beater; beaten to within an inch of his life he is only saved by an agent from SMERSH set out to kill Le Chiffre for his betrayal.

Following his recuperation, Bond and Vesper stay in a quiet hotel on the French coast. While the first few days go well and Bond is close to asking her to marry him, her behaviour suddenly changes when she sees a particular man.

On the final night Vesper returns to her old self. However, the hotel owner awakes Bond the next morning; Vesper has taken an overdose of sleeping pills and left a note for Bond in which she explains that she has been a double agent and betrayed him.


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