|Casino Royale (1st edition cover)|
|Hardback:||(UK) 1953 (U.S.) ?|
|Paperback:||(UK) ? (U.S.) ?|
|Alternate title:||You Asked for It|
|Followed by:||Live and Let Die|
Casino Royale is the first novel written by Ian Fleming featuring the 00 agent Commander James Bond, published in 1953. The plot revolves around a plan to take down Le Chiffre, an agent of SMERSH, by bankrupting him in a high-stakes game of Baccarat Chemin-de-fer.
The head of Station S formulates a plan to take down Le Chiffre of SMERSH, who is attempting to earn money in game in Chemin de fer in order to compensate for the loss of his chain of brothels which were shut down after a law banning prostitution surfaces. M sends out his finest gambler, 00 agent Commander James Bond to play in the game. Station S's Vesper Lynd, the CIA's Felix Leiter, and Rene Mathis of the Deuxième Bureau are sent to assist him.
Bond then squares off against Le Chiffre. During the game, Bond is nearly killed by a gunman sent by Le Chiffre. Soon Bond goes bankrupt, but Felix Leiter provides him with extra capital to continue playing. Bond ultimately wins, but after the game, Vesper is kidnapped by Le Chiffre and his henchmen. He chases after them in his Bentley but ends up crashing and subsequently being tortured by Le Chiffre, who wants to know here the money he won was. After a while, he decided he couldn't extract information from Bond and threatens to castrate him when a SMERSH agent executes him. The agent spares Bond because he had no orders to kill him, but cuts "Ш" into Bond's left hand for future reference. Bond passes out immediately afterward.
Two days later, Bond regains consciousness and Vesper nurses him back to health. Three weeks later, they go on vacation. Vesper soon realizes that a SMERSH agent using the guise "Adolph Gettler" was watching their movements. Vesper grows increasingly fearful of her death and Bond's death from this man. Finally, unable to handle the guilt, Vesper deliberately overdoses on sleeping pills to commit suicide.
In the morning, Bond finds a letter from Vesper explaining that she was working for the MWD to free her boyfriend who served in the Polish RAF. She had also nearly sabotaged the operation in the casino by not getting in between the gunman. She then tells Bond she started to fall in love with Bond, and this ended up drawing the ire of SMERSH, who sent the agent to track Vesper and Bond. Vesper also stated she wanted to escape to South America, start up a new life with Bond, and have a baby with him. She then finishes the letter with "My love, my love."
Because of Vesper's lies and the engraving of "Ш" into his left hand Bond decides to oppose SMERSH. The novel then ends with Bond telling a liaison officer, that "the bitch is dead now".
|The James Bond novels|
|Ian Fleming (1953-1966)|
Casino Royale -- Live and Let Die -- Moonraker -- Diamonds Are Forever -- From Russia with Love -- Dr. No -- Goldfinger -- For Your Eyes Only -- Thunderball -- The Spy Who Loved Me -- On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- You Only Live Twice -- The Man with the Golden Gun -- Octopussy and The Living Daylights
Kingsley Amis (1968)
John Gardner (1981-1996)
Sebastian Faulks (2008)
Jeffery Deaver (2011)