This is the novel that introduced James Bond to the world. Bond is a hard as nails member of the British Secret Service. He is on the trail of a vicious French union leader who is employed by Moscow. This man has to raise money and quickly. To do this he decides to run a baccarat table at the Casino Royale. Enter James Bond. Bond's job is to break Le Chiffre. Along with the French agent Mathis, the CIA agent Felix Leiter, and the beautiful Vesper Lynd Bond has to defeat his enemy, survive capture and torture, and somehow keep the money from falling back into the hands of the Russians. At the end Bond receives a new mission in life. He now is at work with the Soviet organization SMERSH. This enmity will define many of the future novels.
Ian Fleming's Bond is a very different character from the versions in the films. In some ways Daniel Craig has come the closest to capturing Bond’s character. The hard, keen edge combined with a certain ruthlessness and recklessness define the Bond of Casino Royale. If Craig coul capture some of Connery’s suave nature then he may be able to capture the true nature of Ian Fleming's Bond.
This book is an enjoyable spy novel. There are some moments in this book that are difficult to read. I am never a fan of torture scenes and Fleming seems to enjoy writing them a little to well for my taste. Overall it is a grand journey into the past. A world of sophistication and global war of ideas provide the backdrop. More than once Bond is confronted with how small a player he is in the war of great powers.
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