Penguin Books, September, 2002.
Paperback, 192 pages.
British secret agent James Bond is a true modern icon: who isn't familiar with the OO7 films? But many people don't know that the real James Bond was created by Ian Fleming as a result of his own intelligence work in World War II. The first James Bond book, Casino Royale, was published in 1958 and tells the story of British Secret Service agent Bond who is sent to neutralize a Russian agent known only as "le Chiffre". Le Chiffre loves to gamble and Bond heads to France to ruin him at the Baccarat table, which should finish him with his Russian superiors. Naturally, things are never so simple, and what was supposed to be a simple assignment nearly goes terribly wrong. And Bond falls for the wrong girl -- a mistake that could get him killed.
The original James Bond of the first five books written by Ian Fleming himself is quite a bit different than the film character. For one thing, Bond actaully feels things quite intensely. He falls in love, he gets his heart broken. He's tough and cold, but he also questions the morality of killing as required in his profession. The beautiful woman that he falls in love with turns out to be a double agent, shaking Bond to very foundation, thus setting him up for a lifetime of troubled romantic relationships. The action is unsurpassed, and the elegance and style of the surroundings is marvelous. Fleming drew from real-life experiences and the books make a fascinating glimpse into the Cold War spy game. Penguin has recently reissued not only Casino Royale, but also Dr. No and Goldfinger, in trade paperback edition, with wonderful retro covers. Lovers of espionage thrillers simply must pick these up for their collections.
Casino Royale is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the October - November, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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