1: Casino Royale

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale

So in December, one of the movie channels had a Bondathon—all the Bond movies except for the Pierce Brosnan ones and the latest one with Daniel Craig. They were all blurring together by the end, especially since various actors appeared as different characters in different movies. But watching them all like that got me curious about the books. So I headed on out to Pulpfiction Books to see if they had any. And hey, they did! So I grabbed Casino Royale—the very first book—and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

I figured CR would be typical, well, pulp fiction. As it turns out, Ian Fleming (no relation 😉 ) was a better writer than I expected, though his style is quite dry and analytical. Everything is described in excruciating detail. This does work, though, because of who/what Bond is supposed to be. However, I could see readers finding it boring. What especially stood out for me was that the book had none of the humor of the movies. Instead, Bond’s kind of a morose character. He’s described as looking like Hoagy Carmichael. He drives a Bentley.

Another thing that was different from the movies was that Bond doesn’t believe in mixing women and business (women are for after business is complete): “…he wanted to sleep with her but only when the job had been done.” (p.40) And there was only one female interest in CR (Vesper Lynd). Bond sees Lynd as somewhat of a nitwit to begin with, but at the end it is revealed that she was in fact not. Also, in addition to being sexist (which I expected, obviously), Bond is somewhat racist (has a tendency to stereotype people).

There is one scene late in the book that is most definitely in the latest movie.

He does actually use the Bond, James Bond line (p. 50):

“My name’s Felix Leiter,” said the American. “Glad to meet you.”
“Mine’s Bond — James Bond.”

Bond’s drink: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel” (p.51). Later, after Bond learns Vesper Lynd’s given name, he asks if he can name his drink after her.

I think I understand Baccarat now. Banco!