CASINO ROYALE first reached my hands when I was 13. My friend, artist Pat Carbajal, gave me one of the 1964 Panamenian editions ten years ago as a birthday present. At the time I was very anxious to know how the novel was, since all I've seen (and it was released) were the 1954 and 1967 adaptations, that didn't seem to be very close to the novel, or so people claimed. It took around one month to finish it, I found it really interesting, since it wasn't even close to any of the Bond films, not even to the Pierce Brosnan era I loved and I still love. The other interesting thing I realized when I reached the last chapter is that how we're accostumed to see the cinematic Bond as a winner, when he's really a loser in a sense - he's someone that can never be happy in love. CASINO ROYALE teaches you there are a lot of sad and traumatic moments in the construction of a legend, and I was really glad to see the long-awaited official version in 2006, representing exactly what the essence of the 1953 novel was.
My name is Nicolás Suszczyk, I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I've been the editor of this site for almost two years. I would like you to read the views of many other Bond fans, some of them writers of Bond books or involved with the world of Bond in a way, from all over the world.
I was only 5 or 6 years old when CASINO ROYALE came out and can't really remember when I first read it - sorry. But whenever that was, I found it very exciting! I am not sure I understood it all, as I must have been only about 10 or 11 when I pinched it from my brother (who was 9 years older than me) and read it under the bedclothes with a torch as the Bond books weren't considered suitable for my sister and I to read. I have recently got re-acquainted with the novel while producing the recording of it read by Dan Stevens for 007 ReLoaded, now available in the UK from AudioGO
- Lucy Fleming, Head of Ian Fleming Publications and Ian Fleming’s niece, Oxfordshire, UK
- Donovan Mayne-Nicholls, Santiago, Chile.
Punctuating detail with details, CASINO ROYALE presents a post-war chap of the Crown dripping with Fleming's stiff upper quips. But its trick is how this is a tidy novel from the start which allows in more human frailties than perhaps the writer and his chief creation would like nor care to admit to, but are there throughout in an emotionally slick story dressed up in wolf's clothing. The story may be very post-war, but the sense of loss and almost bitterness at how all these spy industries spit folk out is a delicious peek at a clever author's personal and social scars.
-Mark O'Connell, author, Catching Bullets - Memoirs of a Bond Fan.
I've read every Spanish version and it's a novel that will indeed hook you up, bot you have to have a certain perspective to read it. When Fleming wrote it, Cold War was heating up and that's why Bulgarians are seen as robot thugs. I felt the baccarat description kind of heady, but I like how the game terms where kept in French. It's a great novel to understand the inception of the character.
-Francesc Sirvent, author, Bond 007: Seduce y Dispara, Barcelona, Spain.
I think it was the fourth Fleming novel I’ve read, since I’ve got it in the early ‘90s, after GOLDFINGER, LIVE AND LET DIE and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Of course, it was the Albon edition in Spanish, from Panama, which cover featured a drawing by Edelmann who represented the Bond from the novels, looking like Cary Grant and, surprisingly, sort of Sean Connery at the beginning of NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (during the war games). CASINO ROYALE, just like its follower LIVE AND LET DIE, surprised me for how crude the action was, and the physical tortures Fleming inflicts to his carácter, a world apart of the film version Bond, who keeps his hair in perfect shape after a fight. Of course, Timothy Dalton was fresh in my mind, so I imagined him in the novel, and there I realized it was really true that he used this novel as an inspiration of his portrayal (publically stating that CASINO ROYALE was his favourite one). It was a fast reading, so I’ll resume the highlights of it that are right now coming to my mind: 1) The initial paragraphs, almost like the film’s pre credits, where Bond is already in Royale-Les-Eaux after Le Chiffre, in an atmosphere of smoke and sweat; 2) The interview with "M" and the lagoon of Green light over the Admiral’s desk, provoked by the flashing of his Tudor desk lamp; 3) The diversion 007 makes with a radio when he meets his friend Rene Mathis; 4) The rudimentary “surveillance devices”: one of his hairs in the door’s drawer and marking the water level in his bathroom; 5) the Martini recipe, named Vesper to honour the girl he meets at the casino, with a borrowed dress; 6) The preparation of the caviar, part of our diets from now on; 7) The memorable Baccarat game and Bond menaced by a thug with a cane-gun on his back and narrowy escaping by simulating a faint, while Leiter y Vesper are impasible; Car chase against Le Chiffre, who throws Bond a number of spikes to make Bond crash; 9) the carpet beater torture and the scar in his left hand SMERSH will left him forever; 10) "The Black Patch"; 11) The reflection time at the hospital, maybe interrupted by Mathis, but that should be a must-read about good and evil. "The spy story to end all spy stories" is, in my opinion, a Fleming desired came true nowadays. Time turned it in a massive phenomenon praised by people like John F. Kennedy, George Simenon, Umberto Eco, Kingsley Amis and Allen Dulles. There is, indeed, a before and after with CASINO ROYALE. Ian Fleming’s prophecy was came true.
- Adrian Escudero Tanús, Mar del Plata, Argentina
As a kid in the early nineties I bought a couple of Ian Fleming books. I took them with me on vacation and the first Bond novel I read was a Dutch copy of OCTOPUSSY. It was kind of tough assignment, because it wasn’t as funny as the pictures with Roger Moore I enjoyed so much. Though I finished it and the next one was GOLDFINGER – but the summer weather seemed more attractive, so I put Fleming away… and it took some time to rediscover him again. What happens the next five years: I collected all the Fleming’s with the same cover as my OCTOPUSSY and GOLDFINGER novels. Just to put them nicely in the right order. It was to look at, not for reading. In the meantime CASINO ROYALE was among them.
Then in 1998 I started my study journalism. I had to travel every day for more than an hour by train and bus and I decided I was old enough now to spend my time with Fleming. Starting in the right order (maybe it would help?) with CASINO ROYALE.
But again, it just didn’t grab me. I finished the book and because I still had to travel by train for the next four years, I started with the second Bond: LIVE AND LET DIE. Reluctantly.
My goodness! This was such a great read! I was hooked. Followed by the superb MOONRAKER, with this fan-tas-tic bridge game that hold my breath for pages! From now on, I wasn’t only a Bond film fan, Fleming was the man! DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE – these daily train trips were too short for 007!
Having read all this fourteen Fleming Bond novels, I decided to give CASINO ROYALE a second chance. It went better, but still… I couldn’t get through page 101, “La Vie en Rose”. I stuck there, and I still am. In the meantime I read the English version, but again without much joy. All the other Bonds I read for pleasure for a second or even third time, but CASINO ROYALE, I say this with kind of embarrassment: I just don’t like it…
Happily we have this wonderful 2006 picture with Daniel Craig debuting as 007. And it follows the highlights of the Fleming novel, even with this Gettler guy at the end with the eye patch. The one who scares Vesper so she decides to commit suicide. Whether I never know if this guy in the book also has an eye patch, or missing one of his arms...
-Jasper Hartog, editor, Bond Blog, from The Netherlands
My CASINO ROYALE memories goes back 14 years in time, when I read the book for the fist time. It was 1999, the THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH year, and a brazilian publisher called LP&M released a CASINO ROYALE Pocket version here in Brazil, and, together with DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and LIVE AND LET DIE, these were the first Bond novels I have read in my life.
-Marcos Kontze, editor, James Bond Brasil, from Santa María, RS, Brasil
Reading CASINO ROYALE for the first time is like finally sitting down next to your frightening Uncle Howard at Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve sat down next to him because you’ve just come of age; you can finally have a brandy and a cigar out in the open in front of your family. Uncle Howard always has a brandy and a cigar, so you want to sit down next to him and hear his uncensored thoughts as the official mascot of this exclusive adult club.
Reading it is like your grumpy Uncle Art picking you up in his big blue Ford F-series after soccer practice, the truck grumbling and bouncing as he shuttles you home because your parents are working and he had nothing better to do so he grumpily volunteered. You get to hear what a man, a salt-of-the-Earth man, thinks of the world – of drink and sports and other cultures and politics – for the first time. Your Dad could never be that man, because he was running a business and being a father, so he had to be, you know, a perfect role model.
Uncle Art and Uncle Howard got to tell it like they saw it. They got to point out just how silly your hair and your T-shirt were and after you got over the shock of the first few times they did that, you loved it.
Uncle Ian did the same thing with that first lean, mean 007 book. He taught you how to play Roulette to win. For a full page he totally fetishized how to clean and caress and load that thing of beautiful wonder, a gun. You know, that thing you got to play with maybe once or twice in your life when your Uncle Art took you out in his big backyard to shoot his.
Uncle Ian got to actually say out loud that women were for recreation only, and you got to laugh at that without repercussions. “Why the hell couldn’t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men’s work to the men?” he asked us with a grumble. Yeah, we laughed because it was so dated, but we loved how dated it was, this relic of manhood.
Uncle Ian’s hero wasn’t the pretty boy we saw staring back from VHS boxes when Mom took us to a store in a strip mall with a name like “Captain Video” and let us pick out two rentals (the third was always for adults, for her Sunday nights with Dad). Uncle Ian’s hero had a scar on his face. Uncle Ian’s hero didn’t win the day until the bad guys had tortured the hell out of him, carving their insignia into the back of his hand, scarring him for life. Which made perfect sense, this scarring, because there were so many older men around us who’d been scarred by so much more hardship and war than we would ever know.
When I devoured CASINO ROYALE for the first time, Uncle Ian took me into war and danger and scars and anger. And I understood what being a man felt like. Or at least, used to feel like. I never would feel like that man, and it turned out, would never really want to. But for a week, it was the most fun I’d ever had.
- Aaron Cooley, author, Shaken, Not Stirred: The SecretFiles of I__ F______, Code designate 17F
I'd like to thank all the Bond fans who sumbited their toughts about this great novel reaching it's jubilee, particularily to Mrs. Lucy Fleming to provide her toughts too. May I say, newcomer Bond fans, if you haven't read CASINO ROYALE, it is never too late to do it! Believe me it's not a boring read by any means, and it's quite short and concrete. Give it a try to rediscover James Bond!