Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale (James Bond, book one, Ian Fleming, 1953

My favorite quote: ” ‘People are islands,’ she said. ‘They don’t really touch. However close they are, they’re really quite separate. Even if they’ve been married for fifty years.’” (Pretty depressing, but in a way I can see her point …) 

Notable characters: Secret Service agent James Bond, aka, 007; Vesper Lynd, the femme fatale; LeChiffre, the wicked financier

Most memorable scene: The ball torture (because ouch!) I was gasping and clutching my pearls like mad reading that part. Thanks, Ian Fleming. I really needed that … 

Greatest strength: Casino Royale, like all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, is all about the action for me. Car chases, shootings, fist-fights, and more explosions than you can shake a stick of dynamite at — Ian Fleming knows how to capture action on the page

Standout achievements: Casino Royale has an unrivaled ability to make card games and gambling interesting. Or maybe it’s just that James Bond is interesting enough that I overlooked it. I haven’t decided yet, but either way, someone ought to recognize Ian Fleming for his ability to make boring things sound like fun. He could probably write about houseflies making slow, tender love and make it compelling

Fun facts: While researching Casino Royale for this review, I learned that Ian Fleming had actually serious doubts about this book — so much so that before it was published, he sent a copy of it to his friend, William Plomer, explaining that, “I really am thoroughly ashamed of it (Casino Royale) … after rifling through this muck you will probably never speak to me again, but I have got to take that chance.” Can you imagine being ashamed of James Bond?

What it taught me about writing: That simplicity is power. Ian Fleming is a sparse and concise writer who walks the line between setting the scene and moving the story. I deeply admire his capacity for making it look so easy — and he gets even better after Casino Royale

How it inspired my own work: I always learn something about action sequences — particularly guns, bombs, and fights — when I read anything from the James Bond series. In Casino Royale I learned a little about gambling, Naval Intelligence, and of course, ball torture

Other media: 2006 film of the same name starring Daniel Craig

Additional thoughts: For contemporary readers, there will undoubtedly be some things in the James Bond books that will raise brows. Throughout Ian Fleming’s books are expressed attitudes of racism, sexism, and homophobia — much of which aren’t entirely subtle, either. I’m not saying that Ian Fleming was in any way emphatically or willfully hateful, just that these outdated attitudes are present, and seem to be there as a simple matter of course, which was, unfortunately, typical of the time — and this will certainly turn some readers off 

Haunt me:

Read Casino Royale

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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