Sunday, July 20, 2008

Casino Royale -- Ian Fleming

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Ian Fleming's birth I thought I'd do a quick mention of the first of James Bond's stories. I read this one several years ago. It's an excellent example of the classic spy novel. In it we are introduced to Bond and his cavalier look at life. The super-spy travels throughout the world winning the women, battling the bad guys, and saving the world from evil.

I recently found a pretty good copy of a Signet re-release of the novel (originally published in 1953, my "new" copy is a "Twentieth" printing with a simpler cover than we think of for James Bond). We are introduced not only to Bond himself, but also his love for women, drink and gambling. The reader should be aware that there are graphic scenes describing Bond's torture when he is captured by the bad guys, but the story is intriguing. Quite surprisingly, the most recent cinematic rendering of this particular Bond story remains pretty true to the original. I was interested to see that they screen writers kept the graphic torture scene, and that Daniel Craig gave a pleasantly accurate portrayal of the hero.

For those who like spy stories, Bond is a perfect getaway. Start with Casino Royale for three and one-half reading glasses.

--Benjamin Potter, July 20, 2008

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