Shortlisted for: Audiobook of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
For James Bond and the British Secret Service the stakes couldn't be higher. 007's mission is to neutralise the Russian operative Le Chiffre by ruining him at the baccarat table and forcing his Soviet masters to 'retire' him. As Le Chiffre hits a losing streak Bond finds his luck is in - until he meets the glamorous agent Vesper Lynd, who might yet prove his downfall.
This audiobook contains an exclusive interview with Dan Stevens.
©1953 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd (P)2013 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. © AudioGO Ltd, 2012. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under licence by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
To celebrate 50 years of the James Bond films in the cinema, all of Ian Flemings oriiginal books have being recorded by an all star list of narrators. The first book is narrated by Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame.
The book is well read and provides a great introduction to the world of Flemings Bond and will also be enjoyed by die-hard Fleming fans as well.
With the 50th Anniversary of Bond on film just passing, I thought it was time to read the origins of this character, to see what Fleming original intentions were.
I found myself surprised in listening to this book just how jaded and brutal Bond was. Fleming's Bond is a million miles from Roger Moore's interpretation and personally I prefer the tougher more jaded Bond we have in book and that we eventually have with Daniel Craig's Bond. What's more I was surprised to find that one of the most brutal scenes from the latest Casino Royale film was actually taken from the book itself.
I was however not surprised by Bond's or the books attitude to women. Having been written over 60 years ago in a different era it is not surprising, but I don't think you can denying a novel of it's cultural value simply because of the views expressed in it. The book and it's characters represent a time, place and sensibility while today shocking, wasn't out of place then. But then again I think if all fictional characters expressed views that were more morally acceptable the fiction world would be very dull. The audio book is only 5 hours long, as Fleming doesn't waste time in explaining things away. For instance Vespa's arrival and staying at the Casino is glossed over, she is simply there to be kidnapped and to be Bond's love interest and is weakly written.
The reading by Dan Stevens is once again superb and was the reason I went for the audio book instead of reading it myself, his narration is what pushed the overall review to 5 stars.
This is a typical Bond book well written by Ian Fleming as usual. Well read by Dan Stevens and I would recommend it even if you have seen the film (either the original or new version). I really was not sure whether to purchase this book or not but am glad I did. Based on this I will be purchasing more bond books.
It doesn't mean much unless you want it to.
I was surprised by Casino Royale. It was a more thoughtful Bond than I was used to in the films, but it still had all the excitement and style you have come to expect. The Narrator set the scene and mood of the story excellently. I would recommend this and I'm looking forward to more of the Bond books.
I treated myself to Audible's Ian Fleming books when they were on sale at a bargain price and have been gradually working my way through them. what wonderful listens they are! Ian Fleming is just such a good writer and his thrillers adapt brilliantly to audio, particularly with the star cast of narrators. Although the gadgetry is obviously out of date - the books date from the 1950s and early 1960s - in an odd sort of way this does not detract from what is a superb series of thrillers that have aged marvellously well.Casino Royale is the first in the series and it is by no means the best though it has some superb moments, particularly in the Casino. The story is a bit weak, as is the ending, and there are some particularly nasty torture scenes. But overall, the audiobook grips you by the throat and Dan Stevens does a great job, perfect pace, great scene setting and character drawing - he was clearly enjoying himself. He turns one of the weaker Bond books into a thrilling and gripping story.
It is important to listen to the stories in order, though they do perfectly well as stand alone thrillers. From the second book, Live and Let Die through to Dr No, are the best of the bunch and if I had to pick one it would be Moonraker.
Strongly recommended - and if you enjoy Ian Fleming/James Bond, I would also recommend that you give Kate Westbrook's trilogy "the Moneypenny Diaries" a go too. They are surprisingly good, and available on Audible.
Dan Stevens reads Casino Royale very well. The five hours seem to pass even quicker than a bond movie and I immediately wanted to listen again.
The main difference between the movie and Ian Fleming's novel is of course the level of detail and background given to the characters and the 1950s world they inhabit. This first Bond novel sets the stage and sucks the reader into a world that is largely extinct now.
It was not my favourite book but there is nothing I can criticise with the performance. A good book with a fantastic narrator
Yes, an easy listen and an unequivocal modern classic
A fast paced exciting story well told. The narrator is very good. The casino scene is brilliant a blow by blow (literally) account of a card game doesn't sound very exciting but in the hands of a master story teller is a wonderfully vivid tableau. The perverse torture scene is equally riveting. 10 out of ten.
I have been a long time fan of the film franchise but not read the books. I cam to this on the back of the Daniel Craig film, not sure it would live up to the film. It did, and then some. Considering when the book was written it is gritty and hard hitting, and the punishment meted out to Bond is as hard hitting as the film. Very well worth the listen.
If you enjoyed the recent Bond film Skyfall, then this is a book for you. It will illustrate how apt Daniel Craig is as Bond, and how much closer the films are now to the original precept of Bond.
The reviewer who commented that this book was "amazingly dated" and "chauvinistic" doesn't get Bond - He was a Spy and Assassin, not employed for being a nice guy. The book is dated because of when it was set, just because there are no lasers and invisible cars, does not make it an less exciting and believable.
A well narrated page turner that will have you gripped.
"Nice Spy Drama"
Dan Stevens is excellent. Didn't see much of him on Downton Abby but now I have a new respect for him. Damn good he is. Ian Fleming's writing is worth studying. His use of action direct verbs is excellent. He really knows how to move the story along at the right pace. James Bond is a product of the early Cold War and the left over days of WWII. Still, it is believable and fun to listen to. I like the way Ian Fleming treats characters, not as clichés but as interesting real people, well all but the Bulgarians. This book is worth the read, but as for listening to it, Dan Stevens really does an excellent job.
"Much more of a literary effort than I expected"
I have not read any Fleming before and was probably judging him unfairly based only on the movies, but the book was well constructed and the writing much better than expected, I think I thought it would be more comic book style. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dan Stevens does a good job of the narration - maybe even a little hint of Connery about the phrasing and cadence every now and then.
"The classic that introduced James Bond"
James Bond is one of the characters that have survived its creator. In Casino Royale, Ian Fleming introduced this 00-agent for the first time and he does a splendid job of it. You don't meet the assured machine-man super-spy of later books, but a very vulnerable and human James.
Personal tragedy mixed with patriotism and revenge drives 007 to make the decision between good and evil. He is not as cold and clinical as he initially seems and he is blinded by his very human emotions. For me, this is much better than the Film and not yet contaminated by high-tech gadgets and action scenes.
Dan Stevens deserves a 5 star performance. It does seem that when you read James Bond, as the narrator you have to put on a clandestine voice that initially has a bit of a monotonous ring to it or maybe a whisper. Stevens' success in reading this story is that the characters doesn't speak with this same type of voice. His impersonations are first rate.
I enjoyed this audio book and must hand another 5 points for Audible making the 'original' James Bond available in unabridged format.
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