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Summary

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, forcing his Soviet masters to ‘retire’ him. When Le Chiffre hits a losing streak, Bond discovers his luck is in – that is, until he meets Vesper Lynd, a glamorous agent who might yet prove to be his downfall.

Includes an exclusive bonus interview with Dan Stevens.

Ian Fleming was born in London in 1908. He was educated at Eton and worked as a journalist in Moscow and a banker and stockbroker in London before becoming personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence during the Second World War. He wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952 at Goldeneye, his home in Jamaica. Since then James Bond has gone on to become a global phenomenon.

Dan Stevens is internationally known for his role as Matthew Crawley in the hit television drama Downton Abbey, and more recently he has starred in films including Summer In February, The Fifth Estate, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Guest, The Cobbler and Night At The Museum 3. Dan’s other screen work includes Vamps, Hilde, Sense & Sensibility, Maxwell and The Line of Beauty, and his theatre work includes The Heiress on Broadway, and Arcadia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Vortex and Hay Fever in London.

©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.

Critic reviews

"Ian Fleming writes with a kind of pushing, bloodcurdling elegance. His thrillers are models of fastidious murder." ( New York Times)
"From the first evocative words to the last savagely ironic sentence, this is a novel with its own flavour." ( Sunday Times)
"Hums with tension." ( Time Magazine)
"A superb gambling scene, a torture scene which still haunts me, and, of course, a beautiful girl." (Raymond Chandler)
"A first-rate thriller…with a breathtaking plot." ( Manchester Guardian)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clifford
  • HUDDERSFIELD, United Kingdom
  • 07-09-12

The original and the Best

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr D
  • Lincolnshire United Kingdom
  • 23-12-12

Not the Bond you expect

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anna
  • Brantree, United Kingdom
  • 06-07-13

Enjoyable

Would you try another book written by Ian Fleming or narrated by Dan Stevens?

Most certainly!

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It was not my favourite book but there is nothing I can criticise with the performance. A good book with a fantastic narrator

Was Casino Royale worth the listening time?

Yes, an easy listen and an unequivocal modern classic

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good read

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anna
  • York, United Kingdom
  • 20-01-13

James Bond will return...

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the greatest spy novels of all time

Ian Fleming set out to write "the spy novel to end all spy novels". He certainly succeeded in writing one of the greatest spy novels of all time. The novel is a pacy, quick read even though in some respects the climax comes about halfway through. The second half, although lacking action gives interesting insights into Bond's character and the formation of the harder, colder character who emerges in later stories and films.

Dan Stevens provides a fine narration of the story. The voices he gives the characters are particularly good. I would have been happy if he'd read the entire series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • VS
  • 18-05-18

Great book from the time before self-censorship

Great book. It's refreshing to read a book that doesn't hold back. The author definitely would be considered to be awful in our current pc climate... so it's a nice to escape to a different time and place through this book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bond James Bond

Characters portrayed could have been better pronounced. Story better than film though. Very graphic in parts

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • MikeP
  • Tadley, United Kingdom
  • 14-06-17

Enjoyable book that portrays Bond differently

This book was interesting, whilst the plot of the film closely follows the book, the characters are
developed much more richly in the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Essex
  • 15-05-17

The first and best

Having spent a lifetime with Bond movies it was a great revelation to go back to the very beginning. Considering how long ago it was written it is still so fresh and real with no gadgets or movie trickery, just a great story, intense brutality and heartbreaking tenderness - beautifully read. I love this book.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 05-09-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stuart
  • 28-01-13

Much more of a literary effort than I expected

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jacobus
  • 15-09-12

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Irina Alexander
  • 26-02-15

Bond - A Stranger To Present Generations!

Well narrated but not really familiar to Fleming's Bond and his world. The unfamiliarity comes through in the narration and lack of passion for values shows through.
Otherwise, nice experience.