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Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Most of the the one and two star reviewers of this book were sadly disappointed, expecting that the glitzy movie version of Bond would be found in Fleming's actual books.

But, with the exception of Sean Connery's Bond in the first three movies, and Daniel Craig's back-to-basics interpretation in the first three of the current series, the movie Bond character for the most part has been nothing more than escapist fantasy.

The literary Bond isn't the superhero of the movies. He's a flawed, cold killer in the service of his country in a dangerous time.

Written during the height of the Cold War, Fleming's Bond novels were based on actual people and operations that Fleming had first hand knowledge of because of his highly placed role in British Naval Intelligence during WW II.

Rather than judge Casino Royale, or any of Fleming's Bond novels, by what you've seen in the movies, instead first learn about the real Operation Goldeneye; the real Operation Tracer; the real Operation Ruthless; the real No.

The tradecraft, operations, units, events, and involved individuals were the very real WW II sources that Ian Fleming used in creating Bond and the world in which he moved.

Fleming's romanticized works have a ring of authenticity recognizable to anyone familiar with or who may have participated in events that occurred during those times.

Read Casino Royale; travel back to a time when French was the only international language; a time when Joseph Stalin and the Soviet NKVD represented a very real threat; a time when people feared that threat; and a time when the governments of the Free World had very real people on the payroll like Fleming's fictional James Bond to counter that threat.

Perhaps you'll see the same things in it that caused the first three printings to sell out quickly in the U. At the time of Casino Royale , Bond is about 30 years old and has held the 00 number for about six months.

He earns the U. He spends what he earns. He knows that statistically he will have at least 10, probably 20, and as many as 30 very tough assignments before the mandatory 00 retirement age of He knows the odds of his surviving the coming ten years are slim to none.

And that depresses him. How do I know? Ian Fleming tells us so in Chapter One of "Moonraker" third book in the series.

That's the Bond that Ian Fleming created. Much more interesting and gritty and real and human. It's the Bond Daniel Craig resurrected until the new crop of Hollywood fools screwed it up again with November 's Spectre.

I'll stick with the books, thank you very much! Fleming's writing style, while perhaps not rising to the expectations of modern pedantic poseur literary critics, is easy to read and follow.

As would be expected from a successful journalist writing for educated U. I didn't find that aspect disruptive at all to the flow of the narrative.

Then he lit his seventieth cigarette of the day and sat down at the writing-table with the thick wad of his stake money and winnings beside him and entered some figures in a small notebook.

Over the two days' play, he was up exactly three million francs. In London he had been issued with ten million, and he had asked London for a further ten.

With this on its way to the local branch of the Credit Lyonnais, his working capital amounted to twenty-three million francs, or some twenty-three thousand pounds.

For a few moments Bond sat motionless, gazing out of the "window across the dark sea; then he shoved the bundle of banknotes under the pillow of the ornate single bed, cleaned his teeth, turned out the lights and climbed with relief between the harsh French sheets.

For ten minutes he lay on his left side reflecting on the events of the day. Then he turned over and focused his mind towards the tunnel of sleep.

His last action was to slip his right hand under the pillow until it rested under the butt of the. Then he slept, and. Two weeks before, this memorandum had gone from Station S.

In nearly all respects he is an admirable agent of the U. Briefly, it seems that Le Chiffre is on the brink of a financial crisis. Certain straws in the wind were noticed by — some discreet sales of jewellery, the disposal of a villa at Antibes, and a general tendency to check the loose spending which had always been a feature of his way of life.

Further inquiries were made with the help of our friends of the Deuxieme Bureau with whom we have been working jointly on this case and a curious story has come to light.

He was foolish enough to employ for this purpose some fifty million francs of the moneys entrusted to him by Leningrad Section III for the financing of S.

Normally the Cordon Jaune would have proved a most excellent investment; and it is possible that Le Chiffre was motivated more by a desire to in- crease his union funds than by the hope of lining his own pocket by speculating with his employers' money.

However that may be, it is clear that he could have found many investments more savoury than prostitution, if he had not been tempted by the by-product of unlimited women for his per- sonal use.

Fate rebuked him with terrifying swiftness. If you want to show off your knowledge of foreign jawbreakers, be good enough to provide a crib. Better still, write in English.

In desperation he turned his open houses into 'maisons de passe' where clandestine rendezvous could be arranged on the border-line of the law, and he continued to operate one or two 'cinemas bleus' underground; but these shifts in no way served to cover his overheads, and all at- tempts to sell his investment, even at a heavy loss, failed dismally.

Meanwhile the Police des Moeurs were on his trail, and in a short while twenty or more of his establishments were closed down.

The significance of the situation became ap- parent to us and to our French friends, and, in the past few months, a veritable rat-hunt has been operated by the police after the establishments of the Cordon Jaune, with the result that today nothing remains of Le Chiffre's original in- vestment, and any routine inquiry would reveal a deficit of around fifty million francs in the trade- union funds of which he is the treasurer and paymaster.

Last week a high- grade source of Station P. There is no confirmation of this report from the Deuxieme Bureau, nor from the authorities in Strasbourg who are reliable and thorough and there is also no news from Le Chiffre's headquarters there, which we have well covered by a double agent in addition to If Le Chiffre knew that SMERSH was on his tail or that they had the smallest suspicion of him, he would have no alternative to committing suicide or attempting to escape; but his present plans suggest that, while he is certainly desperate, he does not yet realize that his life may be at stake.

It is these rather spectacular plans of his that have suggested to us a counter-operation which, though risky and unconventional, we submit at the end of this memorandum with confidence.

The 'Bourse' is too slow. So are the various illicit traffics in drugs, or rare medicines, such as aureo- and streptomycin and cortisone.

No race tracks could carry the sort of stakes he will have to play; and, if he won, he would more likely be killed than paid off.

In any case, we know that he has withdrawn the final twenty-five million francs from the treasury of his union, and that he has taken a small villa in the neighbourhood of Royale-les-Eaux, just north of Dieppe, for a week from a fortnight tomorrow.

Now, it is expected that the Casino at Royale will see the highest gambling in Europe this sum- mer. In an effort to wrest the big money from Deauville and Le Touquet, the Soci6te des Bains de Mers de Royale have leased the baccarat and the two top chemin-de-fer tables to the Mahomet Ali Syndicate, a group of emigre' Egyptian bankers and businessmen with, it is said, a call on certain royal funds, who have for years been trying to cut in on the profits of Zographos and his Greek associates resulting from their monopoly of the highest French baccarat banks.

With the help of discreet publicity, a con- siderable number of the biggest operators in America and Europe have been encouraged to book at Royale this summer and it seems possible that this old-fashioned watering-place will regain some of its Victorian renown.

Be that as it may, it is here that Le Chiffre will, we are confident, endeavour on or after 15 June to make a profit at baccarat of fifty million francs on a working capital of twenty- five million.

And, in- cidentally, save his life. Proposed Counter-operation It would be greatly in the interests of this coun- try and of the other nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that this powerful Soviet agent should be ridiculed and destroyed, that his communist trade union should be bankrupted and brought into disrepute, and that this potential fifth column, with a strength of 50,, capable in time of war of controlling a wide sector of France's northern frontier, should lose faith and cohesion.

All this would result if Le Chiffre could be defeated at the tables. Leningrad would quickly cover up his defalcations and make him into a martyr.

We therefore recommend that the finest gam- bler available to the Service should be given the necessary funds and endeavour to outgamble this man.

The risks are obvious, and the possible loss to the Secret funds is high; but other operations on which large sums have been hazarded have had fewer chances of success, often for a smaller ob- jective.

If the decision is unfavourable, the only alter- native would be to place our information and our recommendations in the hands of the Deuxieme Bureau or of our American colleagues of the Combined Intelligence Agency in Washington.

Both of these organizations would doubtless be delighted to take over the scheme. Variations on the words 'cipher' or 'number' in different languages; e.

First encountered as a displaced person, in- mate of Dachau D. Zone of Germany, June, Apparently suffering from amnesia and paralysis of vocal cords?

Dumbness succumbed to ther- apy, but subject continued to claim total loss of memory except associations with Alsace Lor- raine and Strasbourg whither he was transferred in September, , on Stateless Passport No.

Adopted the name 'Le Chiffre' 'since I am only a number on a passport'. Hair red- brown, 'en brosse. Small, rather feminine mouth.

False teeth of expensive quality. Ears small, with large lobes, indicating some Jewish blood. Hands small, well-tended, hirsute. Racially, subject is probably a mixture of Mediterranean with Prussian or Polish strains.

Dresses well and meticulously, generally in dark double-breasted suits. Smokes incessantly Caporals, using a denicotinizing holder.

At frequent intervals inhales from ben- zedrine inhaler. Voice soft and even. Bilingual in French and English.

Traces of Marseillais accent. Mostly expensive, but discreet. Large sex- ual appetites. Expert driver of fast cars.

Carries three Eversharp razor blades, in hatband, heel of left shoe, and cigarette case. Knowledge of accountancy and mathematics.

Always accompanied by two armed guards, well-dressed, one French, one German details available. A formidable and dangerous agent of the U. Own archives and scanty material made available by DeuxiSme Bureau and C.

Smersh is a conjunction of two Russian words: Leningrad substation at Moscow. Its task is the elimination of all forms of treachery and back-sliding within the various branches of the Soviet Secret Service and Secret Police at home and abroad.

It is the most powerful and feared organization in the U. It was then rapidly expanded to cope with treachery and double agents during the retreat of the Soviet forces in At that time it worked as an execution squad for the N.

The organization itself was thoroughly purged after the war and is now believed to con- sist of only a few hundred operatives of very high quality divided into five sections: In , charge of counter- intelligence among Soviet organizations at home and abroad.

Operations, including execu- tions. Investigations and legal work. Goytchev, alias Garrad- Jones.

During interrogation he committed suicide by swallowing a coat-button of com- pressed potassium cyanide. For details see Morgue: Every effort should be made to im- prove our knowledge of this very powerful organization and destroy its operatives.

He walked belligerently up to M. I want to sell something to the Chief. Is this a good moment? He won a bit of a victory at the F. And tell him I'll wait here and read a good code-book while he's considering it.

He may want some more details, and anyway I want to see you two don't pester him with anything else until he's finished. I'll be next door,' said Head of S.

The Chief of Staff crossed his office and went through the double doors leading into M. In a moment he came out, and over the entrance a small blue light burned the warning that M.

Later, a triumphant Head of S. He said it was subversion and blackmail. He got pretty sharp about it. Says the idea's crazy but worth trying if the Treasury will play, and he thinks they will.

He's going to tell them it's a better gamble than the money we're putting into de- serting Russian colonels who turn double after a few months' "asylum" here.

And he's longing to get at Le Chiffre, and anyway he's got the right man and wants to try him out on the job.

He's tough, and M. He must be pretty good with the cards, or he wouldn't have sat in the Casino in Monte Carlo for two months before the war watching that Roumanian team work their stuff with the invisible ink and the dark glasses.

He and the Deuxieme bowled them out in the end, and turned in a million francs he had won at shemmy. Good money in those days. Bond looked across the desk into the shrewd, clear eyes.

But I can't promise -to win. The odds at baccarat are the best after "trente et quarante" — evens except for the tiny "cagnotte" — but I might get a bad run against me and get cleaned out.

Play's going to be pretty high— opening' 11 go up to half a million, I should think. That was his job — knowing the odds at everything, and knowing men, his own and the opposition's.

Bond wished he had kept quiet about his misgivings. Up to twenty-five million, the same as him. We'll start you on ten and send you another ten when you've had a look round.

You can make the extra five yourself. Have a talk to Q. The Paymaster will fix the funds. It's their territory, and as it is we shall be lucky if they don't kick up rough.

I'll try and persuade them to send Mathis. You seemed to get on well with him in Monte Carlo on that other Casino job.

And I'm going to tell Washington because of the N. Try and bring it off. We're going to look pretty foolish if you don't. This sounds an amusing job, but I don't think it's going to be.

Le Chiffre is a good man. Well, best of luck. Two heads are better than one and you'll need someone to run your communications.

I'll think it over. They'll get in touch i with you at Royale. It'll be someone good. He left the room hoping that the man they sent would be loyal to.

He had arrived at Royale-les-Eaux in time for lunch- eon two days before. There had been no attempt to con- tact him, and there had been no flicker of curiosity when he had signed the register 'James Bond, Port Maria, Jamaica.

If inquiries were made, he would quote Charles Dasilva of Caffery's, Kingston, as his attorney. Charles would make the story stick.

He made a high banco at chemin-de-fer whenever he heard one offered. If he lost, he would 'suivi' once and not chase it further if he lost the second time.

In this way he had made some three million francs and had given his nerves and card-sense a thorough workout. He had got the geography of the Casino clear in his mind.

Above all, he had been able to observe Le Chiffre at the tables and to note ruefully that he was a faultless and lucky gambler.

Bond liked to make a good breakfast. After a cold shower, he- sat at the writing-table in front of the window.

He looked out at the beautiful day and con- sumed half a pint of iced orange juice, three scrambled eggs and bacon, and a double portion of coffee without sugar.

He lit his first cigarette, a Balkan and Turkish mixture made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street, and watched the small waves lick the long seashore and the fishing fleet from Dieppe string out towards the June heat-haze followed by a paper-chase of herring- gulls.

He was lost in his thoughts when the telephone rang. It was the concierge announcing that a Director of Radio Stentor was waiting below with the wireless set he v had ordered from Paris.

Bond watched the door, hoping that it would be Mathis. When Mathis came in, a respectable businessman carrying a large square parcel by its leather handle, Bond smiled broadly and would have greeted him with warmth if Mathis had not frowned and held up his free hand after carefully closing the door.

There are no mountains for forty miles in any direction. Mathis paid no attention. He placed the set, which he had unwrapped, on the floor beside the unlit panel elec- tric fire below the mantelpiece.

They are touring Europe. Let us see what the reception is like. It should be a fair test. Bond noticed that he had turned the volume on to full and that the red light indicating the long waveband was illuminated, though the set was still silent.

Mathis fiddled at the back of the set. Suddenly an ap- palling roar of static filled the small room. Mathis gazed at the set for a few seconds with benevolence and then turned it off, and his voice was full of dismay.

After a few ad- justments the close harmony of the French came over the air, and Mathis walked up and clapped Bond very hard on the back and wrung his hand until Bond's fingers ached.

Bond smiled back at him. Up there,' he pointed at the ceiling, 'at this moment, either Monsieur Muntz or his alleged wife, allegedly bedridden with the grippe, is deafened, absolutely deafened, and I hope in agony.

Mathis sat down on the bed and ripped open a packet of Caporal with his thumbnail. They must have been on to you for several days before you arrived.

The opposition is here in real strength. Above you is the Muntz family. She is from somewhere in Central Europe, perhaps a Czech.

This is an old- fashioned hotel. There are disused chimneys behind these electric fires. Just here,' he pointed a few inches above the panel fire, 'is suspended a very powerful radio pick-up.

The wires run up the chimney to behind the Muntzes' electric fire where there is an amplifier. In their room is a wire recorder and a pair of earphones on which the Muntzes listen in turn.

That is why Madame Muntz has the grippe and takes all her meals in bed and why Monsieur Muntz has to be constantly at her side in- stead of enjoying the sunshine and the gambling of this delightful resort.

The rest we confirmed by unscrewing your elec- tric fire a few hours before you got here. Their grooves showed minute scratches. He walked over to the radio, which was still transmitting close harmony to its audience of three, and switched it off.

Are they not a wonderful team? Just what I was looking for to take back to Jamaica. Bond frowned at him. Could the Russians have broken one of our ciphers?

If so, he might just as well pack up and go home. He and his job would have been stripped naked. Mathis seemed to read his mind.

A pretty flap we caused, I can tell you. She is very beautiful Bond frowned , very beautiful in- deed. Back and front,' he added. All new machines, even French ones, are apt to have teething troubles in the first day or two.

And occasionally at night,' he added with an exaggerated wink. Bond was not amused. She speaks French like a native and knows her job backwards.

Her cover's perfect, and I have arranged for her to team up with you "quite smoothly. What is more natural than that you should pick up a pretty girl here?

It's about ten miles down the coast road. He had his two guards with him. They look pretty capable fellows. One of them has been seen visiting a little pension in the town where three mysterious and rather subhuman characters checked in two days ago.

They may be part of the team. Their papers are in or- der — stateless Czechs apparently — but one of our men says the language they talk in their room is Bulgarian.

We don't see many of those around. They're mostly used against the Turks and the Yugoslavs. They're stupid, but obedient.

The Russians use them for simple killings or as fall-guys for more complicated ones. Which is mine to be? Come to the bar of the Hermitage before lunch.

I'll fix the introduction. Ask her to dinner this evening. Then it will be natural for her to come into the Casino with you.

I'll be there too, but in the background. I've got one or two good chaps, and we'll keep an eye on you. Oh, and there's an American called Leiter here, staying in the hotel.

London told me to tell you. May come in useful. Mathis switched it off and they exchanged some phrases about the set and about how Bond should pay for it.

Then with effusive farewells and a final wink Mathis bowed himself out. He was completely blown and under really professional sur- veillance.

An attempt might be made to put him away even before he had a chance to pit himself against Le Chiffre at the tables. The Russians had no stupid prejudices about murder.

And then there was this pest of a girl. Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the;; way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around.

One had to look out for them and take care of them. The Girl from Headquarters It was twelve o'clock when Bond left the Splen- dide, and the clock on the mairie was stumbling through its midday carillon.

There was a strong scent of pine and mimosa in the air, and the freshly watered gardens of the Casino opposite, interspersed with neat gravel par- terres and paths, lent the scene a pretty formalism more appropriate to ballet than to melodrama.

The sun shone, and there was a gaiety and sparkle in the air which seemed to promise well for the new era of fashion and prosperity for which the little seaside town, after many vicissitudes, was making its gallant bid.

Royale-les-Eaux, which lies near the mouth of the Somme before the flat coast-line soars up from the beaches of southern Picardy to the Brittany cliffs which run on to Le Havre, had experienced much the same fortunes as Trouville.

At the turn pf the century, when things were going badly for the little seaside town and when the fashion was to combine pleasure with a 'cure,' a natural spring in the hills behind Royale was discovered to contain enough diluted sulphur to have a beneficent effect on the liver.

Since all French people suffer from liver com- plaints, Royale quickly became Royale-les-Eaux, and Eau Royale, in a torpedo-shaped bottle, grafted itself demurely on to the tail of the mineral-water lists in hotels and restaurant cars.

It did not long withstand the powerful combines of Vichy and Perrier and Vittel. There came a series of lawsuits; a number "of people lost a lot of money, and very soon its sale was again entirely local.

Royale fell back on the takings from French and English families v during the summer, on its fishing-fleet in winter and on the crumbs which fell to its elegantly dilapidated Casino from the tables at Le Touquet.

But there was something splendid about the Negresco baroque of the Casino Royale, a strong whiff of Vic- torian elegance and luxury, and in Royale caught, the fancy of a syndicate in Paris which disposed of large funds belonging to a group of expatriate Vichyites.

Brighton had been revived since the war, and Nice. Nostalgia for more specious, golden times might be a source of revenue.

The Casino was repainted in its original white and gilt, and the rooms decorated in the palest grey with wine-red carpets and curtains.

Vast chandeliers were suspended from the ceilings. The gardens were spruced, and the fountains played again, and the two main hotels, the Splendide and the Hermitage, were prinked and furbished and restaffed.

Then the Mahomet Ali Syndicate was cajoled into starting a high game in the Casino and the Socie"te des Bains de Mer de Royale felt that now at last Le Touquet would have to yield up some of the treasure stolen over the years from its parent plage.

Against the background of this luminous and sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark profession an affront to his fellow actors.

He shrugged away the momentary feeling of unease and walked round the back of his hotel and down the ramp to the garage. Before his rendezvous at the Her- mitage he decided to take his car down the coast road and have a quick look at Le Chiffre's villa and then drive back by the inland road until it crossed the route nationale to Paris.

Bond's car was his only personal hobby. It was still serviced every year and, in London, a former Bentley mechanic, who worked in a garage near Bond's Chelsea flat, tended it with jealous care.

Bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. It was a battleship-grey convertible coupe, which really did convert, and it was capable of touring at ninety with thirty miles an hour in reserve.

Bond eased the car out of the garage and up the ramp, and soon the loitering drumbeat of the two-inch exhaust was echoing down the tree-lined boulevard, through the crowded main street of the little town, and off through the sand dunes to the south.

An hour later, Bond walked into the Hermitage bar and chose a table near one of the broad windows. Everything was brass-studded leather and polished mahogany.

The cur- tains and carpets were in royal blue! The waiters wore striped waistcoats and green baize aprons. Bond or- dered an Americano and examined the sprinkling of overdressed customers, mostly from Paris he guessed, who sat talking with focus and vivacity, creating that theatrically clubbable atmosphere of Pheure de l'aperitif.

The men were drinking inexhaustible quarter-bottles of champagne, the women dry Martinis. Mais tu sais, un zeste de citron Bond's eye was caught by the tall figure of Mathis on the pavement outside, his face turned in animation to a dark haired girl in grey.

His arm was linked in hers, high Up above the elbow, and yet there was a lack of intimacy in their appearance, an ironical chill in the girl's profile, which made them seem two separate people rather than a couple.

Bond waited for them to come through the street-door into the bar, but for appearances' sake con- tinued to stare out of the window at the passers-by.

Bond, ap- propriately flustered, rose to his feet. Are you awaiting someone? May I present my colleague, Mademoiselle Lynd? My dear, this is the gentleman from Jamaica with whom I had the pleasure of doing business this morning.

Would you both care to join me? Mathis and Bond exchanged cheerful talk about the fine weather and the prospects of a revival in the for- x tunes of Royale-les-Eaux.

The girl sat silent. She ac- cepted pne of Bond's cigarettes, examined it, and then smoked it appreciatively and without affectation, drawing the smoke deeply into her lungs with, a little sigh and then exhaling it casually through her lips and nostrils.

Her movements were economical and precise with no trace of self-consciousness. Bond felt her presence strongly.

While he and Mathis talked, he turned from time to time towards her, politely including her in the conversation, but adding up the impressions recorded by each glance.

Her hair was very black, and she wore it cut square and low on the nape of the neck, framing her face to below the clear and beautiful line of her jaw.

Although it was heavy and moved with the movements of her head, she did not constantly pat it back into place, but let it alone.

Her eyes were wide apart and deep blue, and they gazed candidly back at Bond with a touch of ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he would like to shatter, roughly.

Her skin was lightly sun- tanned and bore no trace of makeup except on her mouth, which was wide and sensual. Her bare arms and hands had a quality of repose, and the general im- pression Of restraint in her appearance and movements was carried even to her fingernails, which were un- painted and cut short.

Round her neck she wore a plain gold chain of wide flat links, and on the fourth finger of the right hand a broad topaz ring.

Her medium-length dress was of grey soie sauvage with a square-cut bodice, lasciviously tight across her fine breasts. She wore a three-inch, hand-stitched black belt.

A hand-stitched black sabretache rested on 34 CASINO ROYALE the chair beside her, together with a wide cartwheel hat of gold straw, its crown encircled by a thin black velvet ribbon which tied at the back in a short bow.

Her shoes were square-toed of plain black leather. Bond was excited by her beauty and intrigued by her composure. The prospect of working with her stimulated him.

At the same time he felt a vague disquiet. On an impulse he touched wood. Mathis had noticed Bond's preoccupation. After a time he rose.

I must arrange my rendezvous for dinner tonight. Are you sure you won't mind being left to your own devices this evening? Perhaps I will bring you luck.

She seemed to acknowledge that they were a team and, as they discussed the time and place of their meeting, Bond realized that it would be quite easy after all to plan the details of his project with her.

He felt that after all she was interested and excited by her role and that she would work willingly with him. He had imagined many hurdles before establishing a rapport, but now he felt he could get straight down to professional details.

He was quite honest to himself about the hypocrisy of his attitude towards her. As a woman, he wanted to sleep with her, but only when the job had been done.

He explained that he was expected back at his hotel to have lunch with friends. When for a moment he held her hand in his he felt a warmth of affection and understanding pass between them that would have seemed impossible half an hour earlier.

The girl's eyes followed him out on to the boulevard. Mathis moved his chair close to hers and said softly: I am glad you have met each other.

I can already feel the ice-floes on the two rivers breaking up. It will be a new experience for him. He reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless in his Suddenly a few feet , away the entire plate-glass window shivered into con- fetti.

The blast of a terrific explosion, very near, hit them so that they were rocked back in their chairs. There was an instant of silence.

Some objects pattered down on to the pavement outside. Bottles slowly toppled off the shelves behind the bar. Then there were screams and a stampede for the door.

He kicked back his chair and hurtled through the empty window-frame on to the payment. The day was still beautiful, but by now the sun was very hot and the plane-trees, spaced about twenty feet apart on the grass verge between the pavement and the broad tarmac, gave a cool shade.

There were few people abroad and the two men stand- ing quietly under a tree on the opposite side of the boulevard looked out of place. Bond noticed them when he was still a hundred yards away and when the same distance separated them from the ornamental 'porte-cochere' of the Splendide.

There was something rather disquieting about their appearance. They were both small, and they were dressed alike in dark and, Bond reflected, rather hot- looking suits.

They had the appearance of a variety turn waiting for a bus on the way to the theatre. Incongruously, each dark, squat little figure was illuminated by a touch of bright colour.

They were both carrying square camera-cases slung from the shoulder. And one case was bright red and the other case bright blue.

By the time Bond had taken in these details, he had come to within fifty yards of the two men. He was reflecting on the ranges of various types of weapon and the possibilities of cover when an extraordinary and terrible scene was enacted.

Red-man seemed to give a short nod to Blue-man. With a quick movement Blue-man unslung his blue camera case. Blue-man, and Bond could not see exactly as the trunk of a plane-tree beside him just then in- tervened to obscure his vision, bent forward and seemed , to fiddle with the case.

Then with a blinding flash of white light there was the ear-splitting crack of a mon- strous explosion and Bond, despite the protection of the tree-trunk, was slammed down to the pavement by a solid bolt of hot air which dented his cheeks and stomach as if they had been made of paper.

He lay, gazing up at the sun, while the air or so it seemed to him went on twanging with the explosion as if someone had hit the bass register of a piano with a sledge hammer.

From all sides came the sharp tinkle of falling glass. Above in the sky hung a mushroom of black smoke which rose and dissolved as he drunkenly watched it.

For fifty yards down the boulevard the trees were leafless and charred. Opposite, two of them had snapped off near the base and lay drunkenly across the road.

Between them there was a still smoking crater. Of the two men in straw hats, there remained ab- solutely nothing. But there were red traces on the road, and on the pavements and against the trunks of the trees, and there were glittering shreds high up in the branches.

Bond felt himself starting to vomit. It was Mathis who got to him first, and by that time Bond was standing with his arm round the tree which had saved his life.

Stupefied, but unharmed, he allowed Mathis to lead him off towards the Splendide from which guests and servants were pouring in chattering fright.

As the distant clang of bells heralded the arrival of ambulances and fire-engines, they managed to push through the throng and up the short stairs and along the corridor to Bond's room.

Mathis paused only to turn on the radio in front of the fireplace, then, while Bond stripped off his blood- flecked clothes, Mathis sprayed him with questions.

When it came to the description of the two men, Mathis tore the telephone off its hook beside Bond's bed.

He is unhurt, and they are not to worry him. I will explain to them in half an hour. They should tell the Press that it was apparently a vendetta between two Bulgarian communists and that one killed the other with a bomb.

They need say nothing of the third Bulgar who must have been hanging about somewhere, but they must get him at all costs.

He will certainly head for Paris. Fleming allows you to feel without forcing. Inviting you into Bond's world, and Bond's life, Bond's mind and most secret heart.

James Bond is a flawed man. A very real man. He has one superpower - that he has never had to admit the possibility of failure.

Fleming provides texture to the world. But writes with a sparsity that focuses the reader to follow the threads of plot through the characters.

His work can be taken together as one whole, or Casino Royale may be taken alone as one singly important work perfectly capable of standing on its own.

Either way, it's easy to envision Fleming's work uncovered in some future circumstance to stand as our generation's Gilgamesh or Beowulf.

The work is fulfilling. The feeling at conclusion that this was a ride worth taking. There are two versions of this book for kindle, a 63 page version and a page version.

The 63 page version does not say that it is abridged. It claims to be just "Casino Royale" by Ian Fleming. The 63 page version is also a bad scan job riddled with typos.

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Bond noticed that he had turned the volume on to full and that the red light indicating the long waveband was illuminated, though the set was still silent.

Mathis fiddled at the back of the set. Suddenly an ap- palling roar of static filled the small room. Mathis gazed at the set for a few seconds with benevolence and then turned it off, and his voice was full of dismay.

After a few ad- justments the close harmony of the French came over the air, and Mathis walked up and clapped Bond very hard on the back and wrung his hand until Bond's fingers ached.

Bond smiled back at him. Up there,' he pointed at the ceiling, 'at this moment, either Monsieur Muntz or his alleged wife, allegedly bedridden with the grippe, is deafened, absolutely deafened, and I hope in agony.

Mathis sat down on the bed and ripped open a packet of Caporal with his thumbnail. They must have been on to you for several days before you arrived.

The opposition is here in real strength. Above you is the Muntz family. She is from somewhere in Central Europe, perhaps a Czech.

This is an old- fashioned hotel. There are disused chimneys behind these electric fires. Just here,' he pointed a few inches above the panel fire, 'is suspended a very powerful radio pick-up.

The wires run up the chimney to behind the Muntzes' electric fire where there is an amplifier. In their room is a wire recorder and a pair of earphones on which the Muntzes listen in turn.

That is why Madame Muntz has the grippe and takes all her meals in bed and why Monsieur Muntz has to be constantly at her side in- stead of enjoying the sunshine and the gambling of this delightful resort.

The rest we confirmed by unscrewing your elec- tric fire a few hours before you got here. Their grooves showed minute scratches.

He walked over to the radio, which was still transmitting close harmony to its audience of three, and switched it off. Are they not a wonderful team?

Just what I was looking for to take back to Jamaica. Bond frowned at him. Could the Russians have broken one of our ciphers?

If so, he might just as well pack up and go home. He and his job would have been stripped naked. Mathis seemed to read his mind. A pretty flap we caused, I can tell you.

She is very beautiful Bond frowned , very beautiful in- deed. Back and front,' he added. All new machines, even French ones, are apt to have teething troubles in the first day or two.

And occasionally at night,' he added with an exaggerated wink. Bond was not amused. She speaks French like a native and knows her job backwards.

Her cover's perfect, and I have arranged for her to team up with you "quite smoothly. What is more natural than that you should pick up a pretty girl here?

It's about ten miles down the coast road. He had his two guards with him. They look pretty capable fellows. One of them has been seen visiting a little pension in the town where three mysterious and rather subhuman characters checked in two days ago.

They may be part of the team. Their papers are in or- der — stateless Czechs apparently — but one of our men says the language they talk in their room is Bulgarian.

We don't see many of those around. They're mostly used against the Turks and the Yugoslavs. They're stupid, but obedient.

The Russians use them for simple killings or as fall-guys for more complicated ones. Which is mine to be? Come to the bar of the Hermitage before lunch.

I'll fix the introduction. Ask her to dinner this evening. Then it will be natural for her to come into the Casino with you. I'll be there too, but in the background.

I've got one or two good chaps, and we'll keep an eye on you. Oh, and there's an American called Leiter here, staying in the hotel.

London told me to tell you. May come in useful. Mathis switched it off and they exchanged some phrases about the set and about how Bond should pay for it.

Then with effusive farewells and a final wink Mathis bowed himself out. He was completely blown and under really professional sur- veillance.

An attempt might be made to put him away even before he had a chance to pit himself against Le Chiffre at the tables.

The Russians had no stupid prejudices about murder. And then there was this pest of a girl. Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the;; way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around.

One had to look out for them and take care of them. The Girl from Headquarters It was twelve o'clock when Bond left the Splen- dide, and the clock on the mairie was stumbling through its midday carillon.

There was a strong scent of pine and mimosa in the air, and the freshly watered gardens of the Casino opposite, interspersed with neat gravel par- terres and paths, lent the scene a pretty formalism more appropriate to ballet than to melodrama.

The sun shone, and there was a gaiety and sparkle in the air which seemed to promise well for the new era of fashion and prosperity for which the little seaside town, after many vicissitudes, was making its gallant bid.

Royale-les-Eaux, which lies near the mouth of the Somme before the flat coast-line soars up from the beaches of southern Picardy to the Brittany cliffs which run on to Le Havre, had experienced much the same fortunes as Trouville.

At the turn pf the century, when things were going badly for the little seaside town and when the fashion was to combine pleasure with a 'cure,' a natural spring in the hills behind Royale was discovered to contain enough diluted sulphur to have a beneficent effect on the liver.

Since all French people suffer from liver com- plaints, Royale quickly became Royale-les-Eaux, and Eau Royale, in a torpedo-shaped bottle, grafted itself demurely on to the tail of the mineral-water lists in hotels and restaurant cars.

It did not long withstand the powerful combines of Vichy and Perrier and Vittel. There came a series of lawsuits; a number "of people lost a lot of money, and very soon its sale was again entirely local.

Royale fell back on the takings from French and English families v during the summer, on its fishing-fleet in winter and on the crumbs which fell to its elegantly dilapidated Casino from the tables at Le Touquet.

But there was something splendid about the Negresco baroque of the Casino Royale, a strong whiff of Vic- torian elegance and luxury, and in Royale caught, the fancy of a syndicate in Paris which disposed of large funds belonging to a group of expatriate Vichyites.

Brighton had been revived since the war, and Nice. Nostalgia for more specious, golden times might be a source of revenue. The Casino was repainted in its original white and gilt, and the rooms decorated in the palest grey with wine-red carpets and curtains.

Vast chandeliers were suspended from the ceilings. The gardens were spruced, and the fountains played again, and the two main hotels, the Splendide and the Hermitage, were prinked and furbished and restaffed.

Then the Mahomet Ali Syndicate was cajoled into starting a high game in the Casino and the Socie"te des Bains de Mer de Royale felt that now at last Le Touquet would have to yield up some of the treasure stolen over the years from its parent plage.

Against the background of this luminous and sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark profession an affront to his fellow actors.

He shrugged away the momentary feeling of unease and walked round the back of his hotel and down the ramp to the garage.

Before his rendezvous at the Her- mitage he decided to take his car down the coast road and have a quick look at Le Chiffre's villa and then drive back by the inland road until it crossed the route nationale to Paris.

Bond's car was his only personal hobby. It was still serviced every year and, in London, a former Bentley mechanic, who worked in a garage near Bond's Chelsea flat, tended it with jealous care.

Bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. It was a battleship-grey convertible coupe, which really did convert, and it was capable of touring at ninety with thirty miles an hour in reserve.

Bond eased the car out of the garage and up the ramp, and soon the loitering drumbeat of the two-inch exhaust was echoing down the tree-lined boulevard, through the crowded main street of the little town, and off through the sand dunes to the south.

An hour later, Bond walked into the Hermitage bar and chose a table near one of the broad windows. Everything was brass-studded leather and polished mahogany.

The cur- tains and carpets were in royal blue! The waiters wore striped waistcoats and green baize aprons.

Bond or- dered an Americano and examined the sprinkling of overdressed customers, mostly from Paris he guessed, who sat talking with focus and vivacity, creating that theatrically clubbable atmosphere of Pheure de l'aperitif.

The men were drinking inexhaustible quarter-bottles of champagne, the women dry Martinis. Mais tu sais, un zeste de citron Bond's eye was caught by the tall figure of Mathis on the pavement outside, his face turned in animation to a dark haired girl in grey.

His arm was linked in hers, high Up above the elbow, and yet there was a lack of intimacy in their appearance, an ironical chill in the girl's profile, which made them seem two separate people rather than a couple.

Bond waited for them to come through the street-door into the bar, but for appearances' sake con- tinued to stare out of the window at the passers-by.

Bond, ap- propriately flustered, rose to his feet. Are you awaiting someone? May I present my colleague, Mademoiselle Lynd?

My dear, this is the gentleman from Jamaica with whom I had the pleasure of doing business this morning.

Would you both care to join me? Mathis and Bond exchanged cheerful talk about the fine weather and the prospects of a revival in the for- x tunes of Royale-les-Eaux.

The girl sat silent. She ac- cepted pne of Bond's cigarettes, examined it, and then smoked it appreciatively and without affectation, drawing the smoke deeply into her lungs with, a little sigh and then exhaling it casually through her lips and nostrils.

Her movements were economical and precise with no trace of self-consciousness. Bond felt her presence strongly. While he and Mathis talked, he turned from time to time towards her, politely including her in the conversation, but adding up the impressions recorded by each glance.

Her hair was very black, and she wore it cut square and low on the nape of the neck, framing her face to below the clear and beautiful line of her jaw.

Although it was heavy and moved with the movements of her head, she did not constantly pat it back into place, but let it alone. Her eyes were wide apart and deep blue, and they gazed candidly back at Bond with a touch of ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he would like to shatter, roughly.

Her skin was lightly sun- tanned and bore no trace of makeup except on her mouth, which was wide and sensual.

Her bare arms and hands had a quality of repose, and the general im- pression Of restraint in her appearance and movements was carried even to her fingernails, which were un- painted and cut short.

Round her neck she wore a plain gold chain of wide flat links, and on the fourth finger of the right hand a broad topaz ring.

Her medium-length dress was of grey soie sauvage with a square-cut bodice, lasciviously tight across her fine breasts. She wore a three-inch, hand-stitched black belt.

A hand-stitched black sabretache rested on 34 CASINO ROYALE the chair beside her, together with a wide cartwheel hat of gold straw, its crown encircled by a thin black velvet ribbon which tied at the back in a short bow.

Her shoes were square-toed of plain black leather. Bond was excited by her beauty and intrigued by her composure. The prospect of working with her stimulated him.

At the same time he felt a vague disquiet. On an impulse he touched wood. Mathis had noticed Bond's preoccupation.

After a time he rose. I must arrange my rendezvous for dinner tonight. Are you sure you won't mind being left to your own devices this evening?

Perhaps I will bring you luck. She seemed to acknowledge that they were a team and, as they discussed the time and place of their meeting, Bond realized that it would be quite easy after all to plan the details of his project with her.

He felt that after all she was interested and excited by her role and that she would work willingly with him. He had imagined many hurdles before establishing a rapport, but now he felt he could get straight down to professional details.

He was quite honest to himself about the hypocrisy of his attitude towards her. As a woman, he wanted to sleep with her, but only when the job had been done.

He explained that he was expected back at his hotel to have lunch with friends. When for a moment he held her hand in his he felt a warmth of affection and understanding pass between them that would have seemed impossible half an hour earlier.

The girl's eyes followed him out on to the boulevard. Mathis moved his chair close to hers and said softly: I am glad you have met each other. I can already feel the ice-floes on the two rivers breaking up.

It will be a new experience for him. He reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless in his Suddenly a few feet , away the entire plate-glass window shivered into con- fetti.

The blast of a terrific explosion, very near, hit them so that they were rocked back in their chairs. There was an instant of silence.

Some objects pattered down on to the pavement outside. Bottles slowly toppled off the shelves behind the bar. Then there were screams and a stampede for the door.

He kicked back his chair and hurtled through the empty window-frame on to the payment. The day was still beautiful, but by now the sun was very hot and the plane-trees, spaced about twenty feet apart on the grass verge between the pavement and the broad tarmac, gave a cool shade.

There were few people abroad and the two men stand- ing quietly under a tree on the opposite side of the boulevard looked out of place.

Bond noticed them when he was still a hundred yards away and when the same distance separated them from the ornamental 'porte-cochere' of the Splendide.

There was something rather disquieting about their appearance. They were both small, and they were dressed alike in dark and, Bond reflected, rather hot- looking suits.

They had the appearance of a variety turn waiting for a bus on the way to the theatre. Incongruously, each dark, squat little figure was illuminated by a touch of bright colour.

They were both carrying square camera-cases slung from the shoulder. And one case was bright red and the other case bright blue.

By the time Bond had taken in these details, he had come to within fifty yards of the two men. He was reflecting on the ranges of various types of weapon and the possibilities of cover when an extraordinary and terrible scene was enacted.

Red-man seemed to give a short nod to Blue-man. With a quick movement Blue-man unslung his blue camera case. Blue-man, and Bond could not see exactly as the trunk of a plane-tree beside him just then in- tervened to obscure his vision, bent forward and seemed , to fiddle with the case.

Then with a blinding flash of white light there was the ear-splitting crack of a mon- strous explosion and Bond, despite the protection of the tree-trunk, was slammed down to the pavement by a solid bolt of hot air which dented his cheeks and stomach as if they had been made of paper.

He lay, gazing up at the sun, while the air or so it seemed to him went on twanging with the explosion as if someone had hit the bass register of a piano with a sledge hammer.

From all sides came the sharp tinkle of falling glass. Above in the sky hung a mushroom of black smoke which rose and dissolved as he drunkenly watched it.

For fifty yards down the boulevard the trees were leafless and charred. Opposite, two of them had snapped off near the base and lay drunkenly across the road.

Between them there was a still smoking crater. Of the two men in straw hats, there remained ab- solutely nothing. But there were red traces on the road, and on the pavements and against the trunks of the trees, and there were glittering shreds high up in the branches.

Bond felt himself starting to vomit. It was Mathis who got to him first, and by that time Bond was standing with his arm round the tree which had saved his life.

Stupefied, but unharmed, he allowed Mathis to lead him off towards the Splendide from which guests and servants were pouring in chattering fright.

As the distant clang of bells heralded the arrival of ambulances and fire-engines, they managed to push through the throng and up the short stairs and along the corridor to Bond's room.

Mathis paused only to turn on the radio in front of the fireplace, then, while Bond stripped off his blood- flecked clothes, Mathis sprayed him with questions.

When it came to the description of the two men, Mathis tore the telephone off its hook beside Bond's bed. He is unhurt, and they are not to worry him.

I will explain to them in half an hour. They should tell the Press that it was apparently a vendetta between two Bulgarian communists and that one killed the other with a bomb.

They need say nothing of the third Bulgar who must have been hanging about somewhere, but they must get him at all costs.

He will certainly head for Paris. It must have been faulty. They intended to throw it and then dodge behind their tree.

But it all came out the other way round. We will discover the facts. And these people appear to be taking you seriously.

And what was the significance of the red and the blue cases? We must try and find some fragments of the red one. He was excited, and his eyes glit- tered.

This was becoming a formidable and dramatic af- fair, in many aspects of which he was now involved per- sonally.

Certainly it was no longer just a case of holding Bond's coat while he had his private battle with Le Chiffre in the Casino.

The door slammed, and silence set- tled on the room. Bond sat for a while by the window and enjoyed being alive.

Please take care of yourself. He dipped the knife into the glass of very hot water which stood beside the pot of Strasbourg porcelain and reminded himself to tip the waiter doubly for this par- ticular meal.

He ordered a masseur for three o'clock. After the remains of his luncheon had been removed, he sat at his window gazing out to sea until there came a knock on the door as the masseur, a Swede, presented himself.

Silently he got to work on Bond from his feet to his neck, melting the tensions in his body and calming his still twanging nerves. Even the long purpling bruises down Bond's left shoulder and side ceased to throb, and when the Swede had gone Bond fell into a dreamless sleep.

He awoke in the evening completely refreshed. After a cold shower, Bond walked over to the Casino. Since the night before he had lost the mood of the tables.

He needed to reestablish that focus which is half mathematical and half intuitive and which, with a slow pulse and a sanguine temperament, he knew to be the 41 42 CASINO ROYALE essential equipment of any gambler who was set on winning.

Bond had always been a gambler. He loved the dry riffle of the cards and the constant unemphatic drama of the quiet figures round the green tables.

He liked the solid, studied comfort of cardrooms and casinos, the well-padded arms of the chairs, the glass of champagne or whisky at the elbow, the quiet unhurried attention of good servants.

He was amused by the impartiality of the roulette ball and of the playing cards — and their eternal bias. He liked being an actor and a spectator and from his chair to take part in other men's dramas and decisions, until it came to his own turn to say that vital 'yes' or 'no,' generally on a fifty-fifty chance.

Above all, he liked it that everything was one's own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame.

Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, , for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.

And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pur- sued.

But he was honest enough to, admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women. One day, and he accepted the fact, he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck.

When that happened he knew that he too would be branded with the deadly question-mark he recognized so often in others, the promise to -pay before you have lost: Bond borrowed the chef's card and studied the run of the ball since the session had started at three o'clock that afternoon.

He always did this although he knew that- each turn of the wheel, each fall of the ball into a numbered slot, had absolutely no connexion with its predecessor.

He accepted that the game begins afresh each time the croupier picks up the ivory ball with his right hand, gives one of the four spokes of the wheel a controlled twist clockwise with the same hand and, with a third motion, also with the right hand, flicks the ball round the outer rim of the wheel anticlockwise, against its spin.

It was obvious that all this ritual and all the mechanical minutiae of the wheel, of the numbered slots and the cylinder, had been devised and perfected over the years so that neither the skill of the croupier nor any bias in the wheel could affect the fall of the ball.

And yet it is a convention among roulette players, and Bond rigidly adhered to it, to take careful note of the past history of each session and to be guided by any pe- culiarities in the run of the wheel.

To note, for instance, and consider significant, sequences of more than two on a single number or of more than four at the other chances down to evens.

Bond didn't defend the practice. He simply main- tained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.

On the record of that particular table, after about three hours' play, Bond could see little of interest except that the last dozen had been out of favour, It was his practice to play always with the wheel, and only to turn against its previous pattern and start on a new tack after a zero had turned up.

He thus had two-thirds of the board covered less the zero and, since the dozens pay odds of two to one, he stood to win a hundred thousand francs every time any number lower than 25 turned up.

After seven coups he had won six times. He lost on the seventh When 30 came up. His net profit was half a million francs. He kept off the table for the eighth throw.

This piece of luck cheered him further and, accepting the 30 as a finger-post to the last dozen, he decided to back the first and last dozens until he had lost twice.

Ten throws later the middle dozen came up twice, costing him four hundred thousand francs, but he rose from the table eleven hundred thousand francs to the good.

Directly Bond had started playing in maximums, his game had become the centre of interest at the table. As he seemed to be in luck, one or two pilot fish started to swim with the shark.

Sitting directly opposite, one of these, whom Bond took to be "an American, had shown more than the usual friendliness and pleasure at his share of the winning streak.

He had smiled once or twice across the table, and there was something pointed in the way he duplicated Bond's movements, placing his two modest plaques of ten mille exactly opposite Bond's larger ones.

When Bond rose, he too pushed back his chair and called cheerfully across the table: Guess I owe you a drink. Will you join me?

He knew he was right as they strolled off together towards the bar, after Bond had thrown a plaque of ten mille to the croupier and had given a mille to the huissier who drew back his chair.

What shall we have to celebrate? In a deep champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.

Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon- peel. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made.

I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.

He reached for it and took a long sip. But Leiter was still interested in Bond's drink. He lowered his voice: I hope it hasn't frightened away any of the big money.

All the burnt trees are coming down tonight and if they work things here like they do at Monte Carlo, there won't be a trace of the mess left in the morning.

Our people are definitely interested. They think it's just as important as your friends do, and they don't think there's anything crazy about it at all.

In fact, Washington's pretty sick we're not running the show, but you know what the big brass is like.

I expect your fellows are much the same in London. With Mathis and his boys here, there may not be much that isn't taken care of already. But, anyway, here I am.

I'm glad Le Chiffre seems as desperate as we thought he was. I'm afraid I haven't got anything very specific for you to do, but I'd be grateful if you'd stick around the Casino this evening.

I've got an assistant, a Miss Lynd, and I'd like to hand her over to you when I start playing. You won't be ashamed of her.

She's a good-looking girl. I can't ; imagine he'll try a roughhouse, but you never know. It turned out that Leiter was from Texas.

While he talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff of N. Felix Leiter was about thirty-five.

He was tall with a thin bony frame and his lightweight, tan-coloured suit hung loosely from his shoulders like the clothes of Frank Sinatra.

His movements and speech were slow," but one had the feeling that there was plenty of speed and strength in him, and that he. As he sat hunched over the table, he seemed to have some of the jackknife quality of a falcon.

There was this impression also in his face, in the sharpness of his chin and cheekbones and the wide wry mouth. His grey eyes had a feline slant which was in- creased by his habit of screwing them up against the smoke of the Chesterfields which he tapped out of the pack in a chain.

The permanent wrinkles which this habit had etched at the corners gave the impression that he smiled more with his eyes than with his mouth.

A mop of straw-coloured hair lent his face a boyish look which closer examination contradicted. Although he seemed to talk quite openly about his duties in Paris, Bond soon noticed that he never spoke of his American colleagues in Europe or in Washington, and he guessed that Leiter held the interests of his own organization far above the mutual concerns of the North Atlantic Allies.

Bond sympathized with him. Before leaving the Casino, Bond deposited his total capital of twenty-four million at the caisse, keeping only a few notes of ten mille as pocket- money.

As they walked across to the Splendide, they saw that a team of workmen was already busy at the scene of the explosion.

Several trees were uprooted and hoses frOm three municipal tank cars were washing down the boulevard and pavements.

The bomb-crater had disap- peared and only a few passers-by had paused to gape. Bond assumed that similar face-lifting had already been carried out at the Hermitage and to the, shops and front- ages which had lost their windows.

Bond was not sure, and said so. Mathis had been unable to enlighten him, 'Unless you have bought him yourself,' he had said, 'you must assume that he has been bought by the other side.

All concierges are venal. It is not their fault. They are trained to regard all hotel guests except maharajahs as potential cheats and thieves.

They have as much concern for your comfort or welKbeing as crocodiles. Bond thought it well to say that he still felt a little bit shaky.

He hoped that if the intelligence were relayed; Le Chiffre would at any rate start playing that evening with a basic misinterpretation of his adversary's strength.

The concierge proffered glycerine hopes for Bond's recovery. ROUGE ET NOIR 49 Letter's room was on one of the upper floors and they parted company at the lift after arranging to see each other at the Casino at around half-past ten or eleven, the usual hour for the high tables to begin play.

CHAPTER 8 Pink Lights and Champagne Bond walked up to his room, which again showed no sign of trespass, threw off his clothes, took a long hot bath followed by an ice-cold shower, and lay down on his bed.

There remained an hour in which to rest and compose his thoughts before he met the girl in the Splendide bar, an hour to examine minutely the details of his plans for the game, and for after the game, in all the various circumstances of victory or defeat.

He had to plan the attendant roles of Mathis, Letter, and the girl and visualize the reactions of the enemy in various contingencies.

He closed his eyes, and his thoughts pursued his imagination through a series of carefully constructed scenes as if he were watching the tumbling chips of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope.

He rose and dressed, dismissing the future completely from his mind. As he tied his thin, double-ended, black satin tie, he His grey-blue eyes looked calmly back with a hint of ironical inquiry and the short lock of black hair which would never stay in place slowly subsided to form a thick comma above his right eyebrow.

With the thin vertical scar down his right cheek the general effect was faintly piratical. Not much of Hoagy Carmichael there, thought Bond, as he filled a flat, light, gun-metal box with fifty of the Morland cigarettes with the triple gold band.

Mathis had told him of the girl's comment. He slipped the case into his hip pocket and snapped his black oxidized Ronson to see if it needed fuel.

After pocketing the thin sheaf of ten-mille notes, he opened a drawer and took out a light chamois leather holster and slipped it over his left shoulder so that it hung about three inches below his armpit.

He then took from under his shirts in another drawer a very flat. He charged the weapon again, loaded it, put up the safety catch, and dropped it into the shallow pouch of the shoulder-holster.

He looked carefully round the room to see if anything had been forgotten and slipped his single-breasted dinner-jacket coat over his heavy silk evening shirt.

He felt cool and comfortable. He verified in the mirror that there was absolutely no sign of the flat gun under his left arm, gave a final pull at his narrow tie and walked out of the door and locked it.

When he turned at the foot of the short stairs towards the bar, he heard the lift-door open behind him and a cool voice call, 'Good evening.

She stood and waited for him to come up to her. He had remembered her beauty exactly. He was not surprised to be thrilled by it again.

There was a thin necklace of diamonds at her throat and a diamond clip in the low vee which just exposed the jutting swell of her breasts. She carried a plain black evening bag, a flat oblong which she now held, her arm akimbo, at her waist.

Her jet-black hair hung straight and simply to the final in- ward curl below the chin. She looked quite superb, and Bond's heart lifted.

Business must be good in the radio world! It marks when you sit down. And, by the way, if you hear me scream tonight, I shall have sat on a cane chair.

We'll have a glass of vodka while we order our dinner. The food here's the best in Royale. But it was only an infinitesimal clink of foils and as the bowing maitre d'hStel led them through the crowded room, it was forgotten as Bond in her wake watched the heads of the diners turn to look at her.

The fashionable part of the restaurant was beside the wide crescent of window built out like the broad stern of a ship over the hotel gardens, but Bond had chosen a table in one of the mirrored alcoves at the back of the great room.

These had survived from Edwardian days and they were secluded and gay in white and gilt, with the red silk-shaded table and wall lights of the late Empire.

He turned to his companion. He said to her abruptly: Bond gave her a look of inquiry. Apparently they wanted to remember it.

I'm just used to it. An idea struck him. He explained about the special Martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. Can I have it? And now have you decided what you would like to have for dinner?

Please be ex- pensive, ' he, added as he sensed her hesitation, 'or you'll let down that beautiful frock. And then I'd like to have fraises des bois with a lot of cream.

Is it very shameless to be so certain and so expensive? While Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have an avocado pear with a little French dressing.

Do you ap- prove? It is a cheerful wine, and it suits the occasion — I hope,' he added. With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the sommelier: It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details.

I think that's the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when one says it, 5 she added apologetically. The little carafe of Vodka had arrived in its bowl of crushed ice, and Bond filled their glasses.

He was longing to tell you himself. It's, about the bomb: It's a fantastic story. He was in a Citroen, and he had picked up two English hikers as protective colouring.

At the roadblock his French was so bad that they asked for his papers, and he brought out a gun and shot one of the motor-cycle patrol.

But the other man got him, I don't know how, and managed to stop him committing suicide. Then they took him down to Rouen and extracted the story — in the usual French fashion, I suppose.

He said the bright colours would make it easier for them. He told them that the blue case contained a very powerful smoke-bomb.

The red case was the explosive. As one of them threw the red case the other was to press a switch on the blue case, and they would escape under cover of the smoke.

In fact, the smoke-bomb was a pure invention to make the Bulgars think they could get away. Both cases contained an identical high-explosive bomb.

There was no difference between the blue and the red cases. The idea was to destroy you and the bomb- throwers without a trace.

Presumably there were other plans for dealing with the third man. It would be better, they thought, to touch off the smoke- bomb first and, from inside the cloud of smoke, hurl the explosive bomb at you.

What you saw was the assistant bomb-thrower pressing down the lever on the phony smoke-bomb; and, of course, they both went up together. When he saw what had hapr pened, he assumed they had bungled.

But the police picked up some fragments of the unexploded red bomb, and he was confronted with them. When he saw that they had been tricked and that his two friends were meant to be murdered with you, he started to talk.

I ex- pect he's still talking now. But there's nothing to link all this with Le Chiffre. The caviar was heaped on to their plates, and they ate for a time in silence.

After a while Bond said: For them, it certainly was a case of being hoist with their own petard. Mathis must be very pleased with the day's work — five of the opposition neutralized in twenty-four hours.

What section are you in? It seemed only to be a liaison job, so M. I've got a friend who is a vendeuse with Dior, and somehow she managed to borrow me this and the frock I was wearing this morn- ing; otherwise I couldn't possibly have competed with all these people.

All they knew was that I was to work with a Double O. Of course you're our heroes. I was en- chanted. It's nothing to be par- ticularly proud of.

Probably quite decent people. They just got caught up in the gale of the world like that Yugoslav that Tito bumped off. It's a confusing business; but if it's one's profession one does what one's told.

How do you like the grated egg with your caviar? It seems a shame — ' She stopped, warned by a cold look in Bond's eye. Suddenly he regretted the intimacy of their dinner and of their talk.

He felt that he had said too much and what was only a working relationship had become confused. Which isn't very much, I'm afraid,' he added.

The maltre d'hdtel surpervised the serving of the second course, and then as they ate the delicious food Bond continued. She listened to him coldly, but with attentive obedi- ence.

She- felt thoroughly deflated by his harshness, while admitting to herself that she should have paid more heed to the warnings of Head of S.

He thinks of nothing but the job on hand and, while it's on, he's absolute hell to work for. But he's an expert, and there aren't many about; so you won't be wasting your time.

He's a good-looking chap— but don't fall for him. I don't think he's got much heart. Anyway, good luck, and don't get hurt. Then at a hint 60 CASINO ROYALE that they were finding pleasure together, a hint that was only the first words of a conventional phrase, he had suddenly turned to ice and had brutally veered away as if warmth were poison to him.

She felt hurt and foolish. Then she gave a mental shrug and concentrated with all her attention on what he was saying.

She would not make the same mistake again. The odds against the banker and the player are more or less even. Only a run against either can be decisive and ' 'break the bank, ' ' or break the players.

He paid a million francs for it, and his capital has'been reduced to twenty-four million. I have about the same.

There will be ten players, I ex- pect, and we sit round the banker at a kidney-shaped table. The banker plays two games, one against each of the tableaux to left and right of him.

In that game, the banker should be able to win by playing off one tableau against the other and by first-class accountancy. But there aren't enough baccarat players yet at Royale, and Le Chiffre is just going to pit his luck against the other players at the single tableau.

It's , unusual because the odds in favour of the banker aren't so good; but they're a shade in his favour and, of course, he has control of the size of the stakes.

I shall be sitting as near dead opposite Le Chiffre as I can get. In front of him he has a shoe containing six packs of cards, well shuffled.

The cards are shuf- fled by the croupier and cut bygone of the players and put into the shoe in full view of the table. We've checked on the staff, and they're all okay.

It would be useful, but almost impossible, to mark all the cards, and it would mean the connivance at least of the croupier.

Anyway, we shall be watching for that too. The banker announces an opening bank of five hundred thousand francs, or five hundred pounds as it is now.

Each seat is numbered from the right of the banker, and the player next to the banker, or Number 1, can accept this bet and push his money out on to the table, or pass it if it is too much or he doesn't want to take it.

Then Number 2 has the right to take it; and if he refuses then Number 3, and so on round the table. If no single player takes it all, the bet is offered to the table as a whole and everyone chips in, including sometimes the spectators round the table, until the five hundred thousand is made up.

At that moment I shall always try and step in and accept the bet— in fact, I shall attack Le Chiffre's bank whenever I get a chance until either I've bust his bank or he's bust me.

It may take some time, but in the end one of us two is bound to break the other, irrespective of the other players at the table, although they can, of course, make him richer or poorer in the meantime.

Neither of them drank brandy or a liqueur. Finally, Bond felt it was time to explain the actual mechanics of the game. In this game I get two cards and the banker gets two; and, unless anyone wins outright, either or both of us can get one more card.

The object of the game is to hold two, or three cards which together count nine points, Or as nearly nine as possible.

Court cards and tens count nothing; aces one each; any other card its face value. It is only the last figure of your count that signifies. So nine plus seven equals six — not sixteen.

Draws are played over again. If I haven't got a natural, I can stand on a seven or a six, perhaps ask for a card or perhaps not, on a five, and certainly ask for a card if my count is lower than five.

Five is the turning point of the game. According to the odds, the chance of bettering or worsening your hand if you hold a five are exactly even.

If he has a natural, he turns them up and wins. Otherwise he is faced with the same problems as I was. But he is helped in his decision to draw or not to draw a card by my actions.

If I have stood he must assume that I have a five, six, or seven: And this card was dealt to me face up.

On its face value and a knowledge of the odds, he will know whether to take another card or to stand on his own. He has a tiny help over his decision to draw or to stand.

But there is always one problem card at this game: Shall one draw or stand on a five, and what will your opponent do with a five?

Some players always draw or always stand,. I follow my intuition. The prospect of at last getting to grips with Le Chiffre stimulated him and quickened his pulse.

He seemed to have completely forgotten the brief coolness between them, and Vesper was relieved and entered into his mood. He paid the bill and gave a handsome tip to the som- melier.

Vesper rose and led the way out of the restaurant and out on to the steps of the hotel. The big Bentley was waiting and Bond drove Vesper over, parking as close to the entrance as he could.

As they walked through the ornate anterooms, he hardly spoke. She looked at him and saw that his nostrils were , slightly flared.

In other respects he seemed completely at ease, acknowledging cheerfully the greetings of the Casino functionaries. At the door to the salle privee they were not asked for their membership cards.

Before they had penetrated very far into the main room, Felix Leiter detached himself from one of the roulette tables and greeted Bond as an old friend.

I've got three lucky numbers that are bound to show soon, and I expect Miss Lynd has some too. Then perhaps we could come and watch you when your game starts to warm up.

Well, I shall leave you then. Leiter sensed the rebuff, 'He's a very serious gambler, Miss Lynd,' he said. Now come with me and watch Number 17 obey my extrasensory perceptions.

You'll find it quite a painless sensation being given plenty of money for nothing. He stood at the caisse and took his twenty-four million francs against the receipt which had been given him that afternoon.

He divided the notes into equal , packets and put half the sum into his right-hand coat pocket and the other half into the left. Then he strolled slowly across the room between the thronged tables until he came to the top of the room where the broad baccarat table waited behind the brass rail.

The table was filling up, and the cards were spread face down, being stirred and mixed slowly in what is 66 CASINO ROYALE known as the 'croupiers' shuffle' — supposedly the shuffle which is most effective and least susceptible to cheating.

The chef de partie lifted the velvet-covered chain which allowed entrance through the brass rail. Bond moved inside the rail to which a huissier was holding out his chair.

He sat down with a nod to the players on his right and left. He took out his wide gun- metal cigarette case and his black lighter and placed them on the green baize at his right elbow.

The huissier wiped a thick glass ashtray with a cloth and put it beside them. Bond lit a cigarette and leant back in his chair.

Opposite him, the banker's chair was vacant. He glanced round the table. He knew most of the players by sight, but, few of their names. At Number 7, on his right, there was a Monsieur Sixte, a wealthy Belgian with metal interests in the Congo.

At Number 9 there was Lord Danvers, a distinguished but weak-looking man whose francs were presumably provided by his rich American wife, a middle-aged woman with the predatory mouth of a barracuda, who sat at Number 3.

Bond reflected that they would probably play a pawky and nervous game and be amongst the early casualties.

At Number 1 , to the right of the bank, was a well- known Greek gambler who owned, as in Bond's ex- perience apparently everyone does in the eastern Mediterranean, a profitable shipping line.

He would play coldly and well and would be a stayer. Bond asked the huissier for a card and wrote on it, under a neat question mark, the remaining numbers, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, and asked the huissier to give it to the chef de partie.

Soon it came back with the names filled in. With her sanguine temperament she would play gaily and with panache and might run into a vein of luck.

Du Pont, rich-looking, who might or might not have some of the real Du Pont money behind them. Bond guessed they would be stayers.

They both had a businesslike look about them and were talking together easily and cheerfully as if they felt very much at home at the big game.

Bond was quite happy to have them next to him— Mrs. Du 1 Pont sat at Number 5— and he felt prepared to share with them or with Monsieur Sixte on his right, if they found them- selves faced with too big a bank.

At Number 8 was the Maharajah of a small Indian state, probably with all his wartime sterling balances to play with.

Bond's experience told him that few of the Asiatic races were courageous gamblers, even the much- vaunted Chinese being inclined to lose heart if the going was bad.

But the Maharajah would probably stay late in the game and stand some heavy losses if they were gradual. Number 10 was a prosperous-looking young Italian, Signor Tomelli, who possibly had plenty of money from rack-rents in Milan and would probably play a dashing and foolish game.

He might lose his temper and make a scene. Bond had just finished his sketchy summing-up of the players when Le Chiffre, with the silence and economy of movement of a big fish, came through the opening in the brass rail and, with a cold smile of welcome for the table, took his place directly opposite Bond in the Banker's chair.

With the same economy of movement, he cut the thick slab of cards, which the croupier had placed on the table squarely between his blunt relaxed hands.

He gave it a short deliberate slap to settle the cards, the first of which showed its semicircular pale pink tongue through the slanting aluminum mouth of the shoe.

Then, with a thick white forefinger he pressed gently on the pink tongue and slipped out the first card six inches or a foot towards the Greek on his right hand.

Then he slipped out a card for himself, then another for the Greek, then one more for himself. He sat immobile, not touching his own cards. He looked at the Greek's face.

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Most of the the one and two star reviewers of this book were sadly disappointed, expecting that the glitzy movie version of Bond would be found in Fleming's actual books.

But, with the exception of Sean Connery's Bond in the first three movies, and Daniel Craig's back-to-basics interpretation in the first three of the current series, the movie Bond character for the most part has been nothing more than escapist fantasy.

The literary Bond isn't the superhero of the movies. He's a flawed, cold killer in the service of his country in a dangerous time.

Written during the height of the Cold War, Fleming's Bond novels were based on actual people and operations that Fleming had first hand knowledge of because of his highly placed role in British Naval Intelligence during WW II.

Rather than judge Casino Royale, or any of Fleming's Bond novels, by what you've seen in the movies, instead first learn about the real Operation Goldeneye; the real Operation Tracer; the real Operation Ruthless; the real No.

The tradecraft, operations, units, events, and involved individuals were the very real WW II sources that Ian Fleming used in creating Bond and the world in which he moved.

Fleming's romanticized works have a ring of authenticity recognizable to anyone familiar with or who may have participated in events that occurred during those times.

Read Casino Royale; travel back to a time when French was the only international language; a time when Joseph Stalin and the Soviet NKVD represented a very real threat; a time when people feared that threat; and a time when the governments of the Free World had very real people on the payroll like Fleming's fictional James Bond to counter that threat.

Perhaps you'll see the same things in it that caused the first three printings to sell out quickly in the U. At the time of Casino Royale , Bond is about 30 years old and has held the 00 number for about six months.

He earns the U. He spends what he earns. He knows that statistically he will have at least 10, probably 20, and as many as 30 very tough assignments before the mandatory 00 retirement age of He knows the odds of his surviving the coming ten years are slim to none.

And that depresses him. How do I know? Ian Fleming tells us so in Chapter One of "Moonraker" third book in the series. That's the Bond that Ian Fleming created.

Much more interesting and gritty and real and human. It's the Bond Daniel Craig resurrected until the new crop of Hollywood fools screwed it up again with November 's Spectre.

I'll stick with the books, thank you very much! Fleming's writing style, while perhaps not rising to the expectations of modern pedantic poseur literary critics, is easy to read and follow.

As would be expected from a successful journalist writing for educated U. I didn't find that aspect disruptive at all to the flow of the narrative.

If you want entertaining glitz, stick with the movies; if want something more, read the books! I've enjoyed them all immensely in the context of the time period in which they take place.

Bond fans may want to check out flemingsbond. Annotations and Chronologies" by John Griswald. Possible spoilers below- This kickstarter to the James Bond novels is written very well.

From the start, Fleming creates a bond no pun intended between the reader and the cold, calculating spy that is James Bond. The atmosphere of the novel is indeed tense, and the expressions on the characters' faces are easily imagined.

I was particularly impressed with the Le Chiffre character, who is written in a clear and convincing way. Fleming describes his facial expressions and mannerisms in a way that you feel almost familiar with him, and it's somewhat terrifying.

There is a torture scene that is quite difficult to read, but its aftermath is what makes the novel. Despite all his coldness, James Bond's humanity is revealed in his romance with Vesper Lynd.

You can feel his happiness at possibly having found a soul mate, his frustration when the relationship sours, and most of all, his bitterness and deep hurt when Vesper denies both of them happiness by committing suicide and revealing herself to him in a suicide note.

In the end this is an enjoyable novel, though it feels a tad rushed, and is not really a "spy novel" per se.

Only about half the book contains the "meat"- the poker battle with Le Chiffre and the later confrontation that sees Bond brutally tortured.

The rest is more of a love story, but still provides valuable insight into the Bond character. The physical book is well put together, I might add.

I prefer the modernized look and design to the rather suggestive covers normally used on Bond novels in the past.

The burgeoning legend of James Bond begins here. From such humble origins With all the feel of a pulp novel you might find on the shelf of a bookseller and then tell your friends about for decades with no expectation they will have heard of the work, some secret gem you cherish nonetheless, that draws you back time and again, Ian Fleming's premiere James Bond novel sneaks up on you.

Fleming allows you to feel without forcing. Inviting you into Bond's world, and Bond's life, Bond's mind and most secret heart. James Bond is a flawed man.

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