Publication date: 1953
Villain: Le Chiffre & SMERSH
Villain’s Plot: Gambling to finance SMERSH activities.
Main locations: Royale, France.
The first and probably the most low-key of the original books.
Strangely enough most of the action takes place in a Casino in the french town of Royale. Bond has been send by M to use his card skills to stop the Russian agent Le Chiffre from wining back embezzled funds. Bond is successful with the help from his new American friend Felix Leiter and manages to win the money with still a third of the book to go. I won’t spoil things for first time-readers but Fleming has a few surprises in store for both his audience and this new hero. Possibly the most downbeat of the books (along with OHMSS).
For many years the movie rights languished in legal limbo. Finally the movie was made with Daniel Craig and was released in 2006. I’m amazed at how faithful the makers were to the book. There were a number of sequences that I was sure they would change. For example, the point at which Le Chiffre leaves the story, Vesper’s fate and the last line of the book all survived intact.
If you enjoyed the movie please check out the book.