Casino Royale by Ian Flemming

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I was at a bar with my old friend Tim back in January. It seems that if he’s not busy building awesome guitars, that he just might be reading a book. He told me that he read about half of all the James Bond books last year. He says they’re all rather short, easy to read, and a lot of fun. I’m sure he told me more than that, but those are the highlights that I’m remembering!

I’m a big fan of the James Bond movies—my favorite Bond would most definitely be Roger Moore—so it seemed like a no-brainer to sneak Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale to the top of my list. I thought I would get through it pretty quickly, but it didn’t work out that way.

I’m trying not to write a “book report” here, but I can’t really explain what was slowing me down without giving away a few serious plot points. There will be spoilers ahead!

The first half of the book had very little action. It started out with a chapter full of dossiers of all the various bad guys, and I knew I’d never remember any of that. Then they spent a lot of time talking about cash for gambling, strategies for gambling, and then they finally got down to playing some Baccarat. I’d be surprised if I was bothering to read more than a chapter each day.

Things started to get more exciting around the half way point. The “Bond girl” gets kidnapped, and there’s a car chase. It is a very poorly executed chase on Bond’s part, and he is almost immediately captured. This was one of the many things that wouldn’t be likely to happen to Roger Moore or Sean Connery. They then proceeded to torture Mr. Bond for at least two chapters.

Le Chiffre spoke.

“That is all, Bond. We will now finish with you. You understand? Not kill you, but finish with you. And then we will have in the girl and see if something can be got out of the remains of the two of you.”

He reached towards the table.

“Say good-bye to it, Bond.”

Ian Fleming Casino Royale

This wasn’t just the sort of torture where you simply hit someone with a lead pipe until they talk. This involved attacking some important and very sensitive parts. Parts that we’re told will eventually be removed. When Le Chiffre spoke those words at the end of the chapter, I didn’t know if I wanted to turn that page. If I hadn’t been reading Casino Royale on my tablet, I may have wanted to pull a Joey Tribiani and put the book in the freezer.

I put the book away for a while, and during that time, Season 2 of House of Cards showed up on Netflix. That kept me distracted for a while, and I mostly forgot that I was in the middle of reading a book.

I didn’t pick it back up until last night. Much to my relief, 007 is rescued at the very beginning of the next chapter, and the doctors say he will make a full recovery. I quickly breezed through the rest of the book before I went to sleep. If I’d have known I had nothing to worry about, I probably would have finished the book on the same day that I ended up putting it aside.

What to read next?

I’ll definitely continue the series, but I’m going to choose something different to read next. I’ve picked up two or three bundles that I haven’t touched yet. Perhaps I’ll choose a book from one of those bundles at random. Maybe I’ll luck out!