In the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH.
The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond's fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.
Here Bond is not the charming, witty sophisticate that Sean Connery, Roger Moore and other actors have made him. Casino Royale is noticeably lacking in humor, and Bond is equally noticeably cold and ruthless, yet at the same time a romantic susceptible to love's pangs. In fact, the novel is as much a love story - with a sad ending - as an espionage thriller. — Roger K. Miller