Introduced by John Banville
Illustrated by Fay Dalton
A handsome edition of the first James Bond novel, introduction by John Banville.
‘In this book we witness the birth and first steps … of one of the emblematic figures of our time’
This lavish edition, with artwork by acclaimed illustrator Fay Dalton, and an introduction by Booker-Prize winning author John Banville, pays homage to the enormous success of Ian Fleming’s iconic novels. Few characters have come to define a genre as James Bond has done, and this introduction to his world, with its merciless villains, spectacular dangers, ill-fated romances and exotic settings, is Fleming at his best.
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Darker and more visceral than those new to the novels might imagine, Casino Royale plunges Bond into a battle of luck, wits and physical endurance against Le Chiffre, a corrupt agent of the feared Soviet organisation, SMERSH. Le Chiffre’s unsavoury predilections have left him bankrupt and desperate for money, and his defeat lies in the hands of ‘the finest gambler available to the Service’. Bond becomes his opponent in a game of baccarat – a game set on a ‘luminous and sparkling stage’, with violence lurking in the wings. The beautiful and inscrutable Vesper Lynd has been sent to assist him, but their love affair will imperil them both.
As Banville writes in his excellent introduction on the genesis of the novels, Fleming based his hero on a number of people he had known during the war. Bond is absorbing and elusive; at once charming and, at times, shockingly ruthless. He is often cold, but ‘easily tipped over into sentiment’; a subtly-evoked vulnerability and capacity for self-doubt temper the impression of a man who is unshakeable and undefeatable. For all his extraordinary, single-minded precision when dealing with his enemies, his attitude is more equivocal than one might expect. Sometimes, he observes, ‘the villains and heroes get all mixed up’.
Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in London in 1908. He was educated at Eton College and abroad in Germany and Austria. After working as a stockbroker he became the assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty during the Second World War. In 1952 he wrote Casino Royale, the first of 14 James Bond titles, of which 30 million copies were sold during his lifetime. He was married to Ann Rothermere and together they had one son, Caspar. Fleming died in 1964.
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He joined The Irish Press as a sub-editor in 1969 and continued to work in journalism for over 30 years. He won the Man Booker Prize for The Sea in 2005, the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011 and the Irish Pen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature in 2013. He has also published numerous crime novels under the pseudonym Benjamin Black.
Fay Dalton is a London-based illustrator. She has a first class degree in Illustration and was the winner of the 2010 Pickled Ink Award for illustration. Fay combines traditional drawing and painting methods with digital painting.
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Review by firstname.lastname@example.org on 13th Nov 2015
"I've seen most of Bond movies, but this is my first encounter with Ian Fleming's Bond in the first book of the series that started all the madness. It's quick and funny read although the writing style..." [read more]