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To MFrom Jane MoneypennySubject An assessment of Agent 007 s conduct during operation Casino Royale Dear Sir,I am aware of concerns raised by certain members of the Service regarding Agent 007 s performance during the abovementioned operation Therefore, I would like to offer my personal assessment, based on the debriefing reports and my own long familiarity with the subject.It is true that Agent 007 had somewhat compromised the operation by letting himself getting caught by the Target, otherwise known as Le Chiffre It is also undoubtedly true that he might have compromised the integrity of the valuable intelligence that we gathered by becoming an intimate of No 3030, a.k.a Vesper Lynd However, despite all of that, he had managed to accomplish all of our objectives in the operation, as well as unmasking a potentially dangerous double agent.I can personally vouch that the errors that Agent 007 had allegedly committed stemmed not from gross negligence or willful disobedience, but strictly from certain aspects of his character, which are regrettable but perfectly understandable in a man of his persuasion The most obvious of these is his antipathy toward female operatives, best illustrated by these quotes from the debriefing report And 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 And also These blithering women who thought that they could do a man s work Why the hell couldn t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men s work to the men Isn t it patently obvious, sir, that such preconceived notions caused him to fall for the Target s devious trap However, he had subsequently paid dearly for such deplorable misogyny by suffering the worst kind of torture known to the male of the species a ghastly affair that involved a cane chair with cut out seat, a 3 foot long carpet beater and Agent 007 s naked nether regions the details of which is available in the medical report attached to Head of S s memorandum.Further on, his psychological condition during the long convalescence led him to develop certain feelings for Miss Lynd, to the extent that he was prepared to propose marriage to her I can assure you that such feelings were genuine even though he later rather callously repudiated them and that he truly had honorable intentions toward her It is obvious from Miss Lynd s unfortunate reaction that the feeling was mutual.Based on the aforementioned reasons, I propose that we keep Agent 007 in active duty as he had proved that he was able to overcome his personal weaknesses for the good of the Service Besides, we now have incontrovertible proof that Agent 007 is irresistible to enemy females, a quality that might come handy in future missions that might require such ability.Signed Second Officer Jane Moneypenny, WRNS.P.S Please disregard any insinuation from certain members of the Service you know who they are, sir that I have a crush on James Agent 007. Some interesting facts that we learn in this book James Bond smokes 70 cigarettes per day.James Bond loves his car.James Bond likes to sleep naked.This is the first Bond novel 1953 and it s a doozy We have SMERSH, gambling, kidnapping, torture, intrigue, double crossing, and cackling villains.Bond is set up with millions of British pounds and told to go to France and out gamble the evil Le Chiffre, a holocaust survivor with no Christian name and, supposedly, no memory of his life before age 37 His main problem is that he s a criminal in debt to some dangerous people, and needs to gamble at Casino Royale or he ll be murdered The long descriptions of gambling and cards in this book are boring One chapter is basically Bond explaining how to gamble.Bond is told that he s going to be paired with another agent and he s shocked and appalled to find out that his partner is female Of course the woman, Vesper Lynd, is amazingly good looking and Bond alternates throughout the book with his warring feelings of contempt for her and wanting to f ck her.No matter how charming Bond comes off in the films, the written Bond is a whole different animal Hearing his inner monologue is enough to make you want to tear your eyes out He doesn t consider women to be human, or people He also makes horrible stereotypes about everyone in the book who is not a white British man He also gets really turned on at the thought of rape, although he never rapes anyone in this book It s very disturbing to read about.Also, to all the women who think James Bond is really hot you may think that about the movie character but I seriously doubt you would feel the same about the book character Constantly described as cold, harsh, brutal, cruel, ruthless, and hard over and over and over by Fleming, Bond is hardly someone you d want to have a relationship with or even a one night stand He describes women in this book as beasts, wretches, fools, idiots, and bitches A LOT He tends to go off on long, sexist racist rants in his head Also, his idea of sex is always described as ravishment, ravaging, bending her to his will, or a way to coldlyput his body to the test When Vesper gets kidnapped at one point, he is furious with her and curses her out He makes the cold, logical decision that her life doesn t matter since she is an agent and plans accordingly her death is acceptable When both she and Bond are kidnapped and in the back of a car being driven to god knows where to be raped or tortured, Bond is TURNED ON by how sexy she looks with bound and with her legs exposed ON HIS WAY TO BE TORTURED, this is what he s thinking about a woman who is helpless and probably about to be gang raped I mean, this is a sick, sick man here.I think it s fair to mention that Bond s genitals are brutally tortured for an hour by Le Chiffre After this ordeal, Bond spends a lot of time in the hospital recovering I liked that Fleming wasn t trying to make him some super human who recovers immediately Of course, Bond eventually decides that taking Vesper to bed will be the perfect test to make sure his equipment is still functioning properly.I understand that these books are classics and that James Bond is an icon I really do And I understand why people love the books adventure, torture, being a spy who is rich, beds tons of women, and travels to exotic places It s not that I don t understand the appeal of this pulp fiction Wholly unrealistic, it s a fantasy Real, actual spywork I d imagine is NOTHING like the government giving you millions of pounds to gamble away, pairing you up with a sexy female agent that they are fine with you having sex with, and setting you up in a resort like location where your every whim is catered to Because that s your cover rolls eyesI don t blame anyone for loving, enjoying, and gobbling up these books However, as a woman in 2014 I just can t ignore the screaming, in your face racism and sexism that permeates every page of this novel.Fleming is a good author there are some gems in here, some great lines and some deep philosophical pondering on Bond s part this surprised me, he s usually very shallow Also, no one can write a long villain speech like Fleming can Le Chiffre s long speech to Bond about how he s going to torture him and there s no hope is wonderful and can be perfectly imagined playing out on the big screen Classic.Tl dr Exciting spy novel drenched in misogyny and racism.I ll include some of the inflammatory passages here Don t read them if you re easily upsetAnd then there was this pest of a girl He sighed 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 Bitch, said Bond, and then remembering the Muntzes, he said bitch again loudly and walked out of the room When gamblingBond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued When Vesper gets kidnappedThis was just what he had been afraid of These blithering women who thought they could do a man s work Why the hell couldn t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave the men s work to the men And now for this to happen to him, just when the job had come off so beautifully for Vesper to fall for an old trick like that and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon The silly bitch Bond boiled at the thought of the fix he was in Note She gets kidnapped and he s annoyed because it throws a wrench in his plans How dare she inconvenience him like this Doesn t she know how annoying it is Here s the part where he s being tortured and thinks about her being gang rapedThrough the red mist of pain, Bond thought of Vesper He could imagine how she was being used by the two gunmen They would be making the most of her before she was sent for by Le Chiffre He thought of the fat wet lips of the Corsican and the slow cruelty of the thin man Poor wretch to have been dragged into this Poor little beast When Vesper s bound in the car with her skirt over her head and Bond s also kidnapped, next to herhis eroticism had been hotly aroused by the sight of her indecent nakedness The appeal of raping the woman you loveAnd he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the tang of rape Loving her physically would each be a thrilling voyage without the anticlimax or arrival Bond often talks in this book about getting the arrogant, private, cold Vesper to bend to his will in bed Not only is he talking about spicy rape condiment to make sex appealing always like the first time, when they fight you a bit, I guess he s saying but in an earlier passage he sayshe wanted her cold and arrogant body He wanted to see tears and desire in her remote blue eyes and to take the ropes of her black hair in his hands and bend her long body back under hisTears Really Crying during sex is just such a turn on sarcasm view spoiler Even though Bond wants to take a chance on Vesper he considers retiring from the Service and toys with the idea of marrying her she turns out to be a double agent Her lover is a captive and they ll kill him if she doesn t obey She ends up nobly killing herself in order to save Bond, to which he responds with deep hatred for her and referring to her as a bitch again Charming hide spoiler SpoilersThis will be a review of not just Casino Royale, but of the James Bond books in general I think that there is a good argument to be made, that the Bond books are the most misunderstood books of all prominent books, because the very subtext that accounts for their enduring appeal is buried so deeply that it just passes most people by.The best way to understand the James Bond books is to understand the heroines of the books These heroines are often characterized as being glamorous women who it is Bond s role to save This is completely and totally wrong The whole key is that these women ALWAYS have short unpainted nails They are actors and present an existential challenge to James Bond In fact the best way to understand Bond is as a kind of existential literature.Fleming was a writer who had a message that he seemed not to be fully and consciously aware of He says the same message in every book, and he says it in the same way with the exceptions of The Spy Who Loved Me and the short story Quantum of Solace, where the same themes are approached from alternative directions.Fleming is often compared to Le Carre, almost always negatively This is an unfair comparison in two ways First of all, Fleming is a great writer and is, along with Lovecraft, one of the two greatest writers of Pulp in history, whereas Le Carre is merely a very good writer Second, Fleming is not really writing spy literature, he is really writing fantasy in which the hero happens to have the occupation of a spy As such, criticisms of a lack of realism are about as out of place as they would be for The Lord of the Rings or Alice in Wonderland I would have thought, that the Bond books wear their status as fantasy clearly than, say, the Latin American Magical Realists, but this point appears to pass people by.The next thing to notice about James Bond is that he is pretty clearly a broken person The thing that I most love about Daniel Craig s interpretation of Bond is that he conveys this point clearly and repetitively in a way that has not been done before Bond is a kind of broken Nietzchean superhero who has in a way arbitrarily and for what appear to be purely aesthetic reasons, taken on a specific set of values that we are meant to recognize intuitively as a priori superior to competing values In this he is exactly the same as both the James Bond heroines and villains.If you read the Bond books critically, one of the things that is most striking about them is how similar in personality Bond is to both the heroines with a few exceptions and the villains also with a few exceptions Fleming will distinguish Bond from the villains not so much by their actions, which are often quite similar, but instead by things such as the cut of their suit or their taste in luxury watches These aesthetic choices are meant to be inherently preferable, just as Bond s belief system and set of values is never defended as superior to communism or, ironically, to the vast accumulation of wealth and power that other figures such as Goldfinger are bent on accumulating, e.g the values of capitalism.Bond, the villains, and the heroines of the books all have in common that they do not in any way feel bound by conventional morays, rules of decorum or value judgments All of the major characters have in fact chosen a belief system and a set of values through force of their personal will alone The other characters have not and this is why those characters are kinds of ghosts within the books and are in some sort of way not worthy of interacting with Bond.The villains have in fact chosen the wrong values They are every bit as ruthlessly dedicated to them as Bond, and they will not in any way compromise them just as Bond will not The women have either chosen the same set of values as Bond or at least a set of values that are not diametrically opposed They are then worthy romantic interests this goes only for the main female character in every book However, Fleming is clear that the heroines Nietzchean superman status means that they are too independent to make the kind of long term bonds necessary for stable relationships They are not in the next book and presumably, they, like Bond, have moved on unchanged This is clearest in Casino Royale where the doomed nature of the genuine love that Bond has for Vesper Lynd is clearly spelled out in the events leading up to and following her death.Also, in this book, Bond fails in his mission in a way that he will not do so spectacularly again, but in staying true to the values that characterize him even at the expense of rejecting a genuine love, he maintains his status as a Nietzschean superhero A status that Fleming clearly means to be a kind of idealization of how to live one s life and not an actually fully achievable ideal It is by setting Bond in a fantastic world and not in a world where mundane limits can intrude on this ideal that Fleming can over and over again put forth this ideal in its pure form.Again, it is a world where the choice of a man s luggage is meant to say as much about him as the choice of his political ideals It is a morality justified by its aesthete and not vice versa.But even though it is a fantasy world, it is still a world in which it is not possible to simply always force one s will onto that world Bond may fail to save the woman, he may fail to stop the villain from getting away, his wife might die, his friend s legs might be eaten by a shark, he may be captured, he may be emotionally devastated by events But it is still a world in which his maintenance of his own values and beliefs can be specifically maintained through every hardship and peril In pretty much all the Fleming books, Bond is distracted by doubts, or by emotional weaknesses, and in every book Bond overcomes these by simply pushing them away.In other words the Bond books represent a kind of practical existential ideal It is not an implausible solution to the practical problems of our world that Fleming is unconsciously advocating and it appears to be what he attempted to practice in real life But it is a difficult solution that he advocates none the less. Bond, James Bond Over the years I have enjoyed watching the action movies starring England s favorite 007 spy, yet, until now, I had not read any of Ian Fleming s classic books explaining Bond s origins In Casino Royale, a tale of stealth, lust, and treachery, we see where Bond s 007 career begins It is the years following World War II, and the Cold War has emerged from the ashes of Europe The Russian intelligence agency SMERSH with backing of Arabian oil money has become a threat to take over the west Spies and double agents abound, and newly minted 00 agent James Bond is sent to the Casino Royale to track agent Le Chiffre back to SMERSH and foil the Russian s plot What ensues is high jinx and high money stakes that are sure to leave one on the edge of their seat Alongside supposed ally Vesper Lynd and foreign friends Mathis and Leiter, Bond takes the case Because this is Fleming s first Bond story, the novel is about Bond s background in the service and less about chasing the villains across the globe, as fans of the movies are familiar with We discover how Bond earned his 00 stripes, his role in the Service during the war, and that he is never without a drink or cigarette The Bond in Fleming s novel is the same Bond who has appeared on the silver screen all these years and is a thrilling to read about In the end there abound chases, girls, and double agents Bond saves the world from the spread of communism, and his career as a 00 agent lives to see another day There will be further tales of high jinx espionage, which Fleming gleaned from his own years in the British service In a documentary, it has been revealed that the character James Bond was created as a composite of people Fleming came across while serving during the war however, the real James Bond still remains shrouded in mystery Casino Royale was a fun read for a gloomy Sunday afternoon Knowing the cast of characters, it was fun to read about them in print form I am looking forward to reading of Ian Fleming s classic Bond tales to see if the films hold as true to them as they have this first one James Bond will indeed be back, as I rate this introductory story a solid 4 stars. Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James They are easier to fight for than principles He laughed But don t let me down and become human yourself We would lose such a wonderful machine James Bond, Secret Agent for M16, 007 with a license to kill This was the 1st entry in Ian Fleming s James Bond series and introduces the world s most famous fictional spy in great fashion.Bond is in France gambling his nights away at the Royale Casino It all sounds enjoyable however this is part of a very dangerous and highly expensive mission that could cost the UK Treasury 20 million An agent of the infamous Russian intelligence outfit SMERSH Death to Spies Le Chiffre is in a bit of dilemma He invested 50 million of his employers money without their approval into brothels and prostitution hoping to make a quick profit even though the initial funds weren t his It should have been a sound investment, well, until prostitution was outlawed 3 months later Le Chiffre, as an expert gambler is looking to recoup his losses by acting as the player dealer in a super high roller Baccarat tournament Bond, as the secret services finest gambler is given the objective to play in this game under the guise of a Jamaican playboy millionaire, and bust the SMERSH agent The outcome of which would be tragic and fatal for Le Chiffre SMERSH is not an agency you want to be on the wrong side of.In the novels, James Bond is very different from what he has morphed in to in the recent movies Here, we see an attractive but scarred secret agent Smoker of 70 cigarettes a day, huge drinker, misogynist, cold, and brutally efficient whenever given a task for his country I m not saying I agree with his sexist nature but when reading classics I take a step out of our socialisation norms, values and reality and try and place myself in the era of when it was written Many of characters and trademarks of the series are introduced here for the first time such as dealing with the Chief of Security, M, his receptionist, Moneypenny, the famous Bond, James Bond line At this point, 007 s tipple of choice is not a Vodka Martini Shaken not Stirred , but the Vesper As a professional, he only allows himself one drink before he does his duty, but he makes it as large as possible as seen below.Google Here s how to make the Vesper according to Ian Fleming and James Bond 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.As the first thriller in the series, it features a plethora of elements that have become part and parcel of Fleming s Bond adventures Car chases, kidnappings, torture, betrayal, showdowns, and lovely ladies The Baccarat showdown is far intense and realistic than the Poker match in this novels Holywood cousin I knew nothing about Baccarat but Fleming explains the rules to the reader as Bond is reiterating how the game is played to one of his colleagues The supporting cast is highly likable including Mathis of the Deuxieme Bureau, Vesper Lynd from M16 Russian Division and my favourite recurring character from the books, CIA agent Felix Leiter The torture scene presented here however infamous is quite famous now as it is presented almost identically in Daniel Craig s first Bond film The main narrative is completed in about 180 pages The remaining 48 pages are about Bond reflecting on potential retirement and maybe finding love with someone he has crossed during this harrowing mission Just as Bond s icy shell starts to melt and he lets someone in the worst thing possible happens and the ending is unpredictable and pretty heart wrenching I had a great time re reading Casino Royale It just missed out on a 5 star rating because I don t think it is quite as good as On Her Majesty s Secret Service, Goldfinger, Dr No or From Russia With Love A exhillirating and extremely entertaining spy classic that introduced James Bond arguably the world s most popular fictional character. I think I read From Russia With Love first and, FRWL will always be my favorite Bond book and movie , but I had to go back to the beginning a read the Fleming bond books straight through I was afforded the opportunity a few years ago when the entire Fleming collection in paperback was available for 20 at Sam s Club Still one of the best book buys I have ever come across Casino Royale did not blow me away it is a bit dry and slow I wasn t going to let that deter me from my quest to work through the series, but it did take some getting used to I am not sure if it is just that it is from early in Fleming s writing career or if it is just tough to feel comfortable with my image of Bond as I was reading words from his creation I am reminded of when you go back to watch the first episode of a sitcom while you are 8 or 9 seasons in and none of the characters are developed or comfortable yet.One thing that surprised me was that the recent Casino Royale movie did include most of the story from the book view spoiler trading Texas Hold Em for Baccarat hide spoiler The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning Then the soul erosion produced by high gambling a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension becomes unbearable and senses awake and revolt from it James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired He always knew when his body or his mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge This helped him avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.Thus begins Casino Royale, which in 1953 launched the exploits of British Secret Service agent James Bond Until Harry Potter appeared in the rearview mirror of his Aston Martin, Bond may have been the biggest literary franchise of the 20th century, thanks in large part to the success of twenty five and counting official movies In terms of film franchises, Bond is second in sustained popularity only to Godzilla, with the jolly green giant generating twenty nine Japanese produced movies and six American ones Interestingly, Godzilla arrived in cinemas less than a year after Bond made his debut in booksellers As a kid, I loved both characters I still do.The debut novel by Ian Fleming is stark and claustrophobic, with a handsome visual splendor, spareness of description and a bitter dose of nihilism Racist and sexist epithets are occasionally thrown in like firecrackers but rather than come off as moral defects for Fleming or date the novel, give James Bond texture and combustibility Compared to the comic book styling of some of the sillier movies, this is a gambling tale that features spycraft rather than a spy story that features a casino At 48,000 words, I was able to shoot through it in forty eight hours, roughly the amount of time one of Bond s missions might last.Bond s assignment begins in the fictional town of Royale les Eaux on the coast of northern France, a resort town and site of an elegantly dilapidated casino Bond takes a break from the roulette wheel, where he s actually been keeping an eye on the baccarat table and a gambler named Le Chiffre He walks to his hotel and learns that ten million francs have been wired to him, approved by M, the head of his department in London Bond s working capital at the casino now stands at twenty seven million francs After checking his room carefully for signs of intrusion, he goes to bed, alone, one hand on a.38 Colt Police pistol under a pillow.According to a dossier prepared for M, Le Chiffre is a chief agent of the USSR in France and paymaster of a Communist trade union there His loose spending habits investing fifty million francs of Moscow s money in a failed chain of brothels and embezzlement have likely drawn the attention of SMERSH, the Soviet umbrella organization dedicated to smashing agents the acronym translates to Death To Spies With operating capital of twenty five million francs, Le Chiffre desperately seeks to refill the plundered union funds at the Casino Royale, where efforts to compete with the neighboring casinos has resulted in a well publicized and anticipated baccarat bank this June.Intrigued by the prospect of destroying Le Chiffre at the baccarat table, M selects Bond, one his agency s feared double 0 s, a designation earned by agents who kill a man in the line of duty Veteran of a casino assignment in Monte Carlo and a talented gambler in his own right, 007 is tough as well, a skill he may need if he comes into contact with the two bodyguards Le Chiffre keeps Bond passes himself off as a fop gambling away a family fortune made on tobacco and sugar in Jamaica He s assisted by Ren Mathis of the French Deuxi me Bureau and Felix Leiter of the CIA, and to his chagrin, a girl from headquarters, personal assistant to the chief of Section M Mathis and Bond exchanged cheerful talk about the fine weather and the prospects of a revival in the fortunes of Royale les Eaux The girl sat silent She accepted one 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 finds the girl to be professional and easy to converse with He recognizes their sexual chemistry and would like to sleep with her, but only after their assignment Bond later learns her name is Vesper Lynd Fleming not only pauses to show 007 and Vesper at work the pair communicate vast amounts of information about each other in the way Bond offers her a glass of vodka, before her amused glance forces him to suggest a cocktail but also illustrates the sensory experience of a European casino in the 1950s and how baccarat is played, with a round of twelve players dealt two cards with the option for a third, a winning hand adding up to nine and face cards useless.To separate the novel from the movie, I should state that while Goldfinger 1964 or On Her Majesty s Secret Service 1969 are the films typically cited by Bond connoisseurs as the best of the series, with Sean Connery and George Lazenby playing Bond alternately, I m actually most enad by Daniel Craig s debut as 007 in Casino Royale 2006 In addition to Bond being reintroduced as rougher and muscular a killer than ever before, Vesper Lynd Eva Green and Le Chiffre Mads Mikkelsen nearly eclipse 007 in intrigue The bevy of beauties or deranged villains are interchangeable in a lot of these movies, but not this one Casino Royale functions succinctly and beautifully as a world parallel to the film series, beginning in the wake of World War II rather than the Swinging Sixties, and with a slightly rougher and wayward Bond For the 007 of literature, and the men who defeated the Axis Powers, Asian stereotypes are simply a matter of professional experience and women belong at home cooking or gossiping, not interfering in men s work At least one of these prejudices the one about women s work being in the home are admirably and tenderly subverted in the course of the novel while the other is an aside that demonstrates Bond s self isolation than it does a belief by Fleming.Fleming s writing is like an Esquire Magazine article without any of the hooptedoodle or parts for men to skip over 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 pursued 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.Fleming adorns the novel with twenty seven splendid chapter titles 8 Pink Lights and Champagne, 9 The Game Is Baccarat, 15 Black Hare and Grey Hound which is something I always like The story surges in momentum from team building to the big game, then view spoiler Bond s torture by Le Chiffre hide spoiler *READ KINDLE ☚ Casino Royale ☊ In The First Of Ian Fleming S James Bond Novels, Declares War On Le Chiffre, French Communist And Paymaster Of The Soviet Murder Organization SMERSH The Battle Begins In A Fifty Million Franc Game Of Baccarat, Gains Momentum During Bondas 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 Ian Fleming has some poetry in his veins I would never have guessed that much of the prose in this spy thriller is basic and almost ostentatiously declarative prose from and for a man s man, I suppose but every so often, we have lines like In his mind he fingered the necklace of the days to come.The moonlight shone through the half closed shutters and lapped at the secret shadows in the snow of her bodyBond awoke in his own room at dawn and for a time he lay and stroked his memories. so Bond is the man, a man s man he s not a nice man, nor an empathetic one, but he get s the job done Don Draper Bond Walter White Bond if the shoe fits but he s than a compelling anti hero he s a broken vessel, one who has convinced himself that he s whole poor Bond he just needs love and until he finds it, he s going to convince himself that that s exactly what he doesn t need.SPOILERS AHEADI was really surprised at how much this book is about how Bond relates to women it is practically a romance novel for anti romantic men, one that also includes a lot of gambling and enjoyment of the finer things in life by the end of the novel, Bond who has been experiencing some existential angst and is questioning whether or not he wants to continue with his chosen profession decides to stick with his job as a secret agent because he has had his heart broken.so here s what we know Bond is an old school sort, and has strong chauvinistic tendencies in his professional work he is unsurprisingly a gender essentialist I m not sure if I d call him a misogynist he s a caveman in his outlook on romance he wants to have rough, rapey rapey not actual rape sex with a woman who wants to be ravished at one point in his life, a relationship ended badly for him maybe than one relationship love died but the relationship lingered on, the results of which have made him tell himself repeatedly throughout the novel that romance is not for him he just wants to hit it and quit it or so he says he sees himself as a cold, brutal sort the key part of that phrase for me is he sees himself as there s a lot in this book that implies that Bond is creating the man he wants to be, that he s purposely hardening himself to the world and specifically to women but he s not quite there yet Bond meets one Vesper Lynd and is immediately attracted to her his feelings towards her are an interesting stew of irritation at having to deal with a colleague who is a woman, basic sexual attraction, and admiration for her cool composure combined with an equally cool supportiveness towards Bond Bond is captured, tortured, freed during his lengthy convalescence he experiences a lot of existential doubt about heroes and villains and how the two roles are interchangeable a colleague mocks him when he brings this up Vesper visits him and treats him with kindness and empathy, and no mockery he slowly falls for her it was a genuinely moving thing to read Bond and Vesper go off on a romantic vacation together Bond is a walking hard on when he thinks about what s to come She was thoughtful and full of consideration without being slavish and without compromising her arrogant spirit And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape Loving her physically would each time be a thrilling voyage without the anticlimax of arrival She would surrender herself avidly, he thought, and greedily enjoy all the intimacies of the bed without ever allowing herself to be possessed. on the first night of their romantic getaway, Bond and Vesper finally hit it it is just as amazing as he imagined it would be Bond and Vesper are in love something weird and ambiguous comes between them and Bond becomes increasingly confused and depressed he doesn t understand how and why the love of his life has become so strange and distant he remains a gentleman throughout but assumes this affair will end like his past relationships with a feeling of emptiness Vesper and Bond have a wonderful last night together full of drinks, lovemaking, and tears she writes him a letter that describes how she is a double agent who has fallen in love with him she kills herself Bond goes into a state of shock then Bond goes into Efficient Agent Mode Bond decides that he will remain a secret agent so he can destroy SMERSH the agency that drove Vesper to kill herself Bond cannot or will not process Vesper s complicated back story and the effect she has had on him, so he destroys the memory of his love for her or at least he attempts to Bond may be fooling himself but he hasn t fooled me Vesper is a defining person in Bond s life, no matter how much he may want to discard his memory of her the last sentence of the book is reserved for her, as is the actual last word bitch and so Bond degrades his memory of Vesper and compartmentalizes her away, and is one big step closer to becoming that cold, brutal man he s always envisioned himself to be I guess that s what losing the love of your life can do to a person.this was an absorbing, surprising introduction into the world of 007 I m not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn t this. The beginning of the James Bond stories.And what an odd beginning.Yes, we are introduced to Bond and provided some backstory, we know that his 00 nomenclature is because he has killed and is licensed to kill again in his service to Queen and country We learn that he is a spy and a gambler, a heavy smoker and likes his vodka martini shaken not stirred But this is almost of a romance Fleming describes a decidedly vulnerable and human Bond than has been portrayed in films Fleming, then a 45 year old first time writer, drew from his experience as a British naval intelligence officer during WWII and journalist to color his narrative about a secret agent I imagined Fleming writing in the early 50s, the war with Germany still fresh on his mind and the paradigm shift to the cold war with communism ongoing, before the films and the popular success.The short novel is fairly straightforward Bond, a talented card player, is sent to beat and discredit a rogue Russian spy in a high stakes baccarat game He is accompanied and supported by a beautiful English operative and Felix Leiter, an American CIA agent.A good beginning, not what I expected, but entertaining and drawing the reader on to Bond adventures.