Casino Royale is the first James Bond novel by author Ian Fleming. It would eventually pave the way for 11 other novels by Fleming himself in addition to 2 short story anthologies, followed by many additional Bond novels by other authors. Since being published in 1953 by Jonathan Cape, Casino Royale has been adapted three times; a 1954 CBS television episode of Climax!, a 1967 film spoof of the same name, and the twenty-first official film in the EON Productions Bond franchise scheduled for release in 2006.
Once the new film is completed, Casino Royale will become the only Ian Fleming work to be adapted on three occasions.
Monsieur Le Chiffre, "the cipher", is an agent for the Soviet assassination bureau SMERSH, running a baccarat game at a French casino to raise needed operational funds?namely, to recover SMERSH's money that he lost in a failed attempt to establish a chain of brothels.
Expert baccarat player James Bond (British secret agent 007), is assigned the job of beating Le Chiffre, in the hope that the agent's gambling debts will provoke SMERSH's killing him. After several nights of intensive play, he manages to beat Le Chiffre, but only with extra money provided by Felix Leiter, who is in attendance as a covert observer.
Bond has been provided with an assistant sent out from MI6, the beautiful but emotionally turbulent Vesper Lynd, who becomes his lover. But she is holding a terrible secret?she is actually a Russian double agent and under orders to see that Bond does not escape Le Chiffre. With her unwilling connivance, Bond is captured and tortured by Le Chiffre, but Le Chiffre is assassinated by SMERSH. Vesper commits suicide and her body is discovered by Bond, who reports to his superiors, tersely: "The bitch is dead now."
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