Archive: Literary Bond-Casino Royale


The literary James Bond, Part Two-Casino Royale II


When we last left off, Bond began his main mission in Casino Royale-to win the game against Le Chiffre, forcing the banker (in the novel, a SMERSH agent, in the movie, a Quantum agent) to be forced to run to MI6 for protection (since he’d previously been using his blood money on stocks, which didn’t go well for him once Bond foiled his latest plot). The game more or less plays out like in the movie, and in both cases Bond is accompanied by Vesper Lynd, French officer Mathis, and CIA agent Felix Leiter. It’s important to realize though, that Mathis’s implied villainy (in fact part of Vesper’s ruse) is an invention of the film-Mathis, although he appears in the fim Royale’s sequel, Quantum of Solace-is a recurring character in a few of the books, such as From Russia With Love (In an ending somewhat different from the movie-more on that later).

There’s actually been more Felix’s than Bonds. The most famous are probably Jack Lord from Dr.No (The original, and yes that’s the Hawaii 5-0 guy- David Hedison who played Felix twice in Live and Let Die and License to Kill-the latter film pretty much writing Felix out of the original film ‘continuity-and current Felix Jeffrey Wright, who appear in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.


In both cases, Bond loses the first round of the game to Le Chiffre, but is bailed out by Felix’s donation (Felix is more involved in the game in the film). In the film, Le Chiffre is also attacked by the guys he owes money to, whom Bond later disposes of in a tense and bloody stairwell fight using hand-to-hand combat. Bond is also nearly killed himself in both versions-in the book, from more direct weapons, in the film, via a poisoned martini that nearly gives him a fatal heart attack.

Bond of course wins in both cases, but Le Chiffre tries to torture him and Vesper to get the money back in time-in pretty much the same fashion. Like in the book, Le Chiffre is once again executed by his superiors for his failures, while Bond and Vesper are spared.

The next part of the book of course concerns Bond’s recovery and his ill-fated romance with Vesper, until it turns out that she was a double agent all along. The book is a somewhat more quiet exit, having her commit suicide from sleeping pills when she discovers that her contact is trailing her. In the film, this becomes a more extended action sequence where Bond tracks her through Venice after discovering something’s not quite right, and then takes on her handlers in a rapidly sinking house. In the film, Vesper locks herself in the elevator of the sinking building, and drowns as the building collapses…in both cases Bond calls M coldly telling him/her of Vesper’s betrayal (Due in both cases to the enemy organizations holding her boyfriend for ransom, something later elaborated on in Quantum of Solace, at least on the film’s side) with pretty much similar wording. That’s pretty much where the book ends.

The movie, however, has one final coda-Vesper has left the phone call of Mr. White, Le Chiffre’s superior, on her cell phone as a last note to James. Tracking the number to White’s villa, he shoots the spy in the leg, and introduces his famous catchphrase for the first time: “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Cue theme music and credits.

Next: Live And Let Die-the second Bond novel, but one whose film-adapted sequences were more spread out not only through it’s film adaptation, but also several other Bond films.












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