Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Reasons for reading: Adventure novel for the Genre Challenge; have always meant to read a Bond book
Summary: "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 in 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."
First line: "The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning."
My thoughts: Wow, I now know more about baccarat than I ever thought I would, and yet I still don't really understand it. I also know why more about Cold War-era espionage, and am not entirely sure I understand all of that, either.
I have to say, I liked the Daniel Craig movie version much better! There were isolated scenes of action (a bomb, an attempted shooting) but apart from the kidnapping and (almost) ball-breaking torture, I didn't find there was a whole lot of sustained, suspenseful action.
It was interesting to read the James Bond origin story and see what a cold-hearted bastard he is, until he falls in love with Vesper Lynd. And then becomes a cold-hearted bastard again. But I don't know if I'll read any more of them.