Casino Royale (1953)
At his Goldeneye home in Jamaica in 1952, Ian Fleming, then 44 years of age, set out to write his first novel with the intention that it would be “the spy story to end all spy stories”. A lofty ambition, and one which he may even have pulled off. The name of his hero was lifted directly from an American ornithologist. That James Bond happened to be a Caribbean bird expert who authored a field guide Birds of the West Indies. A keen amateur birdwatcher himself, Fleming had a copy of James Bond’s book. Fleming described ‘James Bond’ as a “brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name”. The iconic closing line of the book makes it into the 2006 Daniel Craig movie which launched his groundbreaking tenure as 007. Part of the reason that the film was so successful is that it sticks incredibly closely to the plot of the book. Yes, you can even read about Bond having his balls whipped on a seatless chair by Le Chiffre in the novel. Fleming’s debut title was an instant best-seller. Buy The Folio Society’s edition of Ian Fleming’s ‘Casino Royale‘.