My dear Mr Bond, whatever have you got yourself into??
I have to say, that the film is one of my favourite Bond movies (I'm talking about the Daniel Craig version, not the David Niven - although that was fun in it's own way). So I knew what to expect going in.
But I didn't expect Bond to be quite so different. This is a man who doesn't realise his room is being bugged. Who knows that the woman with him is not all she seems - yet he decides to ignore his instincts. A man who believes that women have no place in his line of work - well they do have a place - beneath him in bed, so he can prove his equipment still works.
It's a book that shows it's age - first published in 1953, when the Russians were the bad guys and frequent mentions are made of the war. There is a particularly cringeworthy moment when an attempt to kill Bond with a bomb goes horribly wrong for the bad guys.
But for all that you can see the essence of Bond, the relentless drive to get the job done, the love of fast cars (a Bentley that ends up as a bit of mess), Vodka Martinis and women.
Le Chiffre on the other hand is a nasty little man, a paymaster for the Russian Unions that's helped himself to some of their money, money that went into some very bad business investments. To make his money back he's gambling and Bond is sent to make sure that he doesn't win.
I will admit a lot of the gambling references went straight over my head. I don't understand baccarat, but my heart dropped when Bond lost everything (even though I knew how it would end) and soared when he won.
It wasn't long until I had arrived at the bit I dreaded the most - Bond's torture. Very well written, the tension, the pain that Bond felt, it was all so palpable.
The one part that I didn't care for was Vespa - even if I hadn't seen the film I couldn't have trusted her - it was all so blatantly obvious what was going on with her. It was Bond I felt sorry for, when he realised what was happening.
For such a short book it wasn't a quick read, I found I had to re-read things sometimes, but I'm glad I started the series.
James Bond will return........