That’s right! Today marks the 60th anniversary of the initial publication of Casino Royale, the very first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, in 1953. As most folks know, the novel was only moderately successful, and nothing more was heard from Fleming or his fictional secret agent, aka “007.”
Of course, Casino Royale was the first of twelve Bond novels and two short story collections written by Fleming, all of which were published between 1953 and 1966. Along the way, film rights to the Bond character and Fleming’s stories saw to it that 007 would come to movie screens, and they hired some guy named Sean Connery to play Bond. I hear those movies did pretty well.
In addition to the (as of now) 23 feature films spanning 50 years and starring six different actors in the 007 role–25, including the 1967 Casino Royale and 1983’s Never Say Never Again–there also have been a number of Bond novels written by other authors, most notably John Gardner and Raymond Benson. The most recent non-Fleming 007 novel, Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver, was published in 2011 and reboots the character in much the same as was done on screen in 2006’s Casino Royale film starring Daniel Craig as Bond. As I write this, another novel is in development, penned by author William Boyd, for publication in October 2013.
But it all started right here, springing from Ian Fleming’s imagination and onto the page. If you’ve never sampled James Bond the way he was meant to be experienced, you owe it to yourself to check out the original Casino Royale and the rest of Fleming’s Bond tales.