New York: Macmillan, 1954. First American edition. A sharp, Fine copy of the book with the title page over-opened, otherwise in excellent condition. Clean and unmarked. In a Near Fine dust jacket that is lightly rubbed on the rear panel, with the spine gently faded and the spine ends with minor wear. The extremely rare, first state of the dust jacket with no corners clipped. [Gilbert A1b (1.1)] It seems to be 20 times as rare as the second state dust jacket, maybe 100 times. With copies of the British first fetching record prices, this is an attractive alternative for the discriminating Bond collector.
Fleming’s first James Bond novel – where the world renowned series began. Published in 1953, Casino Royale follows Bond as he attempts, over a game of cards, to ruin evil banker and KGB member Le Chiffre. The book also introduces the characters of Vesper Lynd and Felix Leiter. Fleming wrote the book at a furious pace – it took two months – from his estate in Jamaica. The idea from the novel came from Fleming’s own experience serving in the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty during World War II. He went on a trip to Portugal which, because of its neutrality, was home to spies from both Axis and Allied powers and it’s thought Fleming lost a great deal of money playing cards against a high level German spy. The book inspired a 1967 comedy, starring David Niven, Woody Allan, and Orson Welles as well as a more faithful 2006 adaptation with Daniel Craig, Eva Green, and Mads Mikkelsen. In a contemporary review in The Daily Telegraph, John Betjeman wrote: "Ian Fleming has discovered the secret of the narrative art ...” Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. (Item #1429)