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The James Bond Origin: Casino Royale on turning Sixty

Post by: Kabita Sonowal


 “History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.”



Ian Fleming, Casino Royale



Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first spy novel will turn sixty tomorrow. Published for the first time on April 13, 1953, it was inspired by Fleming’s experiences as a naval intelligence officer while a part of it is a figment of his imagination. It narrates the adventures of MI6 spy James Bond. Under the instructions of M, the Head of the Secret Service, he goes on a mission to destroy and bankrupt Le Chiffre, paymaster of a SMERSH-controlled trade union (a former Soviet spy agency).



Ian Fleming decided the name of James Bond after the British ornithologist, James Bond who was the author of Birds of the West Indies. Fleming summed the spy as a ‘compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war’. While the spy’s traits were like that of Fleming’s, M was inspired by his senior in the navy, Admiral Sir John Godfrey. After this book, he went on to write eleven other novels and two short-story collections. The Bond legacy continues as other writers continue to write novels with James Bond as the spy and hero.



Bond’s number 007 was decided with reference to the British intelligence’s decoding of the Germans’ Zimmermann Telegram during the First World War. It was also inspired by John Dee’s (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth) signing of letters to the queen as 007. Needless to say, Casino Royale was inspired by the Second World War. Grapevine has it that he wrote Casino Royale while trying to distract himself from his impending wedding. Long live the legacy of Bond fiction!

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