Unlike most of the books that followed, Ian Fleming tried, somewhat successfully, to write a semi-realistic book. Very little glamor...the title refers to the Casino AT Royale, described as a lackluster beach town in Normandy, where Le Chiffre -- who was based, in part, on Aleister Crowley-- tries to win back his fortunes. We're talking about a time and place where one-way mirrors are considered wildly sophisticated and high-tech surveillance.

The pornography -- or fantasy element -- is that this fellow can freely travel to France with more than the then-current limit for money leaving the country (which was about $200 --today's money -- traveller's checks included, and credit cards hadn't been invented yet), eat WAY better than the average Brit (who was still on ration cards at the time), drink quadruple-sized martinis, and flirt with girls. When he gets tortured, Le Chiffre remarks that you really don't need to go into complicated setups to physically interrogate a man -- unlike a woman -- just tie them up and hit their balls until they talk. (I've often wondered what he'd DO to girls -- probably that thing involving a field telephone....or a Violet Wand..mmm...) Anyway, my favorite quote from the book....along with the impossibly large drink recipe, of course!