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The first of the series of novels by British author Ian Fleming featuring a deadly but culturally refined secret agent named James Bond, Casino Royale, published in 1953, is about this British spy's mission to bankrupt a ruthless Russian intelligence operative named Le Chiffrey, who has successfully penetrated French society while usurping control of a French labor union, SODA. According to a memorandum that opens Fleming's novel, and that is intended to both introduce readers to this character and to establish the plot, Le Chiffrey is described as "near bankrupt," and badly in-debt to the union's treasury that he oversees. The memorandum asserts that "this powerful Russian agent must be destroyed," and that the only way to accomplish that feat is to ensure that the Russian loses at cards. Fleming subsequently introduces the instrument of Le Chiffre's eventual doom, James Bond. Bond is sent to challenge Le Chiffre to a match of baccarat, said match to occur at the titular casino. In the chapters that follow, Bond's idiosyncrasies -- for example, his penchant for vodka martinis and cigarettes -- are introduced and the novel's protagonist is forced to endure a series of challenges, including being captured and tortured. Le Chiffre, who engineered the kidnapping and torture of Bond, is himself assassinated by his Russian superiors. While Bond is allowed to live by the Russian assassins, he discovers, while recuperating from his ordeal, that his female partner and newly-developing love interest has committed suicide out of guilt for her actual status as a double-agent working for the Russians.
Casino Royale, as the first in a series of novels, provides no well-delineated ending, preferring instead to simply establish his protagonist as someone as ruthless as those he opposes and ready to perform his next mission.
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