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Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Book cover for Casino Royale
Book cover for Casino Royale
M, the Head of the Secret Service, assigns James Bond, Special Agent 007, to play against and bankrupt Le Chiffre, the paymaster for a SMERSH-controlled trade union, in a high-stakes baccarat game at the Royale-Les-Eaux casino in northern France. As part of Bond's cover as a rich Jamaican playboy, M also assigns as his companion Vesper Lynd, personal assistant to the Head of Section S (Soviet Union). The French Deuxième Bureau and the CIA also send agents as observers. The game soon turns into an intense confrontation between Le Chiffre and Bond; Le Chiffre wins the first round, bankrupting Bond. As Bond contemplates killing Le Chiffre outright, CIA agent Felix Leiter helps Bond and gives him an envelope with thirty-two million francs and a note: "Marshall Aid. Thirty-two million francs. With the compliments of the USA." The game continues, despite the attempts of one of Le Chiffre's minders to kill Bond. Bond eventually wins, taking from Le Chiffre eighty million francs belonging to SMERSH.