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Course Hero. "Casino Royale Study Guide." July 14, 2017. Accessed September 23, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Casino-Royale/.

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Course Hero, "Casino Royale Study Guide," July 14, 2017, accessed September 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Casino-Royale/.

Casino Royale | Plot Summary

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Summary

Bond versus Le Chiffre

As the story begins, British Secret Service Agent James Bond takes on the enigmatic Le Chiffre, Soviet paymaster of a French trade union. In 1946 Le Chiffre had used 50 million francs (approximately $1.3 million) earmarked for the union to purchase his own chain of brothels. What would have previously been a profitable investment goes belly-up when the French government outlaws prostitution. Efforts to recoup his losses net little, so Le Chiffre decides to earn back the money gambling. He has to work quickly—his Soviet bosses have not yet realized his treachery, but it appears SMERSH, the Communist Party's secret intelligence agency tasked with sniffing out traitors and spies, is onto him. Le Chiffre arranges to head a high-stakes game of cards called baccarat at the casino in Royale-les-Eaux, France.

The British Secret Service wants to capitalize on Le Chiffre's predicament by bankrupting him during his game of baccarat. His loss would humiliate the Soviet government and harm the favorable public opinion of the Communist Party in northeastern France. As the service's best gambler, Bond is a perfect fit for the mission. He will be joined by René Mathis, a French intelligence officer, and Felix Leiter, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. Against Bond's wishes, he is also assigned a partner from the British Secret Service. It isn't until he arrives in Royale-les-Eaux that he learns his partner is a woman named Vesper Lynd.

Bond's arrival in Royale-les-Eaux is not a surprise to Le Chiffre. He installs two spies directly above Bond's wiretapped hotel room and arranges for three men to unknowingly detonate a suicide bomb targeted at Bond. Bond escapes with minor injuries, but two of the hired hands die in the explosion. Bond is shaken, but recovers before that evening's game.

A Game of Baccarat

Le Chiffre is the banker in the game of baccarat, and as such he is involved in every hand. Bond, who is situated in the middle of the 10-player pack, takes every bet presented to him as a means of intimidating Le Chiffre and tries to clean him out quickly. That tactic works for a while, but Bond eventually loses his entire bankroll. With no capital left to gamble, he is effectively out of the game. Fortunately, Leiter is on hand to provide "Marshall Aid," a loan of 32 million francs (approximately $843,548)—the exact amount Bond needs for the next bet. Bond is back in the game.

Le Chiffre and his goons don't like that. Bond feels the muzzle of a gun—hidden in a cane—pressed against his back. The man holding it whispers Bond must withdraw his bet or suffer the consequences. Bond throws himself back in the chair, flinging himself and the gun to the floor. After a few moments of chaos, Bond accepts the bet of 32 million francs. He wins that hand and the next, bankrupting Le Chiffre, who leaves the table without a word.

After hiding his winnings in his hotel room, Bond meets Vesper at the casino's nightclub to celebrate. She is quiet and taciturn, and halfway through their meal she receives a note from Mathis, delivered by the concierge. Telling Bond she'll be right back, she goes into the hall to speak to him. Realizing something seems amiss, Bond chases after her into the entrance hall and out into the parking lot, where he hears her shriek as she's forced into a Citroën, a type of French car. It speeds out of the parking lot. He jumps into his Bentley and gives chase. Angry at Vesper for falling for such an old trick, Bond doesn't notice the "carpet of steel spikes" in the middle of the road. Tires shredded, his car spins out and flips over. Le Chiffre and his men retrieve Bond from the wreckage and take him and Vesper to the villa where Le Chiffre is staying.

A Villa and a Hospital

Bond and Vesper are separated upon their arrival. Le Chiffre tortures Bond for an hour, but Bond refuses to tell him where he hid the check for 40 million francs (approximately $1.05 million). Right after Le Chiffre vows to "finish" Bond, a third man walks into the room and shoots Le Chiffre between the eyes. A SMERSH operative, he lets Bond live because he has no instructions to dispose of foreign spies on the premises. He carves an inverted M (Russian for "SH," shorthand for "spy") into Bond's hand. Bond passes out.

He wakes in a hospital, where an English nurse and French doctor are tending to his wounds. He is safe, but he's also deeply shaken by his experience. Bond begins questioning the nature of good and evil and the value of his job, and he decides he's going to quit the Secret Service. Mathis tells him he'll change his mind when he falls in love and has someone to fight for. That happens much earlier than Bond could expect. After putting her off for the first week, Bond allows Vesper to visit him in his hospital room. She is horrified by his injuries and the role she played in his acquiring them. He forgives her for getting kidnapped, and after three weeks of spending time together he realizes he's falling in love with her. They take a vacation at a seaside inn upon his release from the hospital.

Romance Goes Wrong

The romantic interval doesn't go as Bond intended. Vesper is manic, her moods swinging from one extreme to the other. Among other concerns, she fears they are being followed. Bond chalks it up to nerves and tries to ignore her peculiar behavior. They sleep together on the first night at the inn, and the next morning Bond decides to propose to her, a decision he immediately reverses upon realizing she isn't being truthful with him about a phone call she made. Her deception unravels the foundation of their relationship, as does the arrival of a man wearing a black eyepatch. Vesper becomes depressed and combative, spending most of the time in her room. On their last night at the inn she vows to tell Bond the truth about everything.

The next morning Bond learns she has committed suicide instead. Vesper's suicide note reveals she was a double agent working for the Russians. She fed them information about the British Secret Service—and Bond—to keep her Polish lover alive. She tipped off the Soviets about Bond's arrival in Royale-les-Eaux, and faked her own kidnapping as a means of handing Bond over to Le Chiffre. It wasn't until she saw Bond in the hospital she realized she had genuine feelings for him. She tried to disentangle herself from the Soviets, but she knew they wouldn't let her live—which becomes clear with the arrival of the man in the black eyepatch—a SMERSH operative. Vesper kills herself to protect Bond from becoming collateral damage.

Vesper is now nothing but a spy to Bond. He abandons his thoughts of quitting the service and vows to destroy SMERSH no matter the cost.

Casino Royale Plot Diagram

Falling ActionRising ActionResolutionClimax123456789101112Introduction

Introduction

1 James Bond receives an assignment to bankrupt Le Chiffre.

Rising Action

2 Mathis informs Bond the Muntzes are eavesdropping on him.

3 Bond narrowly survives an explosion meant to kill him.

4 Bond loses all his money at the baccarat table.

5 After a loan from Felix Leiter, Bond bankrupts Le Chiffre.

6 Le Chiffre and his men kidnap Vesper Lynd.

7 Le Chiffre tortures Bond before being killed by SMERSH.

8 Vesper's lies sour her relationship with Bond.

Climax

9 Vesper commits suicide.

Falling Action

10 Vesper's suicide note reveals her to be a double agent.

11 Bond vows to destroy SMERSH.

Resolution

12 Bond tells his London contact Vesper is dead.

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