James Bond also known as Special Agent 007 of MI6 is entrusted with a new mission by his superior M. The mission initiated from the corridors of this secret organization is to hasten the economic downfall of Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre, who is working for the Soviets and is the masthead of Soviet controlled trade union, is already in economic doldrums. As a last resort to tidy up his balance sheet, Le Chiffre is hosting a high-stakes baccarat game. Bond has to infiltrate this game and beat Le Chiffre. In order to accomplish this mission, the London HQ assigns Vesper Lynd as his partner.
This is the first book written by Ian Fleming with the famous spy as the main protagonist. The book is nothing like the movies. The book covers an important mission undertaken by 007 and in the process the reader is acquainted with the psyche of the secret agent. The emphasis is not on the glamor and the girls but seemingly mundane yet dangerous life of James Bond. The novel is told from Bond's perspective except for a very brief period. Ian, using elegant and smooth prose, describes events vividly. The novel is set a few years after the World War II. The danger, suspicion and cloak-and-dagger routines associated with that era is excellently captured in the book. The women are treated with slight disdain but not as playthings in the book contrary to the popular belief.
Recommended if you really want to know how it started. But be warned there are no huge set pieces and frequently changing locations in this book.