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Four Classic Gambling-Themed Books
Including the original James Bond novel and Dostoevsky's classic The Gambler.
Bringing you four classic gambling-themed books, in no particular order.
Casino Royale, Ian Fleming
This was actually the original James Bond book by the creator of the fictional British agent 007.
Released in 1953, Bond is assigned to defeat Monsieur Le Chiffre, an agent of a Soviet assassination bureau, at a game of baccarat he is running at a casino in France. The eventual hope is that Le Chiffre's agency SMERSH will kill him as a result of his own gambling debts.
Bond defeats Le Chiffre in a game that lasts hours, but that is far from the end of the story as Le Chiffre abducts a beautiful lady to lure bond into his own capture.
Of course, Agent 007 wins out in the end, as he does in the film of the same name, released in 2006.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
Critics call this the best example of gonzo journalism, a style of journalism written subjectively, in which the reporter often appears in the story using a first person narrative.
The story's protagonist, Raoul Duke, and his attorney, Dr Gonzo, chase the American dream to Las Vegas while taking lots of drugs.
Before being published as a book, Rolling Stone published part of it as a two-part article with illustrations. It was also turned into the film of the same name in 1998, starring Johnny Depp.
The Gambling Man, Catherine Cookson
Written by one of Britain's most widely-read 20th century authors, this 1975 novel follows a lower-class gambler in northern England who rises in society through self-motivation and a marriage to a rich woman.
The story was turned into a television miniseries in 1995 directed by Norman Stone.
The Gambler, Fyodor Dostoevsky
The 19th century Russian novelist's twin obsessions of love and gambling are reflected in this novel, seen through the eyes of Alexei, a young tutor working for a formerly wealthy Russian general.
The book follows Alexei and his new love Polina to the German mountain town of Schlangenberg, where Polina gets hooked on roulette after an initial victory, but goes on to lose almost 100,000 roubles. When Alexei finds out that Polina can't return his love because of her debts, he goes to the casino and wins 200,000 roubles, returning to her and emptying his pockets full of bank notes and gold onto the bed. But there is another twist to the story as Polina runs away after telling Alexei she hates him.
The book inspired the 1949 film The Great Sinner starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. Dostoevsky actually finished this book under a strict deadline in order to pay off his own roulette debts.