This quote extracted from the introduction to Vintage Classics’ 2012 reprint of Casino Royale, written by Alan Judd:
That is why Bond is not – contrary to popular imagination – really a spy. As a rule, he doesn’t discover intelligence and report back or recruit agents to ferret out secrets for him. He conducts assassinations (something not done by British intelligence agencies in peacetime), acts as a saboteur or, as in Casino Royale, seeks the downfall and death of an enemy. He is a high-profile operator, a licensed hit-man whose approach may be clandestine but whose operations become very public.