James Bond is targeted for elimination by SMERSH, and the malevolent Colonel Rosa Klebb has set a trap in Istanbul. The bait is the Spektor decoding machine, which is to be delivered by the irresistible Tatiana Romanova. The assassin is Red Grant, a psychopath who has defected from the West. Bond and Tatiana become pawns in a game of cross and double-cross that reaches its deadly finale on the Orient Express.
This audiobook includes a bonus interview with Toby Stephens.
Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd
©1957 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
Picking up in the wake of events from the more mediocre Diamonds Are Forever, Fleming's next one in the series turns out to be one of the most heralded. It's certainly the one that really got James Bond's name out there to American audiences (thanks, JFK). But is the hype around this one worthy?
Simply put, yes. From Russia With Love brings us ever closer to the style fans associate with both Fleming and Bond. Even though we're still a few years away from the big screen version, Bond is finally developing the personality that Sean Connery would later refine and make his own. Interestingly, Bond is overshadowed whenever Karim Bey is in the story. Bey is the largest personality in the book, and Fleming had a lot of fun writing him. What's more, this is the first time we really get to spend some time with the villains without Bond being there. Bond doesn't really get any character time until chapter 11, leaving room for Fleming to show us how things are done behind closed doors at SMERSH, creating characters that would be translated more or less accurately for the film later on. The only major difference is that the film has these characters defecting from SMERSH to operate with SPECTRE, an organization that doesn't feature in the books until Thunderball.
Roger Moore once quipped that Bond was the worst secret agent because everyone knew everything about him. This may be the book that inadvertently set that stereotype into motion. This time SMERSH is out for vengeance, seeking to murder both 007 and his reputation. The setup is a bit hard to swallow, and Fleming knew it too, which is why Bond questions it right from the start. But the story is told with such enthusiasm, you really don't care once things are set into motion. That enthusiasm changes everything. After Diamonds, it's like Fleming found a renewed interest in Bond. Or it could just be that better villains make for better stories.
Toby Stephens' narration is superb, except for the offending "oh-oh-seven" pronunciation. This still bothers me, and probably always will when both Fleming and the popular culture say "double-oh seven." Even so, I'm learning to accept this is just how it's going to be. A British woman explained it to me like this: I'm an American, so I get no say, regardless of how Fleming did it, and as a Brit, whatever she says is automatically correct. Seriously, how do you argue against that?
Excellent book! The story drew me in right from the start! Toby Stephens did a fantastic job narrating all the different voices of the characters. I'm sad to have finished this story so quickly, but I'm now eager to listen to more books in the Bond series! I would definitely love to hear more books read by Toby Stephens in the future :)
This is the first of Fleming's Bond novels where Bond is more akin to the movie version I'd previously known. Here we have our first gadgets (a spiffy briefcase with hidden knives), exotic locales (Istanbul, Gypsy encampments, the Orient Express) and Bond's view of people who tie Windsor knots.
What is particularly interesting with the story is that it begins with the villains planning their nefarious scheme. Bond's first appearance was in Chapter 11. By that time, the reader was well informed of what the trap was, and got to watch Bond try to figure it out before it was too late.
Toby Stephens did a spectacular job narrating it.
Recommended for Bond fans or anyone looking for some good, old fashioned SpyFi.
James Bond doesn't make a personal appearance until chapter 10 or 11, but that doesn't slow down the story. The villain is well developed at the beginning of the story, but his final show down is relatively short.
Live life Joyfully!
Spying in the fifties
I can't claim as Toby did that I doubted Bond's survival but I did worry about the Bond girl and how it was all going to play out! Wonderfully fun!
No I haven't but hungry for more! May have to listen to the new Bond just to hear more
Lovely step back in time, fabulously entertaining
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