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©1954 Glidrose Productions, Ltd.; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"[Simon Vance] delivers an entertaining performance of one of Fleming's best 007 novels. Using a rich palette of international voices and accents, [Vance] takes an engaging story and infuses it with the additional drama that only a fine actor can provide." (AudioFile)
"From Russia with Love is perhaps the most successful of the Bond series: Fleming has managed to blend excellent characterizations with a highly suspenseful and clever story. The detail is rich and colorful, and the novel contains purely romantic elements that are missing from most of the other books." (Raymond Benson, author of High Time to Kill)
Touching Lives One Martini at a Time
This is a great second-novel after the terse and violent Casino Royale. It is the least politically-correct novel of the series. If you can't deal with the "understood" racism in the US and UK in the 1950s, then don't read this. It will only anger you. Fleming's view of African-Americans is not enlightened except to the extend that Bond is willing to deal to achieve his ends.
The story is about a gold smuggling operation which takes Bond to Jamaica, Florida, and Harlem. There are many violent passages in the novel, again in keeping with the tone begun in the last novel.
It is interesting how Fleming's knowledge of the Cold War comes to light through his use of the Soviets using the nascent Black Power movements to further its cause. (Especially since KGB papers later released revealed how there was Communist infiltration into union and civil rights organizations.)
This novel also begins the travelogue feel that Fleming gave to his novels from his experiences as a journalist and an intelligence officer. We get a look at Idlewild Airport in the 1950s, which is interesting. Fleming's penchant for scuba also comes through.
This is another taut thriller in the tradition of the 1950s potboilers. It moves fast and is unforgiving to its characters. It is a good listen and Vance does a marvelous job narrating. I keep saying it, but I love these novels more because of the way he reads them.
The action-oriented espionage classics by Ian Fleming are always an enjoyable read, or in this case, listen. The audio is great, and the narrator's voice and accent create an enthralling, believable production of the literature.
It's a corking good adventure tale.... But with appaling racism and sexism. You may give a grain of salt since it was written in 1954... But srsly... N-bombs galore.
Another reviewer stated that this novel is "politically incorrect." No. It is patently racist. While it may be an artifact of the time in which it was written, I found it completely off-putting and probably should have stopped listening in the first half hour. Otherwise, it is a very engaging narrative and would have been an outstanding novel (and performance) otherwise.
Fleming can weave a yarn but even granting that the book was written in 1954 the stereotypes are horrific. A lot less racial epithets would have made this a much better book.
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