ian fleming from russia with love

Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love • a book review

“Every major foreign government organization has a file on British secret agent James Bond. Now, Russia’s lethal SMERSH organization has targeted him for elimination. SMERSH has the perfect bait in the irresistible Tatiana Romanova, who lures 007 to Istanbul promising the top-secret Spektor cipher machine. But when Bond walks willingly into the trap, a game of cross and double-cross ensues, with Bond both the stakes and the prize.”

-From the 2002 Penguin Edition

UnivEx Review:

Fleming’s original From Russia With Love is almost exactly the same as the Connery movie. Bond travels to Russia to obtain a SPECTOR decoding device and is unwittingly used in a part of a SMERSH plan to embarrass the British Secret Service. Unlike the movie, there is no SPECTRE in this novel, but it doesn’t need there to be.

From Russia With Love is stunning. Fleming writes in unusually excellent prose for a thriller writer, combining the threads of the complex plot to excellent and often harrowing effect. The characterization is the best feature of this tour de force. Every character is fully and artistically developed – Red Grant, the psychotic killer, 

is the ultimate Bond enemy and he still packs a punch fifty years on. Rosa Klebb is written vividly, in all her detestable glory. Romanovna is not the average Bond girl – she is well introduced, as well as being a most luscious Bond girl, and plenty of background to her life is given, something often lacking in Fleming’s other efforts.

Bond himself is also developed marvelously, and quite aside from the cardboard cutout characters we often get in a Bond book, none of these characters are lacking in depth and dimension. If the plot is good – SMERSH plotting to kill MI6’s best agent and also to create a worldwide sex scandal with far-reaching implications for the credibility of British intelligence into the bargain – then the execution is better. Every page is a masterpiece in itself, and the whole plot molds perfectly and seamlessly, from London, Istanbul, the Orient Express and France, with perfection.

james bond ian fleming from russia with love

From Russia With Love:

Ian Fleming

First Published:
April 8, 1957

Rosa Klebb; Red Grant


Bond Girl:
Tatiana Romanova

Darko Kerim; Vavra; Rene Mathis

Alternate Title:
You Asked For It


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