Series: James Bond (Original Series) #5
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Released: April 8, 1957
Ian Fleming’s fifth James Bond novel.
James Bond is marked for death by the Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH in Ian Fleming’s masterful spy thriller, and the novel that President John F. Kennedy named one of his favourite books of all time.
SMERSH stands for ‘Death to Spies’ and there’s no secret agent they’d like to disgrace and destroy more than 007, James Bond. But ensnaring the British Secret Service’s most lethal operative will require a lure so tempting even he can’t resist. Enter Tatiana Romanova, a ravishing Russian spy whose ‘defection’ springs a trap designed with clockwork precision.
Her mission: seduce Bond, then flee to the West on the Orient Express. Waiting in the shadows are two of Ian Fleming’s most vividly drawn villains: Red Grant, SMERSH’s deadliest assassin, and the sinister operations chief Rosa Klebb-five feet four inches of pure killing power.
Bursting with action and intrigue, From Russia with Love is one of the best-loved books in the Bond canon-an instant classic that set the standard for sophisticated literary spycraft for decades to come.
From what I can remember, From Russia With Love seems less Bond’y than the previous Bond-books I’ve read. It reads a bit like an Agatha Christie novel with added brutality, more ruthless characters, and a very elaborate setup. For a thriller I’d have liked it to have been a little more thrilling than it is, and much of the time the story just seems to be rolling along without much in terms of twists and turns. However, it’s a solid story, primarily thanks to the solid (and rather lengthy) setup. The characters are sufficiently likable/dis-likable, and even on my Kindle it felt like a good old-fashioned paperback thriller. I didn’t love it, but it was enjoyable, and I put it down with a smile. That’s more than can be said for some of the previous Bond-books.